DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - Decatur Memorial Hospital is eliminating its high school athletic trainer program, a Decatur Public Schools spokesperson said. 

WAND-TV spoke with DPS spokesperson Denise Swarthout, who confirmed the program will be eliminated. She said there is no further information at this time. 

The district will be making plans in the future for how to handle medical personnel at sporting events.

Moroa-Forsyth's athletic director, Phil Applebee, told WAND-TV he learned about the decision Thursday morning and said services will not be provided after Nov. 1, 2020. Maroa Forsyth leaders plan to sit down Thursday afternoon and discuss how the same quality of care can be provided for student-athletes when sports are allowed to resume. 

DMH Sports Medicine offered athletic trainers at the following central Illinois schools: 

  • Eisenhower High School
  • Sullivan High School
  • Okaw Valley High School 
  • MacArthur High School 
  • Warrensburg-Latham High School 
  • St. Teresa High School
  • Meridian High School 
  • Central A&M High School 
  • Argenta-Oreana High School 
  • Lutheran School Association 
  • Maroa-Forsyth High School 
  • Sangamon Valley High School 

A full list of trainers from DMH can be found through this link.

A statement from DMH said several financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to end the trainer program. 

"Like other health systems in Illinois and around the nation, MHS has been forced to examine its programs and make difficult decisions," the statement said. "We have very reluctantly concluded that we can no longer support the athletic training program as a community benefit.

MHS and DMH leaders are committed to providing a smooth transition with the affected schools and have already begun to assist them in locating other resources." 

The HSHS system also released a statement: 

"HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital has a comprehensive and complete outpatient sports medicine program. The AthletiCare team is made up of certified athletic trainers working in conjunction with area physicians and surgeons. Our program provides exceptional care to area student-athletes by preventing, evaluating, treating and rehabilitating injuries, as well as offering training assistance to coaches and game coverage for sporting events.

We are saddened for the student-athletes, coaches, schools and communities affected in the region by the closure of Decatur Memorial Hospital’s program. St. Mary’s has no intentions of closing our sports medicine program, and we are evaluating our options to assist the affected programs where we can."

The station will update the developing story as it learns more. 

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