Peery committed to students' long-term health
Kaylee Peery cares about nothing more than the success and long-term health of the student-athletes she oversees.
Peery, a Certified Athletic Trainer with Nevada Regional Medical Center, is also invaluable to the Nevada R-5 school district. Dating back several years, Peery has been a fixture at Nevada High athletic events as the lead athletic trainer.
The district has been so thoroughly impressed with Peery that they went out of their way to ensure that their contract with NRMC for her services was extended.
"My job is to cover all home games for Nevada R-5, and provide practice coverage and treatment when needed," Peery said in a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail. "Since Nevada (R-5) doesn't have a fully stocked athletic training room like bigger schools, with different modalities and rehab equipment where I could do athletes' rehab (physical therapy), l often have to refer out to the physical therapists or occupational therapists in town."
In addition to practice and game coverage, Peery's primary responsibilities include injury prevention, with taping, stretching and strengthening; injury assessment; injury treatment and rehabilitation; and wound management.
"Without a proper athletic training room, I am limited to my resources at the high school," she said. "I can use ice as a therapeutic modality, but I wish we had more. I am able to borrow rehab exercise equipment from Performance Therapy, and bring things to the school occasionally to aid with rehab exercises for the kids. Otherwise, we just make do with what we have, and we get them strong and ready to play again with what we have — or the kids are referred out to physical therapists."
On a game night during football season Peery arrives at the school around 2:30 p.m. to do pre-practice taping for other sports.
"I make my rounds to practices if there are any injuries that need to be evaluated or checked in on," Peery noted.
Peery then arrives at the Nevada Tiger football fieldhouse around 4:45 p.m. to start on the pre-game taping for the football team. After roughly 45 minutes of that, and a wardrobe change, Peery heads out on to the field with the team.
"When the guys are all on the field, I take my big med kit out to the field and go introduce myself to the visiting athletic trainer," she said. "This meet-and-greet time is crucial. This is the time where I go over our emergency procedures, give location information regarding our EMS services, and relay what emergency items I have with me on the sideline. I let them know that we have a sports-med doctor that will be on the sideline, and mention where ice machines are located in case they are in need. I usually give them my cell number if they don't already have it. This allows them the freedom to text me at any point during the game if they have a need — ice, water, or need a player seen by our doctor. From there, I stand by to address any injury that may occur. If we have a quiet, injury-free game, I consider it a great night. I prefer those nights, just because that means our boys are healthy and no one is hurt."
Peery also travels with the football team for away games.
"Away games tend to be a little more hectic, depending on our leave-time," she said. "(Our) coaches are awesome, and get most, if not all, of the medical equipment packed into the trailer before we leave. I ride in the vehicle that pulls all the gear, so once we arrive to our destination I help unload the football gear-bags, grab my taping table and med-kit, and head to the area where the guys are prepping. While they are getting dressed for the game, they come see me to get taped, and then usually head back to the locker room for the rest of their gear. Once all the taping is done, I load up my gear and head to the field."
As previously alluded to, Peery hopes the games she covers are as injury-free as possible.
"I hope that I'm able to just stand back and watch the entire game," she said. "Unfortunately, this season, we have had several injuries. So I find myself missing pieces, if not most, of the games."
Peery said whether or not the game is injury free, she's watching the action with a laser focus.
"I am watching each play," Peery began. "Watching the piles, watching how our guys are landing when tackled, and how they are hitting when tackling. I am constantly watching for injury, or the possibility of injury. When one occurs, my goal is to treat them as efficiently and quickly as possible."
Said Peery: "If we are on the field, I have to either get them to where they can get off the field and play can resume, or we can get them shipped off to the ER, and to higher care as fast as we can without causing any further harm to the athlete. If our guy makes it to the sideline with an injury, I am doing my best to get as much information in as little time as possible, and determine what we are dealing with. And if/when he can go back in to play, because I'll have several coaches looking to me for answers regarding the athletes' playing status."
Added Peery: "Anytime I get to watch one of my athletes return from an injury, it's great. It's a bit sweeter if I played a huge role in their return by helping them with their rehab, daily, to get them back to their sport. That's what I live for with my job!"
Peery, who graduated (Cum Laude) with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training, Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, and minor in Biology from Missouri Valley College in 2012, earned a Masters of Science in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from Emporia (Kan.) State University in 2016.
"Take care of your bodies," said Peery, of advice she would offer to those looking to get into tip-top shape.
Peery continued: "Listen to (doctors), and don't come back from an injury too soon. Eat properly. Fuel your body with what it needs. Drink plenty of water. Sleep. There's a saying out there that 'you can sleep when you are dead,' but sleep is so crucial in the recovery process for anything.
"I was an athlete my (entire) academic life, up until my junior year of college. I wish I would have taken better care of myself, because I hurt all the time now."
Peery affirmed that she enjoys her job, and plans on sticking around for a while.
"When I took this job, I wasn't sure what Nevada would have in store for me," said Peery, a Kearny (Mo.) native. "I was excited for the proximity to family, and the opportunity to do what I loved. I was coming to Nevada knowing that I would be the only athletic trainer (AT), which has its advantages, but also its challenges. Especially, regarding being in a career that isn't well understood."
Peery said she has been dedicated to her craft since day one on the job.
"I have worked very hard to gain the trust of our parents and school administration," she said. "I do wish I had access to the educational opportunities and resources that athletic trainers in larger sports medicine groups have. I miss having the camaraderie and support staff that come with larger sports medicine groups, where ATs are working side-by-side with Orthopedic docs and physical therapists."
Peery said she's exploring the possibility of beefing up her credentials by adding more certifications.
"I would really like to be able to assist in the Orthopedic Clinic and with surgeries," explained Peery.
In order to pursue this career path, Peery would need to obtain an Orthopedic Technician certification. Requirements include six months of observation within the orthopedic setting, in order to sit for the certification exam.
"This wouldn't replace being an athletic trainer, but rather add to it, making myself more valuable to NRMC or any other future employer," she said. "More than anything, gaining the Orthopedic Tech certification would allow me to be more present in athletes' lives. Being with them on the field or court, then in the doctor's office during appointments, and then again with them in surgery. All along the way, helping them manage their way through the stress that comes with any injury. I would be able to be a constant, and would allow them and their family to feel comfortable and supported through the whole injury and recovery process."
Summed up Peery: "I'm so grateful to work for NRMC and for NR5. The district administration, staff, and coaches help make my job easier with their support and trust in me. The hospital almost cut my position this last year, but NR5 stepped in, reminding them of the value of having an AT on staff."
• I have three dogs and a cat — Roskoe, Cinch, Mae, and Raskal.
• My favorite thing to do when I have time off is to travel and go on adventures, or meet family for a meal on days off.
• Favorite places I've traveled are "Oahu," or the Oregon coast. The scenery is just amazing.
• My favorite type of music is country. But I prefer more of the folky/singer-songwriter type than mainstream music.
• I have a little brother, Tyler Peery, who is a junior at Camdenton (Mo). I have four stepbrothers, and a stepsister, who are all older than me.
• If I wasn't an athletic trainer, I think I'd either be a vet or a nurse. I once dreamed of being a marine biologist as well.
• Favorite foods: anything with bread or carbs, sushi, and fresh seafood.
• Foods I am not a fan of: tomatoes, plain cold American cheese slices, pickles. I loathe pickles, honeydew melon, beets, Brussel sprouts, potato salad, and macaroni salad — just to name a few.
• My mom is my biggest influence. I can't think of a moment in life when she wasn't there, supporting every move or life choice. She has always required me to think for myself, always encouraged me to pursue my passions. She may not have agreed with what I have chosen, but if I was all-in, so was she. She has always reminded me that even if I think I am failing, I am not. I am just learning another valuable life lesson.
Professionally, my biggest influence is my college professor, David Tomchuck. I still reach out to him when I need to phone a friend for professional help. But, my athletic trainer in high school is credited with creating the thought bubble in my mind, of maybe wanting to be an athletic trainer.