Great Plains Health Regional Combine gives local athletes an opportunity previously unavailable to them

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - For the first time, area athletes were given the opportunity to compete at a skills combine. At the combine, their measurements were taken for height, weight, and wingspan, and they participated in a 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, standing broad jump, and shuttle run.

The Great Plains Health Regional Combine is the first of it's kind in the North Platte area (Credit: Chelsea Croft/KNOP-TV)

More than 100 area athletes participated, and approximately 30 volunteers from Great Plains Health helped out.

However, the purpose of the event was not just the combine, it was also to educate the athletes on techniques to cut down on injuries.

"Getting the kids introduced to a solid warm up before they actually participate in practice or games, gives them a little bit of education," said Kyle Stevenson, a physical therapist, and member of the Great Plains Health Sports Medicine team.

According to Dr. Nathan Jacobson, and orthopedic surgeon at Great Plains Health, one in 50 high school athletes tears their ACL, and 70 percent of those injuries are non-contact. The group has been teaching FIFA's 'The 11' injury prevention program.

"The FIFA 11 program that we do for ACL prevention is really trying to train them in proper technique and to improve the technique that they have, so they're in a safer position, less likely to injure themselves," Dr. Jacobson said.

According to Dr. Jacobson, the program can decrease ACL tears by up to 62 percent.

Dr. Jacobson grew up in Southern California, and attended a similar combine in high school, which he says helped him get recruited in high school. He hopes the Great Plains Regional Combine can create the same opportunities for local athletes.

"It would be nice to see this to develop into something like that, but also we want to really push the injury prevention stuff, and try to develop more of a relationship with the kids, the community, the coaches," he said.

For the athletes, the combine allows them to compete with each other, as well as track progress from year to year.

"It let's them test each other, gives them something to look for over the summer, and sees where they line up with the competition in the area," Dr. Jacobson said.

"This was kind of their way to see how the summer conditioning and stuff has been going. Athletes are competitive, and this is a fun event for them, and I think they've enjoyed doing it," Stevenson said.