It’s early morning as professional athletic trainer, Brandon Sipes, gathers his team together on the field at the new FC Cincinnati soccer stadium. He delivers his Wellness Talk, a regular lesson in proper nutrition, mental health, or some other best practice to keep his athletes in top shape, before running them through their daily stretch-and-flex exercises to prepare their muscles for the day’s tasks. As they begin their endeavors, Brandon works closely with each team member to monitor their movements and make ergonomic corrections where possible. While he’s fully capable of performing first aid in the event of an injury, his main concern is to avoid injuries altogether. While it may sound like Brandon’s team is composed of professional soccer players, it’s actually the “industrial athletes” of Turner Construction charged with the buildout of Cincinnati’s new MLS soccer stadium.
Brandon isn’t your normal, run-of-the-mill athletic trainer. He has all the necessary credentials to be a Board Certified Athletic Trainer, including an advanced degree in kinesiology and exercise science. But Brandon is employed by Harness Health Partners, a division of Bon Secours Mercy Health, to look after the workforces of companies in fields such as construction, manufacturing, first responders and utilities, whose employees complete physically demanding work on a daily basis. And while he’s held more traditional training positions for sports teams in the past, his current work hits home for him in a personal way. Brandon’s father and several other of his family members made their livings in residential construction. He has seen firsthand the toll that the work takes on the worker’s body. Just like professional athletes, the constant, repetitive actions required to complete the job can wear down the body’s muscles and joints over time, requiring medical care to heal. However, unlike professional athletes, many of these workers don’t seek out and receive the necessary medical attention to maintain their health.