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Cole’s Story

A local high school athlete and his parents credit quick action by an Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) athletic trainer with identifying a more-serious-than-initially- thought injury and arranging quick intervention.

Click play to watch Cole’s video or read the transcript.


Cole Theodor was playing football last fall. On the first offensive play of the game, he heard a “snap” after being hit by two other players.

Among those responding to Cole’s injury was Joyce Kastl, team trainer from UVMC Center for Sports Medicine.

Cole’s parents were in the stands. They saw their son coming off the field with Kastl and others who were assisting Cole. “We knew then that the injury might be serious,” said Cole’s father, Tom Theodor.

Athletic Trainer Coordinates Care

The UVMC trainers are taught assessment tools to evaluate an injury and decide the best course of action. The action could include having emergency medical services come to the field to transport the athlete to the emergency department. If the injury is stable enough, the athlete is assisted off the field for further assessment.

Kastl was able to remove Cole’s shoe, assess the injury, and determine that he should go to the hospital that evening. He was taken to a hospital, where a soft cast was placed on his foot. Cole’s parents were advised to call an orthopedic surgeon.

UVMC Orthopedic Surgeon Provides Timely Treatment

Tom Theodor sent Cole’s x-rays to Kastl, who, in turn, sent them to Dr. Mark Zunkiewicz, an orthopedic surgeon at UVMC.

Dr. Zunkiewicz found that Cole not only had a fracture, but other injuries that required treatment in order to avoid walking and chronic pain problems in the future. Arrangements were made for Cole to have surgery the following morning, a Saturday, at UVMC.

Dr. Zunkiewicz said Kastl’s actions were key in getting Cole the care he needed. The Theodors praised Kastl for her commitment to the athlete.

“I don’t feel like I went above and beyond my job. It’s just who I am. It’s what I do,” Kastl said.

“It was an outstanding job, as far as we’re concerned,” Tom Theodor said. “To go from ‘come back Monday, maybe you can get an appointment,’ to Cole having surgery by Saturday night was a big relief to us.”

UVMC Center for Sports Medicine offers professional services to community schools and organizations. Kastl is one of 13 certified athletic trainers with UVMC Center for Sports Medicine, which provides athletic training services to area schools and one junior college.