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Rogers' influence is far reaching

  • Friday, February 28, 2014

Roger Lee/Journal Scene Jimmie “Doc” Rogers has impacted countless lives through sports medicine.

How many athletes has Jimmie “Doc” Rogers helped throughout the years?

Too many to count.

Rogers has worked in the field of sports medicine for more than four decades. He has provided care to athletes at the high school, college and professional levels and his impact goes beyond the treatment and physiological advice he dispenses.

“As an athletic trainer, especially in high school, you have to wear plenty of hats,” Rogers said. “I don’t do any coaching but I talk to them about life.

“You have to be a brother, father, uncle, friend, confidant, whatever a kid needs. It’s not just taping athletes and taking care of their injuries; you deal with them from a psychological point of view. It’s important to understand their problems and to put yourself into their situation and talk things out with them.”

Rogers has been the Director of Sports Medicine at Fort Dorchester High School since 1993, the year after the school opened. His student trainer program has allowed him to have a positive impact on the lives of countless students with an interest in Sports Medicine, including some who have gone on to become professional athletic trainers, nurses, EMTs and even doctors.

His journey in the sports medicine field began at a young age and has resulted in some interesting excursions.

“As an athlete in high school we didn’t really have anyone to take care of us so I decided to learn how to take care of myself,” said Rogers, who was a four-sport athlete in high school. “I learned how to take care of my own minor injuries. When I got to college I asked the athletic trainer if I could be a student volunteer for him and I did that for four years.”

Rogers attended South Carolina State where he was a starting defensive back for the football team and sprinter for the Bulldog track team. He received all-conference honors for both sports.

At that time, the athletic training field was really just starting to take off on a large scale. State didn’t have any sports medicine classes, but Rogers got plenty of hands on experience as a volunteer. The college’s head trainer was so impressed with his dedication that after he resigned to take a job with the Miami Dolphins he recommended Rogers for his old job.

Rogers helped him out with the Dolphins, first as an intern and later with the team’s training camps, from 1970 to 1976. He was around for part of the Dolphins’ 1972 season that remains the only undefeated season in NFL history.

After completing his required 1,500 hours of training under certified athletic trainers, Rogers passed his certification exam and became S.C. State’s head trainer.

He served in that position from 1974-89. During those years he implemented the college’s student trainer program, served as the head trainer for multiple college all-star games and worked with several athletes, too many to count, who went on to play in the NFL.

Rogers also worked at Furman University and with the Horry County School District before taking the position at Fort Dorchester. “Kids in the high school setting need me and I enjoy working with them and making sure they are taken care of and not exploited,” Rogers said. “My passion is making sure these athletes are taken care of and I treat each of them as if they were my very own.”

Sometimes that means upsetting an athlete or even a coach, but Rogers says that’s just part of the territory.

“Trainers aren’t always the most popular people,” he said. “Sometimes you have to work through adversity but it’s important for us to have a professional code of ethics. If an athlete can’t go then you have to make that call. Sometimes that puts you on a coach’s bad side or the athlete doesn’t understand but that doesn’t bother me. I’m here to give the athletes the best care I can.

“I’m going to do everything I can to ensure an athlete can play. I’m going to give them every chance, but if they aren’t ready then I’m not going to let them play.”

Because Rogers came along at a time when the worth of sports medicine was just starting to be realized, he had his say in writing that code of ethics good trainers now follow.

Rogers is also active in his community. He is a Master Mason, Omega Psi Phi member and the Director of Health and Wellness Ministry at Ebenezer AME Church. He also works with the First Tee program designed to help youth by providing programs that build character and instill values through golf.

He and wife Cecelia have four daughters. One is a judge; one is a counselor; one is a speech pathologist; and one is an RN. The couple has 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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