Bridging the Gap to Wellness

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Covenant Health Athletic Trainer is Committed to Helping Morristown Residents Thrive

Jan and Lloyd Etter smile at Morristown Landing after a workout.

Jan and Lloyd Etter are retired Morristown residents who exercise at Morristown Landing, a multi-purpose recreation center that offers community opportunities in wellness, sports, and recreation. Jan attends an exercise class at Morristown Landing’s fitness center three days a week while Lloyd walks on the indoor track. That’s where they met Covenant Health athletic trainer Matthew Brannon.

Covenant Health is the health partner for Morristown Landing. A member of Covenant Health’s sports medicine team, Brannon works with members and guests at the recreation center.

Lloyd is 84 and has dementia along with other health issues. Brannon walks with him around the track when their schedules align, which is nearly every visit. Brannon helps Lloyd with his gait by encouraging him to pick up his feet and keep his focus straight ahead when he walks.

Jan says, “We met Matthew early on, and right away he began helping Lloyd. Matthew has been a tremendous support for us, and my husband thinks the world of him. They joke back and forth – it just feels like he’s there for us.”

Trainer Spots Residual Stroke Symptoms in Fitness Center Member

Recently Lloyd had a fall at home, and Brannon evaluated him the next time they met. “I suspected he had a head injury based on information Jan provided and after noticing some residual signs such as dilated pupils and a lingering headache. I referred him to Morristown-Hamblen West, and they went that same day.”

Morristown-Hamblen West is across the street from Morristown Landing. The outpatient facility is part of Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System and Covenant Health, and has a freestanding emergency department, physician offices and specialty care.

“Matthew encouraged me to have him checked out, and we went immediately,” Jan says. “We left the parking lot and went across the street. They took him back right away and did some tests.” The tests confirmed Lloyd had a mild stroke at the time of his injury and sustained some vascular damage.

Jan recalls, “We had attended the grand opening of the freestanding emergency room and thought at the time, ‘what a wonderful facility.’ It wasn’t long before we realized we needed it! Morristown-Hamblen West is a wonderful facility. They were knowledgeable and speedy. We are so thankful for the team there.” She adds that Lloyd is doing much better and continues to walk with Matthew.

Building Relationships Through Knowledge and Caring

Brannon’s role at Morristown Landing has expanded his responsibilities. “As athletic trainers, it’s imperative to continue learning and remain current on medical trends and treatments for injuries,” he says. “As I’ve moved from [sports] sidelines to working in the community setting with people of all ages, activity levels, and medical histories, I’ve found that to be even more true.

“In many cases, my focus is on overall health and quality of life and related to chronic conditions of the fitness center members, in addition to treating sports injuries I see on the sidelines of club games. Especially in the older population, I focus on skills like strength and balance to help maintain someone’s independence, because these exercises can provide significant improvement in their activities of daily living,” he explains.

“Building relationships is a big thing for me,” Brannon adds. “I want the members at The Landing to know there is someone who is knowledgeable and can assist them.”

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Matt Brannon, Athletic Trainer,

Covenant Health Sports Medicine

Helping Others Reach Fitness Goals, Resume Favorite Activities

Athletic trainers are certified and take a national board exam to be licensed to practice in Tennessee. Brannon and other athletic trainers who are part of the Covenant Health sports medicine team are present when Morristown Landing hosts sports tournaments or special community events. The trainers focus on injury prevention and are also available to assess and treat “in the moment.” They can refer patients for follow-up diagnostics and appointments as needed.

“In my current role, I view myself as the bridge between the care provided by other medical professionals and helping those under their care get back to doing things they’ve missed out on,” he says. “I hope to help people achieve improved quality of life and reach their goals by getting back to their favorite activities, like running and lifting, or hobbies like gardening and golf.”

Morristown Landing also has personal trainers available who can help individuals reach their fitness goals. Physical therapists, who will be onsite starting in June 2024, can help with rehab after an injury or surgery. All staff are trained in CPR and basic life support.

Brannon hopes people consider Covenant Health facilities not just for cases of illness or injury, but for recovery, rehabilitation and a bridge to fitness and health. “We focus on continuum of care, and helping people recover from an injury or surgery so they are not just better, but thriving,” he says.

Brannon’s commitment makes a difference in the lives of those he meets at Morristown Landing. “Matthew is extra special,” Jan says. “I know it’s his job, but he’s so knowledgeable and caring; he really goes above and beyond. We are thankful for him and how he has helped my husband!”

For more news and information on our services at Morristown-Hamblen.

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About the Author

Covenant Health

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Covenant Health is a community-owned, healthcare enterprise committed to providing the right care at the right time and place. Covenant Health is the area’s largest employer and has more than 11,000 compassionate caregivers, expert clinicians, and dedicated employees and volunteers.

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