At Woodward, we are very proud of our Sports Medicine program. Our certified athletic trainers care for all Upper School student-athletes, evaluating injuries to determine if they can safely participate, taping and bracing to prevent injuries, and rehabilitating injured athletes in coordination with their own physicians.
In addition, athletic trainers are accessible at all practices and games to assist athletes in case of injury, and they keep records on individual athletes, their injuries, and treatments.
The full-time athletic trainers at Woodward are certified by the National Athletic Trainers’ Board of Certification, which requires them to hold a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, physical education, or a related field, and to pass a national exam administered by the board. They also possess thorough knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics, and physiology as well as the prevention, management, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. In addition, our athletic trainers are educated in nutrition, counseling, and psychology.
Meet Our Sports Medicine Staff
Laura Taylor LAT, ATC
Head Athletic Trainer
The 2019-20 school year marks the first year for Laura as Woodward Academy’s Head Athletic Trainer. For the past 5 years Laura has been the Head Athletic Trainer at Northgate in Coweta County. She is a graduate of North Georgia College and completed internships at Clayton State College, a general medicine internship in Dahlonega as well as an orthopedic internship at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville. Laura was named the Georgia Athletic Trainer’s Association “Sports Medicine Person of the Year” in 2012. Laura has also served as the Head Athletic Trainer for Copperhead Lacrosse and the Director of Sports Medicine for Monkey Up Lacrosse. Prior to coming to Woodward Laura was the Head Athletic Trainer at Sandy Creek High School. She has also been the Athletic Trainer at Brenau University, Suwanee Sports Academy, USA Volleyball and Georgia Soccer. For the past 10 years she has served as the Head Athletic Trainer on an all-volunteer Sports Medicine team for the Atlanta Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk for the Cure.
Jordan Olson, M.S., LAT, ATC
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Mr. Olson holds a bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Masters of Science in Medical Science from the University of South Florida. While attending South Florida, Jordan worked as a resident for two years at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, FL. Prior to attending South Florida, Jordan worked as an assistant athletic trainer at Webber International University. During his time at South Florida, Jordan studied pediatric related athletic injuries with the S.M.A.R.T. Institute of USF. Jordan joined the Woodward Academy staff in 2017.
Lexus Pickett, M.S., LAT, ATC
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Lexus is from Lone Tree, Colorado and holds a bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. She worked as a graduate assistant at Woodward from 2017-2019 while earning her Master’s of Science in Sports Administration from Georgia State University. Lexus will transition into the role of a full-time athletic trainer with the Woodward Academy sports medicine staff in Fall 2019.
Joseph S. Wilkes, M.D.
Dr. Wilkes practices at OrthoAtlanta and is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. He also is a member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and is a Clinical Associate Professor at Emory University. He functions as as an orthopaedic consultant for the U.S. Luge Association and has been an associate team physician for the Atlanta Falcons. Dr. Wilkes served as coordinator of venue medical directors for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
Gary Gropper, M.D.
Team Doctor/Woodward Academy Medical Director
Dr. Gropper graduated from Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee School of Medicine. He is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and has served as a neurological consultant to the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Braves. Dr. Gropper practices at Atlanta Brain and Spine Care.
Rusty Gore, M.D.
TEAM DOCTOR/Sports Neurologist
Dr. Gore is the director of the Complex Concussion Clinic at the Shepherd Center and an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. He serves as a concussion consultant for multiple regional NCAA athletic programs. He trained at Vanderbilt University and the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Gore is certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry and he is a member of the Sports Neurology section of the American Academy of Neurology.