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
Laura 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. In 2012, Laura was named the Georgia Athletic Trainer’s Association “Sports Medicine Person of the Year." 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 and Northgate High School. She has also been the Athletic Trainer at Brenau University, Suwanee Sports Academy, USA Volleyball events and Georgia Soccer events. 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. Laura joined the Woodward Academy staff in the fall of 2019.
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.
Kyle Santo, MBA, LAT, ATC
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Mr. Santo holds a bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Masters of Business Administration in Sports Management from Webber International University. While earning his MBA at Webber International University, Kyle worked as a full-time athletic trainer. After his time at Webber, Kyle worked at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida with the football team for two years. Following his time at SEU, he took himself and his family, wife Anne and twin daughters Emory & Sutton, to Tampa, Florida where he worked as an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Berkeley Preparatory School assisting both high school and middle school athletes. Prior to coming to Woodward Academy, Kyle and his family moved back to Orlando where he taught Athletic Training at East Ridge High School. Kyle joined the Woodward Academy staff in 2021.
Robert L. Bowers, DO, PhD
Emory Sports Medicine
Dr. Bowers grew up in Atlanta, GA and graduated from Woodward Academy in 2002. After high school, he went to Furman University in Greenville, SC where he played Division I baseball and majored in Health and Exercise Science. Dr. Bowers completed post-graduate residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Emory University School of Medicine and subsequently completed his Sports Medicine Fellowship at Emory as well. His specific clinical interests are sports-related musculoskeletal injuries, the utilization of ultrasound for the diagnosis of injuries and the precise guidance of procedures, the use of biologics for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, baseball medicine/throwing athletes, and concussions.
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.
Team Doctor - RETIRED
Dr. Wilkes served as Woodward Academy's Team Physician/Orthopedist for over 30 years before retiring in the spring of 2020. Even in retirement, Dr. Wilkes is a strong supporter of Woodward Academy Athletics.