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Lions roaring over new training room

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By Robert Howey

RICHBURG – There were no loud cheers, or lively pep band music. No points were tallied, but the Lewisville Lions had plenty of reasons to celebrate. The occasion was somewhat of a state championship for the Chester County Class A high school. Monday night, Lewisville High School and Chester County officials dedicated the Lions’ new training room and hailed the school’s new athletic trainer.Lions’ athletic director Floyd Drum said with the training room and a full-time trainer Lewisville High School is the first Class A school to have both.“There are only four Class A schools in South Carolina with a trainer and we’re the only one with both now,” said Drum. “We’re at the top of the line. This is top notch for us.“Our weight room and training room are as good as any in Class AAAA,” Drum said.The training room, which housed the school’s old weight room, includes $60,000 worth of equipment. The highlights are a taping area, diagnostic area, treatment area, full-body whirlpool and extremity whirlpool. The diagnostic area includes a doctor’s exam area. The treatment area features an ultra sound and two muscle stimulators. The training room also has a cold area and field equipment, including a converted golf cart to transport injured players from the field.“You won’t enter another Class A school and find better facilities than these,” said former Lions’ star Sheldon Brown, who attended the dedication at the school where he played football, basketball and baseball. He then moved on to USC where he starred for the Gamecocks before joining the Philadelphia Eagles where he’s a star in their secondary.“This is a beautiful facility and it sets the standard,” Brown said. “I’m proud to be a part of a school which sets the standard.”Brown funded the Lions’ weight facility. The Lions’ training facility is funded through a grant Drum wrote with the Chester Regional Hospital and Chester Healthcare Foundation.“It took a number of years to get where we are, but now it begs the question, ‘How did we survive before we had a training room?’ “ said Lewisville High principal Dr. Jim Knox.The man in charge of the training facility is Al Shuford, who has 33 years experience in athletic training including eight years in the NFL, three with Major League Baseball, seven with the Miami Hurricanes and as many years with NASCAR.During his time with the Panthers, Shuford, a Shelby native who graduated from Campbell University and later earned a masters at The Citadel, served as their head trainer.“There’s not a lot of high pressure here,” said Shuford, who lives in Charlotte. “It’s been refreshing being here. This is where you want to be.“This training facility is for the coaches, kids and parents,” he said.Shuford said since he began in January, he has treated 643 athletes.“If you play hard, you’re going to get hurt,” he said. “The big thing is to return to play safely. That takes the burden off the coaches.”Drum said the Lions would likely be able to add 25 percent of practice time with a trainer.“We’re able to put them back on the field and court,” Drum said.Shuford said the training room has also opened opportunities to students in the area of athletic training.“This is for the students’ needs,” Shuford said. “It bridges the gap between the kids in the community and health care. The ones who might not can play now know there’s a future in physical therapy and physical training.”