Shelby County Schools partner with Dr. Larry Lemak to develop sports medicine program at Helena High

Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2014


HELENA – Students attending the new Helena High School will soon have the opportunity to learn about sports medicine from one of the most well-known doctors in the field, thanks to a partnership between the Shelby County School District and Dr. Larry Lemak’s medical practice.

When the new Helena High School opens its doors this fall, students in grades 10th through 12th will have the opportunity to participate in a sports medicine curriculum that was developed by Lemak and his medical team. The health sciences program, which will have a sports medicine focus, is part of the district’s career-technical education offerings for students.

“This program is unique in Alabama in that it partners the business and industry sector with education,” said Rene Day, coordinator for career and technical education, college and career planning, and community partnerships. “Students have the ability to learn in the classroom and in the real-world environments of the clinic and hospital.”

Day said the district began working with Lemak several years ago and believes that the district is building a program that will provide unprecedented opportunities for students interested in health careers. Students will not only benefit from a curriculum that Lemak helped to develop, but also in having access to a physicians’ panel that will include Lemak and others from his practice, the instructor of the program and the school’s nurse.

“We have benefitted from Dr. Lemak’s expertise in writing the instructional plans for this program,” Day said. “It is really the first program of its kind in the state in that it includes a physician of Dr. Lemak’s caliber and also because (of) its focus on sports medicine. The students will see practitioners come into the classroom and teach alongside the instructors. They will also be going into the hospitals and doing rounds. It’s kind of unprecedented access.”

Day said the program was developed based on parent and student surveys that the district conducted to gauge what types of career academy programs would be of interest to that school community. Day said a health sciences focused career academy rose to the top for both parents and students who completed the survey. The district also reviewed workforce data and job trends, which indicated continued job growth in the health sciences field, while researching and developing the new program.

“The Helena community is excited about the new program, and it has every reason to be,” Day said. “Our post-secondary partners, such as UAB and Jeff State, are also excited about the linkages available between this program and further studies for our students.”

The Health Sciences program at Helena High School was included in the overall design of the building. Day said students taking the class will have the opportunity for demonstrations in computer labs and hands-on lessons for treatment and training. Students will also have access to other opportunities to further their training in this career field through access to internships.

Day said the school system is hoping to develop the program into a dual-enrollment opportunity involving Jefferson State Community College or UAB. Students interested in the course can contact Helena High School Counselor Kim Bailey at or Day at