Skill Set – Emotional calmness

10 Mar

The following story is from a fellow AT.  I want to keep the specifics generic because I am not dwelling on the specific situation, just the general circumstances of what happened:

I was at the school today to check in with the teams. Hung out in the gym with softball for a bit, then headed out to the track team practice, and then headed to check in on baseball. I’m standing there watching baseball practice when a girl comes running around the corner of the building looking for me. Somebody “pulled a hamstring.” She’s screaming it. Alright, so I head back to where the track team is figuring it was one of them.

As I pull into a parking spot, my phone rings. It’s my supervisor who is in the clinic. He wants to know where I am. He tells me it is a softball girl in the gym so I head inside. I get in there and every administrator in the school is standing in the gym. The principal is on the phone (with the clinic?). The softball team is all huddled around this girl who has a latex glove full of ice underneath her knee.

After my evaluation I get an actual ice bag and wrap it on while she fills out the eval form. Then I attempt to fill out the eval while I cannot stop laughing because her teammates, coaches, and dad are making comments that were just downright hilarious.

I went back out to the clinic when I got done at school and the receptionist said that the AD called, the superindent called, and possibly at least one or two others. And they were all FREAKING OUT.

This situation illustrates several things and shows that athletes need athletic trainers!

  1. Many coaches, although intelligent, don’t know much about sports medicine.  They think they do, but their response to injuries often shows that they are freakin’ clueless!  A hamstring injury was report when the injury was below the knee.  A glove was used for an ice bag!  Sad but funny.
  2. Lack of access to ATs is a problem.  This situation comes from a high school that has only had the part time services of an AT for a few months.  You would think in a place where no AT services were provided that the coach would know how to respond since they have always had to respond in years past.  But the coaches AND administration utterly failed!  Sheer panic ensued since no one knew what to do.  Keep in mind, this was not a real emergency situation.  This was not a life threatening injury.  With 58% of the schools in the country not providing access to ATs, I can only imagine the improper care, injury evaluation way off base and poor responses that injured athletes receive!
  3. ATs exude emotional calmness.  The very presence of the AT brought a calming emotion to the situation.  I can imagine if the AT couldn’t have been located, that there would have been about ten 911 calls.  But once the AT showed up and started the evaluation, everyone seemed to calm down.  This was only due in fact to the confidence and calmness that the AT demonstrated through body language and speech.
  4. ATs are needed in every high school – This true situation is not an isolated event but happens in thousands of high schools every day across the country.  In 42% of the high schools, the coach simply contacts the AT on site who comes to the aid of the injured athlete.  The coach has been taught what to do (call the AT) and quickly does it.  But in 58% of the schools in the country, it is up to the coach (most of whom know very little about sports medicine) to evaluate the situation and respond appropriately!

Coaches are good people and often are vastly underpaid for their time.  Most coaches know their sports very well and are coaching because they love the game and love teaching the game to kids.  To put the onus on the coach to also take care of the injuries on their teams is too much.  It is time in this country that every high school provide the services of an AT!

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