MLB Athletic Trainers have advanced the profession

28 Mar

Boston, MA – An article from the Boston Globe thoroughly highlights the changes in the profession of athletic training from the 1970’s through today.   Here are some bits and peices of this article:

The athletic trainer in baseball has become more educated, requiring more qualifications and certifications. Training staffs have grown into monstrosities, including physical therapists, masseuses, psychologists, and strength and conditioning coaches. There’s more paperwork to be done, more information available on treatments for what ails you. There’s more direct contact with team physicians and specialists and the trainer often has to carry out the rehab plan for a player returning from injury.

Gone are the days when, as one former player put it, “the trainer used to have a big jar of greenies and he’d say ‘Take a few of these, they’ll make you feel better to play.’ ’’ In the late 1980s and into the ’90s, trainers were dealing with players who were suddenly bigger and stronger.

All medical dealings are documented now. Trainers must pore over records and daily reports. Their days often start before noon for a night game and don’t end until well after midnight. They still do the mundane stuff like wrapping ankles, rubbing out knots in muscles, and massaging joints. There’s a great respect for the profession. Commissioner Bud Selig has taken a personal interest in trainers and medical staffs, holding meetings twice a year to discuss any issues they may have.

Red Sox head trainer Mike Reinold, a Boston area native who holds a doctorate in physical therapy, is one of the more modernistic trainers in the game and is constantly upgrading his portfolio.

“Constantly, every day. That’s actually a big, big theme that we have in our medical department: continuing education and professional development,’’ Reinold said. “We challenge each other, minor league trainers on up. We have e-mail chains to check out different websites. We’re always taking classes or going to seminars. We try to get to at least one a year and usually it’s two or three. We try and bring in prestigious guests in their fields to do presentations for us. You want to get a lot of perspectives.

“The players are bigger and stronger now,’’ Monahan said. “Our staff is bigger. We now have therapists and massage people. The doctors are more involved with the trainers than they used to be. We work hand-in-hand now. Things are much more complex now. Players are smarter about their bodies and what they need from a trainer than in the old days. You now need a college degree and you have to be certified. Those weren’t requirements years ago.’’

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