Archive | April, 2011

Emerging Settings – The expansion of AT services

22 Apr

Training and Conditioning magazine published a feature article on three ATs working in emerging settings.  I have also been doing some research this week into the high schools and athletic training coverage provided within my home state of PA.  My experiences with the research and the article has me thinking that athletic training can experience exponential growth if we continue to look for the need for our services.  The middle schools, youth sports leagues, military, action sports and industrial settings are all good areas for ATs to expand our services and provide our unique services to the public.

Middle Schools Continue reading

Most parents feel they don’t know enough about sports injuries

20 Apr

USA Today – Millions of children and teens accross the country participate in organized sports.  NFHS statistics report that over 7 million competed in high school athletics at member schools.  Millions more compete starting at age 4 and 5 through their high school years in club sports.  These club sports, rec leagues, Little League, Pop Warner, etc. are all organized and run by parent volunteers.  A survey released in 2011 by Safe Kids, USA and Johnson & Johnson reveal some sobering statistics: Continue reading

Athletic Trainers want to get their message out.

19 Apr

This peice does a great job of highlighting 2 high school athletic trainers working in Ohio.

With a combined 31 years of athletic trainer experience at their respective high schools, Fairfield’s Dianna Ivkovich and Fenwick’s Amy Anders love their jobs.

They’re just not overly thrilled with the title.

“You get the catch-all title of trainer because people just don’t understand where we fit,” says Ivkovich, the athletic trainer at Fairfield since 1993.

“We’re athletic trainers, not personal trainers,” adds Anders, who has worked at Fenwick since 1997. “We’re here for the sports injuries and prevention. We’re not just a little trainer to help kids with their workouts.”

Read the original article

Policy and Procedure Development – Lightning Safety

19 Apr

If you were to research lawsuits and investigations into sports injuries, the programs that have written protocols, policies and procedures fare the best.  Writing and following these plans protect the athletic program and employees.

One of the first things that ATs establish written protocols and policies covering everything from Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) with the school/team physician to communication between the coaches and AT staff. 

Lightning Safety Procedures

Lightning is an awesome display of the power of nature.  According to the National Weather Service, lightning and tornadoes are responsible for 57 deaths per year based on a 30 year average.  Lightning was also responsible for $6.6 billion of damages in 2009.  With high incidences of deaths, injuries and damage, it is important for school districts to develop a lightning safety protocol. Continue reading

Why Concussion Legislation is Needed

18 Apr

Many states across the country are in the process or have already passed legislation in the management of concussions.  With awareness of the injury rising and with pressure changing on athletes to no longer play with a concussion, you may ask yourself why this is needed.

This article out of San Diego, CA  illustrates what has been going of for years between knowledgable ATs and coaches all across the country.  Egotistical coaches whose desire to win outweighs their care for their athlete’s health make bad decisions.  Continue reading

PATS Capital Hill Day, 2011

15 Apr

On Tuesday, April 12, 2011, several members of the PA Athletic Trainers Society (PATS) traveled to Harrisburg to visit several State Senators and Representatives.  As a member of the PATS PR committee, I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to give back to the profession and to promote the profession of athletic training.  There were 5 teams organized and each team had different tasks.  4 of the 5 teams had face to face meetings scheduled with up to 3 Senators and Representatives.  I was assigned to a team of 2 other ATs and our task was to visit about 20 Senators’ and Representatives’ offices and drop off information about 2 bills being introduced effecting athletic training in the state.  These Reps. and Sens. wer all members of the Licensing Board and their support of the bill will aid in getting it passed and into law. 

In the PA House of Representatives, HB 930 and HB 932 has been introduced by State Representative Readshaw.  This bill will change athletic trainer certification to licensure.  38 states already require state licensure for athletic trainers protecting the public from unlicensed ATs.  Only 4 have certification.  Licensure holds much more power over certification further protecting the general public from un-credentialed athletic trainers.  Currently, PA citizens do not have much recourse to protect themselves from non-credentialed ATs practicing within the state.  2 house bills are necessary to cover licensure under the seperate Board of Osteopathic Medicine and the Board of Medicine. 

In addition to these 2 bills in the House of Representatives, HB200 has been introduced to House Committee by Representative Briggs.  The team was priviledged to have a face to face impromtu meeting with Rep. Briggs and he appreciates and values athletic trainers as well as the work we were doing that day in support of his Sports Safety bill.   

On the Senate side of the Capital, SB 957 has been introduced by Senator Tomlinson.  This bill also changes state certification to licensure.   If SB 957 is passed, the HB 930 and 932 would become unnecesary.  The team also was seeking for support of SB 200 and HB 200.  These bills are the Sports Safety Bills introduced to regulate concussion management requiring athletes suspected of a concussion to obtain clearance from an MD, DO or AT before returning to play.

The day at the Capital was incredibly hectic because not only was PATS at the Capital, so were thousands of school students and teachers who were rallying for the SB 1 – the School Choice bill.  Additionally, there was a ceremony to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.  There was also a rally of nurses and ER physicians asking for more funding for their cause.  All of these rallies took place on the majestic center staircase in the Capital Rotunda just a few feet from the PATS display.  These events allowed PATS an opportunity to educate many within the general public of the importance and value of an athletic trainer.

I urge every AT to work for your states’ Athletic Training Association and go to a Capital Hill Day, you won’t regret the experience!

Sudden Cardiac Death discussion and screening

7 Apr

I have had several conversations with local MDs about EKG screening for athletes.  Some of the questions we seek to answer is who will cover the costs?  Who will read all the tests?  Is the current testing even accurate in catching those at risk?  What about the psychological toll on the false negative screens?  (Imagine the feelings of the parents and young athletes who are told the EKG revealed an abnormality and need further work up when in fact their heart is fine.)

An article written by East Valley Tribune’s Lee Bowman looks into the possibility and need for EKG screening for athletes.

The shock of youthful, seemingly healthy athletes collapsing and dying from sudden cardiac arrest naturally makes athletic trainers, coaches, sports physicians and parents want to do all they can to prevent it. Continue reading

How to promote the profession – Youtube

7 Apr

Throughout this blog, I have written my opinions on why an AT should be at every high school in the US, but this blog is too small a forum to accomplish that goal.  What it will take to achieve that level of care for all high school athletes is a collective effort by thousands of ATs across the country to promote the profession.  This series of blog entries will seek to give ideas to the AT on real life ways that they can also promote the profession.

Youtube Videos

I am in my mid-40s and try to keep up with technology.  The technological advances in the past 20 years have been astounding.  Youtube and other video hosting websites are one of those advances that has changed American culture.

When I was young, we had just 5 or 6 TV stations to watch and 10 or so radio stations to listen to.  With limited media, there was limited choices.  For media producers, it also cost a great deal of money to get your media broadcast.  But now that millions of people have access to Continue reading

Athletic trainers crucial in helping injured athletes

4 Apr

Hattiesburg, MS – Here is one of the best news articles I have read in celebration of National Athletic Trainers Month.  What is especially outstanding about this piece is that it is written by a high school student.

No two people understand that importance more than Sean Copeland and his mother, Susan Copeland. Continue reading

New Game Plan for Concussions

4 Apr

Neurology Now – A well written article discusses the prevelence of concussion in sports and the incompetence of the general public in recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion.  I have peiced together many of the better parts of the article below.  It is worth the read and highlights the importance of access to athletic trainers for all athletes.

Over the past few years, a number of stories have made the headlines involving mismanaged injuries in young athletes that turned catastrophic. Too many times, players have been moved off the field when they shouldn’t have been or cleared to return to play before they fully recovered. Instead of heading off to college, teenagers like Matthew Newman of Cowiche, WA, are spending what would be their freshman year making trips to rehabilitation facilities. Newman suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a football game in September 2009, and has been fighting a long battle to recover ever since.

As a result, dangerous hits are being taken more seriously. Athletic organizations at every level—from Pop Warner football to the National Football League—are changing the rules that dictate when players can return to the field, what type of personnel must be present at sporting events, and how to determine if an athlete can suit up… or should sit down.

Additionally, a number of states have begun to adopt legislation requiring that players who are suspected to have suffered a concussion be removed from play. (See box, “Making Concussion Safety a Law.”) Data from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, show that as many as 40 percent of high school athletes who sustain concussions return to action prematurely, which raises the risk for more severe injuries.

“Letting someone continue to play when they are concussed will commonly cause a longer, more complex injury,” says Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, MI, and director of the Michigan Neurosport Program. If an athlete re-enters a game or practice, he or she faces serious risks—even if there is no further physical contact. “If they continue to exert themselves physically and mentally at high levels, the injury worsens, with more complex symptoms and a more difficult recovery,” he says.

What is known is that concussions are happening far too often. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three million concussions occur every year in the United States. Among people 15 to 24 years old, sports are second only to motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of TBI. Concussions represent an estimated 8.9 percent of all high school athletic injuries, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

“These injuries are happening more frequently than we ever realized,” and they’re not always easy to detect, says Julian Bailes, M.D., director of the Brain Injury Research Institute and professor and chairman of the department of neurosurgery at West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown. “It can be very difficult to discern how serious a hit is by just seeing or hearing what happened,” Dr. Bailes says.

That was one of the key drivers behind the AAN’s recommendations: to take the decision of whether a player can return to the field out of the coach’s hand, and to leverage the technological innovations and advances in research that have surfaced in recent months to improve the care of athletes, says Dr. Kutcher.

The bottom line of the new position is actually quite simple: Got a possible concussion? Get off the field.

While experts such as neurologists and certified athletic trainers are qualified to identify the signs of a concussion, doing so can be much more difficult for the untrained. Many people believe that concussions only occur when a player is unconscious. This assumption, says Dr. Bailes, is both incorrect and dangerous. “With the vast majority of concussions in sports—90 percent of the time, in fact—athletes don’t get knocked out,” he notes. “They’re walking around and talking, and they look normal.”

That’s where testing comes into play. Through a neuropsychological evaluation, physicians acquire important information about a patient’s cognitive, motor, behavioral, language, and executive functioning, which can guide them in making a diagnosis and determining when it is safe for an athlete to return to play. According to the AAP, evaluation is based on several computerized neuropsychological tests designed to objectively evaluate an athlete’s post-injury condition and track recovery to prevent cumulative effects of concussion. A neuropsychologist may also administer a pencil-and-paper test to the patient.

Why athletic trainers are needed


One step that can assist in identifying and assessing possible concussions is the presence of a certified athletic trainer. According to Dr. Kutcher, this is important for several reasons.

“Athletic trainers have the experience and the training to be able to block out all of the environmental distractions that exist during games and triage an injury,” says Dr. Kutcher, who is also a team physician for the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University athletic programs. And trainers are taught to be completely objective when evaluating athletes.

“While I would love to think that all parents, coaches, and teammates can have objective viewpoints on these injuries, the truth is, that’s hard to do. Athletic trainers accept that responsibility, and they’ve developed the skills to not let the person’s position of importance to the team—for example, the starting quarterback—affect their clinical judgment.”

What distinguishes certified athletic trainers from other professionals such as personal trainers is the fact that they must graduate with a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited professional athletic training education program and pass a test administered by the Board of Certification, according to the National Athletic Trainer’s Association. Once certified, they must meet ongoing continuing education requirements.

Original article