Skill Set – Relationships

24 May

The typical athletic trainer has a diverse skill set that they constantly develop.  This series of blog entries will seek to focus on the skill set that most athletic trainers possess in order to effectively do their job in the traditional setting.  Collectively, this skill set makes the AT a very valuable and unique resource to the athletes, coaches and administration that they serve.

Relationships

It is my firm personal belief that God created us for relationship.  Relationship with God and relationships with fellow mankind.  The most gratifying things in life revolve around relationships – life long friends, a spouse, family, etc.  The most satisfying jobs are careers that can develop deep relationships with other people.  Teachers, professors, pastors and athletic trainers are professions that can have high career satisfaction surveys due in part to the relationships that can be fostered through these careers.

No matter the setting, high school, college, pro sports, industrial, military, law enforcement, ATs develop relationships with the people they work with.  These relationships are vital to our job as we can begin to read when our athletes are hurting.  These relationships are also important to the athletes as they need to trust those who provide medical care for them.   John Maxwell said “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

In my career, I have been able to provide athletic training care to many all-star games, playoff games, state championships and tournaments.  Most of the time very few athletes know who I am and I often end up only providing first aid care or basic taping techniques to the athletes.

But at the school district where I work, there is a constant stream of athletes, teachers, coaches and parents coming through the training room asking for me to look at this injury or evaluate this pain.  80% of the time my findings are not significant but that isn’t the point.  The school community knows that they can come into the training room to be evaluated – they value the relationship.

This skill may be the most important aspect of athletic training but it can’t be quantified.

If you are an administrator/manager contemplating the value of a full time athletic trainer to your staff, don’t just look at the services that the AT provides (prevention, recognition, rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses) look at the relationships that the AT can foster with the athletes/workers.  These relationships will provide a much better environment for your athletes/workers.

If you are an AT starting in a new position, begin to foster relationships.  Get to know the athletes, coaches, parents, administration in the traditional setting or the managers and workers in the non-traditional setting.  No one will care how well you tape an ankle or evaluate an injury if you don’t develop a camaraderie first.

One Response to “Skill Set – Relationships”

  1. tapingthroughlife May 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    I really enjoyed this post. I truely agree that building relationships is the corner stone to athletic training. In a profession where we most often work as the liaison between a plethora of individuals the relationships that are build are vital. As a tell my students as well as my athletes weekly that they will never remember all of the exercises they did with me, or the treatments they recieve, but I hope they will remember how much they were cared about. I had a athlete write on her end of the year review the following: “My athletic trainer didnt just treat my injuries, she cared about each one of us as a person. We cant ask for anything better than that”. That truely hit home for me. As an athletic trainer I strive to be the best I can be for every patient that walks through the door. The relationships that we build everyday can not be replaced with any amount of money.

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