It is About Relationships

25 Mar

The mission of this blog is to Promote the Profession of athletic training.  The blogs are focused on skills and views that the AT has that promote the profession.  But the biggest strength we have, the biggest impact we have is in our interpersonal relationships.  The relationships aren’t just limited to the injured athletes.  It extends to the healthy athlete as well.  The important relationships don’t end there, it reaches beyond them to coaches, athletic directors, parents, siblings, teachers, administration, team doctors, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons and others in health care.

Relationships – Athletes

Obviously, for ATs in the traditional setting, the relationships with the athletes are the primary relationships.  These are the people we interact with the most and become the closest to.  It is the best and worst part of the job.  The best part is getting to watch the awkward 7th grade students develop into a high school graduate.  The worst part is having these kids that you care so much about become injured and having to care for them.

Let me explain.  Early in my career, one of my athletes was undercut on a breakaway layup in a basketball game at the far end of the court.  He landed hard on his side and head and was knocked unconscious.  He suffered a laceration above his eye so he is laying unconscious in a pool of blood.  After 30 seconds he regained consciousness but was delirious and confused.  He kept trying to call for a timeout and becoming violent with me because I was holding him down.  It was emotionally tough after the fact because this I had known this young man for 3 years watching him play three sports.  I knew his parents well and to see the fear in their eyes was difficult.  This close relationship made this injury personal as I empathized with all of the people involved in the injury.  This is what ATs do, but it is emotionally difficult when someone you care about suffers.

These relationships are what clearly sets our profession apart from most other health care professions.  We get to know these athletes when they are healthy.  We are the first by their side when they are injured.  We are the ones who rehabilitate their injury and get them back to play.  And then we have the pleasure to see the fruits of our labor as we watch them return to play.

All of those interactions, each of those relationships are promoting the profession of athletic training.  To that individual athlete, you are all the stands in the gap fighting for their safety.  Your education and experience and interaction with them develops a bond and trust – good or bad.  Make sure every athlete you interact with understands that you are there for their safety first.  Make sure they know you care.  But most of all enjoy these athletes, it is the best part of the job!

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