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How do ATs decrease pain and reduce recover time? IASTM!!

4 Dec

***Please note, this blog entry is part of an assignment for my DAT program at AT Still University.  The research quoted throughout the text is fictitious and has NOT been actually performed.  Any claims of effectiveness of the IASTM Gua Sha treatments are not based on actual data***

Pain, muscle soreness, tendinitis, and overuse injuries are synonymous with sports but a team of secondary school athletic trainers (ATs) from [the local] Sports Medicine and Performance Center (SMPC) are studying a solution to the problem.  Gua shaGua sha is a form of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) which has been used by Chinese for centuries.   Gua Sha is a scraping technique that intentionally raises blood flow to the area using small instruments and a massage oil.

The ATs studied the affects of Gua Sha on lower extremity musculoskeletal injury for the high school athletes in their care for the 2017-2018 school year.  The 6 high schools of the [the local] Valley School District (BVSD) were assigned to be Gua Sha treatment (n=3) or a control group treatment (n=3).  BVSD had approximately 4,500 athletes over the course of the school year.  Of these 4,500 athletes, 365 qualified for the study with 190 athletes receiving Gua Sha treatment from the AT.  Athletes at all 6 sites received standard treatment for their injury with the treatment group receiving an additional Gua Sha treatment 3-5 times per week for 30 to 120 seconds.  The published results can be found here [link to website}.  runnersResults indicated the additional Gua Sha treatment had a significant and immediate effect on pain by decreasing pain an average of X%.  Additionally, the treatment group returned to play on average X days faster than the control group.

These results are especially promising for secondary school ATs, physical therapists, and team physicians who work with high school athletes.  Gua Sha is a simple IASTM technique which does not require specialty certification course work, is safe, is fast, and effective.  The immediate significant decrease in pain allows the athlete to perform effective rehabilitative exercises and the faster return to play decreases the workload on the busy clinical time of the AT.

If you are an athlete experiencing an overuse injury, contact your local sports medicine clinic and inquire about their athletic training services!



  1. Nielsen A, Knoblauch NT, Dobos GJ, Michalsen A, Kaptchuk TJ. The effect of Gua Sha treatment on the microcirculation of surface tissue: a pilot study in healthy subjects. Explore (NY). 2007;3(5):456-66.


Change – Part 1

14 Oct



The book “Switch.  How to Change When Change is Hard1 applied to changing the public perceptions of the profession of athletic training.  Please make sure you have watched the previous blog entries as a prologue to this entry.  It will help you as you process the ideas and hopefully contribute your own ideas in the comments.

Prologue Part 1 – A TED Talk on “Sweat the Small Stuff

Prologue Part 2 – A review of Heath and Heath’s book “Switch How to Change  When Change is Hard“.

The Issue

The general public perceives ATs as a fitness professional, not a healthcare provider.

The Goal

To shift the public perception of athletic trainers from a fitness professional to a healthcare provider.

The Plan

Follow the Bright Spots.  Our profession understands the athletes we interact with the most have the greatest understanding of who we are and what we do.  Among NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 athletes there is a direct correlation between access and interaction to perception of healthcare professionals.2  Athletes with consistent access and regular interaction with the AT had a higher perception of the AT as a healthcare provider than those who didn’t access the AT.  Access and interaction with the AT develops understanding of the healthcare provider role of the AT.  For our professional identity to change, we must consistently accessible and regularly interact with our patients.

The Takeaway. Be accessible and be conscious of your accessibility and interactions.  Every interaction you have effects the public perception of you AND the athletic training profession.

Essential Questions

What bright spots have you observed in making change?  Why do some recognize ATs as a healthcare provider while others perceive us as fitness professionals?


  1. Heath C, Heath D. Switch. How to Change Things When Change is Hard. New York: Broadway Books; 2010.
  2. Unruh S. Perceptions of athletic training services by collegiate student-athletes: a measurement of athlete satisfaction. J Athl Train. 1998;33(4):347-50.


6 Oct

I recently read Heath and Heath’s book on change titled “Switch. How to Change when Change is Hard”. It is available here on Amazon.  The book outlines change by appealing to the rational mind, motivating the emotional center, and shaping the situation.  Here is a video review of the book on YouTube.  If you are in any type of a leadership situation, or plan to be, I highly recommend spending $15 and purchasing the book.

How does this relate to this blog?  How does change relate to athletic training?  How does this book and idea about change have anything to do with promoting the profession of athletic training?  Great questions!

Our profession has long suffered from professional identity.  We have complained and whined among ourselves, many have quit the profession, few have worked hard to affect our identity on the national level, but still we suffer from a lack of professional identity.  We all want to do something, but what?

My previous blog entry highlighted a TED Talk with the idea that great change often comes from small adjustments.  Watch the talk if you haven’t.  Start thinking on what small changes we can make as professionals to make the Switch.

Change is hard.  We need to change our professional identity.  HOW?

Over the next few weeks, I will go through the outline in Switch to discuss my ideas on affecting a change in our professional identity.  I can’t do this alone and the more discussion we can have the greater affect we can have.

Sweat the Small Stuff – TED Talk

28 Sep

It has been a long time since I have posted, much has happened in life.  I won’t air the laundry here as it isn’t the forum for it.  I will say I am back and contributing again.

Below is an outstanding TED Talk entitled “Sweat the Small Stuff”.  The key take away is little change can produce big results.  Please 12:29 of your time and watch.  It is thought provoking and has far reaching implications and applications.

Soon to follow blog entries will build on this idea as I seek to tackle a huge issue within the profession of athletic training – our professional identity.

More to come!