A High School AT’s Lament

11 Oct

I love my job.  I really, really do.  I love working with high school athletes, they keep me young.  I love working with other professionals (teachers, coaches, physical therapists, MDs, DOs, DCs) who pour their lives into the lives of others.  I enjoy being a role model for student athletic trainers.  I enjoy being a CI for a local ATEP.  I like writing occasionally in this blog and giving back to the profession.  I enjoy the work I get to do for PATS and for the BOC.  But there are also things I don’t like about my job.  I don’t like the weird hours that took so much from my personal life.  I don’t like the mountains of paperwork that seem to grow through the years.  I don’t like the added stress of RTP decisions when Continue reading

Are you a financial asset or liability?

9 Jun

There is no doubt that this current economic climate is tough.  Administrators, Boards of Directors, CEOs and Presidents across the country are having to make tough financial decisions to streamline costs and maximize revenue.  For the profession of athletic training, school boards and administrators are often taking a hard look at the athletic training position.

An article from CA piqued my curiosity when I read the headline “Audience Angry Over COS Athletic Training Decision.” This situation at the College of the Siskiyous is not unique.  I personally know of 3 instances of the same exact decision being made at 3 high schools within a few miles of me just within the last year.  In all of these cases, a good AT lost their job and were replaced by Continue reading

The Athletic Trainer’s Role in Youth Sports

27 Mar

Wow, the month of February and March have been a flurry of activity for me.  I have been able to provide athletic training care to thousands of athletes at a youth soccer tournament, PIAA District Wrestling Championships, PIAA State Wrestling Championships, PA Junior Wrestling State Championships as well as my own athletes at my employer.  While providing these services to these groups, I was keenly aware of the amount of athletes who don’t get these services.

In an article on the Discovery Networks website, the author explores the possibility of “Smart Helmets” changing the future of youth sports.  The author quotes:

Identifying the injury is only the first step, the authors note. Smart helmets aren’t a diagnostic tool; rather, the technology could help make the connection between an athlete who may have an injury and a medical assessment. When a sensor is triggered, the athlete would need evaluation from a trained professional on-site or a referral for off-site medical evaluation.

This one paragraph clearly delineates our profession’s role in Youth Sports.  I am all for this smart technology that will clearly indicate when a possible concussive hit has been absorbed by an athlete of any age.  But a fancy LED display that indicates an excessive force is useless if their isn’t a medical professional there to clinically evaluate the athlete.  Youth football leagues need to provide athletic training services to these athletes.

Little Baseball is suffering a similar issue with pitch counts, curve ball debates and pitchers throwing with sore arms.  Pitch counts are a great tool, but they are limited in scope.  Many of the better players are playing on 2 or even 3 baseball teams at the same time.  Other youth baseball players are playing for 9 or 10 months of the year.  Research has shown that it isn’t the type of pitch that is thrown (i.e. curve ball), it is the volume of pitches that are thrown.  The volume of pitches thrown dramatically increase when you play for 2-3 teams a year.  Who is watching out for these young athletes?  Who can these young athletes approach to evaluate their arm pain without their parents making the first contact?

I firmly believe it is our profession of athletic training that can make a difference in these young athletes’ health and lives.  As my friend and colleague has in his email tagline “Every athlete deserves an athletic trainer.”  I wholeheartedly agree from ages 7 to 70 and up.  If you are involved in organized athletics, you not only deserve an athletic trainer; you need an athletic trainer.

Skill Set – Experience

6 Feb

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.

Experience

February is an anniversary for me.  I passed the BOC test in February, 1995.  So, I have been an AT for 17 years now.  I remember thinking when I passed that test and got that packet with the ATC credential that I had arrived.  That I had all the skills necessary to be an AT for all athletes.  I was ready to take on anything and anyone with my expertise and had the credential to show it. Continue reading

Luxury or Necessity?

11 Jan

This morning, this article about a local to me high school caught my eye.  The title alone is thought provoking “Injury prompts Shanksville to reconsider athletic trainer.”  Somehow this school thought it prudent to cut $2,500 in spending and not provide basic athletic training services for the athletes of the school.  According to the PIAA, this school has an enrollment of 105 students in 9-12 grade and competes in 5 boys’ and 7 girls’ sports.  Basketball is the only contact sport listed, but in my experience baseball, softball, cross country, tennis and volleyball are all sports that keep the AT busy.

Today’s economy and lack of funding for public education has school districts, private schools and even public and private colleges and universities closely examining budgets.  The economic climate has administrations at every level attempting to answer the question “Is the provision of athletic training services a luxury that we provide our athletes or Continue reading

What is Our Focus?

15 Dec

Two recent articles have me thinking about what our role as Athletic Trainers is towards the athletes that we provide health care to.  In a New York Times article, a former Denver Bronco Nate Jackson calls out athletic trainers in the NFL.  He says:

This harsh reality is softened by human relationships. Football players spend every day with the members of their team’s medical staff. They learn to trust them. The athletic trainers nurse the players back to health when they are injured. Continue reading

The Need for Educated Professionals

1 Dec

If you have been around high school sports for more than 10 years or more, you have seen the effects of youth sports on the athletes who play.  I have seen first hand “super star” youth players that don’t live up to the hype in high school.   I have seen baseball players who can’t throw a baseball across the infield due to poor training and overuse in the younger levels.  I have seen soccer players who’s legs are “done” by the time they are in high school due to year round demands on them.  I have seen several middle school athletes tear their ACLs.  I have worked on 9th grade baseball pitcher who had 3 rotator cuff tears (revealed by MRI).

On 11/26/2011, Christopher Smith wrote an article for the Eagle Tribune that documents the injuries that young baseball players are having at a younger age.   Continue reading