Tag Archives: Athletic Trainer in Every High School

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.

News – He is the injured athlete’s go to guy

28 Oct

Raleigh, NC – Burgetta Eplin Wheeler of th News Observer in North Carolina wrote an article about the work of Aaron Minger, AT at Boughton HS.  This isn’t a fluff piece of reporting touting the service Aaron provides to the athletes, this is an in depth article focusing primarily at the money he saves the parent’s of the school district.

Hours after the school day has ended, Aaron Minger, Broughton High’s athletic trainer, is idling in a golf cart in the middle of the football practice field, easily accessible to all 120 players. Not 60 seconds after mentioning he’s always on call for other sports, Minger picks up his ringing phone.

It’s the women’s tennis coach, and a player is down. Continue reading

New AT proves her worth very quickly

12 Oct

Joe Chandler of the Gazette Virginian highlights the work of athletic trainer Leslie Hodge at Halifax County HS.   He has some very good things to say of her work:

Some people consider an athletic trainer a luxury item when it comes to a high school sports program. However, when one considers the number of student-athletes that participate in sports, an athletic trainer is more of a necessity than a luxury. Continue reading

News – Athletic Trainers are a need and a neccesity

4 Oct

There is not much I need to add to this article out of Illinois.  Read it for yourself and enjoy!

Here are some notable quotes from the article though to think about:

  • “When you look at needs and wants, you have to look at athletic trainers in high school situations as a need and a necessity,” Sarver said. “There are items that you can cut back on, but you never want to put doubt in front of our student-athletes’ health and well-being.”
  • “They are a huge, huge asset to your programs and to the school,” said Tom McGunnigal, St. Bede’s athletic director and long-time girls basketball coach.
  • Athletic trainers are something that makes the lives of coaches and administrations that much easier.
  • With an athletic trainer at most every high school event, coaches no longer have to worry when a player goes down.
  • “Coaches don’t need to be diagnosing. They need to be coaching,” said Todd Hopkins, the Ottawa Marquette athletic director, as well as girls basketball and baseball coach. “(Our trainer) knows what to do. Especially with the new concussion rules, if someone gets dinged or something, she knows what she is doing.”
  • “In today’s society, it’s very important that schools have a trainer on-site,” said Ottawa athletic director and girls basketball coach Mike Cooper. “As many activities as we have here at Ottawa High School and the number of injuries that we have, the ability to handle those injuries in-house in a quick and timely fashion means that we can avoid a lot of potential problems down the road.”
  • “Kids can go see them first and then they can give a recommendation,” Cooper said. “If our trainers can deal with it right here at the school, they could save a lot of money (for families) than if you go straight to a doctor or to a specialist.”
  • “That’s the best of both worlds,” Sarver said. “We get them evaluated and treated as quickly as possible when they are on the field or on the court or on the diamond or on the mat, but then when they come back from that injury, our trainers are the ones helping them with the rehab. They bring our student-athletes back at a fast rate because they are working with them on a daily basis.”
Some great quotes there to prove your worth to the high school.

Why do we need to promote the profession?

16 Jun

Why promote the profession?

Is access to an AT a necessity or a luxury?

Are the 42% of American high schools that provide access to an AT providing a luxury for their athletes or are they providing for their basic needs as an athlete?

Lets turn the tables – Is access to a school nurse a necessity or a luxury? Continue reading

News – Budget cuts effecting health care for athletes!

3 Jun

Pittsburgh, PA – The Armstrong School District, like many other school districts in PA, is facing some hard choices – making budget cuts.  66 employees have been had their jobs eliminated including the 4 athletic trainers at the school district’s 4 high schools.

Four of the district’s athletic trainer positions were eliminated with a 5-4 vote by school board directors May 23. A total of 66 employees were furloughed for a year, although they won’t take effect until July 1. The school district’s budget is set to be finalized the day before.

Since athletic trainers belong to the Armstrong Education Association, they cannot be replaced by paid short-term fill-ins, so their workload likely will fall to coaches. Continue reading

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.

How to Promote the Profession – The Internet

6 May

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.

The Internet

I am old enough to remember life without computers or the internet.  I have witnessed the growth and the changes to media, information exchange, entertainment and social interaction.  The internet is a powerful thing that is constantly advancing and changing.  There has never been a better time to find information, share information or interact with people than today.  That is until tomorrow!  The internet is an incredibly powerful tool to reach and interact with people and promote the profession of athletic training.  Blogs, personal websites, forums, news articles and email are all effective means to market yourself and athletic training. 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

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