Tag Archives: professionalism

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

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.

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

News – Dodgers to announce 1st Female Head AT

31 Oct

Los Angeles, CA 

The Dodgers are set to make Sue Falsone the first female head athletic trainer in baseball history, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because 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

Why we still need to work to promote the profession

20 Jul

I recently read an article from ToledoBlade.com in Ohio about a local school district titled Mason schools won’t hire athletic trainers.  Board leaves door open to use private funds.”  This is what caught my eye:

School board members approved the idea of a trainer at practices and games to tape athletes’ joints and attend to their injuries, but they balked at the $9,950 annual cost. Continue reading

News – Head Football AT Fired

27 May

It should come at no surprise that professionals working in athletics (coaches, strength coaches, ADs) are hired and fired on a regular basis.  This is especially true in the professional ranks and at the NCAA Division 1 level in high profile sports.   The pressure to win from pro sports fans and college alumni (i.e. the revenue stream) often hastens the process of firing due to inadequate performance on the job.

It is unusual that an athletic trainer gets fired for performance on the field.

Oregon State has dismissed Barney Graff amid growing questions and complaints about the longtime football head trainer’s work and the sports medicine arm of Beavers athletics in general, coach Mike Riley confirmed to The Oregonian.

The trainer’s tenure at Oregon State dates to 1997, the first year the Beavers football program was led by Riley, a coach whose loyalty to longtime staffers is well known.

“I think I can say we’re just going a different direction with this medical situation,” said Riley, who said he has already interviewed candidates for Graff’s position.

Riley said he met several times with Graff over the years to discuss recurring problems. The decision to let Graff go came shortly after spring football ended on April 30, said Riley.

While the OSU coach was hesitant to go into detail about individual situations, he acknowledged that football players had in some cases lost confidence in the medical care they were receiving.

I have not met Mike Graff, AT nor am I familiar with the Oregon State University.  I will not comment on this particular case since I do not know the whole story.  I will take this opportunity to write about the concerns raised in the article because in the general sense, all ATs can learn from what was written.

Behind the scenes criticism of the football training operation date as far back as 2005, when outside linebacker Andy Darkins of Lake Oswego had to give up football after playing several games with a torn right biceps.

In more recent years, Oregon State has suffered a string of injuries including former quarterback Sean Canfield’s torn labrum, former quarterback Lyle Moevao’s rotator cuff, former running back Jacquizz Rodgers’ shoulder and current wide receiver/kick returner James Rodgers’ shattered knee.

No OSU sources, on or off the record, said Graff is responsible for those or other injuries, but Beavers athletes have openly complained at times about the care they’ve received under Graff’s watch.

The disconnect, sources in the athletic department said, grew so large that the training staff was reluctant to seek outside help and opinions on players’ injuries and treatment.

ATs take great pride in their work.  The foundation of everything we provide is injury evaluation and subsequent rehabilitation.  Often our evaluation reveals that an MD should evaluate the injury, but more often than not the evaluation reveals an injury that we can probably take care of entirely ourselves. 

This pride in our abilities increases with experience and continuing educations.  The more we experience in the field and learn equates to our ability to keep more and more minor injuries in house.  Athletic trainers want to prove we are valuable professionals to have around.  This desire to be valuable may cause us to do too much and not send athletes out to other medical professionals.

What ATs need to prevent the issue raised in the article is a great working relationship with a team physician.  In an idyllic setting, this team physician would come to the training room on a regular basis to provide access for the injured athletes who may not necessarily need to make an office call.  This idyllic relationship between the AT, the team physician and the athletic department would also allow for easy access for injured athletes to the doctor’s office within 24-48 hours of injury.  There should also be an arrangment when an emergency situation arises so that the doctor can meet the injured athlete at a local hospital if at all possible.

The other issue raised with this article is the athlete’s complaint of not listening to or caring for the athletes who bring health issues to the attention of the athletic training staff.  It is important for ATs to know and care for the athletes and learn to listen to their complaints.  This skill is often tough when the hours get long, patience runs thin and staffing is low.  It is tough to listen to athletes complain about their aches and pains for hours on end, but it is what it is.  

 

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