Tag Archives: public relations

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.

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

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.

Skill Set – Resiliency

26 Aug

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.

Resiliency

Resiliency is a buzzword around our school district this year and a major theme for our teachers and administration during our In-Service seminars heading into the new year.  As I sat and listened to our administration speak on resiliency, it hit me that this is a prominent skill that ATs have had for years.  Athletic trainers are resilient. 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

Technology has changed the profession

20 Jun

A feature article on athletic trainers was published yesterday in my local paper, the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot News.  Among the 3 articles about our profession was an article highlighting a local athletic training legend – Dick Burkholder, or Burke (long e) as he is known to his colleagues.

Burke has been at Carlisle High School since 1960 and has obviously not only seen the profession grow and change, he helped shape it.

It has been my pleasure to get to know Burke through the years and he remains passionate about advancing and improving 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.  

 

Source

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

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