Athletic Training - A World of Adventure

By Paul LaDuke, ATC

I strongly believe there are 3 basic needs of man or woman - adventure, relationships and purpose. Athletic training provides avenues for all 3 of these basic needs, especially relationships and purpose. I often neglect to see the world of adventure within the profession. In February and March of 2015, I was blessed to have an adventurous month by being involved in 2 national championships, in 2 different sports, and in the Pennsylvania State Wrestling Championships.

For the past 14 years, I have been employed as an Athletic Trainer (AT) for a public school in Pennsylvania. In those 14 years, I have developed a love for the sport of Olympic weightlifting and started a weightlifting club at the school.

In February of 2015, one of the athletes I have been blessed to coach competed in the USA Weightlifting National Junior Championships at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. While I was there, I introduced myself to the sports medicine staff provided for the event. The staff consisted of an orthopedic surgeon, a chiropractor and an AT. They kept busy, tending to the needs of 330 weightlifters who were competing on the national stage.

Weightlifting is a relatively safe sport, and there were only a few minor incidents during this 3-day event. I witnessed 2 incidents where athletes passed out after a fight to stand up and after a heavy clean. The athletes needed a few seconds lying on the platform to allow the body to recover and the brain to receive oxygen again. One athlete suffered a minor hand injury from the fall with the weight on his shoulders. Most of the time, the sports medicine staff was busy stretching, massaging and giving advice on how to maintain optimal performance.

I had never been to Oklahoma City, so I took advantage of some free time to visit Tinker Air Force Base, the Oklahoma City National Memorial (site of the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building) and the Bricktown district for incredible food. My athlete and I even donned the earphones and mics to commentate for the USAW's live internet broadcast. The trip will be a lifetime memory for me.

Just 3 weeks after the trip to Oklahoma City, I was part of the sports medicine staff for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Wrestling Championships in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This was my 6th year working at the 3-day event. PIAA Wrestling Championships has 2 classifications for wrestling based on school male enrollment. Each of the 12 weight classes had 20 wrestlers from around the state qualifying through various sectionals, districts and regionals. There were 560 athletes who competed with skin checks and weigh-ins to start each day.

The event provided 1 AT per mat (up to 6 at a time), 1 doctor per 2 mats and emergency medical services (EMS). The EMS were well versed in sports medicine, as the venue is home to the AHL's Hershey Bears Hockey Club. The most common injuries were bloody noses and lacerations requiring stiches on-site. Only a small number of wrestlers required a trip to the emergency room. One athlete suffered a dislocated elbow and a suspected ankle fracture.

Wrestling is an intense combat sport, and sitting mat-side provided a great place to experience these athletes’ dedication, excitement and disappointment. It was also a good time to network with other ATs and physicians from the region.

The following week, I was part of the sports medicine team for the NCAA Division 3 Wrestling National Championships in the same venue in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This event was hosted by Elizabethtown College. There were only 10 weight classes with 18 wrestlers qualifying through the Regional Championships. Both days of the event started with skin checks and weigh-ins. Wrestling was on 6 mats with 1 AT per mat and 3 doctors on site. The same EMS staff was also on hand. The injuries I observed were similar to those at the state wrestling event - bloody noses and lacerations. As with the state experience, the tournament gave me many opportunities to network with collegiate level ATs and meet many new people.

As the years pass, it is easy for me to become frustrated with traveling for work. Hours sitting on a bus or plane, weather delays, baggage claims, treatments in hotel rooms and less-than-desirable destinations can take a toll. I have found embracing the adventure and keeping a youthful attitude really helps. Athletic training is an incredible profession full of challenges, relationships and especially adventure.

Where has the profession taken you?  What memories do you have of special venues and events?


Graduated Return to Play Protocol: Getting Your Athlete Back in the Game Safely

By Amy-Lynn Corey

Unique challenges arise from sports-related concussions. Careful decisions need to be made about safe return to play after a period of recovery.  This infographic provides information on graduated return to play protocol and getting your athlete back in the game safely.

Download Graduated Return to Play Protocol Infographic

Amy-lynn Corey is the Online Content Specialist at AthleticTraining.com and HomeCEUConnection.com. AthleticTraining.com is a membership-based service that offers BOC approved online continuing education courses for Athletic Trainers, Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants.


Safety in Athletic Training Facilities – Look Before You Leap

We see stop signs, traffic lights and other warning signs in our world every day.  These warnings remind us of the importance of looking before we leap to keep us safe from injury and danger.

Much in the same way, the BOC Facility Principles document was designed as a risk management tool for administrators of athletic training facilities.  The ultimate goal of this document is to assist Athletic Trainers as well as athletic directors, principals, superintendents and other administrators in ensuring a safe, properly-equipped athletic training facility.

The BOC Facility Principles was originally created by the Facility Standards Work Group.  The work group consisted of experts from the Board of Certification (BOC), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), Henry Ford Health System (HFHS), NATA College/University Athletic Trainers’ Committee (CUATC) and NATA Secondary School Athletic Trainers’ Committee (SSATC).  Through their cooperative efforts, they were able to create an easy-to-use guidebook to help administrators gauge an athletic training facility’s compliance with applicable regulations and best practices.

You might be wondering: Why should my workplace or organization use the BOC Facility Principles document?

Most commonly, athletic healthcare occurs at an athletic training facility, not in a traditional healthcare setting.  Local, state and federal entities issue regulations and standards to help regulate these facilities.  Failure to observe safety policies not only increases risk, but also increases exposure to liability suits alleging negligence.

The BOC Facility Principles document includes checklists on employee safety, accessibility, privacy and confidentiality, emergency preparedness, safe handling of hazardous material and much more. The document can be used by secondary and post-secondary educational institutions and organizations to self-assess their policies, procedures and facility.

Ensuring your athletic training facility is safe is just one more way to provide your patients with important, life-saving healthcare.  Take the next step and download your copy today.

http://www.bocatc.org/resources/facility-principles

 


In-Depth Look: An AT for an Auto Racing Pit Department.

Pictured are, from left: Chad Knaus, Crew Chief for Jimmie Johnson; Jimmie Johnson, driver of the 48 car and winner of six Sprint Cup championships; Athletic Trainer Gene Monahan; and Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports.

Gene Monahan is the Athletic Trainer for Hendrick Motorsports. His focus is on the Pit Department, where he works with the athletes involved with pitting race cars on race day.

Describe your setting:

My setting is newly created and designed with an athletic training facility in the same structure as the HMS Pit Department gymnasium, locker room and facilities.  We have a fully staffed conditioning and strengthening department.  Our team works together closely to have our athletes conditioned, prepared and cared for in terms of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries.

As mentioned, the athletic training facility is situated as a private office setting within the building of our newly designed and constructed weight room and conditioning facility.  This also extends to an outdoor field facility for practice, conditioning and competitive exercise.  We are fully equipped for our needs and supported via physician staffed personnel connected with Ortho Carolina medical services.

I retired from the New York Yankees as head Athletic Trainer in the fall of 2011 after 39 years.  I also worked 10 years in the Yankee organization at the minor league level prior to beginning my tenure in New York in 1973 through 2011.

After retiring and moving to Moresville, North Carolina, I was recruited by Hendrick Motorsports.  I have always been a stock car racing enthusiast, fan and supporter.  This was the main reason I retired to Mooresville.  Through a close friend involved in racing, I became acquainted and interviewed with Hendrick Motorsports.  They discussed a desire to provide quality care to their pit department athletes and to construct this department in a most professional manner.  This developed a strong and meaningful relationship, perfect for everyone.  I have been involved and serving in this capacity for 3 years.

Describe your typical day:

A typical day begins around 7:45am.  Hendrick Motorsports houses 4 complete racecar teams.  In addition, there is an annual developmental class of recruits who join

Gene Monahan evaluates the knee of a strength and conditioning coach at Hendrick Motorsports.

the organization.  There is a total of approximately 65 men.  The 48 car and the 88 car practice early in the morning; the 5 car and 24 car personnel, after that.  They feature full pit practice and conditioning.  These athletes are treated appropriately within the framework of their schedules with the athletic training facility usually cleared at about 1:15pm each day.  On Sundays, the teams fly very early to the race site, and I will normally accompany them for the events.  I usually attend and work most events in the Southeast and Midwest.  We all return post-race and the teams are prepared for evaluation, practice and conditioning early every Monday morning.  Racing at the Sprint Cup level, the highest level of stock car racing, begins with the Daytona 500 in mid-February. The season runs each week through early November with the final race of the 36-race points season in Homestead, Florida.   They do not race on Easter and usually one or two other weekends only.  It is a challenging season for all people in racing.  But, it is loved by all!

What do you like about your position?

What I love about my position is simple.  I love racing, always have, second only to professional baseball. This position works perfectly for me in retirement.  Therefore, I do not actually feel retired at all.  This is the perfect job for me at my age and stage, one I cherish and deem essential in maintaining my health, interest, drive and passions.  Sharing interactions with the racing community in terms of my learning and appreciating all they do, as well as sharing my lifelong experiences in professional baseball with them, provides extremely rewarding times for all involved.  And of course, race day is the ultimate each week – you actually witness the fruits of all the hard work these athletes endure.

What do you dislike about your position?

There is absolutely nothing I dislike about my new position, nor are there negatives of any kind.  In retirement, as well as in all of life, if you are not enjoying what you are doing, that is unfortunate.  Each day at this relative new venture in athletic training is interesting, enjoyable and rewarding.

My advice to anyone interested in developing an athletic training career in the sport of auto racing is to first be certain you have a passion for the sport.  As in any endeavor within our profession, there is a very high level of dedication to the racing world and community.  You certainly must possess a passion and true internal love of this sport.  Once that is in place, start contacting all forms of racing, at all levels.  There are many race teams, and many are now developing programs to enhance the efficiency of their personnel.  It is extremely important that a young Athletic Trainer, or any dedicated Athletic Trainer, have a great ability to establish a sound and personable relationship with conditioning personnel who serve crew members and those involved with racing in general.  I have learned that athletic training at the racing level dictates that an Athletic Trainer has a sound and appreciable relationship with the strength and conditioning personnel. This only goes to show and prove, I'm constantly learning and developing, even in retirement.


Early Specialization: Did we forget sports are supposed to be fun?

By Kelly Berardini, MHA, ATC

Softball Player's Name: Sequoia Bauerle
Current age: 13
Position: Catcher
Age at specialization: 5
Level: Selected to top 6 U12 players in the nation during 2014
Schedule: 15 to 30 hours per week (training, practices, games, tournaments), 49 weeks per year and travel extends nationally
Annual costs (team dues, tournament fees, equipment and travel): $8,000
Injury: Proximal humeral growth plate fracture of throwing arm in 2013
Time loss from injury: 6 months
Current status: Taking the year off softball to play volleyball and plans to try out for her school softball team upon entering high school fall 2015
This exceptional girl is the daughter of Jack Bauerle, MS, ATC, CSCS. He served as the AT and strength and conditioning coach for her travel team, employing injury prevention tactics and managing injuries.
“It is was central to her life and mine. It took all of our spare time and money. We need to ensure that parents and coaches aren’t pressing kids into sports activities that don’t provide enjoyment and positive life lessons.”
Bottom line: Even self-motivated, well-supported, gifted athletes with access to the best care can suffer significant injuries and burnout.

klberardini@gmail.com

Youth sports have boomed in the United States, with nearly 45 million kids between ages 6 and 18 participating.  Studies show 75 percent of families have at least 1 child engaged in an organized, extra-curricular sport.  The benefits of sports are well documented and include improving physical fitness, a powerful weapon against childhood obesity, and experiencing the values of commitment and teamwork.  Sports can also help kids build self-esteem, make friends and have fun. However, early specialization in sports threatens the positive aspects of youth sports for many players.

The debate over the best developmental pathway in athletics centers on sampling, playing a variety of sports, versus early specialization.  Athletic Trainers would agree some extent of specialization is required for sport-specific skill development.

So, what is the best age to transition athletes from sampling to specialization?

Mounting evidence shows intensive training in a single sport and exclusion of all other sports should be delayed until late adolescence for both physical and psychological well-being. Specifically, early specialization with age-inappropriate training frequency, duration and intensity has been linked to the following:

- Increased risk of both acute and overuse injuries

- Higher burnout and drop-out rates

- Reduced sports participation in adolescence and adulthood

- Interference with healthy child development due to social isolation, overdependence, external (rather than self-directed) motivation and identity issues

- Increased rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse

- Increased risk of depression, anxiety and eating disorders

Furthermore, early specialization can hurt, rather than help, skill development by limiting the range of motor skills.  It also doesn’t guarantee mastery or achievement.  Research reveals initiation of intensive single-sport training before age 12 does not contribute to success, except in women’s gymnastics and figure skating – in which peak performance typically occurs during adolescence and early adulthood.

Youth sports participation has been morphing from child-driven, recreational team and free play to adult-driven, calculated structure and single-sport skills development at increasingly younger ages.

In 1997, approximately 9 percent of kids ages 6 and younger joined organized sports.  Participation by this tender age group increased to 12 percent in 2008.  Nearly 78 percent of high school athletic directors, responding to a recent survey, reported an increase in early sports specialization. Further indication of early devotion to a single sport is found in the increasing numbers of travel and all-star leagues fielding select teams of 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds.

Adults are driving this trend with hopes of their children gaining competitive advantages and dreams to achieve elite levels.  The reality is a wake-up call to parents and coaches: Less than 1 percent of athletes ages 6 to 17 will advance to elite status (i.e., DI, professional, Olympic) in baseball, softball, soccer, basketball or football.

Yet today’s youth sports culture centers on the most talented, committed and financially supported athletes with the misconception,  more is always better. This could be why there has been a recent decline in sports participation with attrition linked to the emphasis on winning over having fun; financial and time commitments; quality and behavior of coaches; injuries; and feelings of inadequacy compared to the top performers.

What can Athletic Trainers do to foster healthy and lifelong sports participation?

Join the growing field of health experts to promote the following:

- Weekly hours for a single sport should be fewer than the athlete’s age (e.g., a 10-year-old Little Leaguer should not play more than 9 hours of baseball per week)

- The ratio of structured sports participation (including training, practices and games) to active free play should not exceed 2 to 1.  Today’s youth do not engage in enough free play

- If a child wants to join a select team, delay entry until sixth grade or later

- Postpone specialization until high school - preferably to junior or senior year

- Apply player development programs akin to those implemented by the Women’s Tennis Association to mitigate early burnout, dropout and overuse injuries

- Provide specific recommendations regarding appropriate training schedules.  Don’t just say, “Cut back a little,” when an athlete is exhausted or hurting

- Increase monitoring of high-risk athletes and intervene before injury occurs

- Follow the research and participate in research when you can

- Convey consistent messaging (e.g., “Let kids be kids”)

Sports should be healthy and fun for children, 99 percent of whom will not hit the big time.

References:

Bean, Corliss N. et al. “Understanding How Organized Youth Sport May Be Harming Individual Players within the Family Unit: A Literature Review.” Ed. Walid El Ansari. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11.10 (2014): 10226–10268. PMC. Web. 22 Apr. 2015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4210977/

Jayanthi, Neeru et al. “Sports-specialized intensive training and the risk of injury in young athletes: a clinical case-control study.” Am J Sports Med. 2015 Apr;43(4):794-801. doi: 10.1177/0363546514567298. Epub 2015 Feb 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25646361

Jayanthi, Neeru et al. “Sports Specialization in Young Athletes: Evidence-Based Recommendations.” Sports Health 5.3 (2013): 251–257. PMC. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3658407/

Malina RM. “Early specialization: roots, effectiveness, risks.”  Curr Sports Med Rep. 2010;9(6):364-371. http://nyshsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Competitive_Youth_Sports_in_Society-Malina-CSMR-2010.pdf

Mostafavifar AM, Best TM, Myer GD. Early sport specialization, does it lead to long-term problems? Br J Sports Med 2013;47:17 1060-1061.

Wojtys, Edward M. “Sports Specialization vs Diversification.” Sports Health 5.3 (2013): 212–213. PMC. Web. 27 Apr. 2015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3658411/

espnW/Aspen Institute Project Play survey of parents on sports issues (Sep 2014) http://www.aspenprojectplay.org/the-facts


Organ Donation Saves Lives

By Mackenzie Simmons, ATC

Cameron Lyle, Tom Walter, Paco Rodriquez and Brian Batta all come from an athletic background but have something else in common. They have all saved at least one life through organ donation.

Lyle is a former collegiate track athlete who ended his career early to donate bone marrow to someone in need.  Walter, a Wake Forest coach, donated a kidney to one of his baseball players who was experiencing kidney failure.  Rodriguez went into a coma after repeated blows to the head, which led to death; he saved 5 lives by being an organ donor.  Batta, Michigan State University’s Athletic Trainer, donated a kidney to 1 of his college friends in need.  The heroic and selfless acts of these individuals have blessed those in need with the ultimate gift—life.

National Donate Life Month was in April, with the goal of encouraging people to register as eye, organ and tissue donors.  In addition, it is important to celebrate and remember those who have helped save lives through organ donations.  In 2014, more than 24,000 patients began new lives; however, about 124,000 people are still waiting at this moment for a life-saving miracle.

While becoming an organ donor is the fastest and most direct way to save a life, there are other ways a person can contribute to this cause.  You can donate money, get involved in local or national organizations or create a fundraiser in your community or workplace.  Donate Life America benefits from any and all contributions.

Consider becoming an organ donor, or donating to this cause. You could help save someone’s life.

To make a donation or get more information, go to http://donatelife.net/ndlm/.

 

References

http://donatelife.net/ndlm/

http://www.henryford.com/body.cfm?id=46335&action=detail&ref=2080

http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/cameron-lyle-named-2014-recipient-ncaa%E2%80%99s-award-valor

http://briancain.com/blog/brian-cain-peak-performance-podcast-tom-walter.html

http://www.loyolamedicine.org/transplant/newswire/features/how-boxer-paco-rodriguez-multiplied-his-life-five

 


Athletic Trainers Pump up Care in Orthopedics Clinic

Submitted By Dan Ruedeman, ATC

Dan Ruedeman, an Athletic Trainer with the Orthopedics Clinic at UCH, and Laura Nelson, practice manager, have helped to shift some responsibilities from physicians. The result: improved workflow.

Dan Ruedeman and his fellow Athletic Trainers at the Orthopedics Clinic and the CU Sports Medicine Clinic in Denver, Colorado are working as physician extenders, performing a variety of tasks to ease providers’ workloads.  The goal of the program is to free up time for physicians to see more patients and apply their skills to the clinical issues they are trained to treat.  That’s especially vital in the high-volume sports medicine and orthopedics clinics.

“We allow the physician to complete the visit and move on to the next patient,” said Ruedeman, who focuses primarily on patients with traumatic orthopedic injuries. “That avoids slowing down the clinic and will decrease the wait times for patients. And we’re another go-to person if the physician is not available.”

Read more here:
Athletic Trainers Pump up Care in Orthopedics Clinic


Concussion Follow Up

By Tim Koba, ATC

Information on concussions in youth sports continues to emerge, and the conclusions show a lot of room for improvement.

This recent study assessed concussion management follow-through for patients who were seen in the ER at 3 weeks and 3 months.  Their results are not encouraging.  Many of the parents did not follow the return to play protocol, and many patients returned to their sport while still symptomatic.  At 3 months, several patients still displayed symptoms.

There have been several conferences to determine the best method for return to play, and there are specific criteria to follow.  The challenge has been disseminating that information to others: parents, athletes, coaches, administrators, other providers, etc.  The result is that the knowledge is held in the hands of a few; many do not know what to do.

Several groups have been working diligently to educate the masses, and while they should be applauded for their efforts, it is clear that more is needed.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Federation of State High School Associations provide free education for coaches to understand how to identify a concussion and what steps to follow afterwards.

These efforts need to continue at their current level and be expanded into other avenues. With so many youth and recreation sport leagues, there are many outlets for this education material. Coordinated efforts need to be undertaken to make sure that participants, coaches and administrators understand how to handle injuries of all types, especially concussions.

For those who work with leagues, this research should serve as an inspiration to expand your hard work and help ensure that participants get the care they need.

http://www.sportsmedres.org/2015/03/concussion-on-field-management-and-return-to-play.html


The 119th Boston Marathon – Perspectives from Station 25 on the Course

By Mike McKenney, MS, ATC, NASM-CES

Boston Marathon runners passing station 25.

In the weeks leading up to the Boston Marathon, medical volunteers attend conferences, read course manuals and prepare to treat numerous conditions that can occur during a marathon, especially those with life-threatening implications.  Typically, these conditions include cardiac events or environmental illness related to exercise in the heat such as exertional heat stroke.  However, as we marched toward Marathon Monday, the weather forecast began to change.

Station 25 at the 119th Boston Marathon.

Worries of unseasonably high temperatures following an abnormally long winter were quickly replaced with a high temperature of 47°F, 29 mph wind gusts and a 100% chance of precipitation.  This would not be classified as “ideal marathon weather.”  In fact, similar to unseasonably warm weather, it is highly unlikely participants were consistently training in cold conditions, which created an elevated level of concern among the medical staff.

As a medical staff volunteer, nothing quite prepares you for the sight of 30,000 individuals constantly streaming past you for up to 8 hours, all determined to overcome the conditions and complete the last 1.4 miles to the finish line.  As the day went on, runners who reached our location had been running through deteriorating conditions for over 4 hours.  Some had not been dry since they were in their hotel rooms that morning.  Many stood in the rain for up to 3 hours before their wave started.  For most of the afternoon, powerful wind gusts were going directly down Beacon Street into the faces of the runners.  At 1:50pm, we received notification that Medical Tent B, at the finish line, had to divert participants to other locations because they were already at capacity.  By late afternoon, the temperature started to drop again.

Medical supplies on-hand to treat runners needing medical attention.

Medical Station 25, on the corner of Beacon Street and Park Drive, was well organized by our team leaders and separated into sections with different roles and responsibilities.  Our location consisted of an emergency medical physician, myself (an Athletic Trainer), paramedics, 3 teams of EMTs to go out on course and retrieve injured participants, a sports psychology consultant, two HAM radio operators and representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the American Red Cross.  With this setup, the care participants received was a true example of inter-professional collaboration.

Our focus quickly shifted to recognizing and treating hypothermia.  As runners stopped for one reason or another, they began to succumb to the deteriorating weather.  What may have started out as an exercise-associated muscle cramp, could quickly drift into a life-threatening medical condition.  As an Athletic Trainer, I felt prepared to treat everything from severe medical conditions, to a runner with hip pain who just wants to finish the race.  There were times where I ran down the course with athletes to give them a Mylar blanket for warmth because they were afraid to stop.  At one point or another, we all stood in the pouring rain handing out water or cheering on runners who were battling through the conditions.  Quick assessment, management and collaboration among all the volunteers at our station allowed us to effectively treat everyone we saw and complete the job we had set out to do.

Thanks to the advance planning by the medical directors for the Boston Athletic Association, we were well equipped to handle any situation.  It was a memorable experience, and I can’t wait for next year’s marathon!


The 119th Boston Marathon – Perspectives from the Finish Line Sweep Area

By Beth Wolfe, CAGS, ATC

Diane Sartanowicz, District 1 NATA Treasurer, (left) and Beth Wolfe, CAGS, ATC (right) at the 119th Boston Marathon.

Rain Won’t Stop Us…

Just days after the events of the 117th Boston Marathon in 2013, President Obama said, “this time next year, on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever, and to cheer even louder, for the 118th Boston Marathon.  Bet on it” (Los Angeles Times, 2013).  On April 21, 2014, for the 118th time, Boston did just that.  We ran again.  Now, 2 years later, we continue to run.

On Patriots’ Day, April 20, 2015, approximately 30,000 runners ran in the 119th Boston Marathon.  Although the weather was cold, raw and rainy, the spirit and energy of the race was just as strong as ever.  Thousands of volunteers gathered from Hopkinton to Copley Square to cheer for the wet and cold runners, and 1,600 medical volunteers, from all realms of healthcare, provided care for those who were injured or ill.  At the beginning of the day, the medical volunteers knew hypothermia was going to be an issue for our runners, but BAA Medical Coordinator Chris Troyanos, ATC, and the Marathon Leadership Team were prepared.  Once again the Boston Marathon medical staff stepped up to the challenge and cared for the patients in front of them.

The finish line of the Boston Marathon is a relatively large area that stretches about 8-10 street blocks, which includes Boston Common.  Medical personnel and wheelchairs were placed throughout the entire finish line area in order to assist any runner within the secured sweep/finish area. These medical volunteers were charged with identifying runners who were in need of medical attention and transport them to their assigned medical tent.  From the corner of Boylston and Berkeley streets, the day started off relatively slowly for both the runner flow and the rain.  However, by mid-afternoon the showers became steady, the wind began to swirl through the high rises and the runners began to file in by the thousands.  There were very few runners who were not shivering, and hypothermia quickly became a concern for both the runners and the medical volunteers.

From the beginning, Chris Troyanos made it clear all volunteers needed to take care of themselves in order to take care of others.  The Finish Line Sweep Team volunteers came prepared with layers of clothing, ponchos, food and water.  As the day progressed, Sweep Team volunteers rotated their shifts so they could go inside a medical tent or building to re-warm and dry off, as they were just as at risk for hypothermia as the runners.  Standing in the rain and wind for several hours is not the most pleasurable experience; however, the kind gestures, words of gratitude and thanks from the runners and their families overrode any uncomfortable moments.  Even during the worst gusts of wind and downpours of rain, the runners continued to tell the medical volunteers, “Thank you for being here.”  Countless times, we heard, “Thank you for volunteering.”  These simple words kept our Sweep Teams focused on doing their jobs, poised to treat the person in front of them and to not become frustrated or discouraged by the forces of Mother Nature.

As we look forward to the Boston Marathon in the years to come, let us remember and honor what this race and the city of Boston have given our country and our profession.

Dick Hoyt, who was the Grand Marshal of the 2015 Boston Marathon and who pushed his son in 32 Boston Marathons, stated that the bombing in 2013 “Doesn’t stop us” (Los Angeles Times, 2013).  President Obama added that Dick Hoyt’s statement is “What you’ve taught us, Boston … to push on. To persevere ... not grow weary … not get faint.  Even when it hurts.  Even when our heart aches.  We summon the strength that maybe we didn’t even know we had, and we carry on. We finish the race” (Los Angeles Times, 2013).

Let us embrace the story of Maickel Melamed, a man with muscular dystrophy, who completed this year’s Marathon in 20 hours while enduring the rain, wind and cold (WCVB, 2015).  It is for runners like Maickel who keep us motivated and passionate about our work as Boston Marathon volunteers.  The weather conditions this year were far from optimal, but as a community, nation and profession a little rain does not stop us and will not stop us.

To all of the Athletic Trainers and athletic training students, thank you for doing a phenomenal job and for all of your hard work and efforts.  See you all next year when we will run again. Rain or shine. #BostonStrong

Reference:

Los Angeles Times. (2013). Transcript: Obama’s remarks at Boston Marathon memorial. April 18, 2013, retrieved from: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/18/news/la-pn-transcript-obama-boston-marathon-memorial-20130418.

WCVB. (2015). Runner who finished the Boston Marathon 20 hours after start ‘did it for Boston’: Maickel Melamed born with muscular dystrophy. Retrieved from: http://www.wcvb.com/news/runner-with-muscular-dystrophy-vows-to-finish-boston-marathon/32476986.