Archive for April, 2012


Monday, April 30th, 2012

Last August Paul LaDuke, an Athletic Trainer and a colleague of mine from Pennsylvania, posted on his blog about the importance of relationships in athletic training. I always knew that was important, but I never truly realized it until recently. As a young professional, I am always trying to improve my professional life from many standpoints. One consideration was going back to graduate school and becoming a graduate assistant athletic trainer. I had a couple of offers and opportunities that would have put me into Division I athletics which would have been awesome. But for a variety of reasons, I have elected not to do so and as I was trying to make my decision that word kept coming back to me: Relationships.

Probably a second word came along with relationships and that would be trust. They are interconnected, I believe, and both very important. I realized that it was a tough decision that I was going to have to make and I chose to keep the relationships I have already built and plan to strengthen rather than venture off elsewhere to start new. I think it was the biggest reason that I could not pull myself away from the athletes I already knew and the coaches I already work with. They know me and I know them.

The NATA Think Tanks have discussions about the amount of turnover there is in the various athletic training settings with the clinic/high school outreach being one of those settings. It is hard for the student-athlete to constantly be getting a new Athletic Trainer. It is also hard for the coach because each new individual is going to have different thoughts and different procedures. I won’t say others are wrong if they do it different than I do and I won’t say I’m wrong; they’re just doing things differently is all!

The athletes and the coaches aren’t the only relationships to develop. We need to get to know the other Athletic Trainers in our area, in our conference, and in our local regions. We also need to reach out to other professions whether they are physical therapists, chiropractors, nurses, physicians, etc. In athletic training, we harp about the sports medicine team and I think that is the most important thing we can do. We need to have that team in place and utilize it for the betterment of our athletes.

Athletic Trainers must continue to build relationships. Do it for yourself, do it for the profession, and do it for the athletes and patients you treat.

Every Athlete Deserves an Athletic Trainer

Written By: Mike Hopper, ATC

April is National Youth Sports Safety Month

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Each year, hospital emergency rooms, nationwide, treat an estimated 173,285 sports and recreation-related TBIs, including concussions, among children, birth-19. The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) has proclaimed April as National Youth Sports Safety Month.  Formed in 1989, NYSSF prides itself on educating parents, coaches, athletes and health care professionals on injury prevention in youth athletes.

More than 60 national medical and sports organizations support National Youth Sports Safety Month. They include the American College of Sports Medicine, The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and The United States Olympic Committee.

The NYSSF and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have teamed up to protect youth athletes in sports were concussions are a concern. This program is called "Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports". The campaign focuses on the facts, the symptoms, responding to a concussion and returning to the game after a concussion. Heads Up is aimed at reducing the 3.8 million sports-related concussions that occur annually in the U.S.

In most cases, sports-related injuries are preventable, yet according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and Safe Kids USA, more than half (62 percent) of sports injuries occur during practice. Information provided by the University of Michigan Health System, share that sports injuries may be caused by:

  • Individual risk factors (such as medical conditions)
  • Inadequate physical exams before participating (every child should get a sports-specific physical exam before each season)
  • Lack of pre-season conditioning
  • Lack of safety equipment, or poorly fitted, improper equipment
  • Lack of proper eye protection
  • Teaming up by age instead of size
  • Unsafe playing fields or surfaces
  • Improper training or coaching, or lack of instruction.
  • Fatigue
  • Not warming up, cooling down and stretching properly
  • Playing while injured
  • Stress and inappropriate pressure to win.
  • Temperature
  • Poor nutrition or hydration


View the NATA’s Vimeo clip from the December 2011 Youth Sports Summit

If your child is involved in youth sports, educate yourself about the risk of injuries, especially concussions and any other injury that is particularly associated with your child's chosen sport. Meet the Athletic Trainers on staff and if there are none available, advocate for one.


Sports participation has become a major cause of serious injury among youth.

Sports activities are the second most frequent cause of injury for both male and female adolescents.

Each year it is estimated that more than five million children seek treatment in hospital emergency rooms because of sports injuries.

Most sports injuries are preventable.

Find free resources: The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine publishes specific injury prevention tip sheets for 20 different sports and activities.

Advocate for a BOC Certified Athletic Trainer for your child’s school or sport organizations.

Written By: Brittney Ryba

Take a look at yourself and make a change…

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Many ATs complain about some of the less than popular aspects of our profession.  Long hours, nominal pay, and time away from friends and family are some of the common complaints.  The good news is that it does not have to be that way.
Overall, we know that we need to update our practice acts to allow us to work within our fullest capabilities.  We also know there are models such as physician extender roles and collegiate athletic healthcare housed under student health, like Boston University, which promote quality of life.  As we evolve as a healthcare profession, the great news is, you CAN make a difference.  And the road ahead starts with each of us.
Through public relations (PR), we can create change.  PR does not have to be a scary situation involving reporters, camera lights and stumbling through an interview.  It is simply promoting goodwill between yourself and another.  Each of us can take an active role through creating relationships, reaching out to others, and spreading the good word.  All you need to do is share your passion for the AT profession.  Share what you know and what you live everyday.  Be visible, make your voice heard and take action to help to move our healthcare profession into a direction which promotes family and utilizes our education.
It is easy to complain when you sit on the sidelines.  What are you doing to promote positive change for the AT profession?
With inspiration from Michael Jackson:
I'm starting with the (wo)man in the mirror
I'm asking you to change your ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change...

Written By: Jessica O'Neel, MS Ed, ATC


Working as an AT in Japan: An In Depth Look

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

An In Depth Look with… Fumiaki Onishi, ATC

Describe your setting:
I am working as assistant professor at St. Catherine University, which is a private university located in Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan. I also coach a men's soccer team at St. Catherine University. 

How long have you worked in this setting?
About 5 years

Describe your typical day:
My typical weekday schedule is teaching some classes during day and coaching the men's soccer team in the evening.

What do you like about your position?
A good thing is that I can do things which I like to do as a work.  I like teaching, writing research papers, working as a coach, working as an Athletic Trainer...everything.

In Japan, almost all universities, except D1 universities, do not employ a full-time coach or Athletic Trainer.  Collegiate sports in Japan are not a big deal.  Because of that, teachers are struggling with organizing a team. But, that point is very interesting to me.  Developing something is always challenging but also fun.

Another reason why I like this position is that I can hold some classes and short courses for general people.  Since I am a member of local sports committee governed by the local government, I support some kind of sports events (as an organizer) such as a kids sports school, city marathon events, and so on.  I would not get these opportunities if I was not a faculty member of university or college. 

What do you dislike about your position?
A bad thing is that I have many school affairs.  Faculty members are assigned two or more subcommittees such as admissions subcommittee, employment subcommittee, student life subcommittee, and so on.  Spending so many hours to do school affairs, I tend to forget my background...Not many times, but sometimes, I do not have time to work with athletes.

What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young athletic trainer looking at this setting?
It is very hard to have an opportunity to get this position. However, this job setting, in Japan, is one of the most stable positions in terms of money and working life (If you want to use your knowledge of athletic training that you learned from schooling). I think that people who studied in foreign countries and want to get a job back in their own countries need to be good in contact with people in their own countries while studying in foreign countries.  I chose to go to the entry-level athletic training program because I wanted to finish up my Bachelor's degree in Japan so I can get good personal connections to get my job in Japan, especially for a faculty position.  Actually, the person who helped me to get this position was my teacher while I was a student in a Japanese university.  Every time you have to look forward, or you lose the chance to make your life better.

Take Time to Volunteer: National Volunteer Week 2012

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Celebrate National Volunteer Week, which runs April 15th-April 21st! When I was starting out in the profession, I had to find cheap CEUs.  That’s how I ended up volunteering for the Cornhusker State Games medical team 15 years ago (they offered a CE seminar for ATs and other healthcare professionals who volunteered as part of the medical team for the Games). It is also how I ended up staying involved in the Omaha Sports Medicine Alliance for 10 years.  I have also volunteered (medically and non-medically) for lots of other events and groups through the years.

There was a time about 8-10 years ago, where a strong push was made in our profession for Athletic Trainers (ATs) to stop giving away their services.  As with most things it swayed really heavily one way, even to the point where program directors were telling students to not volunteer at all.  Everywhere you turned, ATs were being told to stop volunteering.  I felt that this had died down for awhile, but it could have been because I purposely tuned it out. 

Let me make one thing clear - I do not give away my services and I don’t underestimate my value.  In fact, I’m one of the higher paid ATs in my area because I’ve demanded full value and respect for my role until this point professionally.  But, I do volunteer.  I actually volunteer a lot!  I find good groups to be part of and it makes me better personally and professionally.  It helps me earn people’s respect when they see me out in the community sharing my talent as an AT.  I believe the key has been finding the right groups or opportunities where my expertise has been highly valued, even if not monetarily.

Even if you don’t agree with my thoughts on volunteering as an AT, I hope you find something to volunteer your time for so you can experience first-hand the feeling of giving to something greater than yourself.

Written by: Danielle Kleber, ATC


Continuing Education

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Athletic Trainers in Illinois should have received a postcard earlier in April with a notification that state licenses will expire at the end of May. In order to renew the Illinois license, myself and ATs practicing in Illinois will have to pay the $200 fee, check a couple of boxes on the renewal form, and verify we have completed 40 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in the last two years. This year, I don’t have to report CEUs because it is my first renewal, but I have taken the opportunity to think about the continuing education (CE) I have done.

I have been practicing for a little over a year. At this point, I should ideally have 25 CEUs completed in order to meet the 75 CEU requirement over a three-year period. I have completed about 23 at this point, so I am close to where I’d like to be and I’ll have to pick up a few more in the next year to make up for it. My next recertification date is at the end of 2013. As of 2014, all Athletic Trainers will be required to recertify every two years by completing 50 CEUs.

As a part of the membership in the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), we receive 10 “CEU Bucks” to be used toward CEUs on the website. These are in the way of webinars where you watch the video or presentation and then complete an online test. You answer enough questions correctly and you get credit for the CEUs. This is a valuable benefit of being a part of the NATA to utilize for CE.

CE is important because it is required to maintain licensure and certification, but more importantly Athletic Trainers need to regularly complete CE in order to provide the best for our patients. In order to do this, we must undertake CE that is clinically relevant to our professional responsibilities.

Working at the high school level, I have to be prepared for a variety of situations in many different sports. This year I have completed courses in emergency planning, cervical spine injuries, throwing injuries, heat illnesses, and the Graston Technique.

There are many opportunities to improve as Athletic Trainers through CE courses. In addition, we can improve through reading journal articles and other literature. Please take those opportunities to improve each day so you can provide the best care for your athletes!

Written By: Mike Hopper, ATC

Athletic Trainers in Baseball Hit Healthcare Home Runs

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Get your peanuts and Cracker Jacks - baseball season has now started. Behind successful baseball teams are Athletic Trainers. Here is a brief highlight of Major League Baseball Athletic Trainers in the news. We wish all Major League Baseball teams and athletic training staff the best of luck this season.

Sue Falsone, ATC, is the Head Athletic Trainer for the LA Dodgers. Announced just last October, Falsone is the first woman to hold such a position on a major professional team in the United States. Falsone joined the Dodgers in 2007 as an Assistant Athletic Trainer and says there was no objection from players to her promotion. A sign of the players’ feelings toward Falsone came in September when outfielder Andre Ethier waited 10 days to have knee surgery because he didn’t want to start rehabilitation until Falsone returned from Europe. 

Head Athletic Trainer Nick Kenney, ATC, with the Kansas City Royals

Nick Kenney, ATC, is the Head Athletic Trainer for the Kansas City Royals who received Major League Baseball’s Dick Martin Award for having the healthiest team during the 2011 season. Since Kenney joined the staff, the Royals’ total dropped by more than 850 man-days-lost to injuries.

Detroit Tigers Head Athletic Trainer Kevin Rand helping Doug Fister off the field Saturday, April 7, 2012.

Detroit Tigers Head Athletic Trainer, Kevin Rand, ATC, is also Director of Medical Services. As a sign of the times, he said "a lot of my job is administrative work." Rand has a lengthy list of certifications, is a graduate of prestigious Bowdoin College in Maine and was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.

Longtime Mariners Head Athletic Trainer Rick Griffin was in the news and shared his thoughts on Japanese players in Major League Baseball. Griffin, who has toured Japan with MLB All-Stars has provided invaluable advice to players since 1994 through his work with the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.

Written by: Brittney Ryba

Hospital Based Clinical Setting: An In Depth Look

Friday, April 6th, 2012

An In Depth Look with… Doug Long, ATC  

Describe your setting:
I am in a hospital based clinical setting.  We provide weekly school visits to eleven local high schools and one junior college.  We are in one local high school and the community college on a daily basis.  We provide game staffing for any of our schools’ home events that we can work into our collective schedule.  We also have responsibilities for doing rehabilitation on sports injuries in our Great Plains Sports and Therapy facility, an affiliate of Great Plains Regional Medical Center. 

We are a multifaceted group. There are two other ATs, one PT/ATC and a Specialist Certified in Sports Physical Therapist on our Sports Medicine Team. Our entire Rehabilitation Services Department houses Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech/Language Pathology and Sports Medicine.  We have an outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation section in our gym area.  We offer speed, agility and quickness/athletic enhancement camps in the summer for area athletes.  We provide services to twelve high schools and one junior college in the North Platte area.  We staff schools in four counties.  Participant schools range from Nebraska Class A, the largest enrollment to Class D2 the smallest enrollment.  We staff over 50 football games in a fall season.  We also staff over 75 athletic events in the winter and summer. 

Our department has begun doing pre-employment job screens for outside employers and for our own hospital.  Two of our ATs are an integral part of that screening process.  The goal of the job screen is to identify participants who are at risk for not being physically able to perform their job duties.  I also work with our bariatric surgical team to implement physical activity programs for patients who have had or who are going to have bariatric/weight loss surgical interventions. 

How long have you worked in this setting?
I began work here in North Platte, Nebraska in private practice physical therapy clinic.  Two years into that employment Great Plains Regional Medical Center bought the practice and we all became hospital employees.  I have been in the clinical setting for 23 years.  Prior to the clinic I was the Head Athletic Trainer and Physical Education Instructor at Chadron State College, here in Nebraska. 

Describe your typical day:
I am a full-time, hourly-paid employee, as opposed to a salaried employee.  I work a 40-hour week and avoid overtime.  My days vary from 10-hours to only four hours depending on patient load and game staffing requirements. 

On clinic days, I start out going to my assigned schools to evaluate injuries that have occurred since my last visit or follow up on existing injuries.  Then I go back to the clinic to catch up on paper work.  I go out to North Platte Community College to teach Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries at noon and then open the athletic training facility from one to three in the afternoon.  After the college I come back to the clinic to see sports injury patients or general fitness patients in our FIT Camp program until as late as six or six thirty as needed.  I sometimes also come in a 5:00am to work with a FIT Camper if that is what fits their schedule best.   

On days I will be staffing a game, I may not come into the clinic at all in the morning.  I will come in about noon, check email, check in with the Director of Rehabilitation Services, get a cooler of ice and leave for the game I am going to staff. 

What do you like about your position? 
Like most Athletic Trainers I love seeing injured athletes go back to the playing surface and do well.  The best part of my job is the variety of athletes with whom we work.  We have the opportunity to work with athletes who are just starting out in Elementary and Middle School athletics.  We also work with high school or junior college athletes who perform at higher levels. 

While working with athletes is a big piece of the satisfaction of the job, the salary and benefits are also a good part of my position.  We are included in the hospital benefits package, so we are eligible for overtime when we have it.  Our hourly rate is in the mid-range of the NATA Salary Survey for similar entities in our geographical and clinical type setting.  As hourly employees, we are qualified for our hourly rate of pay, plus additional rates for overtime, weekend and night time increases.  We have access to many free services provided to all hospital employees, like free flu shots and other required vaccinations.  

What do you dislike about your position? 
Like many jobs the amount of paperwork is a drawback.  Aside from daily notes, we are compelled to do monthly recertification forms asking the physician to allow us to continue rehabilitation services for the patient if they need to go longer than 30-days.  As a hospital based entity we are held to nationally regulated rules for documentation, compliance, HIPPA, Starke Law, etc.  There are many departments of our hospital with whom we must work effectively to ensure we are meeting all requirements for accreditation and compliance.  We are sometimes held to different criteria than our private practice counterparts. 

There are three other practices here in town trying to provide physical therapy/sports medicine staffing in the schools we have serviced for 20 years.  The competition with those entities is a daily struggle.  They express an interest in sports medicine injuries.  They even go so far as to provide on-field care for some athletic events.  They are staffing these events under the notion that physical therapy can be provided in the setting offered. 

Losing patients to other practices is a very discouraging part of the practice.  To be in compliance with federal standards, the patient has the right to choose their care givers and I understand that. The other practice was nowhere around when the athlete is on the sideline mourning the loss of his senior season.  We staff games, give athletes the best care on the sideline, give them crutches, wraps and advice…then they go to another practice for their follow up care. 

What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young athletic trainer looking at this setting?
Young ATs going into any setting should be aware of several key issues:

  1. Identify job responsibilities, athletic event and practice staffing, what engagement in non-athletic programs will be required, travel requirements, administrative duties.
  2. Know the difference between hourly pay and salaried pay. (Hourly rate may allow you to have more of a “life” outside of work.)
  3. Investigate the availability and policies surrounding continuing education funding and time off.
  4. Look into the retirement package.  Retirement may be a long ways off for the young professional.  Believe me, when I say that retirement will be in sight in the blink of the proverbial eye. 

CE: The Functional Movement Screen Course

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether certain continuing education courses are worth the time and money in relation to what you get out of them and how practical they might be in your setting.  The facility where I work utilizes the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) on a regular basis and all new employees, both physical therapists and strength coaches, are sent to the Level 1 course.  It’s an expensive course and runs about $350-$400 depending on the level.

While the FMS is highly debated on whether it effectively screens for what it is supposed to, it is more than likely the best screen we have at the current time and that is why we choose to use it.  To find the current research and other articles visit and for a nice, impartial breakdown of the research listen to the Fitcast Episode 228 where Jonathan Fass, PT, CSCS walks you through the good, the bad, and the ugly behind the studies.

Regardless of whether you buy into the purpose and uses for the FMS, we’re just looking at whether the course is worth it.  Here’s what I can share with you - each time one of our staff members attends the workshop, they come back with a much deeper understanding of the screen and the principles behind it, they are more confident in the administration of it and always have good things to share about the course itself. 

If you’re still not sure, start with a great book from Gray Cook, MSPT, OCS, CSCS called: Movement: Functional Movement Systems—Screening, Assessment, Corrective Strategies.

Obviously we believe it’s worth it or we would not continue to invest that kind of time, money and travel into the FMS course. Let us know if you’ve taken this course and your thoughts.

Written by: Danielle Kleber, ATC

Market Yourself All Year Round

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

March’s National Athletic Training Month has concluded and it is frustrating that it is only one month out of the year where the importance of Athletic Trainers (ATs) becomes the focus to generate publicity about the value of athletic training services. To me, it’s kind of like waiting for Valentine’s Day to tell someone you love them by buying overpriced candy and flowers. 

Having served as the chair of my state’s public relations committee for a few years, I am acutely aware of NATM every year.  When I started working at the high school level, I left almost every day frustrated that parents, coaches, administrators, fill in the blank here, didn’t know what I did.  I could have easily grumbled for the next eight years and made my attempt to reach out once a year during NATM.  Instead, I worked like crazy to develop an awareness and appreciation for my position and the profession of athletic training.  I created brochures, sat in on booster club meetings, met with parents in the stands, printed my own concussion cards when there was no such thing, became active in my state organization, explained over and over what I did, and the list goes on.  The result was a contagious appreciation of athletic trainers by the people I worked with on a daily basis.  Not only did people begin to appreciate me, they learned to appreciate other ATs at different schools.

Please remember this as an example when wanting to complain when people don’t know or understand what you do. Time needs to be spent consistently helping and creating the relationship with patients and parents to help them understand your work. So, be extra-active during March, but make an effort to reach out all year long!

For more resources about how to market yourself, check out the BOC website.

Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC