Archive for July, 2012

Athletic Trainers Aid in the Prevention of Heat-Related Injuries and Deaths

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

This week NFL football training camps kicks off. With the hot summer weather, special care must be taken to ensure that athletes practicing and working out in hot, humid conditions properly hydrate.  The days are long gone when it was considered a sign of weakness when an athlete would stop during practice and drink water.

Eleven years ago Korey Stringer, Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle, died of heat-related complications during NFL training camp. The Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) at the University of Connecticut is making sure teams and coaches are taking measures to avoid any heat-related deaths or complications. KSI is partnered with the NFL and is one of the leading institutions studying athlete heat and hydration issues. You can reach more about KSI from the BOC’s September 2011 blog Heat Illness Education and the Role of ATs.

The National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) released guidelines aimed at preventing sudden, heat-related injuries and deaths.  These guidelines are based on proven ideas that incorporate common sense into summer workouts.  Read the summary of these guidelines.

“The NCAA adopted NATA's guidelines in 2003, and since then there has not been a single heat-related death in sports,” said Rebecca Stearns, KSI’s director of education and vice president of operations. “KSI's next target is high school sports,” Stearns said, “ where the number of heat-related deaths has nearly tripled over the last 15 years, according to University of Georgia Climatologist Andrew Grundstein.”

“Less than 50 percent of high schools have Certified Athletic Trainers on site, so the warning signs for heat illness can go unrecognized,” Stern said. Georgia high schools have a practice policy for heat and humidity after two Georgia high school football players died last year during summer workouts. August 1st is the first day that schools are permitted to allow football players to be in full pads under the Practice Policy for Heat and Humidity implemented by the Georgia High School Association (GHSA).  Read more about heat illness prevention and learn more about what other Athletic Trainers are doing in the article Weather a Hot Topic as Football Season Kicks Off.

According to the NATA, signs of heat exhaustion include thirst, headache, dizziness, nausea, cramps, excessive fatigue and dry mouth. If experiencing these symptoms, athletes should be moved to a cool environment or into the shade immediately and rehydrate with an electrolyte-containing drink like Gatorade.

Written by: Brittney Ryba

Hawaii Now Has Registration: The Process

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Hawaii's regulatory efforts have been a journey and a longer one than I would have ever anticipated.  Initially, Hawaii had an exemption to the State Physical Therapy Practice Act. We were a small state with a small population of Certified Athletic Trainers (ATs) and very few working in any settings beyond schools.  The exemption served us well. It was very vague and said we could do anything within our NATA competencies.  The initial push was from NATA as they had set a long range goal of having all 50 states regulated.  As we explored the possibilities and options we decided it was time to take the next step towards truly improving our profession and becoming more professional. 

Along the way we experienced some ethical and possibly legal issues arose in our community that underscored the need for public protection and restriction of the title and credentials of ATs. We had early support from legislators and things looked good. In our state, first one needs a Sunrise Review performed by the State Auditor. To get the Sunrise review, the legislature has to pass a concurrent resolution asking for it.  In early efforts it passed one side of the legislature but not the other. After a few sessions it passed both sides so we were hopeful.  Then the Auditor's office did not do the Sunrise Review and we had no idea why.  Turns out they can only do so many per year and it was not listed as a priority.  So, we had to start over.

Our next obstacle became our main legislative sponsor. He and a faction of other legislators tried to overthrow the Speaker of the House and fell short by one vote.  That put him in the doghouse.  He let us know that any bills sponsored or connected to him would not pass. Although we found other sponsors the bills were given the maximum number of hearing referrals which are nearly impossible to be done within the session timelines.  We found a new champion. The resolution passed, the Sunrise was completed, and a bill emerged.  We got close 2 years in a row to passing but never got all the way through the session.

We were not really sure why, but we were afraid that we were being blocked by some unknown person or group.  Finally, in 2011, we hired a great lobbyist, found another key supporter who was on the power side of the aisle and the bill got to the final step of the process, conference committee. All looked great until our House and Senate got into a stalemate over the state budget and over 100 were bills which were all ready to go got "left on the table".  Luckily our bill carried over to the 2012 session and cleared the conference committee, where it then moved to and passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie on July 3, 2012.  We were helped along the way by so many people in the NATA and BOC and owe a debt of gratitude to all.

You can learn more about Governmental Affairs and State Regulatory News on the BOC website.

Written By: Cynthia Clivio

What is an Industrial Athletic Trainer: An In Depth Look

Friday, July 20th, 2012

An In Depth Look with... Ben Henry, ATC

Describe your setting: 

I am employed by Work-Fit, Inc. where we are contracted to work in various manufacturing plants.  The factory I work in is the largest building in the world by square volume.  We have over 40,000 people on site at this location.  It is loud, busy, and always changing.  The best thing about this setting is the people.  I get the chance to work with some of the nicest, most caring people I have ever had the opportunity to work with.  These people also have some of the hardest jobs I have ever seen.  They are working in confined spaces, using heavy tools, and working for hours in awkward positions.  They are proud of what they do and about what they are building.   

How long have you worked in this setting? 

I have worked in this setting for 3 years.  When we began, my team and I realized very quickly that we didn’t know a thing about how to be an Industrial Athletic Trainer (AT).  None of us had ever been exposed to this setting.  Since then, we have not only helped  define what an Industrial Athletic Trainer does, but we have learned what it means to change the culture of healthcare for an entire company.  As my boss says, we have tasted the Kool-Aid  and we want more of it.  It’s that important to us.

Describe your typical day: 

The factory employees work around the clock.  The building literally never sleeps.  My typical day starts about 4:30 in the morning.  I get in to the office and take between 10-20 employees through a corrective exercise circuit, focusing on balance, core stability, and muscular activation.  After class, I will see four or five employees for a preventative intervention and evaluation.  Then, I take my job out to the shop floor to check-in with a few employees I have been working in with.  I will do a biomechanical assessment of them working to look for dysfunction, improper positioning, or ergonomic hazards that might lead to musculoskeletal injuries.  Every evaluation we do, every class we teach, or every preventative interaction we have is documented, so I will spend a bit of time documenting everything I did.  My day ends around 12:30 in the afternoon.  The best thing about this job is that it’s an 8 hour day.  The worst thing about this job is that it is a very full 8 hour day.  We don’t sit and wait for things to happen.  We are always on the move.  Throughout the day, since we are in such a large facility, we walk.  A lot.  We are in and out of the shipside support athletic training room, on the shop floor, and on the worksite.  We are always talking to people wherever we go.  My career is in sales.  The product I sell is heath care and an investment in the employee’s overall healthy lifestyle.  I teach, educate, connect, and become a resource for thousands of people. 

What do you like about your position?

I get to be an AT and use everything I know.  I am on the forefront of changing the profession and making a real difference in the lives of people and their families.  Because of my team, the employees we work with can provide for their families and can go home injury-free.  In the industrial setting, our focus on prevention of musculoskeletal injuries has become a game-changer for manufacturing around the world.  I am helping make that cultural change.  This is the most fulfilling position I could ever imagine.  My team and I have wins every day.  They may not come in the form of trophies and championship rings, but when an employee comes to you and says the balance exercises I taught helped prevent a fall that would have otherwise caused a serious injury, that is a win that means so much more.

What do you dislike about your position?

Not a day goes by where I wake up and go, “I HAVE to go to work.”  I wake up proud that I GET the opportunity to work with such an amazing population alongside the best group of Athletic Trainers anyone could ever work with.  With a team like I have, what is there to dislike? 

What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young athletic trainer?

Think outside of the box and well outside of your comfort zone.  If it wasn’t for the creativity of my team and the support from our customer giving us the opportunity for that creativity, we never would have been able to do what we do best.   Because of our profession, the Industrial AT has a role to play in every manufacturing venue in the world.

Blow Out the Candles and Make a Wish

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The BOC is celebrating its 23rd birthday today. Wow - this past year has gone by fast and with many updates.

Looking back, the BOC has certified over 3,000 more Athletic Trainers from last year, making our total over 40,000 individuals who have earned the ATC® credential worldwide.  We’ve added services and resources such as the Professional Development Needs Assessment (PDNA), Advertising opportunities, List of BOC Approved Providers and Professional Responsibility Modules.

We’ve updated the look of the BOC logo and the BOC Approved Provider logo as well as the look of other communications. We are excited to get our website refreshed later this year. We enjoyed attending and meeting everyone at the 63rd Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO. We are pleased to see that Hawaii now has registration!

Thank you to our fantastic volunteers from our various groups:  BOC Board of Directors, Home Study Reviewers, Exam Development, Nominating, Professional Practice & Discipline, Standards Committee, the Task Forces on Continuing Professional Education and AT Regulatory Conference  and the Continuing Professional Development Working Group. These volunteers accomplished the following before we turned 23:

  • Reaccreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) until 2015
  • Delivery of over 5,000 certification exams
  • Recertification of over 10,000 ATs
  • Continued development of over 800 new exam items for experimental testing
  • Review of over 100 home study courses

We look forward to the next year, a new journey with you. What are your birthday wishes for the AT profession this year?

Written By: Brittney Ryba

This Week's FAQs

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Did you know that the acronym FAQ was born at NASA? FAQ stands for “frequently asked question” and, here at the BOC, we want to address some recent questions that have been brought to our attention by ATs and candidates.

This Week's Question: How do I assess my professional development goals in athletic training?

Answer: The Professional Development Needs Assessment (PDNA) is now available and is a FREE a tool intended to empower Athletic Trainers (ATs) of all experience levels to engage in self-reflection with the goal of assessing professional development needs across the domains of athletic training as defined in the BOC Role Delineation Study/Practice Analysis, Sixth Edition. PDNA results are for personal use only and in no way impact current certification status.

ATs can use the results of a PDNA to:

Form the framework for a professional development plan

Identify professional growth opportunities

Identify gaps in knowledge and skills for a specific practice area

Link current skills and abilities to critical job skills and performance plans

Assess learning needs prior to transitioning from one area of practice to another

Assess learning needs prior to re-entering the workforce after a prolonged absence from practice

Inspired to Succeed

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Recently, I attended the Nebraska State Athletic Trainers’ Association’s (NSATA) summer conference which included the NSATA Hall of Fame reception.  It was held at the Seward Country Club on the back patio and the evening was cool, calm and the sun was setting in the background.  It was the perfect night and setting for this event. 

Every time I hear a Hall of Fame speech, I am always touched and inspired.  This time was particularly moving because the two Athletic Trainers (ATs) that influenced me the most were present – one of them already in the Hall of Fame and the other being inducted that evening.  It struck me that I have had the fortune of being influenced by not only amazing ATs, but also two women who embody the profession and weren’t afraid to succeed in a field that was originally dominated by men.

Kathy English, ATC, was my “Certified” when I was a student at the University of Nebraska Kearney and she taught me many things.  Whenever she demonstrated a special test or a maneuver, the trust you immediately felt when she placed her hands on you was something I always aspired to be able to do as a practitioner.  Denise Fandel, ATC, taught me in a roundabout way to not make excuses.  She caught me doing a modified Lachman’s test one day when she visited the University of Nebraska Omaha’s athletic training room.  She walked over, grabbed the big football players leg and did the Lachman’s test while looking at me saying, “Never make the excuse your hands are too small because you’re a girl, just do the test.”  That one interaction molded much of my professional career, especially how I worked with interns and athletic training students.

Hearing each of the NSATA Hall of Fame inductees’ stories while experiencing their gratitude and attitudes of humbleness made me want to work even harder at what I do as an AT.  It definitely made me feel proud to serve this profession through my state organization and energized me to continue serving in that role. The bottom line is that those who have gone before us in the profession have blazed a path that we should not take for granted and we should aspire to follow in their footsteps!

Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC

Branded with Ethics: The BOC Standards of Professional Practice

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Early in my high school career I was faced with a moral dilemma.  The team’s quarterback and his friend, who were great kids, had gotten themselves into some trouble.  His question was, “If I tell you something will you promise to not to tell my dad?”  Tough question since his dad was also my Assistant Athletic Director. 

After quickly weighing the risks of losing my job to an angry boss versus compromising any future trust from all athletes at the school, I agreed - mostly because I wanted to hear the story first and then figure out what to do with the information.

Turns out he and his friend decided to partake in a fad which consisted of heating up a hanger and branding a body part with your jersey number.  Unfortunately things went wrong and it turned out more like a triangle than the number three.  It also looked like it could potentially be infected and I was left wondering whether I could keep this quiet.

Athletic Trainers are faced with these types of dilemmas every single day and I believe one of the strengths of our profession is the ability to do the right thing on a consistent basis. 

This is upheld by the BOC Standards of Professional Practice (SOP). The BOC SOP consists of two sections: Practice Standards (Standards) and the Code of Professional Responsibility. The Practice Standards establish essential practice expectations for all Athletic Trainers and compliance with the Standards is mandatory. The Code of Professional Responsibility (Code) mandates that BOC credential holders and applicants act in a professionally responsible manner in all athletic training services and activities. The BOC requires all Athletic Trainers and applicants to comply with the Code. The BOC may discipline, revoke or take other action with regard to the application or certification of an individual that does not adhere to the Code.

I know many other people and groups who rely on this practice as well.  For example, the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s entire approach to hydration testing relied on the ethical standards of Athletic Trainers.

Anyway, the young quarterback’s wound healed well and he has turned into phenomenal young man with a wonderful family and promising teaching/coaching career (with a triangle shaped scar on his deltoid).  Someday I’ll have to call him and pose this question, “If your son comes to me with the same question how would you like me to handle it?”  I bet his opinion has changed now that he wears the shoes of a father!

Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC

Rehabbing for Hand to Hand Combat

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Law enforcement, security personnel, and fire fighters have unique needs when it comes to rehabilitation and I’m fortunate to work in a facility that serves this population regularly.  We’ve seen police officers, fire fighters, private security detail, and our “claims to fame” include a billionaire body guard and a national security agent.  The level of physical readiness this population needs is very different than even an elite athlete.  Treating these patients challenges the norm in terms of planning a rehabilitation program.

We have strength coaches, physical therapists, and Athletic Trainers that work together to develop some effective programs for these guys.  Working together they’re able to combine the best in functional training using things like tractor tires, kettle bells, sandbags, training ropes, cable systems, TRX suspension systems, etc., with sports medicine rehabilitation principles.  The result is successful return to the activities this group needs to be able to do on the job including hand to hand combat, restraining and moving heavy loads, and endurance based activities. 

Some of the experts in the field we rely on include Gray Cook, Alwyn Cosgrove, and a host of other professionals who view rehabilitation and training with like minded approaches.  These same influences also drive what we do with athletes in sports performance, adults who train for fitness events, and our general therapy patients.

Working with police, fire and security personnel is very rewarding.  We all love working with highly motivated athletes, and this group is no exception.

Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC