Archive for April, 2013

BOC Volunteers Shape the Profession

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

The Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) appreciates the hundreds of past and current BOC volunteers during National Volunteer Week, which runs April 21st-April 27th. The contribution of volunteers such as BOC exam item writers, committee members, board directors, the blog team  and  home study reviewers, is critical in developing the high professional standards expected of today’s Athletic Trainers (ATs). We are proud to have a board of 9 directors, 5 committees, over 150 home study reviewers, over 100 exam item writers and 10 bloggers who provide their valuable service.

“Volunteers are critical to the BOC achieving our mission to provide exceptional credentialing programs for healthcare professionals to assure protection of the public,” says Denise Fandel, BOC Executive Director. “We are grateful to this group of professionals who help us serve the profession and their patients.”

We recognize BOC volunteers for accomplishing the following in 2012:

  • Delivered over 4,800 certification exams
  • Developed over 600 new exam items for experimental testing
  • Reviewed over 150 home study courses
  • Validated the Global Practice Analysis
  • Were honored with the BOC’s 2012 Dan Libera Service Award, with recipients including Paul DeMartinis, Jose Rivera, Michael Stanwood, Scott Street and Sue Wielgosz

Read more about volunteer accomplishments and volunteer opportunities. The BOC thanks everyone for their service to support the growth and success of the BOC.

National Volunteer Week 2013, Celebrate Service, honors those who dedicate themselves to taking action and bettering their communities. Sponsored by Points of Light Institute and HandsOn Network, National Volunteer Week was established in 1974. Thousands of volunteer projects and special events are scheduled throughout the week.

Written By:

Brittney Ryba

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the Athletic Trainer

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

In January of 2000, actress Holly Robinson Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, heard words that would change their life: “Your son has classic autism.” Holly remembered thinking then — desperately seeking a silver lining — is “classic” a good thing? Like a “classic” car or film?

The pediatrician delivering the news provided a list of things they would never see their son RJ, who was 3 years old at the time, do in his lifetime.  Fast forward to 10 years later, when RJ has crossed off items from that “never” list and exceeded many expectations. Read more about the Peetes’ story.

April is National Autism Awareness Month. The prevalence of individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is 1 in 88 people, and it is more common in boys (1 in 54).  ASD comprises a group of neurodevelopmental disorders with onset prior to 36 months that is characterized by impairments in:

  • Social interaction (i.e., eye contact)
  • Verbal communication (i.e., talking)
  • Non-verbal communication (i.e., pointing at objects)
  • Behavior, which may include repetitive gestures such as flapping arms or using toys in ways they are not intended (such as lining up toy cars instead of pushing them around the floor)

There is a tremendous variability in type and severity of symptoms for ASD. Each child is unique with his or her own set of aptitudes, temperamental features, family circumstances and cultural influences. In addition, parents have their own ideas about healthy development and may overlook certain behaviors.

Parents question themselves as to why their child has ASD. Most cases of ASD have both genetic and environmental causes. Biological factors affect the development of the brain.  There also has been a lot of discussion about environmental factors and ASD; however, there is little to no evidence currently that supports these discussions.

It is difficult for parents to connect ASD deficits to their infant. It is too easy to say, “They will grow out of it.” Many parents come to terms with ASD through a “wildcard.” Children with ASD have been found to perform better than non-ASD children on tasks with embedded figures, visual search, logical consistency, fluid reasoning and resistance to false memory. Additionally, aggression and destruction can occur out of frustration in situations children struggle to navigate, giving them the stigma of a “bad kid.”

Currently there is no cure for ASD. It is treatable based on intensive behavioral strategies that focus on improving language, social communication and play. There are many options, but it is important to look for deficits and treatments that can scientifically quantify outcomes. Early intensive behavioral interventions are key; however, outcomes are highly variable. Strongest predictors of a positive outcome are early language and average cognitive skills. IQ (high function vs. low function) has a positive correlation and is a robust predictor of outcome.

Athletes with ASD can succeed even though they may have a lack of knowledge about social norms, bonding and usual behavior. This is where the Athletic Trainer (AT) can help. Adults must be aware of peer dynamics and empower peers to be defenders against bullying.

Professional surfer Clay Marzo and NHL goalie T. Mac both have Asperger syndrome (a type of ASD). Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Jim Eisenreich, who has Tourette syndrome, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. During his 15-year career in the MLB, Eisenreich played for the Twins, Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Florida Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers. He received the Royals Player of the Year award in 1989. He also received the Tony Conigliaro Award in 1990, which annually recognizes one MLB player who has overcome a significant obstacle.

As an AT, what can you do when someone with an ASD walks in for treatment?

  • Support the individual with ASD
  • Support the individual’s parents and siblings
  • Advocate for the ASD family
  • Offer flexibility in environment and processes for patients with ASD
  • Be aware of self-injurious behavior (SIB)
  • Be aware of aggressive and destructive behavior
  • Be aware of noncompliant and oppositional behavior
  • Help create environments for positive peer interactions
  • Understand social skills will be different from peers who do not have ASD
  • Be aware that children with ASD can have an altered sense of pain and fear

With all this in mind, ATs, parents and caregivers can encourage children with ASD to try out the world of sports and tear up the “never” list.


Association for Science in Autism Treatment (

Autism and PDD Support Network (

Autism National Committee (

Autism Research Institute (

Autism Science Foundation (

Autism Society of America (

Autism Speaks (

CDC- Autism (

Families for Early Autism Treatment (

First Signs (

National Autism Association (

Written By:

Brittney Ryba

Lightning Delay

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

During my first few years as a high school Athletic Trainer (AT), one of my challenges was not being intimidated by the football coaches, especially the head coach.  I was all of 5’ 2” and 130 pounds so compared to his stature, it was easy to back down and then wish later I would have stood my ground on an issue.

One day during two-a-days, I called off practice #2 due to lightning.  The coach pushed it as long as he could. I was contemplating going to get the AD, when the coach finally blew his whistle.  The lightning was huge and it was close!  After cleaning up, I was walking out of the building with one of our assistant coaches and he asked me what I had said to the KOLN/KGIN reporter who had interviewed me earlier that day for a TV news report.  I told him I had actually complimented our coaching staff by saying they were good about taking frequent water breaks and adjusting practice activity accordingly.  He jokingly said God would strike me with lightning for lying like that and we shared a good laugh.  This is what I believe literature teachers call foreshadowing (or maybe irony after you hear the rest of the story).

I lived in a small town about 30 minutes from where my school was located. On my way home, just off the Mahoney State Park exit on the interstate, a huge light flashed and my car died.  I pulled over realizing I had been struck by lightning!  The only brand new car I had ever owned, an orange Saturn Vue, was now pouring smoke out the steering column, and the radio station was cycling through channels.  After this incident, I had no trouble calling off practices or games due to lightning for many years afterwards.

Danielle Kleber, ATC

Editor’s Note about Lightning

Lightning is dangerous and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in the United States, an average of 54 people are killed each year by lightning.

Florida is America's lightning capital, as it leads the nation in lightning deaths. Sadly, in October 2012 Jesse Watlington, an 11-year-old boy at South Florida Christian Academy, was struck by lightning as he was running onto the football field for practice. He later died after his family decided to take him off life support.

Cardiac arrest is one way that lightning kills, according to the NOAA. In 2012, there were 28 lightning fatalities. Fortunately, there have not been any fatalities in 2013.

Read more about being smart during lightning season with the NATA’s Safety Guidelines endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The NOAA lightning safety motto appears to be having some effect, so remember: "When thunder roars, go indoors!" Stayed tuned to more information this summer, as Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 23-29, 2013.

2013 National Athletic Training Month Successes

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Local Athletic Trainers with Omaha Mayor


March was an exciting month to promote and celebrate the athletic training profession. The Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) held a National Athletic Training Month (NATM) proclamation luncheon with local Athletic Trainers (ATs). We were honored to have Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle attend and give the proclamation, along with speeches from BOC Executive Director Denise Fandel and Athletic Trainer Director Rusty McKune.  View the proclamation event on the BOC’s YouTube channel.

Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle Gives NATM Proclamation

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has enrolled 382 licensed ATs and the BOC is proud to have certified over 42,000 certified Athletic Trainers nation-wide.

Athletic training students and professionals participated in a variety of activities during NATM to promote the profession and make a positive influence within their communities. Gustavus Adolphus College athletic training students held a week long food drive to collect items for the local food pantry. BOC blogger, Paul LaDuke, was part of the group of Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society (PATS) members who went to the state capitol for their annual Hike to Harrisburg. Chris Lenker, Head Athletic Trainer at Tusculum College, managed podcast interviews of ATs in support of 2013 NATM.

BOC Staff with Omaha Mayor

March may be over, but don’t let that prevent yourself from promoting your athletic training credential the profession year-round. You can also share the importance of ATs with April being National Youth Sports Safety Month.

Written By:

Brittney Ryba