Archive for May, 2013

An In Depth Look with....Rusty McKune, MS, ATC

Friday, May 24th, 2013

In Depth Look with….Rusty McKune, MS, ATC

Describe your setting:

I am the Program Coordinator for the Sports Medicine Program at The Nebraska Medical Center (TNMC).  This is a new program and a new position for the hospital.  The Nebraska Medical Center is a separate entity from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), but the two work closely together. TNMC serves as the teaching hospital for the UNMC medical students.

How long have you worked in this setting? 

I’ve worked in this setting for 12 months now.  Prior to coming here, I was the Head Athletic Trainer (AT) at a Division I institution, and I spent 16 out of 18 years practicing as an AT in the college/university setting. This has been quite a change for me.

Describe your typical day:

As I indicated, this is a new position and thus far, I don’t know that two days have been the same . . . so I’m not sure that I can really identify what a typical day is.  When starting a new program, everything is constantly evolving and growing, making each day a new and dynamic experience.

As opposed to my past positions that have been saturated with patient care and student interaction from the start to the finish of each day, this position (at least for now) is more administrative. My time has been spent developing the program with very little direct patient care.  Fortunately, we do provide medical coverage for various events that come into Omaha, and I am able to provide athletic training services for these patients.

What do you like about your position?

At this point, I really like the fact that each day is different.  There certainly are some constants, but again because of the newness of the position I never quite know what to expect. The breadth and diversity of people that I work with is probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job.  When I was at the university, I was completely focused on 350 student athletes.  In this position, I don’t have the finite and captive population to work with (which can be frustrating at times).  However, the work that I am doing, have done and am preparing to do has an impact on a broader population of those who are currently being served – and also those who are traditionally underserved by athletic training services.

When people ask me how the new job is going, I always say that professionally it was a great move and personally it was an outstanding move.  This new position has allowed me to find some semblance of balance in my life.  I absolutely loved the college setting and was in what I would have described as the “dream job” early in my career.  However, as life changes, so do priorities.  I found myself having a very difficult time balancing my role as a Head AT with a Division I University, with my desires and responsibilities as a husband and a father.  This position has allowed me to do things that I hadn’t done in the previous 12 years with my family.  Additionally, it has allowed me to remain and become active in other areas professionally.  I am currently the president of our State Athletic Trainers’ Association and an AT Director-Elect for the Board of Certification. I also have been afforded the opportunity and time to serve on several Sports Medicine Advisory Committees locally and at the state level.  All are ways of being able to give back professionally, outside of and in addition to things that I do for my position at TNMC. 

What do you dislike about your position?

While I wouldn’t use the term dislike, I would say that the biggest thing that I miss in this position is the direct patient care and the interaction that I had with athletic training students on a daily basis.  I’m definitely developing a new and valuable set of skills, but the clinical care and education that I was used to providing in my previous positions were some of the times that I treasured the most.  I’m hoping that as this job evolves, I will be able to write myself back into time actually spent providing athletic training services that is more consistent than what I currently have.  Fortunately, I have been able to stay involved with teaching through the athletic training education program at UNO.  Although I don’t have contact with the students every day in the athletic training facility, I continue to be able to serve them in the classroom.

What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young Athletic Trainer looking at this setting?

There are a number of excellent opportunities that come with a position like this.  It certainly opens your eyes to the diversity not only in patients, but also in providers.  I think that it has helped me to become a more diverse professional.   However, at least in my position, you have to be prepared for the differences between a position that is heavily administrative and one that includes more traditional athletic training.  Every position is going to be different and each will be rewarding in its own unique way, but you have to make sure that you understand the job description and that the position fits your goals and expectations.

Boston Strong: Athletic Trainers on the Scene

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Boston University Athletic Trainer, Larry Venis, wearing a red hat ran toward the explosion.

Monday, April 15, 2013, was a day the people of Boston and citizens around the United States would prefer not to remember, but will not soon forget. A day usually dedicated to celebrations of the Boston Marathon turned to tragedy because of a terrible act.

This was the 26th year working the Boston Marathon for Larry Venis, MEd, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer (AT) at Boston University.  In previous years, he had provided more typical athletic training services: assisting runners at the finish line and getting patients into the medical tent when needed.  The events of this year’s marathon, however, required Venis to use his emergency response skills in an unexpected way.

Venis was assigned to a section 30-50 yards away from the bombing. His initial thought was that the sound was the subway or a manhole. Then he smelled gun powder, and the second bomb went off. He remembered looking over at the scene, then looking at Ray Castle, ATC, Athletic Trainer at LSU, Jon Dana, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer at the University of New Hampshire and Jack Foley, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer at Lehigh. They ran to where people needed help.

The time was 2:50pm. The elite runners had already crossed the finish line and about 6,000 people were left on the race course.

In the medical tents, ATs, physicians, nurses and EMTs treated runners and bombing victims. Surprisingly, the tents cleared earlier than usual - by 5:00pm.

“This was a huge testament to the quick care of the victims,” Venis said, “The cooperation was unbelievable among the police, emergency medical teams and fire department.”

For ATs, it is the essence of the job to work in the background, so initially the news featured police, firefighters and doctors in the news.

“As an AT, knowing what to do was fundamental. Just being prepared and knowing what we had available was important,” Venis said. “ATs directly helped physicians such as pediatricians and others who were not used to dealing with trauma and emergency care. “

He added, “As an AT understanding acute care, the setting and rehab and counseling experience helped immensely.”

All these elements reflect the five domains of athletic training.


Boston Marathon Medical Director Chris Troyanos, ATC, is the Head Athletic Trainer at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts. He works with FEMA, MEMA and Massachusetts Medical Society to coordinate all medical staffing and planning needs for the marathon.

The Boston Marathon has expanded the last 4-5 years, bringing volunteer ATs together from Louisiana State University, South Carolina, North Carolina, Southern Nazarene, Indiana Wesleyan University and Marist College. The volunteers are dedicated; they pay for their own travel and accommodations. Some of the athletic training students receive assistance from Boston University for rooming.

In preparation for the Boston Marathon, ATs receive communications from Troyanos, the Boston Athletic Association and Brian FitzGerald, BSN, ATC, with Boston Childrens Hospital one to two months in advance. Emails or articles are shared with volunteers to inform them about weather and what to expect. Volunteers continue their professional development when they get to the Boston event, as Boston University provides an educational conference the day before the race for AT students and AT volunteers.

The typical day for an AT working the Boston Marathon starts at 7:00am and goes until 7:00pm. The public and runners could spot an AT by a white coat and red hat. There was a group of about 15 AT students with wheelchairs at the finish line, a group that went throughout the streets between the medical tents and another group working at the finish line.

At the Boston Marathon, ATs usually work with dehydration, fatigue, blisters and hyponatremia. Casualties are uncommon and, when they have occurred, have been traced to problems like cardiac arrest.

There were three casualties the day of the April 2013 race. Some of the more than 250 who were injured are still receiving treatment and rehabilitation. In the past 26 years Venis worked a race, he could recall only two casualties.


A few weeks ago, after the bombing, there was a video conference meeting with the medical director and AT leadership of the Boston Marathon and ATs from various universities.

“The support from the Boston Athletic Association and the Red Cross has been and continues to be phenomenal as far as emotional and physical support,” Venis said.

More experienced ATs were concerned with their students. Based on the trauma students saw, it was a quick triage learning experience. Psychological counseling has been available to help with the tragedy and because one of the victims was a student at Boston University.

The finish line was about 1 ½ miles away from campus – very close to where students and ATs were located. None of the ATs were injured, and Venis was proud that everyone on the medical team was accounted for.

“A good amount of healing is still needed to continue,” Venis said. “All the ATs who were there this year as well as students did say they would continue to go back, which is a huge testament to our profession.”

Written By:
Brittney Ryba


Happy Mother's Day!!

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Happy Mother's Day! As advocates for their children’s health and wellbeing, moms can be the biggest advocates of the athletic training profession and for ensuring the safety of their children. Today’s mothers are found cheering in the stands, coaching, working behind the concession counter selling snacks and raffle tickets, working as team administrators or chauffeuring their kids to and from practice and games.

Moms also can be found advocating for better laws. For example, in 2012, one mom in California helped push for legislation that would require Athletic Trainers (ATs) in that state to be licensed, as California is one of two states that do not have laws regulating the athletic training profession. Her efforts helped pave the way for California Assembly Bill 864.  If passed, AB 864 would require California to oversee the licensing of ATs – an important step for ensuring public safety. Read more about the status of Bill 864.

There are mothers who are ATs themselves. Many times, as ATs, they may act as a mother to student athletes or those studying to become an AT. Mothers in the profession provide support and care to both their own children and extended family of patients. Here is a shout out to mothers who are ATs.

To the mothers: All your love, all your caring ways, all your giving are the reasons why the BOC thinks of you on Mother’s Day with a wish for happiness and a world full of love.

Written By:
Brittney Ryba

An In Depth Look with… Chad Kinart, MS, ATC

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Chad Kinart, MS, ATC

Describe your setting:

Currently, I serve as the Exam Development Coordinator with the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC). In addition, I am the Chairperson for the Nebraska Board of Athletic Training.  Lastly, I perform contract risk management/athletic training services with X Med, Inc., mainly with Red Bull North America, Inc.

How long have you worked in this setting?

For the last 13 years, I have worked with X Med, Inc. in the role of risk management/Athletic Trainer.  During this time, I have provided services at 43 large single or multi-day events.  In addition, I have been employed at the BOC for five years in the role of Exam Development Coordinator.  Lastly, I am in my second term serving on the Nebraska Board of Athletic Training.

Describe your typical day:

The Red Bull Mississippi Grind barge sets sail out of St. Paul. Photo taken by Red Bull.

My work with X Med, Inc. as risk management/Athletic Trainer is on a contracted basis.  Recently, we have been working with Red Bull North America, Inc. in providing risk management, medical and consulting services for selected events.  These opportunities have been extremely valuable to my professional development.  Red Bull is a very innovative company and we never know what they will come up with next.  They have done everything from Flugtag (i.e., German for “day of flight”), cliff diving, freestyle  motocross, Rampage, etc.  Each of these events provides very unique and specific challenges in regard to risk management and medical coverage.

One of the biggest misconceptions about Action Sports events is that the general public does not view the participants as athletes!  Because some of the activities these athletes perform are very different than traditional sports, it is easy to run with the thought that they are purely “crazy.”  This is quite the contrary!  These athletes take calculated risks and have extraordinary skills.  The training methods and focus on health and fitness in the last 5-7 years for those involved in Action Sports are a large reason why we see the amazing performances more often.  With the explosion in popularity of Action Sports has come a tremendous opportunity.  In the past, most of the athletes have been on their own in regard to health care.  As Athletic Trainers (ATs) working these events, we have the ability to do what we do best: build relationships and assist in caring for and preventing injuries.

What do you like about your position?

I love the fact that with all of the professional activities I am involved in, no day could be considered “typical.”  Daily challenges keep me engaged and excited to get out of bed.

Red Bull Crashed Ice Saint Paul. Photo taken by Red Bull.

Working with X Med and Red Bull has allowed me to continually gain a new perspective on athletic training every time I go to an event, as each one is different.  The new and unique challenges keep me excited about the future of athletic training, especially from the perspective of prevention and risk management. To me, they are one in the same to a degree.  With risk management, we are taking the basic “prevention” concepts we learn as ATs and expand on them with concepts from OSHA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies.

What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young AT looking at this setting(s)?

Look at athletic training and personal development as “crafts.”  There is always something to learn and ways to improve yourself.  Ethics and morals go a long way when paired with a drive of self improvement.  With 42,000+ ATs out there, it is not enough to just be good at what you do; you must be of good moral character as well.  That is what will differentiate you from the masses and sustain yourself professionally and personally for years to come.