An In Depth Look with… Elaine Winslow-Redmond MS, ATC, EMT-b, CKTP, ART
Describe your setting:
The stage is our playing field and the Rockettes are our athletes.
We have a new state-of-the-art facility designed by Collins Sports Medicine. We are fully equipped with a full gym, sprung dance floor and ample space for rehabilitation.
All rehearsals and shows are staffed by Athletic Trainers (ATs) the same way you would staff traditional sports practices and games. I currently have five ATs in New York and two additional ATs who tour with our Rockette shows across the country.
Prevention is paramount. The majority of the Rockettes’ injuries are caused from repetitive stress or overuse. As a result, we are able to significantly reduce injury and overall cost of medical care.
The intensity of the Rockettes’ schedule surpasses that of most professional athletic teams, and the nature of the work is no less physically challenging. The athletic ability required to perform 200 eye-high kicks up to four times daily is tremendous.
The athletic training profession is perfectly suited to handle the challenges this group of performers face.
How long have you worked in this setting?
I have been the Head AT for 10 years.
Describe your typical day:
Typically we begin at 9:00 or 9:30 a.m., one hour prior to rehearsals or shows.
- Pre-show: Performers come into the athletic training facility for prevention which usually includes taping, moist heat and active warm-up on the cardio equipment.
- Half-hour call (30 minutes prior to show start): We document all morning treatments.
- Show time: The AT reports to stage right with a walkie talkie (used for communication with stage management if an injury occurs).
- During the show: The AT is strategically positioned backstage in order to avoid being injured themselves by moving props and scenery but also to allow the AT to provide water for the performers as they exit the stage and proceed to their next costume quick change.
- Post-show: We return to the athletic training facility to provide between-show treatment, including cold whirlpools, modalities, assessments and rehabilitation.
We repeat this entire process anywhere from 2-4 times in one day.
What do you like about your position?
Radio City Music Hall is a very exciting place to be. The theater is truly the showplace of the nation, and the Rockettes are New York icons. I am so proud to be a part of this rich history and honored to be caring for these performing athletes. They are extremely appreciative of the care they receive and are proactive about injury prevention. This makes the athletic training position truly rewarding.
What do you dislike about your position?
As the AT for this elite group of athletes and as a former Rockette myself, I understand what it takes for these performers to get and keep this job. It is heartbreaking to see a performer suffer a career-ending injury.
What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young Athletic Trainer looking at this setting?
This setting is very tough to get into. Often, it requires creating a position that does not exist. It requires a tremendous amount of work and dedication, and you must be prepared for many disappointments along the way. It is no different than the performers themselves, who may have had multiple rejections before they became successful.
There is tremendous room for growth. I believe we are still on the forefront of a breakthrough in this community. The athletic training profession has an incredible opportunity to bring prevention to these performing athletes. It is about believing in the profession and moving it forward through education and perseverance.