Archive for July, 2014

How to Ask for a Raise as an AT

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

By Amanda Webster, ATC

As healthcare professionals we tend to put the needs of others ahead of our own. This can lead to poor performance, dissatisfaction and eventually lead to burnout or changing careers.  In order to set up for a long happy career we must mind our needs, and a big part of that is compensation.  Before gearing up for your next preseason, take time to consider your contract.  If you’ve referenced the 2011 salary survey, you already know the national average at the time of this survey was $51,483.  If your pay stubs put you nowhere near that, it may be time to ask for a raise.

How much should I ask for?
Check out the NATA Salary Survey. Compare your setting, education, number of years certified and region to the trend from 2005, 2008 and 2011. How do you stack up?

AT Salary by District

Prove your worth
Athletic directors and administrators don’t know the hours you put in after they go home.  Weekend tournaments, weeknight basketball games, annual physicals: they all add up. Make a spreadsheet to track your hours that you can share with your supervisor (along with the salary survey) when you decide the time is right to ask for a raise.  They would probably be shocked to see how much time you commit to your work and they will want to compensate you appropriately.

Plan B
Decide how much you’re willing to negotiate.  If your employer isn’t willing or able to give you a raise, you can still increase your worth and keep your job by limiting your hours.  Look at the numbers.  If you’re only making $45,000 after taxes, your take home is about $707 a week; if you work 70 hours a week that equates to only $10/hour. Yikes!  At the same salary, you could enjoy your evenings away from work and still put in a standard 40 hours with an hourly wage closer to $18/hour.  To do this, look at your schedule at the beginning of every week and decide which events take precedence based on catastrophic risk.  Also decide which games or practices will go without coverage or will require per diem coverage. Put it in writing to your supervisor.  If they want more coverage, they will have to pay more, either to you or for per diem coverage. It’s not easy, but it is the only way to ensure we’re not shortchanging ourselves or devaluing our profession.

As always, practice professionalism. Show up early, mind your appearance and speak in a professional manner.  If your employer is happy to have you, they will do what they can to keep you happy.

9 Ways to Protect Student Athletes When It's Hot

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

High temperatureBy Mike Hopper, MS, ATC

At the beginning of June, we posted an article about how one high school athletic conference is taking on the heat issue. Read the article by Aaron Kremmel here.  But what other steps must be taken? As we begin to start thinking about fall sports, let’s take a look at what we should be doing to protect our student athletes.

The Korey Stringer Institute is a leader in heat illness prevention. They have many recommendations on their website and they have worked with many different states and leagues to pass on those recommendations and guidelines. I was fortunate during my graduate coursework at the University of South Florida to learn under Dr. Lopez, who was a graduate of UConn. This is one topic we discussed, and our conversations honestly really changed my outlook on the topic!

Here are some key points that I think we must all consider when it comes to practicing and playing in the heat and humidity!

1)     Have a limit on when it’s time to quit. When is too hot?

2)     Be prepared to modify and possibly even cancel practices.

3)     Provide unlimited amounts of water and consider electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade or PowerAde®.

4)     Encourage frequent water breaks and rest periods. Allow the athletes to get into the shade and possibly remove equipment if needed.

5)     Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke!

6)     Have an Emergency Action Plan in place.

7)     Use only valid methods of determining core body temperatures.

8)     Have a tub prepared with cool water and ice.

9)     Cool FIRST, transport second!

Take the steps necessary to protect your student athletes. Heat illnesses are preventable, and we must be diligent in doing just that.

The NATA will soon have out a new position statement on heat illness. You can read the executive summary from the NATA here.

New NCAA Guidelines Aim to Improve Student-Athlete Safety

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Note: This blog has been cross-posted from the NCAA Sport Science Institute’s website with permission. The original alert appears here.

For the past six months, the NCAA and College Athletic Trainers’ Society have been working with prominent medical organizations, college football coaches, administrators and conference commissioners to develop new guidelines to improve safety for college student-athletes.

Today, those groups released three inter-association guidelines that address independent medical care for college student-athletes, diagnosis and management of sport-related concussion, and year-round football practice contact.

Highlights from the Inter-Association Guidelines

Year-round football practice contact

• Preseason: For days when schools schedule a two-a-day practice, live contact practices are only allowed in one practice. A maximum four live contact practices may occur in a given week, and a maximum of 12 total may occur in the preseason. Only three practices (scrimmages) would allow for live contact in greater than 50 percent of the practice schedule.
• Inseason (including postseason and bowl season): There may be no more than two live contact practices per week.
• Spring practice: Of the 15 allowable sessions that may occur during the spring practice season, eight practices may involve live contact; three of these live contact practices may include greater than 50 percent live contact (scrimmages). Live contact practices are limited to two in a given week and may not occur on consecutive days.

Independent medical care for college student-athletes

• Institutional medical line of authority should be established independently of a coach, and in the sole interest of student-athlete health and welfare.
• Institutions should, at a minimum, designate a licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.) to serve as medical director, and that medical director should oversee the medical tasks of all primary athletics healthcare providers.
• The medical director and primary athletics healthcare providers should be empowered with unchallengeable, autonomous authority to determine medical management and return-to-play decisions of student-athletes.

Diagnosis and management of sport-related concussion

• Institutions should make their concussion management plan publicly available, either through printed material, their website or both.
• A student-athlete diagnosed with sport-related concussion should not be allowed to return to play in the current game or practice and should be withheld from athletic activity for the remainder of the day.
• The return-to-play decision is based on a protocol of a gradual increase in physical activity that includes both an incremental increase in physical demands and contact risk supervised by a physician or physician-designee.
• The return to academics should be managed in a gradual program that fits the needs of the individual, within the context of a multi-disciplinary team that includes physicians, Athletic Trainers, coaches, psychologists/counselors, neuropsychologists and administrators, as well as academic (e.g. professors, deans, academic advisers) and office of disability services representatives.

To learn more about the inter-association guidelines and view additional resources, click here.

Kids Get Arthritis Too

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Young athlete

Juvenile arthritis affects kids ages 16 and younger

By Kelly Berardini, MHA, ATC

When Ann Huffman looks at old photos of her daughter Leslie and sees her little girl’s swollen wrists and fingers, she thinks, “How could I have missed that?” Leslie began exhibiting signs and symptoms of juvenile arthritis at age 5 but was not diagnosed until after her 11th birthday. A mother’s guilt hurts, but even Leslie’s pediatrician didn’t put the diagnostic puzzle together. This can be attributed to a lack of awareness - among parents and some healthcare professionals - that kids can get arthritis too.

It’s a common misconception that arthritis afflicts only the elderly, but nearly 300,000 American children age 16 or younger have been diagnosed with the disease. July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month- a great time to promote early detection and to connect families with essential resources.

Defining Juvenile Arthritis
Juvenile arthritis (JA)
is an umbrella term for several rheumatic disease manifestations affecting the joints and musculoskeletal system with onset before age 16. Different forms of JA share common signs and symptoms, but complications and treatment approaches vary per type. Only about 10 percent of children have a disease that closely resembles adult rheumatoid arthritis.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common form and is characterized by swelling of one or more joints for six weeks or longer. Other types of JA include dermatomyositis, lupus, scleroderma, Kawasaki disease, mixed connective tissue disease and spondyloarthritis (SpA).

Early Signs and Symptoms
Kids frequently can be sidelined by an injury or illness, whether a monkey bump from a bike wipe out or the latest green-snot-producing bug shared among classmates. When should an Athletic Trainer be suspicious that pain, stiffness or fevers could be JA? The following S&S warrant speedy referral:
• Joint pain: typically bilateral and worse in the morning. Most common sites are knees, wrists, ankles and jaw.
• Stiffness: limping, holding joints in fixed positions, struggling with normal movements (e.g., holding a spoon). Worse in the morning.
• Joint swelling: unrelated to acute injury. Joint might feel hot.
• Fevers (unrelated to acute infection): frequent temp spikes with malaise and fatigue. Might occur at the same time each day and then disappear.
• Rashes: persistent, faint pink rashes on the knuckles, across the cheeks nose, and/or on the trunk, arms and legs.
• Eye problems: persistent redness, pain or blurred vision. Some forms of JA cause serious ocular complications such uveitis.
• Weight loss with poor appetite and fatigue.

The prognosis for today’s young arthritis patients is much improved. Thanks to newer drugs and smarter use of older medications, kids with JA are leading healthier, more active lives with decreased incidence of joint damage.  Treatment options include NSAIDs, intra-articular corticosteroid injections, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs, e.g., methotrexate) and biologic drugs (e.g., Enbrel). Exercise therapy and regular physical activity can also decrease disease parameters and improve quality of life. The ultimate goal is remission - inactive disease.

Juvenile Arthritis and Sports
Children with JIA can safely participate in athletics when parents, physicians and Athletic Trainers monitor them carefully and follow evidence-based recommendations. In fact, inactivity can worsen disease symptoms and accelerate muscle atrophy and bone loss, so patients should be encouraged to participate within their tolerance and capacity.

Kids whose disease is well controlled and who are screened for C1-C2 instability can participate in contact sports. Activity should be limited during active disease flares with gradual return to play following.

1) DMARDs can cause significant side effects, including increased risk for infections. What procedures would you employ to help protect a JA patient from infections?
2) Spondyloarthritis accounts for up to 20% of JA cases. Review the clinical features of SpA, along with beneficial and contraindicated exercises for these patients.
3) Children with JA can benefit greatly from individualized exercise training within a group setting. How might you incorporate this model into your practice?

Arthritis Foundation
Kids Get Arthritis Too
American College of Rheumatology
Evaluation of the presentation of systemic onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: data from the Pennsylvania Systemic Onset Juvenile Arthritis Registry (PASOJAR).
Biologics for the treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a systematic review and critical analysis of the evidence.
Systematic review of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs for juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
The role of exercise therapy in the management of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Economic impact of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
The clinical effectiveness of intra-articular corticosteroids for arthritis of the lower limb in juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a systematic review
The future of treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Does sport negatively influence joint scores in patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. An 8-year prospective study.
Physical conditioning in children with arthritis: Assessment and guidelines for exercise prescription.
Pilot study of fitness training and exercise testing in polyarticular childhood arthritis.

Alaska Passes AT Licensure Law

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Alaska licensure bill signing

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell and bill supporters at a signing ceremony for the state's new AT licensure law

Alaska law now recognizes Athletic Trainers as healthcare providers, thanks to the passage of a new licensure bill. HB 160, signed by Governor Sean Parnell on June 18, requires Athletic Trainers (ATs) to be licensed in order to practice.

The new regulation is a victory not just for the athletic training profession but especially for the public. According to Lynne Young, M.Ed, ATC, an Alaska AT who advocated for the new regulation, this bill is an important step to protect young athletes and other community members.

“It ensures that those individuals on the sidelines taking care of our kids and community have met the requirements, education and necessary training to successfully perform their duties,” Young said. “The public would be sure that the person calling themselves an Athletic Trainer met the requirements to do so.”

Alaska is the 49th state to regulate Athletic Trainers, leaving only California without regulation. State licensure establishes ATs as recognized healthcare professionals who provide outreach, education and care, Young said.

“This will aid in the distribution of important timely information on prevention, management, and treatment of various activity related injuries and illnesses,” she said.

To qualify for licensure, an AT must be BOC certified, apply to the state regulatory agency, pay applicable fees and meet the agency’s requirements. Application details are not yet available.

2014 Dan Libera Award Recipients and Drawing Winners Announced

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The BOC exhibited at NATA’s 65th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in Indianapolis, IN, June 25-28. The BOC staff and board members were on hand to answer questions and connect with convention attendees at the BOC booth. Once again, we congratulate NATA for a great convention with attendance over 10,000.

On June 27th, the BOC Board of Directors and staff hosted a reception to honor BOC volunteers and to present the Dan Libera Service Awards. The BOC Dan Libera Service Award was established in 1995 to recognize individuals who have shown dedication to the mission of the BOC. Longstanding contributions to the BOC’s programs are the primary criteria for the award. Congratulations to this year’s award recipients!

2014 Dan Libera Award Winners

AJ Duffy, III

Valerie Herzog

Christine Odell

Kim Peer

Mark White

The BOC also congratulates Lynette Carlson, who was awarded the Lindsy McLean Scholarship sponsored by the BOC. This scholarship honors Lindsy, who was the first Chair of the Certification Committee.

This year, BOC staff members led an hourly trivia contest at the booth. Winners received $25 gift cards. Congratulations to the following trivia winners!

Trivia Winners

Fawn Michel

Dawn Hammerschmidt

Amanda Sampsel

Theodore Hirschfeld

Lucas Dargo

Mackenzie McLaughlin

Ashly McDaniel

Tieka Phiniezy

Brandon Johnson

Shabnam Dezfouli

Emily Dunn

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the BOC booth, and congratulations to the winners from our prize drawings!

Free Certification Plaque

Free Certificate

Free Self Assessment Exam

Lynne Young

Megan Davis

Heidi Lavorato

Jacqueline Phillips

D. Kalei Namohala

Brandon Grecinger

Andrew Calore

Ashley Kessler


Free Home Study Course

Mary Joos

Ron Wollenhaupt

Daniel Ryan

Amanda Baldwin

Lindsay Moccia

John Doherty

Lindsey Loughran

Bart Welte

Andrea Kovalsky

Alison Kotek

Ashley Thrasher

Shawn Giebner

Erin Garms

Jasmine Honey

Jessica Schumacher

Ospaldo Lopez

Encourage Free Play and Improve Youth Athleticism

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Free playBy Tim Koba

Eric Cressey wrote a great post on athleticism in young athletes, or the general lack of it. He has a great point on the deterioration of the raw athleticism of younger athletes that can be attributed to lack of physical education classes in high school, lack of free play and early sport specialization.

As professionals we can evaluate and analyze injuries, risk factors and treatment options, but we also need to educate our coaches, parents and athletes about the benefits of unstructured activities and physical fitness.

The proliferation of yearlong sports clubs and sport specific training programs may be helping to improve some sport skills, but it is at the cost of complete development, body control and general movement skills.

Working hard to educate our athletes and change the current patterns will hopefully bring back the times of fun play with friends outside of a structured sporting event. Kids need to have fun running, jumping, playing and discovering the joy of movement on their own while experiencing new things. While we may not be able to change everything all at once, we can offer guidance on returning to play for the sake of fun. We can also offer programs that reinforce discovery of movements in a fun setting that focuses on running, jumping, climbing and throwing in a less structured, but still controlled environment.

Have you seen successful programs that encourage more free play? What was the coach doing to develop overall athleticism and encourage free play?