Archive for August, 2015

5 Common Football Injuries

Monday, August 31st, 2015

By Paul LaDuke, ATC

August in the United States is a hallowed month to many Americans as it brings the beginning of another football season.  Having played football at my high school in Colorado and during my (very small) college career in Wisconsin, I have always loved the start of football season because soon follow crisp autumn evenings, leaves changing color (at least in northern climates), marching bands adding atmosphere and tradition, communities bonding over their teams and high school athletes learning about real life outside the traditional classroom.  There is nothing more American than football.  Visit most rural towns on a fall, Friday night and the community is likely to be at the local high school game.  Personally, I love it!

We all know football is a collision sport with a high risk of pain and injury.  I look back at my own time playing football and the injuries I suffered and wonder if it was worth it.  My opinion is yes, it was worth it because life is a collision sport too.  Life will knock you down, cause you pain, tackle you or injure you at times.  But you get up when you can, you huddle up and you get ready for the next play.  Football taught me invaluable life lessons.

When given the opportunity to blog about 5 common football injuries, I jumped at the chance.  This season represents my 33rd football season directly involved with high school football and my 38th season at all levels.  I was the water boy in elementary school and junior high, played for 4 years, coached for 1 year and have been an Athletic Trainer (AT) for 22 years.  With all that experience, it is hard to limit it to 5 – but here are my 5.

Heat Stress Injury

Heat acclimatization has become a popular topic with many states and governing bodies passing legislation and guidelines to reduce the incidence of death and life-threatening situations.  ATs are highly educated experts in the recognition and treatment of this common injury.  The best programs do everything they can to prevent this injury.  Monitoring athletes’ daily body weight and ambient practice temperatures is vital to preventing heat illness.  Having a good Emergency Action Plan set into place is also vital to ensure best practice as soon as heat illness is recognized.

Separated Shoulder

The nature of football tackling, landing on elbows and shoulders often with other athletes’ bodyweight adding to the stress, makes separated shoulders a very common shoulder injury.  The severity of the sprain, the athlete’s range of motion and strength levels will determine the ability to play.  Preseason or earlier is a good time to review your team physician’s guidelines for referral and return to play.  Some of these injuries require surgery, but most don’t.  Some require several weeks to heal, others don’t.  The athlete’s position adds more variability into the decision process.  An injury to the quarterback’s throwing shoulder is different than to an inside linebackers.

Finger Injuries

Mallet finger, jersey finger and finger dislocations are very common because of blocking, grabbing jerseys, tackling and catching footballs.  These actions place the fingers at risk.  Some ATs are well versed in reduction of finger dislocations, but the AT must have reductions written into the agreement with their team physician.

Ankle Sprains

Poor practice field condition, tired legs, tackling and other variables increase the risk of ankle injury, with the most common being the inversion ankle sprain.  Since it is a common injury and preventing injury is best practice, there is much debate between ATs about taping ankles.  The reality is most are the sole AT at the high school, and with 50-90 athletes in the program, taping all the ankles to prevent a few sprains isn’t time- or cost-effective.  So, who do you tape?  Why do you tape?  Do you spat the athlete’s shoes?


Last, but not least, on my list is the granddaddy of them all – concussion!  Nothing has changed the game more in my 38 years of experience in the sport than the concussion.  Preventing concussions is important to the viability of the game, as governing bodies are taking steps to educate, to mandate proper treatment and return-to-play protocols, and to prevent concussion in football. Within the past year, I have read about college conferences who are limiting contact in practices to a few hours per week.  I have read news reports of state scholastic governing bodies who are also limiting practice contact.

While my state has yet to limit contact hours in a week, the football staff has already done it on their own.  The nature of football practice has dramatically changed in the past 5 years in my experience, reducing the number of concussions. The freshman team still hasn’t seen a reduction as poor tackling technique has been taught at the lowest levels of the sport.  Hopefully, the educational attempts of the American Football Coaches Association will help these lowest levels of the sport improve technique and further decrease the incidence of concussion.

There you have it: my opinion of the 5 most common football injuries.  Agree?  Disagree?  What are your experiences in your region of the US?  My instincts tell me different regions of the nation, socio-economic differences, setting, states and access to ATs will change your top 5.  Please share in the comments section below.



Year End Time Management Tips

Friday, August 28th, 2015

By: Cherie Trimberger

BOC Communications Coordinator

It’s hard to believe summer is coming to an end.  As the leaves turn colors, the weather become colder and pumpkin-flavored everything becomes available everywhere, from Starbucks to The Cheesecake Factory. Meanwhile, an important deadline for Athletic Trainers (ATs) is swiftly approaching.  There are only a few months left for ATs to complete their continuing education (CE) requirements.  The current reporting period ends December 31, 2015.

Applying an effective time management strategy is important in maintaining your certification.  Here are some tips to help you to manage your time and prepare for the end of the year.

Know Your Certification Requirements

Athletic Trainers (ATs) are required to complete the following to maintain their certification:

- Standards of Professional Practice
ATs are required to comply with the BOC Standards of Professional Practice, which consists of Practice Standards and the Code of Professional Responsibility.

- Emergency Cardiac Care
ATs must maintain ongoing Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) certification at the Basic Life Support/Professional Rescuer level or beyond.

- Certification Maintenance Fee
ATs are required to pay an annual certification maintenance fee.

- Continuing Education
ATs must complete a predetermined number of continuing education units (CEUs) during the certification maintenance period. The current period ends December 31, 2015.

- ATs certified in 2013 or before must complete 50 CEUs, which must include at least 10 Evidence Based Practice (EBP) CEUs.

- ATs certified in 2014 must complete 25 CEUs, which must include at least 5 Evidence Based Practice (EBP) CEUs

Stay Organized with 2015 Certification Requirement To-Do List

There are lots of great resources on the BOC website,, to help you find CE courses and get answers to questions about your CE requirements.  One very helpful tool is the 2015 Certification Requirement To-Do List.

A great way to stay organized is to print this to-do list and place it in some place you’ll be able to see  every day, whether it be your office at work or refrigerator at home.  As you complete your requirements, start checking them off the list.

Don’t Forget your Evidence Based Practice Requirements

The EBP category deserves a second look as you work through your CE plan.  As you may know, the BOC announced the EBP requirement in 2012, so ATs must now complete a minimum number of continuing education units (CEUs) in this category.

Fortunately, fulfilling your EBP CE requirement is just like completing any other CE program.  Simply make sure that, out of your total CEUs due, you have completed the minimum amount required from the EBP category.

You can find EBP CEs on the BOC website at (Hint: You can filter by several criteria by clicking the column headers.)  Click on the provider name for contact information for the program you want to take. Some course titles also contain links for additional information.

Approved CEs include both live and home study courses, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to check this requirement off your to-do list.  Begin with a Foundations of EBP program if you’re new to EBP principles.  Then, or if you are already familiar with EBP principles, move on to Clinical EBP programs in your areas of interest.

Don’t Wait to Record Your CEUs

Just imagine, it’s New Years Eve December 31, 2015, you log onto your computer to record your CEUs and the power goes out.  Or maybe your computer crashes, anything can happen when you wait last minute.  Maintaining your CE requirements is paramount to keeping your certification and your ability to work in the athletic training profession.  Don’t take this responsibility lightly and be proactive about recording your CEUs.

An AT who has reported CE activity online can log in to his/her personal profile in BOC Central™ and see the number of CEUs they have entered.  ATs who mail their CE reports to the BOC will not be able to see the CEUs entered in BOC Central™ until the CE report is received and processed by the BOC.

Here is how to record your CEUs online on BOC Central™

1. Log in to BOC Central™

2. Complete AT203 - Continuing Education Reporting Form (due by 12/31/2015)

- In the "Forms" section, click "Enter/Report CE Activities"

- In the "New Forms" tab, select AT203

- Enter details of CE activities

- Click "Save for Later" button until you have met the minimum CE requirements and are ready to submit your final report

- Return to the form in the "In-Process" tab to enter additional CE

- Click "Submit" button ONLY IF you are completely done entering CE and ECC for the current reporting period and have validated the confirmation statements

Just don’t forget to record your CEUs online or by mail by December 31, 2015.

Don’t Be Afraid to Contact the BOC with Questions

Questions? Comments? Email us at or give us a call at (877) 262-3926 (877-BOC-EXAM). You can also leave your thoughts below or send us a message via Facebook or Twitter.  We want to hear from you and answer your questions.  Don’t wait.  Contact us today!

PODCAST: Minnesota Vikings Head Athletic Trainer Discusses the Importance of the Certified Athletic Trainer Designation

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Eric Sugarman, Certified Head Athletic Trainer for The Minnesota Vikings, discusses the importance of the Certified Athletic Trainer (AT) designation during KFAN Sports Radio FM 100.3 interview.  He also discusses the role of an AT in preventing injury, encouraging hydration, rehabbing players and attending to injuries on the football field.


Audio from KFAN Sports Radio FM 100.3 Minneapolis/St. Paul.


Cultivating the Back-to-School Mindset

Friday, August 14th, 2015

By Desi Rotenberg, MS, LAT, ATC

As the summer months come to a close, and the seasons begin to change from hot, hot, hot to lukewarm, we are reminded of a cyclical occurrence known as “back to school.”  If you are living in the Midwestern United States or the New England area, you are accustomed to a seasonal, beautiful shift in the weather, as the leaves change colors and the mercury begins to drop.  Or you live in a warmer climate, where you are seeing the shift from hot summer to warm summer and then inevitability to cold summer.

Regardless of your location, the back-to-school vibe is everywhere including social media, commercials and the infinite number of “back to school” sales.  As an Athletic Trainer, high school teacher and an experienced student from ages 5-24, I cannot help but reflect on the mindset of a student prior to the start of the school year: The curiosity of which friend-group to choose; the excitement of the coming sports) season; the “thrill” of the SAT and ACT. All of the above occurrences, among many others, offer the promise of excitement amidst the monotony that is the school year.

Looking back on my years as a student, I remember that despite the back-to-school excitement, I eventually was blindsided by the inevitable large workload and stress of overwhelming obligations.  I felt that everything was happening all at once, and it was hard to gain control over all of my responsibilities.  It seemed that just as the new school year was getting underway, I was already muttering to myself, “The last day of school cannot come soon enough.”

I wish I would have known then, what I know now. The proverbial cliché of hindsight offers a resolution to the next generation. The purpose of this blog is to propose helpful organizational tools to Athletic Trainers and students based on my observations, experiences and reflections as a professional student.  Keep in mind, these are merely my opinions and my interpretations of the world I live in, and are by no means absolute or supreme; they are merely conceptual ideas, that can be attempted (through trial and error) or discarded.

Goal Setting

Before entering any new chapter in one’s life, whether it be a new school year, job or relationship, goal setting is one of the essential tools we can utilize to give our upcoming task meaning.  It first begins by coming to terms and acknowledging that the summer is over and a new chapter is beginning.  I deeply enjoyed this aspect of the process because it allowed me to reflect back on the summer. I was able to get a glimpse of how much I grew and matured as a person, the relationships that I cultivated and the experiences that brought me great joy.  As the quote goes, “Don’t be sad that it is over, smile because it happened.”

Plan to Achieve Goals

In order to set concrete, attainable and measureable goals, I needed a plan.  I identified what I wanted to accomplish: as a student, as an athlete, as a friend as an Athletic Trainer and any other aspects of my life where I felt I played a role.  It is also important to remember that change takes time.  Establishing a new routine is always challenging at first; it will take time to acclimate to the new school year as well as to the new you.  Patience and constant action (like with injury rehabilitation) will yield the best results.

Helpful Questions for Goal Setting

Questions to ask for goal setting and to keep in mind over the course of the entire year:

  • What do I want to accomplish this year?
  • What aspects of my job, school and personal life do I want to improve on?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • How can I leverage my strengths to work on and improve my weaknesses?
  • Do I have an open mindset?
  • Am I living day-to-day or focusing on the future?

Set Realistic Expectations

It is important to not set expectations. I started by having a conceptual idea of what I wanted to improve. Then I learned if I did not reach my goals, I would always be able to refocus and start again.  By not having expectations, I found that the fear of failure or making a mistake in my journey did not inhibit my progress or my will to try again.  Having an open mindset and realizing a little perseverance goes a long way, can alleviate the tension of acute change.

The following quote gave me great solace in times of feeling lost:

“Journeying into the unknown is the adventure that allows for the greatest amount of self-discovery.”

We do not know what the coming year will hold for us; but if we set our intentions and establish a concrete plan for personal growth, we can experience intellectual and personal maturation. This will allow us to maintain a degree of control over our thoughts, our actions and ourselves and can lessen the effects of distractions around us.

There will be bumps, there will be challenges and there will be off-days. But always remember, there is no such thing as a bad day; there are only good days and character building days. Believe in yourself and commit to being a better version of yourself as we enter the coming school year.



Transitioning To and Within the Real World: Advice from a Young Professional to Young Professionals

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

By Beth Wolfe, CAGS, ATC

August is a time for fresh starts and new adventures for many of us in the athletic training profession. For young professionals (YP), we might be starting a new path as a graduate student; transitioning to our first job out of our educational programs; transitioning to a new job; and some might be staying the course and starting a new year at their current employer.  Regardless of the path you might be on, here are 5 pieces of advice from a YP to YPs on how to make the best of this life and career transition month.

1. Stay humble. You are going to make mistakes and no one is perfect. Acknowledge your failures, embrace them and ask for help. These humbling moments are the foundation and cornerstones to becoming a more responsible, patient and wiser clinician and practitioner.

2. Find a Mentor. Having an experienced and trusted mentor is essential to your success within the athletic training profession. There are going to be difficult patient cases and administrative situations  you will need to seek help and advice for; have this person on speed dial.  Seek and find a mentor early as you will need this person(s) often.

3. Always be willing to learn. As healthcare providers, we will never stop learning. Learning requires us to listen and put aside our own personal beliefs and agendas in order to acquire and refine our skills.  Be a sponge around your colleagues and physicians as you will learn many valuable skills just by being in their presence, observing their techniques and asking questions.

4. Step up to the plate and swing. You will never develop or cultivate your skills and knowledge unless you use them.  Take the initiative to practice newly acquired skills, measure your patients’ outcomes and don’t rely and wait for someone else to give you directions.  If you encounter obstacles or set-backs along the way you can always ask for help, but it is up to you to take a walk into the batter’s box and swing the bat.

5. Find a way to give back. This profession and the people in it will give to you more than you will ever know.  Find a way to give back, and do it early.  From mentoring a young student or volunteering at a local event, pay forward something that is meaningful and purposeful to you.



In-Depth Look: An AT who worked for The Coca-Cola Company

Thursday, August 6th, 2015


Name and title:  

Deborah (Debbie) R. MacLean

Retired Manager, Health Management, The Coca-Cola Company

Describe your setting:  

I worked in a corporate/industrial setting with a 28,000 square foot fitness center located at the world headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company. The facility included locker rooms, an athletic training/physical therapy facility, a weight training area, racquetball courts, a group fitness room and numerous cardiorespiratory machines (treadmills, ellipticals, stationary cycles, etc.).  The facility and the programming were referred to as "HealthWorks" and were available to all 5,000 plus employees within the 5-building campus.

How long did you work in this setting?  

I worked there for 29.5 years and have recently retired.


Describe a typical day on the job:  

I don't know if any day was typical.  Like any other Athletic Trainer, you don't know what might happen in any given day!  However, here are several activities that might happen.  I would either open our facility at 5:30am or close it at 8:30pm, Monday through Friday.  I also assisted members with a workout plan including weight training, half marathon training, and/or improving their golf or tennis game.  I was responsible for conducting biometric screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, etc.) on new members joining the facility.  I also reviewed their results with them to help set or improve their lifestyle goals.

Occasionally, I would treat a cut over an eye of someone who was hit with a racquetball racquet on the court or an abrasion on the knee of a fallen runner from outside.  I once treated a dislocated little finger after the patient was hit with a hand weight.  In another instance, I immobilized a dislocated shoulder on the racquetball court for the EMTs.  I was also the first responder for members experiencing heart attack or stroke symptoms.  In addition, I visited employees’ offices to conduct ergonomic assessments to minimize the discomfort they experienced at their workstation.

I was in charge of leading a meeting of the inter-departmental wellness team.  I also led my staff in planning wellness programming, including our annual health fair with more than 50 vendors and almost 1,800 attendees.  I managed a team of 9 full- and part-time staff and participated in new employee selection.  I took referrals to orthopaedists or other specialists as needed for follow-up to an injury evaluation.  I also conducted ultrasound or e-stim on employees per request from our Medical Services department or their own physician.  This is a small sample of daily activities.

What did you like about your position? 

I really liked almost all the responsibilities of my position, so this is a difficult question.  I have always liked challenges.  I became an Athletic Trainer through the apprenticeship route after graduating from Emory University with degrees in biology and psychology.  The challenges of evaluating, treating and rehabbing athletes at Georgia Tech were motivating for several years.  Then, at The Coca-Cola Company, I faced challenges more administrative in nature.

My first big challenge involved our original aerobic dance class floor.  I began to notice and document quite a few injuries to individuals taking and teaching classes, including injuries to the shins, knees, hips and back.  After recording this data for about a year, I was able to convince our director we needed to replace the original rubber-type flooring with something more shock absorbing.  So, even though we had only been open less than 2 years, we replaced the 2,000 square foot studio with a suspended wood floor, and the injury rate dropped immediately.

A favorite challenge I faced on numerous occasions was customer service focused.  Anytime you deal with customer service, there are those who want to complain about something.  I loved the challenge of interacting with those individuals and resolving their issue with a win-win solution. I made them think they had won, but know I didn't give them everything they wanted.  Athletic Trainers also face this type of challenge with players and coaches at times.

Another regular challenge was performing workstation ergonomic assessments, making recommendations and receiving feedback. Then, I evaluated whether the changes I made to their workstation had reduced or even eliminated their physical discomforts.  Overall, I really liked the continuous variety I experienced in my position!

What did you dislike about your position? 

I guess the least-liked part of my job was completing reports and administrative activities.  I’m not the type of person who likes to sit still for long.