Archive for May, 2016

In-Depth Look: Meet an Athletic Trainer who Specializes in Dance Injuries

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Posted May 24, 2016

Alison Deleget, MS, ATC, is the Program Manager at Harkness Center for Dance Injuries in New York City.  She works with research, education and clinical care of dance patients. 

Describe your setting:

I work at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, a non-profit organization which is part of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. We have several service areas including research, education and clinical care of dancer patients. The Athletic Trainers (ATs) in my department, me included, are skilled within all of these areas. We work with our dance companies to provide on-site care at the company studios, much like a traditional athletic training setting. We also provide educational workshops to dancers, dance teachers and healthcare providers. Our ATs are also an integral part of our research initiatives, authoring or co-authoring publications in dance medicine and serving as investigators on center-wide research studies.

In my current role as Program Manager, I am doing more administrative work now than clinical work. I oversee all service areas of the Harkness Center to ensure our patients are receiving the best possible care. I also ensure our employees are working in a safe and enjoyable workplace, and that the department is in compliance with all of the various state and federal guidelines governing medical practices.

How long have you worked in this setting?

I just celebrated my 10th anniversary at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries. I have been in my new position of Program Manager for the last 8 months. Prior to that, I held the title Clinical Specialist.

Describe your typical day:

That’s a tough one! Every day is different, which is one of the things I love about this job. In one week, I can be in several different places, doing very different things.

A typical week may involve: treating one of our companies at their studio, giving an educational workshop to dance students and working with physicians at our dance clinic. I also meet with my department’s management team and/or the hospital’s leadership and spend time completing the various administrative tasks that consistently need attention.

What do you like about your position?

I like the variety of job tasks. I like that I’m constantly challenged to learn and grow, both as a clinician and as a leader within my workplace. And, of course, I LOVE working with the dancers. I am in the unique position to say I do what I love – I get to combine my passions for dance and athletic training every day!

What do you dislike about your position?

I definitely have days when the administrative parts of this job are less than exciting. On those days, I do remember progress comes through good leadership, and I have the opportunity to help this organization grow every day.

Globally, I’m frustrated with the practice limitations ATs have in New York State due to limited third party reimbursement and a practice act that is in dire need of revision. Both of these issues are being actively worked on by dedicated people in New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA) and Eastern Athletic Trainer Association (EATA), so I know things are on the brink of changing for the better.

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

My advice to any AT who is interested in working with dancers or in the performing arts field is to be creative! This is a very new setting for athletic training, which means job opportunities are not plentiful just yet. But, there are thousands of dancers in the United States alone who need good care and would be very appreciative, dedicated patients!

If you can be creative and proactive, there are opportunities out there. Many employers would love to expand their practices into the dance world – a new population means a new revenue stream. They just need the right AT to open that door for them.


Is your secondary school eligible for the prestigious distinction of the NATA Safe Sports School Award?

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Posted May 19, 2016

By Jennifer Striggle-Young, MEd, LAT, ATC

Are you a secondary school Athletic Trainer whose athletic program provides or coordinates pre-participation physical examinations? Is your athletic equipment properly maintained and fitted to the individual wearing it? Does your school have an athletic training healthcare team in place with knowledge of automated external defibrillator (AED) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) care? These are just a few of the questions used to distinguish a school as a Safe Sport School. If you haven’t already done so, take this quiz, provided by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), to see if your school is a candidate for the award.

The NATA introduced the Safe Sport School Award in 2013 with the first group, consisting of 3 schools, recognized on April 12, 2013. The program was developed following the 4th Annual Youth Sports Safety Summit with the desire to reinforce the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment for student athletes around the country at the secondary school level.

To date, the NATA has awarded 766 schools, 728 first team and 38 second team. First team is awarded to those schools that act on all of the recommended and required elements. Second team is granted to schools that have completed only required elements. The awards are good for 3 years, and then the schools must reapply. The NATA has already started to receive renewal applications.

Tom Yabor, MS, ATC and head Athletic Trainer of William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Penn., first became aware of the NATA Safe Sports School award via a District II email blast. More encouraging emails followed, and he finally downloaded the application packet in spring 2015 to see what it entailed. He was surprised to see the school was already doing most of the recommendations. “Penn Charter has continually made health and safety of student-athletes a top priority. They have had an Athletic Trainer and supervising physician since the late 1960s!”

Tom is grateful to have a very good support structure at Penn Charter and an administration who gives them the tools needed to administer great healthcare to their students. After addressing every detail and submitting the application, William Penn Charter School officially became a first team Safe Sport School in summer 2015. They were the first school in the 5-county Philadelphia area to make first team.

In March 2013, past NATA president, Jim Thornton, MA, ATC, CES, stated, “Not only does this award highlight those schools that have put safety first, but it may generate some competition among schools to be the first in their community to receive it. The ultimate hope, however, is that 10 years from now the award will no longer be needed because Safety First will have become the norm.”

If you are a young or new and emerging athletic training program, the Safe Sport School application and checklist is a good place to start when developing your program. For existing programs Tom also believes, “The requirements of the Safe Sport School Award give good expectations of how to conduct a sports medicine program. It may aid in identifying inadequacies, which may sound like a negative, but that’s the only way you’ll become a better program.”

The Safe Sport School award information and application are available on the NATA website.  Any secondary school can apply. Applications require a $150.00 fee and must be signed by the school principal or athletic director and an Athletic Trainer or team physician. Schools qualifying for the award will receive a banner and artwork to promote their achievement.  Recognition as a Safe Sport School provides the opportunity to heighten the awareness of the AT’s role as a healthcare professional as well as reinforcing the importance of providing the highest safety standards for its student athletes.

About the Author

Jennifer Striggle-Young earned a Bachelor of Science from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. She also earned a Masters of Education from Temple University, Pennsylvania.  She has served as an Athletic Trainer in the secondary school setting as well as the orthopedic clinic setting.




How I Studied for the BOC Exam

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Posted May 17, 2016

Elishia Jackson

By Elishia Jackson, LAT, ATC

You were admitted to an athletic training program, spent hours with your head in text books and reviewing notes, and spent more hours observing and working with BOC Certified Athletic Trainers (ATs) to get your athletic training clinical hours. Now it is senior year and time to start studying for, quite possibly, the most important exam you’ll ever take, the BOC exam. If you’re nervous, don’t worry, that’s normal!

The first thing I had to remind myself was that, in actuality, the past 3 years in my AT program I have been studying for the exam. Everything I learned in classes and in the clinic have prepared me for the BOC exam and the professional world. Therefore, I collected past notes, exams and lab papers. Luckily, most of my documents were already organized into a very large binder – my athletic training “hero,” as I like to call it. I began there by reading and reviewing all that I had collected.

Another tool I used was Principles of Athletic Training – A Competency Based Approach by William E. Prentice. This was the first athletic training book I purchased when I started my athletic training program. I used it for reference throughout my time as an undergraduate, and I still continue to use it as an AT. With this book, I decided to start from the very beginning and read or scan through it from cover to cover and make note of concepts and topics I wasn’t comfortable with. Afterwards, I went back through and spent time reviewing and studying those topics more in depth until I felt confident with them.

I did also find it very helpful to utilize the sample exam questions and exam development and scoring from the BOC website. They offer 25 sample exam questions formatted in the exact way you will see them on the real exam. This was especially helpful because I felt more prepared knowing what to expect, including all the question formats, buttons to click for going to the next question, and answering the question or flagging the question to come back to at a later time. Find these and other BOC study tools here:

I dedicated about a week of study time to reading and reviewing the NATA Position Statements and Code of Ethics. These are important to know not only for the exam but for your future career as an AT.

NATA Position Statements:

NATA Code of Ethics:

When it comes down to it, everyone learns and studies differently. This is what worked for me, and I hope it gives you an idea of how you want to study for your own exam. Good luck!

About the Author

Elishia Jackson is originally from the small town of Orting in Washington State. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training with a minor in Coaching from Eastern Washington University in 2015. Jackson has experience with athletic training at the collegiate level (NCAA and NAIA), and high school level. Her passion for athletic training stemmed from her time as a junior level Olympic gymnast. Jackson suffered multiple injuries including a career ending neck injury. She believes working in the athletic training profession is a way to help others achieve their goals and dreams. In the future, she hopes to be able to enter back into the world of gymnastics as an Athletic Trainer.


What are the Health Risks of E-Cigarettes? Are E-Cigarettes a Safer Alternatives to Tobacco Cigarettes?

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Posted May 12, 2016

Nicole T. Wasylyk, MSEd, LAT, ATC

By Nicole T. Wasylyk, MSEd, LAT, ATC

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are a type of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), which are battery powered products delivering nicotine in the form of an aerosol or vapor.  ENDS, which include e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, hookah pens and vape pens, contain a liquid solution commonly composed of propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine and flavoring agents. These agents are then heated to create an inhalable aerosol.

E-cigarettes were first invented in Beijing, China by Pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003. Hon created the e-cigarette as a means to reduce tobacco smoking dependency; however, its efficacy in reducing dependency is now highly debated. Many of the ENDS products are marketed as healthier alternatives to tobacco or as a means of tobacco cessation, yet there is no current evidence to suggest ENDS are efficacious smoking cessation aids.1

E-cigarette use is rapidly increasing. The CDC reported in 2014 that approximately 12.6% of adults have tried an e-cigarette at one time in their lifetime with 3.7% being current everyday users.3  In teenage populations ENDS use more than doubled from 4.7% in 2011 to 10% in 2012.4  Sales have also risen over the past years with an estimated $3 billion spent globally in 2013.5  Although there is little evidence on the healthcare associated cost resulting from ENDS use, we do know the US healthcare costs for smoking-related illnesses are more than $300 billion annually.6

ENDS products are currently unregulated whereas tobacco cigarettes are regulated by the FDA. ENDS and e-cigarettes may contain any number of chemicals, and companies are not currently obligated to disclose this information. Lab tests conducted by the FDA in 2009 found cancer-causing chemicals in some e-cigarettes to include diethylene glycol, a chemical commonly found in antifreeze that is toxic to humans. They also found nicotine levels vary greatly even in products of the same label.7

So why do some think e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco smoking?

Smoking has known cancer causing effects and profound effects on tissue microenvironment. It affects both the inflammatory response and reparative cell function, which can lead to delayed healing. Tobacco has been shown to delaying the inflammatory response and impairing bactericidal activity. This delay reduces the body’s ability to control wound contamination, thus leading to a higher risk of infection.8 Tobacco also causes a vasoconstrictive response, believed to be an effect of nicotine. ENDS are thought to be safer since they lack tobacco. They do however contain nicotine along with a number of unknown chemical compounds. Further research is needed on ENDS regarding y their safety and their effects for both users and second-hand exposure.

As ENDS and e-cigarettes become more prevalent in our society, it is important to understand the associated risks with these unregulated items. It’s also important to consider counselling patients and student-athletes on risks of tobacco and nicotine use, especially in regard to their detrimental effects on healing and recovery from injury or surgery. Most importantly, ENDS should not be considered a safer alternative to tobacco or used as a means of tobacco cessation. Effective ways to quit smoking and ENDS use can include avoidance, individual or group counseling; behavioral therapy; over-the-counter or prescription medication or a combination of treatments. The US Public Health service has found combination therapy (medication and counselling) to be most effective in smoking cessation.9

For more information and resources on smoking cessation please visit or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)






6. Xu X, Bishop EE, Kennedy SM, Simpson SA, Pechacek TF. Annual Healthcare Spending Attributable to Cigarette Smoking: An Update[PDF–157 KB]. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2014;48(3):326–33 [accessed 2015 Aug 17].


8. Sorensen LT Wound healing and infection in surgery: the pathophysiological impact of smoking, smoking cessation, and nicotine replacement therapy: a systematic review. Ann Surg. 2012 Jun; 255(6): 1069-79


About the Author

Nicole Wasylyk works as an Athletic Trainer in a physician practice at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Prior to DHMC she resided in Madison, Wisconsin and was an Athletic Trainer in a physician practice at Meriter-Unity Point Health. Wasylyk obtained her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Boston University and Masters of Science in Education from Old Dominion University. She has completed a residency program for healthcare providers who extend the services of a physician at UW Health. Wasylyk also obtained her orthopedic technician certification. Her professional interests include injury surveillance and prevention, standardization of best practices and patient reported outcomes collection. 




What can PA7 do for you?

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Posted May 9, 2016

By Cherie Trimberger

Communications Coordinator

Imagine a Hollywood movie premiere event with red carpet, camera lights flashing and celebrities and press everywhere. It’s easy to picture the excitement and eagerness everyone shows before being allowed to experience and enjoy the final product.

I’ll admit, the Board of Certification (BOC) releasing the new Practice Analysis, 7th Edition (PA7) may not seem as glamorous as a movie premier. However, the important role PA7 plays in identifying essential knowledge and skills for the athletic training profession more than makes up for any lack of glitz and glamour.

PA7 depicts the current knowledge and skills entry-level Athletic Trainers (ATs) should possess within domains and tasks. This document is also one of the methods used to identify and prioritize the critical tasks of the profession and the essential competence an individual should possess to perform the required functions satisfactorily.

For certification purposes, PA7 is used to establish a defined set of domains, tasks and associated knowledge and skills necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the job to the standards required for certification. This document serves as a blueprint for exam development and continuing competence programming. PA7 will become effective for BOC exams beginning April 2017 and for continuing education beginning January 1, 2018.

In addition to the previous mentioned benefits, PA7 has many other uses for many difference audiences.

Candidates - Use PA7 as a study tool for exam preparation by looking at weak domain areas from a diagnostic report of self-assessment to get an idea of the content associated with them.1

Program Directors, educators and approved clinical instructors - Use PA7 in conjunction with competencies to develop athletic training education curriculum by seeing where the practice analysis corresponds with the NATA Executive Committee for Education’s competencies document.1

Employers - Use PA7 in conjunction with a state’s practice act to support the AT scope of practice. The practice analysis outlines the knowledge and skills entry-level ATs have been evaluated with.1

State regulators, state associations and legislators - Use PA7 as a resource to determine in what knowledge and skills entry-level ATs have been educated for the purpose of writing state and federal legislation.1

ATs – Use PA7 as a guide to identify areas in need of continuing education. If an AT knows they are weak in the domain of Injury/Illness Prevention and Wellness Protection, they can use the PA7 to identify the types of continuing education they should target. It can also be used to promote the profession by highlighting all the knowledge and skills ATs have.1

A full electronic version of PA7 is available for purchase from the BOC Store for $14.95.

The following supporting documents are available at no cost:

Content Outline for PA7

Comparison of PA7 to RD/PA6

How to Use PA7

The Role Delineation Study/Practice Analysis, 6th Edition (RD/PA6) remains in effect for the BOC exam until January/February 2017 and for continuing education until December 31, 2017. You can also learn more on the BOC website.


1. How to Use PA7:


After a Concussion, Watch for Red Flags

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Posted May 6, 2016

By Mackenzie Simmons, ATC

Over the past decade, there has been increased awareness about concussions in sports and other athletic activities. As the number of Athletic Trainers (ATs) has grown in a variety of settings, the rate of concussions has gradually increased as well. This is partially due to the fact that ATs are educated extensively in concussions, including baseline testing, diagnosis and return-to-play protocols. We are on the sidelines at many sporting events, which allows us to witness the traumatic impacts that cause concussions. We are trained in multiple testing systems that allow us to compare baseline scores to post-impact scores and educated in return-to-play guidelines that gradually allow an athlete to increase activity without stressing the brain.

Concussion symptoms will differ from athlete to athlete. While there are standard signs and symptoms for concussions, there are certain symptoms that warrant a more serious injury. There are several red flags that will indicate that the injury is more than just a concussion:

- Deterioration of neurological function

- Decreasing level of consciousness

- Decreasing or irregular respirations or pulse

- Unequal, unreactive, or dilated pupils

- Skull fracture (including cerebrospinal fluid from the nose or ears)

- Decreasing mental status and seizures

If an athlete presents with any of these aforementioned behaviors, he or she needs to immediately be referred to a physician. The athlete may have a secondary injury, including subdural hematoma, epidural hematoma, skull fracture or a cerebral contusion. Be thorough when evaluating for a concussion to ensure that these life-threatening injuries are handled appropriately.


Athletic Trainers in a Physician Practice

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Posted May 4, 2016

By Kathy I. Dieringer EdD, ATC, LAT

District VI Director

One of the many outstanding aspects of being a part of the athletic training profession is recognizing the progress we have made over the years, and seeing the possibilities in front of us. We certainly have not remained stagnant, which is vital for any profession, but especially one in healthcare. At times, recognizing we need to change is difficult—implementing change even more difficult. Such is the case with the elimination of the use of the term: physician extender.

Athletic Trainers (ATs) have worked closely with physicians for decades, with the term physician extender becoming popular in the 1980s, primarily as a means to easily identify how the AT or anyone else was functioning in a physician practice. A physician extender worked alongside the physician, “extending their services,” but clearly functioning under the physician’s supervision. The term quickly became universally accepted in all areas of healthcare, including among hospital and practice administrators.

Unfortunately, healthcare is now moving away from using this term, as it was being used to describe too many different types of healthcare providers, all of whom have different training and levels of competence. Other healthcare professions have already stopped using the term and are choosing, instead, to be referred to according to their credential. Indeed, some hospitals and physician practices have eliminated the existence of the employee position known as physician extender.

Another great concern is many ATs are referring to themselves as physician extenders, rather than as Athletic Trainers. Our profession is experiencing a very important time in our history. We are becoming leaders throughout healthcare, increasing our market penetration in every setting and increasing our presence in legislative and regulatory issues. The NATA is committed to establishing and reinforcing the brand of Athletic Trainer and is doing an exceptional job. As we continue to gain momentum in the recognition of our profession in the healthcare market, it is imperative that we refer to ourselves as Athletic Trainers.

For the reasons above, this issue was brought to the NATA Board of Directors by the NATA Committee on Practice Advancement, after it was also considered and approved by the NATA Terminology Workgroup. The Board of Directors unanimously approved this request in January, and the NATA began to work toward eliminating the term throughout all marketing material, articles, etc. ATs in this setting are asked to refer to themselves as “Athletic Trainers in a physician practice.”  This description supports our brand and further enhances our profession.

It is up to each of us to be an advocate in everything we do, but especially in how we refer to our own profession. We are Athletic Trainers first and foremost, regardless of setting or patient population.



Summer Sixteen: How to Survive Your Summer Athletic Training Experience

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Posted May 2, 2016

Kurt Andrews

By Kurt Andrews MS, ATC, PES, CES

It’s the last few weeks of your spring semester in the first year of your entry-level master’s program. Fatigue set in a long time ago. You have 3 different projects to finish up, and you’re over the grad-school diet of $5.00 Hot-N-Ready and the unlimited supply of Gatorade in your fridge. Your head is buried in between the pages of your Prentice book while there isn’t enough coffee left in your cup to keep you going through the night. Your hands rapidly flip through your upper eval class PowerPoint slides as you try to remember the difference between D1 and D2 PNF patterns for shoulder rehab exercises. We have all been there. Those days pass, and the grass gets greener. It is just a necessary part of the process.

As the summer approaches, some students prepare to enter the working world. Their days are filled with résumés, applications, interviews, rejections, second interviews, rejections, emails and phone calls with their Program Directors and clinical coordinators. Eventually, a job offer comes, and sooner or later it will come. For everyone else who has a year left in your program, summer time means the opportunity to go out and gain experience in the setting of your preference. As our profession continues to grow, more and more opportunities are out there to gain quality experience alongside Certified Athletic Trainers (ATs).

The Value of a Summer Experience

Gaining summer athletic training experience alongside ATs is very important and gives students the opportunity to work in the setting they see suitable for their prospective careers. It gives students the opportunity to decide whether or not the work environment meets their career wishes and interests. The experience emphasizes what students have learned in the classroom, but also teaches them important lessons about the athletic training profession outside the classroom.

One of the most important opportunities offered to a student is the chance to acquire new skills by observing the practitioners who work in that setting. However, students and practitioners must be aware of state regulations governing summer athletic training experience. Remember, students are responsible for knowing the state practice acts and what patient care they can engage in if this experience is not part of their clinical education.

Of equal importance, this experience allows many opportunities for students to network with people in their setting of interest who they otherwise would not have had access to. The first-hand experience also represents the crossover between the classroom and clinical setting, making it easier for students to kick start their careers post-graduation. At the culmination, the student should feel that it provided both career development and meaningful work experience. They should also feel they were able to explore their interests, develop their professional skills and continue to improve their competency.

It is especially important for those of us practitioners who work with athletic training students to realize that we have an opportunity to mold the up-and-coming ATs. We can be an integral part of the growing process for the students we work with, in addition to the future of our profession.

Tips for Athletic Training Students

As a current AT and former athletic training student, I can speak with confidence about how important these experiences are for students in the athletic training field. Therefore, the following are tips on how to get the most out of your experience:

- Be open minded and adaptable. The professional setting doesn’t always operate in black and white, and not every answer can be found in a book. In this role, you have to be able to problem solve and critically think under pressure.

- Show initiative. A good piece of advice I learned long ago, when I was 14 working at McDonald’s, was something my manager always said, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” You should never be bored nor should you be caught just standing around. Always have the mindset that something needs to be done or could get done.

- No one is too good or above doing a certain task. In this role, you are a very important part of the sports medicine team, so don’t think that your work goes unnoticed. Filling the fridges, doing the laundry, cleaning the coolers and warm/cold tubs, stocking the cabinets and cleaning the athletic training facility are part of your  daily tasks. If these tasks don’t get done, the team as a whole can’t function.

- Stand out for the right reasons. The goal of this experience is to further your clinical work experience. However, the importance of getting positive recommendations from the supervising practitioners cannot be understated. They are the ones who will be able to recommend you for future job openings.

- Plan for the financial burden. These positions are paid positions, which can help offset some of the incurred costs. Remember, you are there for the experience and opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally. This is an investment in your future, so plan out a budget for the summer and stick to it.

- Work hard. Keep your head down and stay focused. You want your peers, players, coaches, administrative and sports medicine personnel to remember you as the hard-working member of the team. You are a significant person on the sports medicine staff, and the tasks given to you are very important.

- Ask questions. This is the time to ask them. You are there to learn from experts currently in the field. If you feel uncomfortable asking a question, go home to do some research on your own and come in the next day to talk it over with your supervisor. Just remember to find the right time to ask questions. Each AT may have a different philosophy on when questions should be asked.

- Observe, listen, learn and repeat. Be a sponge. Listen to how the ATs interact with players, coaches and administrative personnel. Learn as much as you can from all the staff members you come in contact with. These observations will help you identify what is most important to put into your “athletic training tool box” and allow you to grow as a professional at your future clinical sites.

- Be punctual. This should be pretty straight forward: don’t be late. As a good rule of thumb get to work earlier than your boss. It will never be held against you.

- Don’t panic and have fun. Remember that you chose this because it will help you reach your professional goals. You got the position over other qualified candidates, so the staff has high expectations for you. Be confident. Laugh at yourself and with others. Learn from your mistakes and keep your head held high. You want to look back at the end of the summer with fondness at the memories you created.

About the Author

Kurt Andrews, originally from the metro Detroit area, graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in 2008 from Oakland University. He has been a BOC Certified Athletic Trainer since 2011 where he earned his master’s in Athletic Training from the entry level master’s program at the University of Arkansas. He currently is in his fifth year as an assistant Athletic Trainer for the Major League Soccer (MLS) club LA Galaxy. He currently holds memberships with NATA, CATA and PSATS where he serves on the sponsorship, continuing education and research committees and was presently serving as the Western Conference senator.