Archive for the ‘AT Life’ Category

In-Depth Look: Associate Head Athletic Trainer for UTSA Women’s Basketball

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Posted March 24, 2017

Brenna Ellis, ATC is Associate Head Athletic Trainer for University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) for Women’s Basketball. She has worked in college athletics for 18 years.

Describe your setting:

I work in the collegiate setting and oversee our female athletes on the women’s basketball team. Our medical team consists of athletic training staff, physicians, a registered dietitian and mental health professional. I also oversee mental health and sports nutrition services, supervise 8 assistant Athletic Trainers and coordinate billing and insurance.

How long have your worked in this setting?

I have worked in the collegiate setting my entire career, starting as a graduate assistant at the University of Arkansas. I worked 1 year at Towson University as Assistant Athletic Trainer, followed by my current position at UTSA.

Describe your typical day:

My typical day varies from semester to semester. Currently, my mornings are spent doing administrative work and student athlete appointments with physicians, imaging and other groups. This includes working on billing and insurance, scheduling appointments for student athletes or accompanying student athletes to appointments. I also try to schedule any meetings in the morning with our staff, coaches and administration. In addition, we do regular performance team meetings for each sport that consists of the coaching staff, team Athletic Trainer, strength and conditioning coach, academic advisor and any other necessary athletic department staff.

Afternoons are typically filled with providing healthcare to student athletes, providing  care at practice or preparing for a game. My team currently practices late afternoon, so treatments begin early afternoon and the day ends with post-practice treatments. My day ends around 7:00pm on a typical day.

What do you like about your position?

I love that I get to combine clinical athletic training and administrative responsibilities in one day. I enjoy working with women’s basketball. I get to serve a great group of student athletes and work with very supportive coaches. I have a wonderful support system in our team physicians, head Athletic Trainer and athletic training staff. I enjoy bringing all disciplines of sport performance together to collaborate and see our student athletes reap the benefit of team approach care. Lastly, I enjoy the science of our profession and being able to implement medicine and science into the sports and competition world. It provides for an indescribable, but enjoyable challenge.

What do you dislike about your position?

One of the challenges we have noticed at UTSA is the student athletes’ schedules are getting tougher to work around. Obviously, their academics are a priority so we cannot pull them out of class to do treatments. It can make scheduling off campus appointments difficult. I often joke we are close to having evening hours just to get everyone taken care of. That could be a reality soon. This can create work-life balance issues for our staff. We are very lucky that our administration has increased our staffing so that some of us can work a non-traditional work day when necessary to care for our student athletes, without working an 18 hour day.

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

I love the setting I have chosen. I would gladly tell any young AT that if they are looking for a competitive environment with a diverse group of people who challenge your thinking and skills daily, college athletics is for them. No 2 days are alike and there is a lot of room to grow and expand your skill-set. It has been a very rewarding profession for me, and I would love the opportunity to share it with others.

 

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NATM in NYC: 2017 Kick-Off at the “TODAY Show” and “Good Morning America”

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Posted March 23, 2017

By Beth Wolfe, CAGS, ATC

National Athletic Training Month (NATM) is one of the most energized and impactful months of the year for our profession, and the NATM in New York City event continues to be a great kick-off for the month of March. This year there were approximately 100 AT students, Certified Athletic Trainers (ATs), family and friends who attended both the “TODAY Show” and “Good Morning America” with NATM signs and t-shirts. Additionally, this year was extra special as a group of students and ATs were able to obtain tickets for the seating area of “Good Morning America.” The blue NATM t-shirts were visible on national TV multiple times over the course of the show!

Inside the “Good Morning America” studios, 20 students, ATs, family and friends were given the opportunity to educate the “Good Morning America” staff and fellow guests about the athletic training professions. They were also able to raise awareness about NATM..

Michael Strahan even came over to introduce himself and was given a blue NATM shirt by the event organizer, Lauren Stephenson. Over the course of the show, our group was coached by the “Good Morning America” staff on how to applaud, cheer and react to the stories and segments of the show. Needless to say, ATs are very talented and skilled in sound effects and show business!

Overall, this group of students and ATs were not camera shy and represented our profession in a very positive and professional manner. This “Good Morning America” appearance was fun, exciting and empowering for all who attended. We hope we can continue this advocacy tradition for many years to come!

Every year, this event continues to get larger and better. I would like to send a special thank you to Lauren Stephenson at SUNY-Stony Brook for organizing and coordinating this great event! For additional pictures, videos and media of this year’s event, please visit the NATM in NYC Facebook page or the NATA District 1 and District 2 social media outlets listed below.

Twitter and Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/NATMinNYC/

@NATA_District 1

@natad2

Beth Wolfe
CAGS, ATC

About the Author

Elizabeth “Beth” Wolfe is the Injury Prevention Coordinator and Research Assistant for the Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Wolfe completed her undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina and her master’s and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study at Boston University. Currently, Wolfe is pursuing her Doctorate of Health Science in Healthcare Administration and Leadership from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University. Within Massachusetts and the greater Boston area, Wolfe is a collaborator and lead author on numerous injury prevention projects and coalitions that revolve around road safety, fall prevention and brain trauma/concussion prevention. She is an active member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and is the District 1 Young Professionals Committee Representative and the Treasurer for the Athletic Trainers of Massachusetts.

 

In-Depth Look: Head Athletic Therapist for the Kingston Frontenacs Hockey Club

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Posted March 7, 2017

Ryan Bennett, BHED, Dip SIM, CAT(C), ATC, CSCS is Head Athletic Therapist for Kingston Frontenacs Hockey Club, a major junior hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League. He has worked for 12 seasons in this league.

Describe your work setting:

I work for a major junior hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League. Currently, there are more players who go to the National Hockey League from our league than any other junior league in the world. It is a field setting, but I have a clinic and office I use for rehab and treatments.

How long have you worked in this setting?

I am in my 12th season in this league. Before that, I worked 4 years in professional hockey, mainly in the American Hockey League.

Describe your typical day:

There isn’t really a typical day for me as we play or practice at different times depending whether it's a weekday or weekend. Typically, we play 2-3 days a week, have 1 day off where only injured players report and practice each day the rest of the week. Our season starts with training camp in early September. The end of season is late March with a possibility of 9 weeks of playoffs. We play 34 home games and 34 road regular season games.

A typical practice day has me arriving around 8:45am to prepare for our older, non-high school players' arrival at 9:30am. They workout or receive necessary treatment until 11:00am. Once they have left for lunch, the equipment manager and I work on laundry, tidying the dressing room and gym and getting the bench ready for afternoon practice. Players arrive back around 1:00pm, and I work on any pre-practice stretching, taping, wrapping and treatment. Practice starts around 2:15pm, and I watch for issues and injuries from the bench.

When practice ends at 4:00pm, I supervise the high school players' workout and perform any other stretching or necessary treatments. The players leave around 5:00pm. At this time, the equipment manager and I work on laundry, and clean and prepare the dressing room and gym for the next day. I typically leave the rink at 6:00pm.

Game days have a similar morning with a few hours break in the middle of the day. I arrive back at 3:00pm to prepare. The players arrive between 4:00pm-5:00pm. Games usually start at 7:00pm, and I get home after the game and cleanup, between 11:00pm and 12:00am.

What do you like about your position?

I grew up playing hockey so I've always loved the team atmosphere, it's like a second family. The feeling of winning, especially big games and championships, is second to none. Treating elite and motivated athletes twice a day allows me to see quick improvements. It's very rewarding to get them playing ahead of doctors' estimates. Hockey has also allowed me to travel all over the province, country and world with my junior teams and international programs.

What do you dislike about your position?

I've missed many events including weddings, funerals, birthdays and celebrations of friends and family which is unfortunate. My schedule isn't very flexible and doesn't allow for any missed or sick days. I've missed only 2 games over 12 years, for my daughter's birth. It's also tough being away from my family during long days and long road trips. However, things like FaceTime help and having summers off goes a long way to make up for it.

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

For those looking to work as an athletic therapist or Athletic Trainer (AT) with an elite sports team, I would suggest volunteering as an assistant to make sure you understand the huge level of commitment required to do a good job. Also, work with as many different ATs and other healthcare providers as possible. The skills and connections gained from other healthcare professionals will prove invaluable. Finally, nobody gets into this field for the hours or money so make sure you're learning and enjoying your job every single day. This is what I do and I haven't worked a day in my life!

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Cardiac Screening in High School and College Aged Athletes

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Beth Druvenga
M.S. Ed, LAT, ATC

Posted March 3, 2017

By Beth Druvenga, M.S. Ed, LAT, ATC

The inherent risk of injury when participating in some form of competitive athletics is widely accepted. Athletes suffer sprains, strains, concussions, fractures, contusions and lacerations to name a few injuries. A risk not so widely accepted is the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) or sudden cardiac death (SCD).

We have all seen the stories on the news or read the articles: A young athlete gone too soon. Athletes are in shape and generally in good health; they are not supposed to be participating one minute and unresponsive the next. As an empathetic, reasoning and rational culture, we cannot accept young lives being taken unexpectedly during athletic participation. But, it does happen. As an Athletic Trainer (AT) there is a list of potentially fatal events which may occur every day. I have to take a time out before games to internally review my emergency action plan (EAP), to prepare myself for the worst.

According to a 2011 study by Harmon et al., “SCD is the leading medical cause of death in NCAA athletes, is the leading cause of death during sport and exercise, and occurs at a much higher rate than previously accepted.”1 Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and coronary artery anomalies account for 53 percent of all sudden cardiac deaths.2 Universally, professionals in the cardiac and sports medicine world alike have a common goal of preventing sudden cardiac death in athletes.4

To help prevent SCD, scientists and researchers have encouraged cardiac screening as a tool to detect underlying cardiac disorders and take the necessary steps for prevention. In fact, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association or International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) have made cardiac screening mandatory before competition, and the International Olympic Committee encourages it as best practice.3 However, in the United States, only the National Basketball Association (NBA) mandates electrocardiograms (ECGs) or echocardiography annually.2

In Italy and Israel, it is required as part of a pre-participation examination (PPE) to have a cardiac screening.4 While in the United States a PPE involves a medical questionnaire and physical examination by a healthcare professional.2 And although the American Heart Association (AHA) supports pre-participation cardiovascular screening, it also acknowledges that it is not practical in mass context or nationwide mandate, due to the cost being an estimated 2 billion dollars per annum. Thus, the question remains. How do we move forward?

Until a nationwide, homogenous standard for cardiovascular screening is established for all high school and college aged athletes, take a look at some ways to combat SCA and SCD.

- Review your PPE questionnaire to confirm it includes questions the AHA supports for detection of potential cardiovascular disorders. Verify that these exams are being performed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant; someone who is trained and comfortable with detection of cardiovascular problems. According to the AHA, there is an increasing trend of states allowing chiropractors and naturopaths to perform PPE screenings, though they lack the cardiovascular screening training.2

- Review your facility’s EAP with not only your sports medicine staff but with people in the building who will be present when the EAP is put in to action. I am certain there are coaches and administrators who receive their EAPs but fail to read them and are not familiar enough to confidently put them into action.

- Get an automated external defibrillator (AED). I repeat, get an AED! Early defibrillation is essential during SDA to increase the chances of survival. If your school doesn’t have an AED, there are many grants and resources available to assist you in acquiring one.

- Consider providing cardiac screening for your school. There are many companies that perform cardiac screening, so reach out to your community and see what is out there. The most basic cardiac screening consists of a 12-electrode ECG which analyzes resting heart rhythm. This can help detect cardiac anomalies which may require further testing.

You, as an AT, are the best resource. Advocate for your athletes. I know ATs who have lost a student athlete to SCD. My hometown lost a student athlete to SCD during a wrestling tournament a little over a year ago. It all begins with YOU. Do your research to help prevent SCD and protect your athletes. Below are resources for cardiac screening and resources for AED grants, and I urge you to utilize them.

Cardiac Screening Resources

Parent Heart Watch: https://parentheartwatch.org/events/

AED Resources

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation: www.sca-aware.org/school/funding-sources

References

1. Harmon, K., Asif, I., Klossner, D., & Drezner, J. (2011). Incidence of Sudden Cardiac Death in National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletes. Circulation, 1594-1600.

2. Maron, B., Thompson, P., Ackerman, M., Balady, G., Berger, S., Cohen, D., et al. (2007). Recommendations and Considerations Related to Preparticipation Screening for Cardiovascular Abnormalities in Competitive Athletes: 2007 Update. Circulation, 1643-1655.

3. Schmied, C., & Borjesson, M. (2013). Sudden cardiac death in athletes. Journal of Internal Medicine, 93-103.

4. Steinvil, A., Chundadze, T., Zeltser, D., Rogowski, O., Halkin, A., Galily, Y., et al. (2011). Mandatory Electrocardiographic Screening of Athletes to Reduce Their Risk for Sudden Death: Proven Fact or Wishful Thinking? Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 1291-1296.

About the Author

Beth Druvenga is an Athletic Trainer currently living in northern Virginia. She has experience working in both a collegiate and high school setting. Druvenga is originally from Iowa where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Athletic Training from Central College in 2012. She graduated from Old Dominion University in 2014 with a Master of Science in Education. Her professional interests include patient-reported outcomes, psychology of injury and rehabilitation as well as using yoga to increase flexibility.

 

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NATM in New York City

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Posted February 8, 2017

By Lauren Stephenson, MA, ATC

“Athletic Trainers Save Lives.”

“Every Body Needs an Athletic Trainer.”

“We’ve Got Your Back.”

“We Prepare You Perform.”

“A Safer Approach to Work, Life & Sport.”

“Your Protection is Our Priority.”

Every March Athletic Trainers (ATs) are dedicated to promoting National Athletic Training Month (NATM) and the athletic training profession. At Stony Brook University (SBU), we began a NATM tradition in 2012 with an inaugural trip to the “TODAY Show” in New York City to help kick-off NATM. The first year, there were a total of 30 students, faculty and staff attending all wearing university attire and carrying signs promoting the NATM slogans.  The trip was a huge success!  We received recognition from the hosts of the show and enjoyed some great group activities. The activities included breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway and a visit to the Body Worlds exhibit. The trip made such an impact that we decided to continue the tradition the following year.

In 2013, our group of now almost 50 including alumni (and we thought 2012 was huge), made the very early-morning, and much colder, trek into New York City for another amazing day. Our group filled an entire side of the “TODAY Show” corral with ATs and AT students. We followed this with breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner s and a tour with Jim Ramsay, head AT for the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

With a couple of years’ experience under our belt, we decided to make an even bigger impact in 2014 by inviting our colleagues from all of District 2. This was the biggest success yet with over 200 ATs and AT students lining the entire “TODAY Show” corral.  We held signs with our new NATA logo and were proud to represent all regions of District 2, now this was huge.  Our breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner became a networking event for students from varying institutions. Then, the SBU crew followed that with a custom mouth guard workshop at New York City dental school.

In preparing for our 2015 event, we wanted to make our NATM kick-off tradition have an even greater impact Let’s get the word out that March is National Athletic Training Month! So we decided to not only attend the “TODAY Show”, but to also include the audience of “Good Morning America.” In addition, we invited District 1 to join us. In 2015, we gathered 100 ATs and students at each location and gained recognition from Robin Roberts at “Good Morning America.”  Our breakfast networking continued at Ellen’s Stardust Diner and several schools attended the Body World Exhibit together.

In 2016, we continued this tradition of attending 2 shows and set an all-time record of over 250 ATs and students! After breakfast, the SBU crew enjoyed an amazing experience with performing arts ATand SBU alumnus, Monica Lorenzo, MS, ATC at Radio City Music Hall. Lorenzo is an ATfor The Radio City Rockettes.

2017 marks our sixth year for NATM in New York City. It has become a tradition, not only for SBU, but for many ATs and AT programs in the northeast. We have over 13 institutions throughout Districts 1 and 2 represented and are looking forward to promoting this year’s slogan: “Your Protection is Our Priority.”

Every year we receive snap shots from people watching their TVs all over the US. They are always excited to see friends and colleagues and our NATA logo plastered across their morning news screens.  It has always been our goal to promote our profession. However, our event has evolved into an experience of camaraderie among all those in attendance, sharing an unparalleled experience of professional pride.

Being in New York City, we are lucky we have access to some of the largest morning news shows in the country. However, we recognize that travel to New York City in March is not feasible for ATs across the US. We have found this type of NATM event to be very rewarding, and we hope you join us in seeking out your local morning news show to help promote the athletic training profession in March. Here are some tips for making a successful local event:

1. Find out if your local news station allows visitors for a live audience.

2. If they allow visitors, check in with other local AT programs and ATs to see if they want to attend.

- Local AT associations also can send out a mass email with your contact info.

- The more people the greater the impact.

3. Make a spreadsheet that includes one contact for each interested institution.

4. When you a have general idea of how many will be in attendance, use the NATA PR Toolkit for NATM to create a press release and send it to the news station. You can find the NATA PR Toolkit at  https://www.nata.org/advocacy/public-relations/national-athletic-training-month.

5. Create an itinerary for the day and make sure you arrive very early to get a good spot.

- Be detailed so everyone knows where to go and who to direct questions from the producers to.

- Breakfast or a fun event afterward is always a bonus.

6. If you can’t get a large group together, just get started with your own group and it will grow from there.

If you’re interested in attending NATM in New York City or would like some guidance on starting your own event, please contact lauren.stephenson@stonybrook.edu. You can follow our event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NATMinNYC  or on the “TODAY Show” or “Good Morning America” on March 3, 2017.

Happy National Athletic Training Month!

 

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Patient Reported Outcomes in Clinical Practice

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Posted January 17, 2017

Beth Druvenga
M.S. Ed, LAT, ATC

By Beth Druvenga, M.S. Ed, LAT, ATC

As athletic training pushes to the forefront of healthcare professions, it is necessary for us to also change with the times. The Institute of Medicine urges healthcare educational programs to incorporate outcomes that are reported by the patient into their curriculum as to enhance clinicians’ decision making processes and drive forward patient centered care.1 Patient reported outcomes (PROs) are a valuable tool for Athletic Trainers (ATs) to add to their arsenal of evaluating their patient as a whole. With the addition of PROs into educational programs,1 this gives the student a chance to learn how and when to utilize these outcomes. It also makes it easier to analyze and interpret the results.

Many clinicians are hesitant to use PROs, especially in the fast-paced world of athletic training. Some of the greatest barriers to using PROs are time, comprehension and independence. Most clinicians and patients, report that it takes too much time to complete the surveys, and therefore, do not want to include them in their plan of care. Others report that patients don’t understand the questions and cannot properly fill out the survey without dependence on the clinician.1 How can we break through these barriers?

Initially, it may take time to walk the patient through the survey, but after they understand it, they can independently complete it at subsequent times. On the patient’s side, they can complete the survey while they are hooked up to electrical stimulation, icing or heating. This breaks down the time, comprehension and dependency barriers. It could be easily argued that recording PROs is as important to the patient’s rehab as recording objective measures of range of motion, strength and flexibility.

Once you’ve decided to use PROs, there are some things to consider for picking the correct outcome measure to use. First is to select the type of PRO. There are PROs to record the overall health related quality of life, the patient’s whole body health or information that focuses directly to one area of the body. The PRO that focused directly to one area of the body will be best suited for the outcomes most ATs will want to measure.

Once the type is determined, it’s time to decide on the quality of the PRO. In determining the quality, a clinician should look at the reliability and validity of the measure. This is to make sure that the outcome measure accurately shows change over time for the intended population and evaluates items which are important to the clinician and the patient. 2 Other elements to look at are the stability of the measure to reproduce a same score when a patient’s health status has not changed and responsiveness to detect how true the change in the score is over time.2

Along with the internal elements of the outcome measure, the measure also should be patient and clinician friendly, easy to use and score and support the goals that have been made for the patient. If you are interested in adding PROs into your practice but are still not sure where to go, http://www.orthopaedicscores.com/ is a valuable website. This resource has PROs grouped into specific categories as well as offers printable excel files.

One of the best reasons to use patient reported outcomes is to increase communication with the patient and to direct the patient’s care plan.1 Utilizing PROs in conjunction with clinician reported outcomes can enhance the rehabilitation process. Imagine the scenario of a patient returning from ACL surgery. By utilizing PROs, they will be able to see their progress from day 1 to present. As ATs, we watch our patients go through the highs and the lows of their rehabilitation process, including days where they feel like they haven’t made any progress. PROs, in conjunction with clinician reported outcomes, are valuable tools to utilize in helping patients reach their goals.

Resources

1. Snyder Valier, A. R., Jennings, A. L., Parsons, J. T., & Vela, L. I. (2014). Benefits of and Barriers to Using Patient-Rated Outcome Measures in Athletic Training. Journal of Athletic Training, 674-683.

2. Valier, A. R., & Lam, K. C. (2015). Beyond the Basics of Clinical Outcomes Assessment: Selecting Appropriate Patient-Reported Outcomes Instruments for Patient Care. Athletic Training Education Journal, 91-100.

About the Author

Beth Druvenga is an Athletic Trainer currently living in northern Virginia. She has experience working in both a collegiate and high school setting. Druvenga is originally from Iowa where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Athletic Training from Central College in 2012. She graduated from Old Dominion University in 2014 with a Master of Science in Education. Her professional interests include patient-reported outcomes, psychology of injury and rehabilitation as well as using yoga to increase flexibility.

 

Utilization of Sport Psychology in the Rehabilitation Process

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Posted January 9, 2017

Beth Druvenga
M.S. Ed, LAT, ATC

By Beth Druvenga, M.S. Ed, LAT, ATC

“Sports are 10% physical, 90% mental,” this common phrase used in sports is easily transferred into the world of injury rehabilitation. Sport psychology has started to be incorporated into the sports medicine realm.  Athletic Trainers (ATs) are required to participate in some type of psychological or behavioral classes as part of an athletic training program curriculum. Many people have heard of collegiate or professional athletes using psychological techniques such as imagery, stress reduction and positive self-talk as part of their pre-game regimen. They have credited these techniques as helping their game excel, but what if we transferred these techniques into the athletic training facility?

There are some athletes who still feel the stigma of psychosocial help and may not see it as the ATs “place” to employ sport psychology theories into the rehabilitation program.1 However, these interventions have been shown to have positive effects on athlete compliance to rehabilitation programs, better rates of recovery and may help alleviate stress or anxiety.4,3

As ATs, we are put into the unique role, which allows us to control many aspects of the rehabilitation process such as; creating a positive atmosphere, maintaining athlete compliance and providing social support for the injured athlete. We can easily facilitate the discussion with the athlete about how they feel regarding their injury, refer them to another healthcare professional or help them cope with their injury. ATs are on the front lines of student-athlete wellness. Having awareness and knowledge about the psychosocial aspects of the sport allows ATs to take greater care of the athlete, which will hopefully reduce injury recovery time.

Use your tools of the trade! As a professional, it is intrinsic to give our athletes feedback and cues on how to do their exercises correctly. We help set achievable goals in their rehabilitation and lift them up when they’re having a rough day in rehab. All athletes have some part of their identity associated with being an athlete. Being aware of any changes in this identity can be useful for an AT to help in identifying any issue that may appear. These are all subtle psychological interventions!1 Though subtle is sometimes best, there are some more direct ways that can be beneficial to the athlete.

Start by having the athlete write down goals for each week in a journal or on a rehab sheet. The ability to see these goals daily during rehab will ingrain in the athlete’s mind about what they have set out to do for the week and will motivate them to make progress.2 They can acknowledge their goals while doing specific exercises and visibly see their progress written out. Talking with the athlete about their motivation for recovery can also be helpful. By understanding the athletes “why” early in the recovery process, you can help remind them of this “why” during the difficult days.

Add imagery into their program. Imagery is a process which involves three steps: vividness, controllability and self-perception.5 Especially with post-surgical cases and prior to the exercise, have the athlete imagine the muscles they use to do a specific exercise (vividness). After they have done this for a few minutes, have them move on to imagining going through the exercise and completing it successfully and pain free (controllability). Then, after doing this step for a few minutes, finally have the athlete think about a time where they were performing at their best, what emotions they had and what it took for them to feel that way.5 Imagery can be used in pain management as well. Having the athlete view the pain as a “hot” color like red and change it to a “cool” color like blue, which can help reduce pain.6

Teach them positive self-talk. Athletes are quick to get down on themselves if they aren’t performing the task perfectly. Have the athlete use “I can”, or “I will” statements before tackling a tough exercise. This practice will positively engage the brain and give the athlete the boost to achieve their goal. Another way to enhance confidence is to view the setback or injury as a challenge and obstacle to overcome rather than a threat to athletic identity. Changing the perception will help the athlete remain optimistic during a potentially difficult period of life.

Create a peer to peer group.2 A peer to peer group can be led by a sport psychologist or qualified mental skills coach, which can meet to discuss the “boo’s and yay’s” of that day’s session. Athletes need to know they’re not the only one struggling with certain things. When they can dialogue with others in a controlled setting, they may find it beneficial to talk with others going through similar situations. They can also share techniques which have helped them and may  help other athletes.

Many ATs do not feel adequately equipped to walk athletes through the psychological aspects of return from injury. If this is the case, search for local sports psychologist or qualified mental skills coach, who work with adolescents or young adults. A great resource is the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, they have information for consultants in your area, as well are plenty of resources on injury/rehabilitation.

In the college/university setting, seek out your psychology or kinesiology professors. They may have an interest in the area of sport psychology and would be willing to provide guidance and expertise. Seek out workshops, lectures and continuing education that touch upon applying psychology into the athletic training facility. As ATs, we are uniquely taught and equipped to handle many different and difficult facets of injury, rehabilitation and return to play. We have an overflowing toolbox, but adding sport psychology training may prove to be a welcome addition.

**Huge thank you to my brother Joel Druvenga, a Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert with Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness at Fort Riley Army Base. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Master of Education in Counseling with an emphasis in Sport Psychology.  He is also working toward a Doctor of Education in Kinesiology. He provided me with valuable insight into the realm of sport psychology and utilizing it in the sports medicine world, and added some great edits to this blog post.**

References

1. Arvinen-Barrow, M., Massey, W. V., & Hemmings, B. (2014). Role of Sport Medicine Professionals in Addressing Psychosocial Aspects of Sport-Injury Rehabilitation: Professional Athletes' Views. Journal of Athletic Training, 764-772.

2. Granito, V. J., Hogan, J. B., & Varnum, L. K. (1995). The Performance Enhancement Group Program: Integrating Sport Psychology and Rehabilitation. Journal of Athletic Training, 328-331.

3. Hamson-Utley, J. J., Martin, S., & Walters, J. (2008). Athletic Trainers' and Physical Therapists' Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Psychological Skills Within Sport Injury Rehabilitation Programs. Journal of Athletic Training, 258-264.

4. Heaney, C. A. (2006). Recommendations for Successfully Integrating Sport Psychology Into Athletic Therapy. Sport Psychology & Counseling, 60-62.

5. Richardson, P. A., & Latuda, L. M. (1995). Therapeutic Imagery and Athletic Injuries. Journal of Athletic Training , 10-12.

6. Taylor, J., & Taylor, S. (1997). Psychological approaches to sports injury rehabilitation. Gaithersburg: Aspen Publishers.

About the Author

Beth Druvenga is an Athletic Trainer currently living in northern Virginia. She has experience working in both a collegiate and high school setting. Druvenga is originally from Iowa where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Athletic Training from Central College in 2012. She graduated from Old Dominion University in 2014 with a Master of Science in Education. Her professional interests include patient-reported outcomes, psychology of injury and rehabilitation as well as using yoga to increase flexibility.

 

 

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In-Depth Look: Assistant Athletic Trainer for The Original Harlem Globetrotters

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Posted December 19, 2016

Austin Burns, ATC is the Assistant Athletic Trainer for The Original Harlem Globetrotters. The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition basketball team that combines athletics, performing arts and comedy.

Describe your setting:

I work in a setting with a mixture of professional sports and performing arts.

How long have you worked in this setting?

I have worked in this setting for a little over a year and will be beginning my second tour this holiday season.

Describe your typical day:

Depending on the city we are playing in and how far we have to travel to the next city, my day will typically begin around 6:00am. We are usually on the bus by 8:00am and then off to the next location. After traveling for roughly 4 to5 hours, we check into our hotel and grab a quick lunch.

Afterwards, I head to the arena to meet up with our production and equipment truck. I’ll start by meeting with the arenas facility manager to locate the locker rooms and familiarize myself with the layout of the building. I’ll then help the truck driver unload all of my equipment and supplies; this is usually in a hallway somewhere.

The players, coaches and remaining staff arrive to the arena around 4:00pm and hold a walk through practice. At 5:00pm, I begin all of the pregame routines including stretching, taping, prehab exercise, and various other treatments depending on the needs of the athletes. At 6:45pm, the pregame entertainment begins so I’ll end all treatments and get changed for the show. The show starts at 7:00pm and runs for 2 hours.

During the show, my primary focus is no different than any other Athletic Trainer (AT). I manage acute injuries, perform wound care, make sure the athletes are hydrated and stay alert for anything out of the ordinary. Following the end of the show, the athletes have an autograph session for 20 minutes. I use this time to make ice bags, pack my equipment, load the truck and perform any additional treatments.

By 10:00pm, we are back on the bus and on our way to the hotel. Once in my room, I enter in the medical notes for the day and try to get to bed by 12:00am so I can repeat it all the next day.

What do you like about your position?

What I like most about my position is how creative and adaptive I have to be when working on location. Not having a designated room to perform treatments and exercise can be very challenging. Most days, I find myself performing corrective exercise and prehab on the bus, manual and soft tissue therapies in the hotel room and ice baths in the hotel room tubs. This can be difficult when working with athletes who are all over 6 feet 5 inches tall and can’t fit in the seats, beds or tubs.

What I also love about my position is getting to see the joy people experience when coming to one of our shows. So many children and adults leave the game smiling and laughing. To know you helped make that happen is really rewarding.

What do you dislike about your position?

The hardest part about the position is being on the road for 5 to6 months at a time. Being away from friends and family can start to take a toll on you. Fortunately, you begin to develop a small family with the athletes and staff involved in the production, which helps with the home sicknesses.

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

The advice I would give to any young AT looking at this setting would be to go for it!

Don’t think because you have only worked in football, baseball or basketball your whole career that you can’t tackle performing arts or any other setting. I have become a more well-rounded AT because I chose to challenge myself by working in new and different settings.

I was very nervous when I started in this position but am grateful I made the decision to take on this role.

 

 

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The Role of an Athletic Trainer in Managing Diabetes

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Posted December 15, 2016

By Mackenzie Simmons, ATC

The theme for National Diabetes Month in November this year was “Managing Diabetes—It’s Not Easy, but it’s Worth it.” There are 2 important aspects to this theme that impacts the work of healthcare providers.

1. It serves as a reminder to all persons diagnosed with diabetes that they are not alone.

2. It serves to educate the population on the importance of managing diabetes correctly to prevent secondary complications including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, vision loss and amputation.

It is important for healthcare professionals, along with members of the community, to be educated on the risk factors of diabetes as well as any issue that may arise due to improper management. As healthcare providers, Athletic Trainers (AT) have several important roles and responsibilities with diabetes management.

First and foremost, ATs need to educate patients, parents and coaches on what to look out for with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Also, having a treatment plan readily available, along with the patient’s emergency medical forms,  is essential incase an emergency arises. Establishing good rapport with the patient and their family is imperative to gain trust in the relationship.

There are also several tips ATs should provide to your patients with diabetes:

- Know your ABC’s including the following:

* A1C or blood test that measures the average blood sugar level over the past 3 months

* Blood pressure

* Cholesterol

- Get into a routine schedule with your eating habits and physical activity

- Know your blood sugar levels and what to do when they become too high or too low

- Establish a team of healthcare professionals who are able to provide support and answer questions

For more information on this topic, visit the following webpages:

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/?loc=db-slabnav

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/myths/?loc=db-slabnav

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/?loc=lwd-slabnav

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-communication-programs/ndep/partnership-community-outreach/national-diabetes-month/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

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In-Depth Look: Athletic Trainer for the United States Soccer Federation

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Posted November 21, 2016

Steven Bagus, ATC, NASM-PES is an Athletic Trainer for the United States Soccer Federation.

Describe your setting:

I work with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). In this setting, I work with a variety of national soccer teams at a variety of locations. This setting allows for a great deal of travel and the opportunity to work with athletes of different ages.

The diversity of coaches, athletes and staff members provides a constantly changing atmosphere. This setting forces me to use all of the tools in my athletic training box. Learning the health history of the players, their needs during training camps or tournaments and the expectations of the coaching staff in a short time frame and an unfamiliar environment helps me to be a more dynamic Athletic Trainer (AT).

How long have you worked in this setting?

My first experience working with the USSF was in 2009, but I entered my current role in January 2016.

Describe your typical day:

A typical trip working for the USSF involves meeting the team at an airport to travel together for international trips or traveling to the location of a domestic camp.

The camp begins with setting up your athletic training facility, typically an empty hotel room. A typical camp has an average of 12 boxes of athletic training supplies. Once your functional athletic training facility is set up, it is important to review the physicals for each athlete. Each day of camp can be different depending on the needs of the team.

As the AT, I am expected to join the team for all team meals, prepare the athletes for practice and games and evaluate and treat the athlete’s post-activity. Each day is exciting, challenging and demanding but can be a very rewarding experience as an AT.

What do you like about your position?

I love that this position allows me to travel all over the world with the highest level of athletes.

What do you dislike about your position?

The biggest challenge of this job is learning the needs and expectations of different athletes and coaches on a regular basis.

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

My advice to young professionals looking for this setting is to be very flexible and excited to help the team accomplish their goals. If you are interested in working for a national program, seek out the medical administrator and see where you can help.