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From Capitol Hill Day to NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo

Mike McKenney, MS, ATC

Posted July 8, 2016

By Mike McKenney, MS, ATC

Every year, thousands of Athletic Trainers (ATs) travel to the NATA Clinical Symposia and AT Expo for many reasons that include continuing education, networking, committee meetings, advocacy and interviews. I was fortunate enough to attend the NATA 67th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in Baltimore, Maryland this year and want to share my experience of a week filled with athletic training events.

Capitol Hill Day

My trip began with Capitol Hill Day, where over 400 ATs traveled to Washington D.C. to petition Congress for support of The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (HR 921/ S 689) and The Secondary School Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights (H RES 112/S RES 83). This was my first time visiting Congress on behalf of the athletic training profession, and it was a rewarding experience knowing  the efforts put forth by hundreds of ATs will positively impact our profession and patients. Both pieces of legislation have bi-partisan support in Congress, but still need the support of ATs across the country in order to advance through the legislative process. Please contact your elected representatives to support this legislation, and urge them to co-sponsor it if they have not yet done so already:

NATA 67th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo

The annual conference allows NATA leadership to update the membership on what is new and upcoming in the profession of athletic training. This year, NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC announced a new public awareness campaign for athletic training with the launching of AtYourOwnRisk.org. This is a website dedicated to educating the public about the roles of ATs, and the first step of a multi-year advocacy campaign designed to impact the many different athletic training settings. Additionally, the NATA announced the ATs Care: Peer-to-Peer Support Program, which is designed to support ATs who have experienced a catastrophic event. This is in response to a survey that indicated a large percentage of ATs were not prepared to cope with the psychological impacts of such events. The tentative launch schedule for this program is set for the spring of 2017.

In addition to the above, I volunteered as a moderator for the NATA, as well as attended numerous presentations discussing new findings in malignant hyperthermia from the Korey Stringer Institute; neuroplasticity following musculoskeletal injury; hyponatremia; neurodynamics; and blood flow restriction training and clinical reasoning from Journal of Athletic Training Editor-in-Chief, Craig Denegar, PhD, PT, ATC, FNATA.

Mike McKenney, ATC and Kristin McKenny, ATC holding the 2016 Dan Libera Service Award for Paul Bruning, ATC.

One particular highlight was being able to see multiple friends present their original research. It was also great to catch up with ATs I haven’t seen in some time and maintain those connections as our professional lives take us in a hundred different directions. On the other side of the coin, I also took advantage of the opportunity to meet new ATs who are just as excited about the profession.

BOC Volunteer Reception

Another highlight of my trip was being able to attend the BOC Volunteer Reception, which allowed me to meet a number of individuals who provide an enormous service to not only the BOC, but to the athletic training profession. The reception included presentation of the Dan Libera Service Award. My undergraduate Head Athletic Trainer and mentor, Paul Bruning DHA, ATC, was honored with this award for his service to the BOC. Unfortunately, Paul was not in attendance. However, BOC Executive Director Denise Fandel was kind enough to take a picture of my wife and me holding his award, which was an honor due to the positive impact he had on our athletic training education.

In conclusion, I think the planning committee put on a great event this year. There were many great moments that made it a very beneficial to me and to the athletic training profession. I look forward to my next opportunity to attend!

About the Author

Mike McKenney is an Athletic Trainer (AT) at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is the Medical Coordinator for their Division I men’s ice hockey program.  Prior to Northeastern University, he served as an AT in multiple settings including secondary schools, Division I athletics and professional cycling; additionally, he worked as an AT who extends the services of a physician for a large orthopedic group.  He has also provided services for many organizations to include the Boston Marathon, USA Cycling and USA Volleyball.

McKenney is a hydration and electrolyte replacement consultant for the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA.  His professional interests include hydration, electrolyte replacement, thermoregulation in sport and postural restoration.  McKenney completed his athletic training education at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota and master’s degree at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.  His graduate research was published in the February 2015 edition of the Journal of Athletic Training.