In-Depth Look: Athletic Trainer Who is a United Kingdom Sports Therapist and Studying for a Master’s Degree from University College London
Lisa Brachfeld, ATC, CPT, MSTO is the first American to pursue a Masters of Science in Performing Arts Medicine at University College London (UCL), with future aspirations to complete a Doctoral Degree. She also works as a pitch-side United Kingdom (UK) Sports Therapist for the UK American football teams.
Describe your setting:
Currently, I am studying full-time for my master’s degree and have recently achieved recognition as a registered UK Sports Therapist. With this, I’m able to work with Team Medic as a pitch-side Sports Therapist for UK American football teams. I am also involved with multiple associations surrounding my field of study and was recently selected to be a part of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association International Committee.
How long have you worked in this setting?:
In 2015, I graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts in Athletic Training and became a BOC Certified Athletic Trainer that summer. Afterwards, I spent a year working for Equinox fitness club. I also gained experience working at The American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey Dance Company and various performing arts clinics before moving to London in August 2016.
Describe your typical day:
With a multitude of different projects going on, I really don’t have a typical day. Class is normally from 10:00am to5:00pm and includes 2 or 3 different lectures. The Performing Arts Medicine program at UCL is currently the only program in the world offering this specific master’s degree.
A few of the modules that this course includes are Performance Psychology, Clinical Assessment and Rehabilitation of the Performing Artist and Environmental Issues, Travelling and Touring. The lecturers are all experienced and influential people in their respective fields, whether it is a representative from the Musicians’ Union, a Physio for West End shows or a well-known performer telling us about their experiences directly. As of now, we are in the middle of conducting individual research for our own dissertations, which takes up most of my time when I’m not in class.
Since moving, I have been determined to find a way for my athletic training certification to be recognized in the UK. What a heck of a challenge that was! After hours spent doing research, plus contacting numerous organizations and councils, I was finally approved in February 2017 by the Sports Therapy Organization and officially recognized as a registered Sports Therapist in the UK.
What do you like about your position?
I love that I am studying and researching something I am truly passionate about, as well as contributing to the development of the Performing Arts Medicine field. Also, having flexible hours allows me to keep a healthy work-life balance.
What do you dislike about your position?
One major area that needs improvement is educating others about the athletic training profession. The more people know, the more they will understand the value of our work.
What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young AT looking at this setting? You’re going to have to create your own job, so it’s all about networking - make a start by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d really like to hear from you!