Posts Tagged ‘performing arts’

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.




National Athletic Training Month 2014! We’ve Got Your Back

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

March is here, and so is National Athletic Training Month (NATM). It’s time put away the khaki pants and break out the khaki shorts, and it’s also time to start promoting our profession and spread awareness about all the work Athletic Trainers (ATs) do. Most people hang the posters and signs and tell people that it is National Athletic Training Month, which is great. Information on this can be found on the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) website (

But I want to share some ideas of different ways to educate people about what ATs do and know.

Secondary School: Hold a raffle/quiz for athletic training themed prizes. Create a quiz for students, staff and parents, and require that they score 90% or so in order to enter the raffle. The prizes can be first aid kits, extra water bottles, towels, etc. You can also use this as a fundraising opportunity and sell raffle tickets.

Colleges and Universities: Host an Open Athletic Training Facility Night where students, faculty and staff, and local community members can come in and see what an athletic training facility looks like, how it runs and what ATs actually do. AT Students: Set up an evaluation booth at the school’s campus recreational center. Have a preceptor supervise and offer free evaluations and rehabilitation exercises for other students, faculty and staff.

Hospital and Clinical: Hold a free taping clinic to the local community (coaches, athletes, etc.). This will help them understand part of your background, and you can inform them about what else you can do to help be physically fit and stay safe.

Professional Sports: Contact your team’s PR department and inform then that it is NATM. Offer ideas for articles they can write or videos they can show. Examples are, “A Day in the Life of (insert name), The Athletic Trainer for (insert team name)” and the video, “Behind the Scenes with a Certified Athletic Trainer.” (

Occupational Health: Change your signature in your email account. Add a small picture of the NATM logo and possibly a little sentence about ATs. For example: Athletic Trainers (ATs) are healthcare professionals who collaborate with physicians. The services provided by ATs comprise prevention, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Taken from

Military: Create a bulletin board for NATM and have a section that introduces yourself as an AT, what you do in the setting and a little bit about yourself (work experience, family life, how you improve patient outcomes, etc.)

Performing Arts: Set up a “Trade Places for a Day” with one of your performers. Have the performer try to teach you some of the activities that they do, and you can teach/show them what it is like to be an AT.

Public Awareness: Contact your local government official and try to get a proclamation in the town or county you work/live in. NATA has information on how to do this with sample proclamations. This can be found on the NATA’s website (

Physician Extender: Ask your physician if it would be okay to wear a shirt or scrubs that say “Athletic Training” or the name of the college or university you graduated before you became an AT. When patients ask about your shirt inform them about NATM and what an AT does. In the end, anything you do to help promote the athletic training profession will be great.

Written By: Brian Bradley, MS, ATC, LAT, CSCS    


An In Depth Look with the Performance Medicine Supervisor for Cirque du Soleil

Friday, September 28th, 2012

An In Depth Look with… James Knue, ATC

Describe your setting:

I work in a performing arts setting as the Performance Medicine Supervisor for Cirque du Soleil’s production of The Beatles LOVE at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  This setting encompasses caring for acrobats and dancers from around the world, many who have been Olympians in their respective sports. In addition to the daily medical care that is provided, our department is also responsible for the emergency planning and execution, performance enhancement and ergonomic analysis

Cirque du Soleil’s Performance Medicine Departments, which are at each and every production worldwide, provides athletic training services for the Artists with a staff of Athletic Trainers, Physical Therapists, Pilates instructors and massage therapists.

How long have you worked in this setting?

This is my 13th year working in performance arts.   I have worked in both the resident shows division (shows permanently stationed in one place) and with the touring show division traveling through New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, United States and Mexico.

Describe your typical day:

 When I am on the opening shift my day begins around 1:30pm. Once my opening duties are complete (safety/emergency box checks, review of physician progress notes and set up of performance medicine treatment area) the rehabilitation sessions for those artists who are injured and out of show will begin.  After  the long term rehabilitations are complete, the rest of the afternoon is spent with treatments, backstage and stage  staffing (similar to that of staffing an athletic practice) of trainings, meetings and filing reports such as the daily artist status update so that Stage Management can cast the show for that night.  

The late shift person begins around 3:00pm and performs treatments, emergency services and administrative duties as needed.   Shows begin at 7:00pm and we cover backstage and in the training room in case of emergencies occurring during the show.  Between shows we have an hour to do treatments, advise the coaches, stage management and the artistic director about the status on any artists injured during the first show and do any charting that has not already been done.  The early person leaves at the start of the second show.   The second show begins at 9:30pm.  The time during second show is spent as the first with duties backstage and in the training room if any injuries occur as well finishing up any charting not already done.  After shows final care is given for any injuries that occurred in the 2nd show.

End of show reports are prepared and sent as well as the prep and cleaning of the treatment area are done with the day ending around 11:30pm.  In addition to these duties there are monthly planning sessions for our emergency procedures trainings.  An afternoon every month is dedicated to working with the emergency response team practicing the skills and techniques necessary to safely extract the injured artist from their apparatus or props to safely transport them off stage and to the hospital if that is required. There are Artistic Team meetings, Safety Committee meetings, Performance Medicine department meetings spaced throughout the week and month.

What do you like about your position?

I have spent most of my career trying to push the envelope for athletic training and Athletic Trainers. Moving into the performing arts areas was one of these moves. Being exposed  to the theater world required learning a whole new vocabulary and perspective. I had to adapt what I had done for many years to this new world where there are no off seasons for rest and recovery, the artists perform the equivalent of a double header 5 days a week,  47 weeks a year.  There is no second team and every artist who is not on stage because of injury diminishes the visual spectacle and experience of the audience.  This challenges the Athletic Trainer to be efficient and effective in every treatment and encounter with the artist.  You have to reexamine the standard approach and find new and unique ways of applying the standard ideas to achieve your goal. The artists, our clients, are challenging their bodies in ways that expand what we consider normal human movement.  It is up to us as Athletic Trainers to raise our level to that of the performers and expand what we do to help them achieve this and make it sustainable.  These daily challenges make each day interesting.

Cirque du Soleil is an international company.  Where else would you get the opportunity to work with the best talent in the world from all over the world?  LOVE has artists from 18 countries covering 6 continents and another 5 or 10 countries represented on the support staff.  This cultural diversity creates a rich social and work environment that would be difficult to match anywhere.  This cultural diversity also challenges you in caring for the injured. You have to be able to be creative and sensitive to cultural differences and traditional healing practices. How do you sell treatments when compared to the traditional herbal medicines of a Mongolian contortionist who is concerned that her back pain may be career threatening or with a middle aged acrobat who has successfully treated their ankle sprains in the past with cabbage and honey poultices.  Each day is new, with different challenges and goals. The work is never boring or routine.

What do you dislike about your position?

The biggest challenge for me has been adjusting to the swing shift work schedule.  I am not a night person so working late and wanting to be up early for my kids each morning has challenged my sleep habits and made some days difficult to get through.

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

There is nothing unique about working in the performing arts.  Treating an injured ankle on a dancer or acrobat is not substantially different from an ankle of a football or basketball player except for maybe the size of the foot.  What you need to learn is the vocabulary of the performer so that you can intelligently discuss their injury and their recovery and return.  You need to have strong clinical reasoning skills as well as a large vocabulary of treatment techniques and manual therapy skills that you can apply when you are presented with that different and unique situation.  As we all learned how to take care of a volleyball player by attending matches and practices spend some time in the theater world, volunteering your services if necessary, so that you learn that vocabulary and gain credibility with your knowledge.

Athletic Trainers in Performing Arts and Orthopedic Office Settings

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Is your career in the historical setting of athletic training not as challenging as it once was?? Think outside the box- what about working in the performing arts or as a physician extender? Athletic Trainers (ATs) in performing arts provide specialized injury prevention and rehabilitative care to dancers, musicians and vocalists. Studies show that the on-site medical care that the certified athletic trainer can provide to performers reduces both the frequency and severity of injuries as well as reducing operating and production costs. With a growing number of orthopedic surgeons seeking to enhance their practices through physician extenders, Athletic Trainers are also stepping up to the plate.

What would it be like to be behind the scenes of a great act in Las Vegas or running a successful orthopedic clinic for an orthopedic surgeon? Think of different avenues ATs will leave their mark on the profession. Be Certain.™ to attend the pre-conference career workshops in New Orleans during the NATA Annual Meeting and Trade Show on Sunday, June 19, 2011:

Written by: Daniel Ruedeman