Describe your setting: I am the Head Athletic Trainer for the Houston Dynamo in Major League Soccer (MLS).
How long have you worked in this setting? I have been an Athletic Trainer in MLS for 14 seasons. Nine with the Colorado Rapids and now five with the Dynamo.
Describe your typical day: We get to the facility around 7:30am and start setting up, players arrive around 8:00am to begin treatments/rehabilitations. We treat and tape until 9:30 when I talk to the coach about our daily injury report. Then training begins and is usually 1 ½ -2 hours long, we work with the injured players on the side or in the gym during that time as well as responding to any injuries on the field. After practice we have another treatment session for about another hour. After a quick lunch my “desk” job starts. Returning e-mails, talking to medical providers, scheduling appointments, handling worker’s compensation issues and entering information into the players’ electronic medical records takes most of the afternoon. I try to be done between 4:00 and 5:00pm during the week. The “off” day is usually only a half day of work for us with the injured players.
Game days start around 4:00pm with treatments for the injured players and workouts for the guys not on the game day 18 man roster. The starters get to the stadium around 6:00pm with most games starting around 7:30pm. We do all the standard taping/treating to get them ready for the game. Hopefully we’ve done our work all week and we can just watch the game. Post game, we take care of any injuries that may have occurred in the game and we’re usually wrapped up by 10:30 or 11:00pm.
What do you like about your position? I like being a part of a team and helping athletes get back from injuries and succeed on the pitch. Probably the same reason most people went into athletic training.
What do you dislike about your position? The paperwork only seems to get more extensive every year. Also the schedule can be relentless at times. Our schedule has had us play four games in 2 weeks in four countries!
What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young Athletic Trainer looking at this setting? You really need to enjoy working hard; this is a 6-7 day a week, 10-month-a-year type of setting. Days off are few. The “glamorous” side of working in pro sports fades quickly and then you have to like doing the work necessary to support the team.