Young Professional Brief

These question(s) identify and address the interests, needs and concerns of young athletic training professionals. Young professional Mike Hopper, ATC, has teamed up with the experience of Danielle Kleber, ATC, to highlight some of the issues young professionals find themselves dealing with early in their careers.

What is one injury that you struggled with early in your career and how have you managed to conquer that struggle?

When I first started to practice I struggled with back injuries.  I knew enough to know that when student-athletes couldn’t sleep at night or I had a young, healthy athlete complaining of back pain like someone my parent’s age might, something probably wasn’t right.

Early in my career I figured I could go one of two routes with these types of injuries.  I could learn it and master it or I could network with someone who had already learned and mastered it.

I am aware enough of my weaknesses to know that I struggle with conceptual thinking and that type of thinking is a major piece to understanding back anatomy and the movements that occur in that area.  I also knew that professionally, I had
interest in other areas and didn’t have an innate desire to dive into learning everything I could about backs.  Most importantly, I had the wise advice of a mentor who had told me, “you can’t master everything so know your limits and know when ou need to ask for help.”

That left me with the option of finding someone who was good at evaluating and treating back injuries. Thankfully, my first job landed me side by side someone who had an amazing understanding of the back and a gift for treating those cases.  He was my go to person in that area.  Since then, I have made sure I always have someone in my back pocket, so to speak, that I can consult or refer to in this area.

Sure, I’ve picked some things up along the way in relation to back injuries and feel more confident in treating them, but I still prefer to let someone who is an expert in that area be the quarterback and lead the way.


Michael Hopper, ATC, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Health Management: Athletic Training Concentration from Southeast Missouri State University in 2010. He is a current graduate student through the University of South Florida working towards a Master’s Degree in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Athletic Training. Hopper has worked with athletes of all ages from youth sports all the way up to professional baseball and currently works for Monroe Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Waterloo, IL.




Danielle Kleber, ATC, attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Fitness and Leisure Management with emphasis in Athletic Training and went on to complete her master’s coursework at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in Fitness and Wellness Promotion.  Her professional experience includes collegiate and high school experience and she has worked with athletes at all levels of competition. Currently she works at the Director of Operations at Athletes’ Training Center, a sports performance and physical therapy facility in Omaha, NE.

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