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.

How do you manage to incorporate fitness into your daily life? I have found that all I feel like doing when I get off work is sleep or watch TV. Working out just does not seem important to me lately.

This has been a tough question to answer because I’ve used so many different strategies over the years and I have so many ideas to offer.  As I listed out some of my ideas, I started to notice a few common themes.

The first thing that helped me years ago was giving myself permission to accept that being an Athletic Trainer (AT) is an active job.  Lifting coolers, pushing water carts, and dragging linemen off the field is physically demanding.  Once I started giving myself some credit for what I was already doing, I felt better about the busier times when I wasn’t able to stick with a fitness routine – like during the busy football season.

Another thing to consider is that it is completely reasonable to have personal boundaries.  ATs are terrible at this concept.  We think we have to be everywhere and everything to all people, usually at the expense of our own time and sanity.  If you have found a regular time to work out, stay focused on your time.  If a coach walks in and asks you to do something, politely tell them you will be happy to do it at the end of your workout time.  If someone wants to come in for rehab, respectfully schedule them at another time.  You’ll face some kick back at first, but those around you will start to become accustomed to the fact you are just not available during that time and eventually you’ll find they stop approaching you at all.

Last, be effective with your time.  If you can kill three birds with one stone, do it.  Many times I hit the elliptical during late night winter sports practice and caught up on my reading at the same time rather than just sitting in the athletic training room waiting for something to happen.   If you spend five times a week on the treadmill for an hour each time, consider doing 30 minutes of high intensity interval training two to three times per week instead.
Find things that work for you and don’t be afraid to ask others what they do.  I guarantee that there are far more ATs that struggle with this than you think!


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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