In-Depth Look: Athletic Trainer Who Provides Health Care to Industrial Patients
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Joseph (Chase) Claborn is an Athletic Trainer (ATs) for Industrial Athlete Pros (IAP) and provides on-site health services for a wide variety of industrial patients. He became a certified AT in the year 2020.
Describe your setting:
At our San Diego branch, ATs treat technicians, technician assistants, warehouse workers and administrative staff. Each patient has their own unique functional movements required for their job. The ATs are on board to ensure our patients are working safely and in good health. We provide ergonomics and body mechanics training as well as sports medicine techniques. We also provide a three-minute company-wide warm-up, a new physical agility skills screen system, and functional movement screen assessments.
Describe your typical day
As the evening shift AT, I provide care for acute injuries that occurred while my patients were out on their routes. I also do damage control proactively addressing their daily wear-and-tear, correcting muscle imbalances and relieving pain after a long day of lifting. I see pretty much every kind of injury on any given day. I try to educate my patients on why an injury occurred and how their posture or body mechanics play a role. I have two awesome athletic training students from San Diego State University’s (SDSU) that help keep the athletic training facility running smoothly. They get a great deal of hands-on action with all types of injuries and treatment modalities.
What do you like about your position?
I take pride in enabling my patients to work consistently in order to provide for themselves and their families. Every day brings new opportunities to educate in the areas of health and wellness so that they are able to work safely and pain-free. At IAP we’ve created a company-wide three-minute warm-up drill used to warm up before employees start their routes. We also do a lot of ergonomics and body mechanics training to prevent overuse and acute injuries. I have taken over as publisher of the IAP fitness newsletter that is delivered to the entire company monthly. I am a preceptor for the SDSU athletic training program and one of my passions is watching interns grow and gain confidence and maturity as they prepare to work as an AT. Another part of my role I enjoy is doing telehealth calls in collaboration with a physical therapist to treat patients working in branches outside of San Diego. I love finding new ways to keep my patients excited about their health! In addition to ergonomic education, we educate our on breathing, nutrition, mental health and posture so they can feel their best while theywork.
What is your greatest achievement as an AT?
Some of my proudest moments have come from the patients that filed under Workman’s Comp and saw a physician. I remember one instance where the maximum medical improvement or MMI for my patient was eight weeks out and we did rehab with him two times per day over two weeks. After those two weeks, he was functionally ready to work and I sent him back to see the doctor. The patient came back and told me he was cleared by the doctor after a quick evaluation. The physician asked the employee where he went for physical therapy and how he recovered so quickly. I felt pretty proud knowing the role I played in his recovery. Many employees with arthritis and chronic issues had given up on the prospect of working pain-free when I started this job. It means the world to me when I see them come back from a route with a big smile on their face and a thumbs up.
What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young AT looking in this setting?
It’s important to know the patient population with which you’re working. I was surprised at the amount of lifting my technicians and warehouse workers do on a daily basis. Some employees are doing two-man lifts with 400+ pound refrigerators regularly, and up multiple flights of stairs - sometimes eight or nine times in a single day. They’re pushing 200 pound appliances on a dolly up steep, 100 yard long driveways. All of their work needs to be done quickly to make it in time to their next stop. I’ve learned to not underestimate our patients. I would tell an AT to focus on the posture and functional movements required for the job. Just like preparing an athlete to play their specific sport, we are equipping our patients to work safely in order to provide for their family. To me that is the ultimate reward in the industrial setting. Using my knowledge to equip my patients to work safely and efficiently.