The Illinois High School Association (IHSA), in conjunction with the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and the IHSA’s Play Smart. Play Hard. sports safety education initiative, are proud to celebrate National Athletic Training Month throughout the month of the March.
Click here for more on National Athletic Training Month on the NATA website.
KRISTINE VINS, ATC
Years as an Athletic Trainer: 6 years
Schools Covered: Lyons Township High School
Why did you become an Athletic Trainer: I knew I wanted to be in the medical field, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity until I became an athletic training student aide at Lyons Township my freshman year of high school. From my first moments in the athletic training room, I fell in love with the profession and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.
What is the most interesting injury you have dealt with: When I was in college, I was at a clinical rotation with a high school in Champaign and one of our offensive linemen had gloves without the finger tips on. He was bleeding from one of his fingers, so we cleaned up the blood, but couldn’t find a source for the bleeding. When we took the glove off and we found a gaping wound on his fifth finger from the MCP joint to the DIP joint. The wound was so large we could see his bones. When the athlete let go of his finger, it bent backwards, only holding on by a piece of skin. Meanwhile, the athlete was totally calm throughout this whole experience. He was sent to the hospital right away and a hand surgeon was able to reattach the finger, but to this day, no one knows what the cause of the wound was.
Explain Athletic Training in one sentence: Athletic training is a lot of long hours, but it is also one of the most rewarding careers you can get into.
Favorite moment as an Athletic Trainer: One of our basketball players was being pursued by several colleges to play at the next level. He had not committed anywhere yet, and after a particularly tough playoff loss, there were scouts and press waiting to talk to this athlete. The first person he went straight to when he walked out of the locker room was me. He hugged me and thanked me for “all the ankle tapes and talks and everything you’ve done for me.”
Final Thought: If you are lucky enough to have students who want to shadow you, let them. Let these students look over your shoulder as you do a special test and explain to them what you are doing and why it works. If they ask you questions at games, answer them. Take the time to promote our profession to the future of it. None of us would have gotten into athletic training if it wasn’t for someone else showing us what it was all about.
JASON DEPUE, ATC
Years as an Athletic Trainer: 2 years
Schools Covered: St. Rita High School
What did you become an Athletic Trainer: Injured my shoulder and received the best care from my college Athletic training staff. Fell in love with the profession and switched my major. I wanted to provide the same care I got to future athletes.
What is the most interesting injury you have dealt with: I had an athlete with chronic shoulder instability that was repaired with the Latarjet-Bristow procedure and had some Axillary nerve paralysis. It was very interesting and difficult rehabbing him back because of the challenges from the nerve paralysis. Luckily all went well and he returned to play his senior year and had a great year.
Explain Athletic Training in one sentence: The most under-appreciated but most self-rewarding profession out there.
Favorite moment as an Athletic Trainer: Seeing my injured athletes return to play and succeed.
What do you want to be remembered for: Being a caring athletic trainer who worked hard to get my athletes back safely.
Final Thought: Athletic Trainers don’t provide coverage, they provide healthcare.
JACK EDGAR, ATC MED, CSCS
Years as an Athletic Trainer: 25 years
Schools Covered: Belleville West, Triad
What is the most interesting injury you have dealt with: On my first football contact day on a Saturday morning with Triad, on the first play, our best player gets his left middle finger caught in a facemask and rips the tip of his finger off and fractures the distal phalanx. When I realized he was bleeding profusely and the tip, fat pad and nail were missing, I immediately covered it in gauze wrapped it and shipped him to the hospital. They removed the distal fragment of the bone and sewed up the rest of the finger. We fashioned an orthoplast cover on top of a Stax Splint which totally covered the injury and put a glove over both so he was able to resume practice on the following Monday. He had to be helped with his gloves after getting taped. I had to pull up his pants and tie them, put on his shoulder pad straps and jersey, and finally put on his shoes and tie them every day for practice and games. This kid never missed a single down that whole season because of that finger injury or any other injury.
Explain Athletic Training in one sentence: If you can’t prevent an injury, you’ll have to figure out what it is and fix it.
Favorite moment as an Athletic Trainer: Seeing three of our wrestlers make it to the State Finals after two knee surgeries and a fractured skull (each had one injury).
What do you want to be remembered for: I treat all of my athletes like I treat my sons’. I was a big part of the Triad Family and that family is the result of learning how to take care of people, treat them well and make them always feel welcomed even after they graduate…(just like Rod Cardinal showed me how with the University of Illinois basketball program)
Final Thought: Structure determines function. It’s good for an athletic/sports med department as well as anatomy/physiology/kinesiology.
BRIAN CRONIN, M.ED, ATC
Years as an Athletic Trainer: 20 years
Schools Covered: Oswego High School (2001 – present), Downers Grove South High School (1996 – 2000)
Why did you become an Athletic Trainer: I loved being involved with sports, but knew I would not be able to play after high school. I was lucky to have an athletic trainer at my high school who I was able to learn about the profession from and I knew right away it was what I wanted to do.
What is the most interesting injury you have dealt with: I had an athlete drop a heavy weight on his toe days before a big playoff game. The doctor cleared him to play because there was no fracture, but I had to create an Orthoplast cover for his shoe that would allow him to run and be mobile, but still protect him from being stepped on. Once the pad was fashioned to a functional forma and size, we then had a cobbler sew the pad to his shoe. He played the entire game without any issues.
Explain Athletic Training in one sentence: Athletic Training is a profession of caring for and helping others reach, or return to, their fullest potential in their desired activity, whether it be in work, life or sports.
Favorite moment as an Athletic Trainer: My favorite moment as an Athletic Trainer was being able to work with two of my former students as certified athletic trainers on my Athletic Training Staff at Oswego High School.
What do you want to be remembered for: I would like to be remembered for helping my athletes, coaches and students achieve their goals in a safe, professional manner.
Final Thought: There is no better feeling than helping an athlete through a traumatic experience, rehabilitation, and finally seeing them be successful again at the sport that they love to do!
ANDY RENNER, ATC, LAT
Years as Athletic Trainer: 12 years
Schools Covered: Previously worked at Parkway Central High School of St. Louis (1 year) before coming to Alton High School.
What did you become an Athletic Trainer: I loved being around athletics and frequented my home town’s (Staunton, IL) high school games with my dad. I also had an interest in medicine so for me it was the prefect combination.
Athletic Training in one sentence: The care and prevention of athletic injuries which includes anything medical an athlete may need.
Favorite Moment as an Athletic Trainer: While working independent minor league baseball I had a pitcher with an Ulnar Collateral injury of the elbow (aka tommy john). While he didn’t need surgery he was shut down for the season and with some direction from me he was able to return to the mound the following spring. In his first time on the mound he exited the game and asked me if I had any idea how good that felt. I said yes, I was as excited as your were. Thats why we do what we do. We get to help people get back to the activites they love.
What do I want to be remembered for: Helping build my schools athletic training program, being their for the kids. Being a champion of the belief that every athlete/school should have an Athletic Trainer.
Final Thoughts/Comment/Favorite Saying: Here are 3 of my favorite quotes
“Whatever you are be a good one”. – Abraham Lincoln
“It is only when a man supremely gives that he supremely finds”. – Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour , the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious”. – Vince Lombardi