#AT4ALLSecondary School

Florida Schools Commit to Sport Safety with Addition of Athletic Trainers


Article reposted from
Author: Jeffrey S. Solochek

With concerns mounting that student athletes won’t get proper treatment if injured, Pasco County School District leaders have decided to pay for athletic trainers at all high school sports events during the 2017-18 school year.

The move could add about $125,000 to the district’s anticipated funding shortfall, which was listed at $627,855 on June 20, the most recent estimate available. But superintendent Kurt Browning said Tuesday that the expense is worth it.

“We are going to fund athletic trainers,” he said. “I’m going to find (the money), and we’re going to make it work. I think it’s important.”

Browning has assigned district athletic director Matt Wicks to work with a different provider to bring the trainers to the schools. The district had worked with Florida Hospital, which paid for the service until canceling its contract at the end of the 2016-17 school year.

Parents got word of the loss and recently began a campaign to reinstate the trainer program. Browning initially told each person who wrote that he was looking for a way to pay for the service, but that the tight budget would make it tough.

He decided late Monday to prioritize the item and fit it into the budget, even if it means cutting in other places. He stressed that the money would not come out of instructional expenses.

“If I had to choose between teachers and athletic trainers, I’m going to choose teachers every day,” Browning said.

REZONING BATTLE: Lawyers for a group of west Pasco parents who are fighting the school district’s attendance zone revisions won the right June 20 to continue their latest case in county court.

Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd ruled against a school district motion to dismiss the complaint, which alleges some members of the superintendent’s rezoning advisory committee privately discussed boundary-related matters that should have remained public.

District officials told the committee when it first convened that it must follow Florida’s open meetings laws.

The parents argued that Facebook conversations among committee members indicated they had discussed some of the issues among themselves, outside the sunshine. They questioned whether a “full, open and independent” review took place.

The district contended that nothing inappropriate occurred.

“Even if the stuff they alleged in their complaint is true, it does not constitute a Sunshine violation,” School Board attorney Dennis Alfonso said.

But Byrd gave the plaintiffs the room to make their case in court. Depositions are scheduled, with a hearing set for July 21.

The plaintiffs also have appealed a Division of Administrative Hearings ruling against their complaint that the School Board did not follow proper rule-making procedures when setting the new attendance zones. That case is pending in the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

Jim Stanley, one of the complaining parents, said in an email that he would like to see the district improve its processes before it faces another boundary revision.

“No system or process can be perfect, but when the process the District used failed to achieve any of their stated objectives, then undoubtedly we could have done better,” Stanley wrote. “Furthermore, we warned the District that unless they came up with a better plan, their errors were likely to be repeated, so this was as much about the future as about boundaries for 2017/18.”

CONTRACT TALKS: Hoping for a quicker resolution to negotiations than in 2016-17, representatives for the Pasco County School District and employees have returned to collective bargaining, with the aftermath of the legislative session in Tallahassee in full view.

Issues the United School Employees of Pasco had pursued before, such as job protections for well-evaluated teachers on annual contract, no longer will come into play as the Legislature outlawed the practice in HB 7069. Hope for another round of pay raises also faded with a state budget that district officials said accounts for growth but not inflation.

“We understand the fallout from 7069 is going to hamper some of the financial obligations of the district in regard to how they divvy money our to schools and support programs,” USEP president Don Peace said. “We’re going to have to take a look as to what that means to the bottom line.”

Peace said the union wants to preserve jobs and programs, and protect student learning.

“In a year that’s not going to reap enormous financial benefits, we want to make sure we take care of our people in a way that is promoting the best opportunities for them to benefit,” he said.

On the school-related personnel side, that means working out some of the details on job transfers that the sides aimed to settle through impasse talks. For teachers, the attention will likely focus on evaluations.

As part of HB 7069, the Legislature ended the mandate that school districts include a state-approved, value-added model for student data in teacher evaluations. It did not eliminate the requirement that student performance be included in the mix, though.

The administration already has begun conversations on its use of district-created final exams for evaluations. But the entire model is up for review.

At their first sessions, the sides brought forth a handful of measures for consideration. Most were simple renewals of long-standing agreements, updated to reflect changing costs or dates. The issues that might prove more hotly contested will wait.

“Our goal is to get it done before May 2018,” Peace said, making a pointed reference to the late conclusion of this year’s contract, for which employees are still awaiting back pay. “The sooner we get a contract done, the better. But we don’t want to rush it.”

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at (813) 909-4614 or Follow @jeffsolochek.

#AT4ALLSecondary School

Oklahoma School District Awarded NFL Grant


Article reposted from The Purcell Register
Author: The Purcell Register

Purcell is among 150 school districts across four states selected to receive an athletic trainer grant through the NFL Foundation.

Superintendent Jason Midkiff announced the 3-year award at Monday’s school board meeting.

The district asked for $48,100 and will receive $36,000.

The award will pay $20,000 the first year, $11,000 in year two and $5,000 in the final year.

Midkiff and Tim Arnold worked together on the grant application.

The grant will enable Purcell Schools to “expand the care we give our student athletes and also help and students who might be interested in going into the (athletic trainer) field,” the superintendent explained.

The pilot program targeted just four states – Oklahoma, Arizona, Illinois and Oregon.

The grant program is administered by the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, which will research the program’s impact and impact of athletic trainers on the health outcomes of student athletes.

The institute is named for a  former Minnesota Viking professional football player who died from exertional heatstroke in 2001.

“The massive responsibility of keeping many hundreds of athletes safe at a particular high school should never be the responsibility of a sport coach or the athletic director, they have no training to properly handle this task,” said Douglas Casa, chief executive officer of KSI . “We  are very proud to partner with this grant program that has a primary goal of increasing the number of schools serviced by an athletic trainer and to enhance the amount of medical care for those that already have some.”

In its application, Purcell Public Schools reported high school enrollment of 320.

Of that number, 150 students – or 46.9 percent – participate in sports.

There are 10 sports offered at the high school.

Co-sponsors with the NFL Foundation and KSI are Gatorade, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society.

Expenditures from the initial $20,000 will include an ice machine, $5,000; automated external defibrillators, $3,500; ellipticals, $2,000; upper extremity bike and treadmills, $1,500 each; electrical stimulation, treatment tables (football), and hydro collator, $1,000 each; equipment/supply bags, $750; baps board, $650; locking cabinets (football), $600; and foam rollers, TheraBands and airex pad, $500 each.

In the second year, the grant allocation is ice machine (baseball, softball, track complex), $5,000; AED machines, $3,500; water bottles/stands/jugs, $1,000; crutches/splints/braces, $900; and locking cabinets (basketball), $600.

The totals for year three are AED (baseball/softball complex), $2,900; training tables (basketball/baseball-softball complex), $1,500; and locking cabinets (baseball-softball complex), $600.

According to KSI, an athletic trainer is a licensed medical professional who has specific expertise in preventing, recognizing, treating and rehabilitating athletic injuries.

However, nearly two-thirds of high schools across the country lack a full-time athletic trainer and almost 30 percent of high schools do not have any athletic trainer at all.

#AT4ALLSecondary School

30 years of tears, triumph for Massachusetts athletic trainer at Boston Marathon


Article reposted from The Enterprise
Author: Anna Burgess


After 30 years at the Boston Marathon, it’s impossible for Brockton trainer Jeri Connor to summarize the collapses, comebacks, breakdowns, and victories she has seen.

Connor, who was at the marathon finish line Monday morning waiting for the first wave of runners, said Patriot’s Day always stirs a lot of emotions.

Throughout the day, Connor finds the marathon inspiring, sad, interesting, and exhausting — but in a good way.

“It’s just a fun day,” she said. “The mood, the whole atmosphere is fun. There are so many positive things you see.”

Connor has been an athletic trainer at Brockton High School for more than 20 years, and has been volunteering for the marathon even longer.

She was at the finish line in 2011 when Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest marathon ever, she was there in 2013 when the bombs went off, and she’ll be there next year, for the five-year anniversary.

On Monday morning, as the wheelchair participants zoomed across the finish line and the elite runners approached their halfway point, the temperature climbed into the 70s and the sun beat down.

Connor said she was most worried about treating heat exhaustion on a day like Monday.

“The finish line is pretty hot,” she said.

The worst conditions Connor has seen were about five years ago, when the temperature neared 90 degrees.

Connor’s status as a medical volunteer at the finish line is now coveted–there’s a long wait list.

Connor won’t be giving up her seniority for a long time, she said.

“I don’t plan on not doing it anytime soon.”

#AT4ALLSecondary School

Sedona Red Rock High School to Add Athletic Trainer


Article reposted from Sedona Red Rock News

Beginning in the 2017 academic year, there will be a new addition to Sedona Red Rock High School’s group of Career Technology Education courses: Sports medicine.

Adding a full-time athletic trainer and a sports medicine program was not a new idea, but with newfound funding from Northern Arizona Healthcare and the willingness of soon-to-be instructor and athletic trainer Andrea Bagnell to take the position, the stars seemed to align.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity for the kids to take that and grow through that program, and equally happy about having Andrea Bagnell as the instructor,” Sedona Red Rock High School Principal Darrin Karuzas said. “It’s almost a win-win-win situation, because we’re getting funding from [Valley Academy Career Technology Education], we’re working with NAH to get some funding … and it’s giving kids an incredible opportunity.”

Before the first notes are taken and tests handed out, Bagnell will welcome any interested students to help during summer football, with preparations set to begin June 5. Bagnell will talk about heat-related illnesses, basic life support and splinting in order to get the newcomers ready.

Getting students involved, and excited, about athletic training is not the most difficult thing to do, according to Bagnell.

“They love it and are hooked on it right away,” Bagnell said. “They love the action on the field.”

The program will start out with one class of about 25 sophomores and juniors, with the exception of a few seniors, that will cover the basics. Bagnell will acquaint the students with the background of athletic training, the process behind becoming one and what types of careers or schools a student with athletic training experience can get into.

She will then go on to talk about lower extremity injuries, being that they are the most common. In the later courses, she will talk about the legalities of athletic training and how a trainer protects himself, and will also cover upper body injuries.

The students will attend home contests throughout the year to be Bagnell’s “eyes on the field,” where she will also explain what she does in preparation and during games.

Ultimately, Bagnell wants the program to compete with that of the other area school that has an established program already: Mingus Union High School.

“We want to make it big, we want to make it something very popular,” Bagnell said. “We want Sedona Red Rock to have the same type of program with a full-time athletic trainer. I can’t see why Red Rock can’t do the same thing.”

Karuzas, along with former Athletic Director John Parks and Sedona-Oak Creek School District Superintendent Dave Lykins, had all looked into the prospect of starting a sports medicine program, but it was never attainable due to budget problems. Budget cuts at Northern Arizona Healthcare also took away the part-time trainers that it provided to the school, forcing the school to find replacements.

But during the last year the school and NAH reached an agreement where NAH will pay the majority of the costs.

The school also applied for an NFL grant that would supplement the remaining costs, making the program free for SRRHS. With the program run through CTE, additional money would be generated through the registered students.

Jon Cook, manager of the EntireCare Rehab and Sports Medicine department at the Verde Valley Medical Center, facilitated the agreement and made the call to Bagnell.

“As I did the background check I’m like ‘We’ve landed a rockstar, this lady is incredible,’” Karuzas said. “She started and is running the program at Eastern Arizona College, and it’s flourishing.”

Bagnell has an extensive background that includes working under the late Pat Summitt as the athletic trainer of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball program. She also worked at Auburn University and gained experience in a clinical setting at a clinic in Athens, Ga.

Currently, Bagnell runs her aforementioned program, the only one accredited in the state, through the Gila Institute For Technology, where students from six nearby high schools attend, too.

Ultimately, Karruzas has the idea of incorporating more levels to the program, much like taking a foreign language, and eventually getting the students into a dual enrollment program. With that, they would gain the credits and hands-on experience to head into a job in the industry or an appropriate school upon graduation.


Thank You Athletic Therapists


Article reposted from Mars’ Hill

They attend every practice and game, set aside time and energy to prepare beforehand, and stay late when they’re needed. Servant-hearted and hardworking, these team players are dependable and do what they are asked without complaint. Who, you may ask, is this most valuable player of the sports world? It is, of course, the athletic therapists.


So, what exactly is athletic therapy? The goal of athletic therapy is a quick and safe return to work and play. Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA) notes that athletic therapists are best known for their “quick-thinking on-field emergency care of professional athletes”—treating bone, muscle and joint injuries is all in the job description of an athletic therapist.


In varsity sports, the presence of athletic therapy is vital for the success of the team. In the same way as it is said of children, it takes a village to raise a team—not only are there coaches and team managers waiting on the sidelines of basketball and volleyball games—also present on the sidelines are the athletic therapists. They physically pick up athletes when they are down, and put them back together again. An athlete’s quick return to the field, court or rink after an injury is reliant considerably on the skill of the athletic therapy team that athletes are able to make it back out onto the court or field again after sustaining an injury.


At Trinity Western University, there are two full time athletic therapists in the therapy clinic, one nearly-certified athletic therapy student completing her practicum, as well as 13 other TWU student-therapists who attend the practices and games of a particular Spartan team throughout the school year. The athletic therapists and student therapists meet once a week on Mondays, and attend a week of extra training before the school year starts. It is safe to say that the schedule of an athletic therapist is nearly as busy as that of the athletes they treat—they attend practices, ready to be on-the-scene of any injury that occurs, and help athletes prep for up to an hour and a half before games start. The time commitment can vary depending on the team, but student athletic therapists can spend up to 18 hours a week with their team—and that is before factoring in the hours spent travelling for games.



I had the opportunity to talk to Katia, one of the full-time athletic therapists, about her experience as an athletic therapist. After graduating in 2013, she completed her practicum and schooling in 2014. Between herself and Nat Ghobrial, the head athletic therapist at TWU, they can see up to thirty athletes per day—and these time slots fill up quickly! Not every appointment is a new injury assessment, however, and some athletes need regular appointments as they rehabilitate their injuries. Katia explained that, when it comes to determining when an injured athlete is fit to practice or compete, a discussion must happen between the athletic therapist, coach, and player. It is the athletic therapist’s job to provide the best information and argument for the athlete’s optimal road to recovery.


“The best part about athletic therapy is meeting people from different backgrounds, and different sports at different levels, and learning how to help them deal with their injuries,” Katia said. “In this field, you’re always learning new information from everyone around you—it’s a field that’s still evolving.” What is the most difficult part of her job? “It can be stressful sometimes,” she said. “Quick decisions can be hard to make, but with experience you get better, and are able to see the best paths to take in all situations […] and I still have things to learn: new ways to help, and ways to grow.”


Nicole Boulder injured her knee during a game in early November, and has been in the athletic therapy office almost every day since. “They carried me off the field,” Nicole recalled of the day she was injured. Nat and Sarah, two student athletic therapists, were at the game that day. “I already knew [the athletic therapists]; it was almost comforting, in a sense,” Nicole said. “I wasn’t alone on the ground—I had two people I knew were capable of taking care of me there on the field.” A major injury is a difficult roadblock for anyone to deal with, but Nicole remembers that she was worried about sustaining an injury while away from home. “I don’t have family here,” she said. Athletic therapy has become a huge source of support for Nicole through her knee injury and surgery, helping her out on her road to recovery. “Nat has become a really important person to me. I couldn’t imagine doing this without her and the rest of the athletic therapy team.”


If you are ever walking near the change-rooms at the gym, take a look at the bulletin board of the TWU Spartans’ very own gnarly athletic injuries. Bruises and blood are a definite theme, though a few great action shots, celebration pictures and funny memories are also featured. However, even with the relief these other pictures bring, a brief look can leave you with no doubt. Although we pray for injury-free seasons, our Spartan teams need to be taken care of and need responders on-hand for those injuries that could be featured on that bulletin board. Thank you, athletic therapists!

#AT4ALLNATM2017Secondary School

‘I feel loved’: Coworkers surprise Tennessee athletic trainer with a new car


Article reposted from Times News

It would have taken about a year for Volunteer High School athletic trainer Audrey Stanley to save enough for a down payment to replace her sketchy 19-year-old Olds, but on Tuesday about 50 of her friends and coworkers chipped in and saved her the trouble.

Stanley was presented a shiny blue 2007 Honda Fit Tuesday morning during an elaborate early April Fool’s trick that she didn’t figure out until she noticed her name on the front vanity tag.

Buying a decent vehicle wasn’t going to be easy for Stanley, who will be financially hampered by crushing student loan debt until around 2023.

Although she downplays the rough condition of her 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue, coworkers including VHS athletic director Jim Whalen weren’t very confident that her car would survive the year.

“She’s had this one car, and it’s a piece of junk,” Whalen said. “She’s spent all kinds of money trying to keep this thing going. One of my friends (Pastor Jonathan Lovelace) found this car, and he said it would be a good car for Audrey.

“We got to talking and decided we’d try to split (the cost) up. He got some people, and I got some people here, just word of mouth, and we tried to keep it quiet because we didn’t want her to know about it.”

Within 48 hours they raised the approximately $5,500 needed to purchase the Honda.

Stanley was notified Tuesday morning that she needed to attend a mandatory coaches meeting, but when she arrived, there were a few people in the room who didn’t belong there.

Whalen said he winged it during that fake meeting for awhile to make it believable, but really they were there for Stanley.

“They said we had to go outside to look at something on the softball field, and that was weird,” Stanley said. “I thought maybe somebody left the gate open and they were going to get a lecture. Then they started saying this car had started trouble on the softball field over the weekend and it was registered to me. And I thought, ‘That’s silly. Ha, ha.’

“And then I realized everyone was recording me and they’re smiling, and I said, ‘OK, something is going on.’ I kind of thought for a second that I was getting a golf cart because my golf cart has been on the fritz, and they said, come around and look at the tag on the front, and it has my name on it. So then I cried.”

Recently her Oldsmobile has had a ruptured brake line, muffler problems, and the radiator had to be replaced. Adding insult to injury, the air conditioning quit about a year and a half ago.

“After it was over, she hugged her car, and she said this is the nicest car she’s ever had,” Whalen said. “You ought to see the upgrade. Everybody knew she just struggled with this car she had and having to put money into it. This was just something that needed to be done for her.”

About 50 teachers, coaches, school staff and friends chipped in to help buy the car.

It was just a coincidence that March is National Athletic Training Month to spread awareness of and appreciation for the important work of athletic trainers.

Stanley said she feels more than appreciated.

“It made me feel very loved,” she said. “I think more so than the car, just the outpouring of love and appreciation that was shown to me. I got the best appreciation gift any athletic trainer has ever received.”

#AT4ALLPreventionSudden Cardiac Death

Oklahoma Athletic Trainer Hailed Hero After Saving Referee


Article reposted from
Author: KARL TORP – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

An athletic trainer in Harrah is being hailed a hero for coming to the aid of a referee who collapsed on the field.

It happened during the second overtime of a district soccer match between Harrah High School and Classen SAS Tuesday night.

“He didn’t trip, He didn’t fall, he just collapsed and I need to be there,” said Harrah athletic Geoff Hargis about what was going through his mind.

Hargis immediately started performing CPR and was aided by two parents from Classen. One happened to be a cardiologist.

“We were doing compressions and he’d take a breath, but we couldn’t get a solid pulse on him,” said Hargis.

Paramedics would soon arrive, as Hargis and others witnessed the man regain consciousness.

“Very relieved,” said Hargis.

But all anxiety wouldn’t be gone until Wednesday morning, when Hargis got a chance to speak with the referee.

“It was good to hear him talk in knowing that we were successful in keeping him alive,” said Hargis.

Due to budget constraints, athletic trainers are not always available for games.

Harrah’s athletic director is thankful the referee got help so quickly.

“We appreciate Geoff, but we appreciate all the athletic directors all over country that do what they do,” said Athletic Director Guy Worth.


Athletic trainers serve a critical but often misunderstood role


Article reposted from The Hill

To even the most casual sports fan, the various roles of those on the sideline seem obvious. The coaches coach, the players compete, and the athletic trainers help the players stay in top physical shape and recuperate from injuries.

The athletic training profession has a much larger, and important, scope of work that extends far beyond the playing field. In fact, athletic trainers in the sports setting – whether at the professional, collegiate or youth level– account for just half of all athletic trainers.

Although the health professionals with whom athletic trainers collaborate understand the significant and important role they play in the delivery of health care, there is still a misunderstanding about athletic trainers. I’ve been an avid sports fan my entire life, cheering for the Atlanta Braves since I was a young enough to swing a bat. I’m a doctor, but even I was surprised to learn the full range of services that athletic trainers provide. And that’s a shame, because they fill a critical role in the health care system.

Let’s first start with the education and training athletic trainers receive, which is extensive and rigorous. To be an athletic trainer, a person must obtain a bachelor’s degree in a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).  Recently, the Athletic Training Strategic Alliance decided that the profession will soon require a master’s degree as a minimum educational requirement. Since more than 70 percent of athletic trainers currently hold at least a master’s degree, this change is simply keeping in line with the educational standards of the profession itself.

Athletic training education includes comprehensive patient care in five domains of clinical practice: prevention, clinical evaluation and diagnosis, immediate and emergency care, treatment and rehabilitation, and organization and professional health and well-being. Upon completion of a CAATE-accredited training education program, students are eligible for national certification by successfully completing the Board of Certification, Inc. examination; and as with many health care professionals, athletic trainers undergo continuous education to maintain the ATC credential.

Another common misconception is that these professionals are limited to the sports world, but these jobs account for only half of athletic trainers. Outside the world of professional, collegiate and youth sports, athletic trainers often work in a variety of settings, including physician practices, hospitals, orthopedic clinics, occupational health departments, police and fire departments, performing arts centers, and in all branches of the United States military. For instance, an athletic trainer may help a professional ballet dancer treat a minor injury or advise a patient on ways to fend off specific workplace injuries by showing them how to move differently as they perform repetitive or physically intense job tasks. Professionals may also be actively engaged in youth athlete safety issues, such as concussion prevention and the promotion of physical activity.

As health care professionals, athletic trainers often take patient histories, evaluate, measure, and fit patients for orthotics, educate patients on how to wear and use orthotics, and provide advice and treatment on injury prevention, among other services under the direction of a physician. However, in many ways, athletic trainers operate as independent health care professionals, with guidance from a physician and the scope of their services defined by the laws of the state in which they are licensed to practice.

As the delivery of health care services continues to evolve, the niche role that athletic trainers fill is likely to increase in demand. Many within the health care industry predict a physician shortage in the near future, which means doctors will need to rely on athletic trainers more than ever. With specific training and focused experience, they have the knowledge and bandwidth to expand upon the health care services provided by a physician. When doctors refer patients to athletic trainers, they free up time to see more patients, thereby giving each patient the specialized attention they deserve. Believe me, as a physician, I can tell you that having more time to see patients benefits everyone.

Unfortunately, the athletic training profession continues to be misunderstood. For example, athletic trainers work in conjunction with other health care providers in providing orthotic services to patients in integrated health systems, hospital-based, multidisciplinary orthopedic practices, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and physician offices. However, many commercial insurers, and of particular significance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), fail to recognize the level of education, training, and skills of athletic trainers, as evidenced by the recent release of a proposed rule updating the requirements for practitioners of prosthetics and custom-fabricated orthotics. Within the proposed rule, CMS published a list of professionals eligible to become qualified practitioners of custom-fabricated orthotics. Although athletic trainers’ expertise in orthotics exceeds, or is equal to that of the health care professionals identified by CMS as eligible to become qualified practitioners of custom-fabricated orthotics, athletic trainers were not included.

Although some commercial insurers cover the cost of an athletic trainer’s services, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover such medical expenses – something that needs to be reassessed as the demand for athletic trainers continues to increase and doctors rely on their services with increasing frequency. Quite frankly, the fact that athletic trainers frequently treat million-dollar athletes, but may not be able to treat an elderly patient recovering from a hip injury because it isn’t covered by Medicare is disingenuous.

With the anticipated changes in the delivery of care, athletic trainers are uniquely qualified to be an asset to both doctors and patients. It’s time for the health care industry, government, and insurers to understand the full scope and invaluable services provided by athletic trainers. We’ll all be better for it.

Philip Gingrey, MD is a former U.S. Congressman having served Georgia’s 11th  congressional district from 2003 to 2015.  He is currently a Senior Adviser with the District Policy Group at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, whose clients include the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.  

The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.


Minnesota Athletic Trainers Covering All Bases


Article reposted from The Journal

When people think of athletic trainers, they typically only think of them as the people who provide bags of ice or tape ankles during athletic events.

And even though those are part of their daily routine, there is a much more important role that athletic trainers fill as educators and medically trained professionals.

For the four full-time Certified Athletic Trainers (annotated as “ATC”) from the Courage Kenny Rehab Institute (CKRI) at the New Ulm Medical Center, education has to play an integral role in what they do.

“Because we cover so many teams and so many athletes, education has to be a huge aspect of my job because I can’t watch every specific athlete perform their rehab program or rehab exercise through their strength and conditioning program,” ATC Scott Mangen said. “I need to educate them on how to do it and why they’re doing those certain activities and how it would help them to not only recover from injury, but improve their athletic performance.”

The athletic trainers from the CKRI are contracted with seven high schools, Martin Luther College, three youth athletic programs and the New Ulm Steel junior hockey team to provide medical services for the benefit of the athletes. Without them, injuries or anything affecting athletic performance would not be treated or attended to properly.

Staff photo by Jake ATC Scott Mangen tapes an ankle in the athletic training room at New Ulm High School. Mangen is one of four full-time athletic trainers contracted through the Courage Kenny Rehab Institute at the New Ulm Medical Center.

Staff photo by Jake ATC Scott Mangen tapes an ankle in the athletic training room at New Ulm High School. Mangen is one of four full-time athletic trainers contracted through the Courage Kenny Rehab Institute at the New Ulm Medical Center.

Marcus Hopp, the Sports Medicine Coordinator for the CKRI in New Ulm, said that athletic trainers act as the bridge between students, parents, coaches and everyone else involved in athletics.

“It’s all centered around the athlete, and these are all different areas that affect the athlete,” Hopp said. “We’re there to make the educated decision on when an athlete should return following an injury — if it’s safe for them to be out there. Coaches want athletes out there all the time, obviously, and it’s our job to make sure that they are safe to be out there.”

With all the extremities that can sometimes surround a student-athlete when he or she is injured, having the athletic trainer there as the informed medical party can mitigate problems that could stem from other motives or miscommunication. Because the safety of the athlete comes first, the athletic trainer is there to reinforce that value.

ATC Tim Seifert said, however, that parents and coaches have become more understanding of injuries than in years’ past.

“A lot of times kids want to play, but it’s for their safety that they don’t,” Seifert said. “Parents, usually they’re pretty understanding. Twenty years ago that might not have been the case, but usually we get pretty positive feedback from coaches and parents.”

Hopp does most of his work at MLC and is assisted by Max Pagel, who is also assigned to Minnesota Valley Lutheran and Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop for their medical needs. Because the NCAA requires an athletic trainer be provided at all events by the home team, Hopp is delegated to mostly covering MLC with Pagel filling in wherever else an athletic trainer is needed.

However, because MLC has just men’s and women’s basketball during the winter sports season, Hopp also covers the New Ulm boys’ hockey home games as well.

Mangen is assigned to New Ulm High School, which houses more sports and more student-athletes than the smaller schools in the area, and is also regularly involved with the New Ulm Steel. Seifert is assigned to Sleepy Eye, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s and Cedar Mountain/Comfrey, while part-timer Denis Berdan is assigned to New Ulm Cathedral.

Due to the wide range of sports in the area, the athletic trainers can be stretched pretty thin in any given season.

The sports that require the most attention are classified as “collision sports,” which have the highest risk of collision-based injuries such as boxing, full-contact martial arts, football, wrestling and hockey. The three prominent collision sports in the New Ulm area are football, wrestling and boys’ hockey — the latter not including girls’ hockey, where checking is not permitted.

With the help of three part-time athletic trainers, Hopp makes sure that everyone is assigned to a high school football game for the seven schools, as is required by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL). Athletic trainers are also required to attend wrestling dual meets and tournaments as well as boys’ hockey games due to their classification as collision sports. Gymnastics also takes precedence as well due to the higher risk of injury.

“That’s where you’re more likely to have the more serious injury, the more catastrophic injury — the higher-trauma injury,” Hopp said.

In winter sports — when wrestling, boys’ hockey and gymnastics all take place — Hopp’s staff of athletic trainers rarely get many nights off due to how many events there are in the New Ulm area.

“It is a very busy schedule,” Mangen said. “I probably average working five-to-six nights a week during the winter season.”

The next tier down is “contact sports,” such as soccer and basketball, where the risk of injury is there but is not as high as collision sports. Non-contact sports — such as baseball, softball, tennis and track — occupy the next tier down where injuries are more likely to come in the form of nagging rather than abruptly through contact.

“The sport where you’re more likely to see the most injuries is probably soccer,” Hopp said. “Sometimes those are more of those chronic injuries, not the acute injuries. In track and field, we see a lot of injuries. Most of them are not serious injuries, but they’re your nagging-type injuries.”

Strength training, when done with correct form and proper supervision, is one of the most effective ways to prevent chronic or nagging sports-related injuries during the season. Strengthening the muscles around joints and ligaments protects them and can ensure that they suffer less wear and tear.

Proper training throughout the offseason — instead of just in spurts or limited amounts of time like some do — is the best prevention of in-season athletic injuries.

“Dynamic stretching, weightlifting — we recommend weightlifting to strengthen the muscle tendons — and general conditioning program, but that needs to start weeks-to-month prior to the season, not days,” Hopp said. “Offseason conditioning and strength-training are probably your two best things that can decrease injuries when the season starts.”

Mangen said he sees the highest amount of injuries at the beginning of the season because the student-athletes who injure themselves did not do enough training during the offseason.

“For example, track is starting now and some athletes may not have started running until track starts,” Mangen said. “It’s all about getting acclimated to your sport in time.”

On top of their involvement with the seven high schools, the athletic trainers out of CKRI at NUMC are involved with providing medical services to three youth sports clubs — New Ulm/Sleepy Eye Hockey Association, New Ulm Basketball Association and Rolling Thunder Wrestling.

“It’s good to be involved, especially with youth hockey,” Seifert said. “The coaches have to go through all the concussion training and things like that, so it’s nice to have one of us there if a kid goes down or has neck pain or something, we know what to do to help make sure it’s not something very serious.

“It’s great to get to know the kids and get to know the parents because usually we’re going to be seeing them down the road — in other sports or [on varsity]. We’ll likely work with them later on in life as well.”

Overall, being an athletic trainer is a demanding job. Athletic trainers typically spend at least an hour helping student-athletes prepare for games and an hour afterward treating whatever injuries may occur as well. They work with student-athletes and educate them on the proper ways to prevent sports injury and attend to anything that pertains to their benefit in terms of safety.

Even though there may be times when they may not look like they are doing much during the games, Hopp said there is a lot more work that goes into being an athletic trainer than what many see on the surface.

“Our No. 1 goal is the health and wellness of the athletes,” Mangen said. “This area, we’re pretty lucky for the amount of athletic trainers we have. If I remember my statistics correctly, only 60 percent of high schools in the nation have an athletic trainer who follows up with their sports teams on a regular basis, so we’re pretty lucky.”

At the end of the day — despite the extended hours and endless days — being an athletic trainer can have its rewards.

“The most rewarding part of my job is watching a kid get back to playing,” Seifert said. “Say it’s a long-term ACL injury of somebody I worked with extensively, watching them get out and play again in a sport they really like or being able to get back out there and compete again — I’d say that’s the most rewarding part of my job.”



Athletic Trainers Lead the Concussion Battle, Says Neurologist


Article reposted from EIN Newsdesk
Author:  EIN Newsdesk

Fighting the war against sport concussions are unsung heroes making life and death decisions every day in the trenches. I’m glad March gives us a chance to recognize the National Athletic Trainers Month, because athletic trainers often get taken for granted, but they are always appreciated.

Athletic trainers carry the torch for the medical world, parents, coaches and athletes, into concussion battle every time teams engage in sports. Their role in concussion management is mission critical to preserving the health — and future — of our athletes.

Here’s why — They C.A.R.E.:

C ulture —
Sports breeds a “toughness” culture that easily overlooks so-called “dings.” Literally, everyone plays a role. We all can improve our “spotting” and recognize concussion symptoms including players, coaches, referees, fans, school administrators, and even politicians. But nobody plays a more important role than athletic trainers. They face the culture daily, and sit the players down when they have to, despite the conflicting motivations of the player, coach and teammate.

A pplication —
Athletic trainers apply the latest in sports management that they possibly can afford. Through their unbiased lens, they provide the first-line of defense with concussion detection and overseeing the consequential recovery protocols. Most people don’t realize how much work is involved with this process which begins during the pre-season with neuro-cognitive baseline and balance testing. The data collected provide baseline measurements which help medical personnel with authorizing the return-to-play clearance.

R esearch —
Concussions continue to be one of the hottest topics in neuroscience. Athletic trainers are the gateway to accessing data that will define the future of concussion management. The challenge athletic trainers have is managing data. Athletic trainers have the herculean task of managing all the aspects for all the athletes’ health. Most schools have one or two certified athletic trainers serving more than 100 or more athletes.

E ducation —
Athletic trainers are tasked with knowing and applying the latest in concussion management including concussion education, baseline measurement, sideline assessment, reporting and overseeing recovery care. With all these pieces, athletic trainers must be continually be educated in the nuances of concussion care.

Additionally, athletic trainers are required to have bachelor’s degrees with studies in nutrition, exercise physiology, kinesiology, and biomechanics. Most programs want athletic trainers with master’s degrees, accreditation, or certification in various athletic training education.

The regarded National Athletic Training Association (NATA) defines athletic trainers as healthcare professionals who recognize, prevent, and rehabilitate injuries that result from playing sports or other physical activities. They may be part of a complete health care team and work under a physician’s supervision. Athletic trainers provide medical and allied health care services to individual athletes or entire sports teams. Elementary or high schools, colleges, and professional sports organizations, as well as medical centers may employ them.

When an athletic trainer, who may be responsible for the health of hundreds of athletes at a time, has multiple concussions to manage, varying levels of severity, and recovery timelines, just managing concussion injuries alone can be a major juggling act.

The truth is athletic trainers deserve a hug of appreciation. Thank you for helping preserve the athletes and the games we love.