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College and University

ATHLETIC TRAINERS KEEP ATHLETES HEALTHY

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Article reposted from The Villager
Author: 

tevenson University has 27 athletic teams that compete in the NCAA, with six athletic trainers divided among these teams. Each team has one athletic trainer assigned to work with them.

Connor Trainor (in green) examines student Morgan Cary during the women’s soccer match. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

 

 

 

 

 

 

All athletic trainers at Stevenson have their bachelor’s or master’s degree in athletic training and are certified ATC in the field.

One of the six athletic trainers at Stevenson is Conor Trainor, who earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training at Towson University and a master’s from Temple University. While in graduate school, Trainor gained experience as the graduate assistant for club sports at Drexel University. Just like most athletic trainers, Trainor chose to become one because he likes to work with college athletes; “They [athletes] want to get better and get back into the game as soon as possible,” he said.

Trainor has been an athletic trainer at Stevenson for three years. He works directly with men’s ice hockey, women’s soccer, men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s tennis, and golf. All of the athletic trainers at Stevenson work with more than one athletic team, usually in different seasons.

“If I have two teams that overlap in a season, then I have to help the team that has the higher injuries and is the higher contact sport,” he explained.

The athletic trainers have a different schedules based on the athletic team with whom they are working. Athletic trainers are always in the training room an hour before a team’s practice so that athletes are able to roll out their muscles, get taped or get physical therapy.  On a day that a team has a game, the schedule is different. They would arrive earlier to set up for their own players and for visiting teams, including water jugs and medical equipment for the players. Athletic trainers are also required to travel with the team for road games.

“A trainer’s job is to keep the athletes healthy and on the field,” said Trainor. The athletic trainers teach athletes techniques to stay healthy, such as stretches and other patient care.

Athletic trainers not only determine injuries, but they help to rehabilitate students.

Kellen Wittman, a senior on the woman’s soccer team, suffered from a torn ACL injury last season,  and explained, “They encouraged and pushed me to my limits everyday so I could be back to 100 percent. All of our athletes wouldn’t be where they’re at today, without the dedication they [athletic trainers] put in day in and day out.”

College and University

The Never-Ending Battle Against Sport’s Hidden Foe

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Article reposted from The New York Times
Author: 

The first thing Colgate University did was purchase a sophisticated $14,000 machine that used ozone gas, not water or detergent, to disinfect all its athletes’ gear. An ice hockey player had come down with a staph infection, and Colgate, fearing the severe and sometimes fatal form of it known as MRSA, was not going to take any chances.

The university didn’t stop at gassing gear.

Out went the shared bars of soap in the Colgate showers. Water bottles were sterilized nightly. Athletes in contact sports got two or three sets of equipment so one set could always be sanitized. Even the university’s furry mascot costume was regularly blasted with ozone gas.

That was a decade ago, and Colgate, like many schools, is still fighting the germ. This year, among other measures, it unveiled plans for a cutting-edge system that would zap locker rooms with a decontaminating fog of hydrogen peroxide and silver to leave an anti-bacterial coating on every surface.

“It’s not weird anymore to implement these kinds of advanced tools because technology has really helped,” said Steve Chouinard, Colgate’s director of sports medicine and an athletic trainer. “We sprung into action, and you consider every possible way to keep the athletes safe.”

By the thousands, high schools, colleges and professional teams have followed Colgate’s path with aggressive, almost obsessive, steps to prevent MRSA outbreaks

And yet, the battle is not won. It has become a never-ending fight against a hidden foe that resists conventional antibiotics. And in the sports world, where the bacteria can flourish in crowded gyms and locker rooms, and amid frequent skin-to-skin contact on the playing field, there is not even a scoreboard to definitively keep track of who is winning.

The disease has disabled some athletes, cutting short their careers, and the most severe cases have been fatal. Ricky Lannetti, a Division III all-American wide receiver at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania, died from a MRSA infection in 2003.

Two seasons ago the Giants tight end Daniel Fells contracted MRSA in his lower leg and spent several tense weeks in a hospital as doctors contemplated amputating one of his feet. Fells retired from football 10 months later. In 2013, three Tampa Bay Buccaneers came down with the infection — two never returned to the field.

Such cases have generated enough anxiety that teams have pulled out all the stops to eradicate the germ or to prevent it from settling in.

Although the most recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, reported a decrease in MRSA infections in the general public since 2005, it is difficult to tell what is happening in locker rooms because there has been no study specifically on sports. Anecdotally, based on the number of cases they have treated in recent years, athletic trainers and team doctors nationwide have insisted that MRSA cases in sports declined substantially in the last decade. But they, too, have no data.

Moreover, the movement to curb MRSA in athletics is butting heads with new behavioral trends — like some teenagers’ dogged aversions to showering after games and practices — that imperil the best preventive efforts.

Likewise, practices like body shaving, which has become more popular among young people and can cause tiny cuts that allow MRSA to propagate, have been shown to increase the risk of infection sixfold, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Football, like any sport with frequent skin-to-skin contact, continues to be a breeding ground for the disease. Professional football players are seven to 10 times more likely than the general public to have MRSA bacteria on their skin, according to Duke University researchers.

“It is a job hazard present for people who play football,” said Dr. Deverick Anderson, a director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network, which serves as a consultant to the N.F.L.

MRSA, the acronym for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, was once mostly found in hospitals, clinics and other health care settings. About 20 years ago, it began afflicting athletes in contact sports.

Over time, hospitals and other medical facilities developed more stringent hygiene routines that successfully reduced the prevalence of MRSA. It is these best practices that professional teams and athletic departments have spent the last decade emulating.

Sports teams, even at some high schools that have the necessary budget, tended to ramp up their preventive efforts with avant-garde measures.

In the N.F.L., the effort to curb MRSA now borders on a crusade, with an official prevention manual that is 315 pages long. There are meticulous protocols for dozens of procedures, right down to the approved method for refilling the anti-bacterial solution in hand-sanitizer dispensers, which are now omnipresent in locker and weight rooms. (Prepackaged containers are preferred to topping off the dispensers with a large jug — a process that can spread contamination.)

The best-intentioned and most sophisticated tactics, however, can be undone by the simplest omissions. At the high school and college levels, the downfall can be players who refuse to shower with teammates, which is common. A shower can greatly diminish the chance that exposure to MRSA in practice or in a game will lead to an infection.

“It’s like pulling teeth to get the athletes in the shower,” said Bernie Stento, an athletic trainer at Chesterton High School in Indiana. “Some kids are very squeamish about it. After practice, they’re sweaty and have dirt and mud on them. In football, they might have cuts, scrapes and abrasions. I say to them, ‘Guys, without a shower, we’re inviting infection.’

“But just as a practice ends, I’ll be taking things off the field and see kids leaving already.”

It’s a phenomenon discussed often among coaches and trainers.

“It started 10 or 15 years ago, and now there are a lot of social stigmas with the shower in a school setting,” said Bart Peterson, the head athletic trainer at Palo Verde High Magnet School in Tucson. “I don’t know, maybe they don’t want the hazing. But it’s pervasive.”

At Colgate, which is in upstate New York, a fervent education program has changed habits.

Owen Buscaglia, a junior wide receiver at Colgate, said he and his friends in high school considered it weird to shower after practice.

“Now it’s weird if you don’t shower,” Buscaglia said.

Across the nation, the efforts to foster proper hygiene involve far more than shower routines. Some teams buy athletes their own water bottles to deter sharing.

To prevent teammates from sharing towels to wipe their faces or arms on the sideline, trainers have sometimes employed a small army of interns who scoop up any used towel so it can quickly be placed in the laundry. Jim Thornton, the athletic trainer at Clarion University in Pennsylvania, said his teams had begun using chemically treated towelettes that are about half the size of a standard towel and are discarded after each use.

The expense may be worthwhile. One study of high school football players concluded that sharing a towel makes the chance of a MRSA infection eight times more likely.

In wrestling, where the occurrence of skin disorders has been elevated for decades, many college and high school teams mandate frequent examinations for suspicious lesions. In all sports, the ubiquitous training tables, where athletes receive treatment, are now subject to regular, thorough disinfection. Athletes are required to shower before entering any kind of pool or tub used for therapy.

With athletic teams soiling hundreds of pounds of jerseys, T-shirts and padded equipment on a daily basis for sports like football, hockey and lacrosse, a cottage industry has sprung up to rid that gear of bacteria that might lead to a MRSA infection.

High-tech laundry systems — featuring programmable chemical disinfectant injections, high speed water extractors and synchronized cycles that assiduously monitor water levels and temperatures — have become commonplace. Ozone gas machines, like the Sport-O-Zone manufactured in Elkhart, Ind., can be found in equipment rooms from the N.F.L. to small public high schools.

Infectious disease experts are more likely to emphasize other elements of a comprehensive MRSA prevention program, but they do not spurn the emerging devices.

“I would think it would make a contribution to the reduction of staphylococcal infection in the athletic environment,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said of the ozone gas machines.

At Bowdoin College in Maine, Dan Davies, the athletic trainer, said the college had not had a MRSA case involving an athlete in the 10 years since it bought an ozone gas unit. That track record has motivated Bowdoin officials to consider installing a system that would fill the locker rooms and the training room inside the college’s new facility with ozone gas transmitted through the heating and air-conditioning ducts.

Overnight, custodians would lock the doors to the building serving Bowdoin’s football and lacrosse teams, then turn on the ozone gas. The facility is to open next year, and while the new system could add to the renovation cost, Bowdoin, like so many other institutions, may decide it is worth the price. The college once had a MRSA scare.

About 10 years ago, a Bowdoin athlete was unaware he had contracted MRSA, and with a contagious, open wound on his leg, he wandered around the campus — to the dining hall, the weight room, the locker room and the coaches’ offices.

“That gets your attention,” Davies said. “We said, ‘Oh, boy, we’ve got to sit down and make a game plan to fix this.’ We took the stance that we’ve got to push prevention to the forefront. And we haven’t turned back.”

College and University

Athletic Trainers help Keep Storm athletics going strong

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Article reposted from The Simsonian
Author: Tanner Krueger

Starting Friday nights, Simpson College students get ready for the night before game day. Non-athletes may be doing extracurricular activities around campus, and others may be going home but not the student athletic trainers.

“Friday night after practice, I usually go get dinner and go back to the room for the rest of the night,” said senior student athletic trainer Jordan Coughenour.

Starting Saturday morning, the students will come in around 10 a.m. to set up for treatments that start at 10:30 a.m.. Chris Fertal, head athletic trainer, and his staff come in early to the training room to set up for game days.

They set up the water for the team, fit the braces and also help the opposing team with any special needs they might have. Once the athletic trainers help the other team move in, they will do treatments for the Storm and make sure all the players are ready for warmups.

Once the players are ready for warmups, the training staff gets a little break before the game.

“Every week we like to get together as a group, and we put together a big lunch spread. Each student and staff member bring something different to eat, so we get to eat before the game starts,” Fertal said.

At halftime, all the trainers help the players with anything that may have happened during the first half. Hydration and retaping are main focuses for the staff during halftime.

After the game, the students and staff wait until all players are out of the locker room. They clean up the field as if no one has been there and then go home.

“It’s a hectic schedule, but I enjoy the business of it,” said graduate assistant athletic trainer Emily Manning. “I get here early in the morning, and I am here in the training room from 12-7 p.m. on an average day.”

There is good communication between the new coaching staff of the football team and the athletic training staff. There is a new energy from the head football coach, Matt Jeter, which has translated to the athletic training staff for the year.

“It will be pretty hectic around here until Thanksgiving break, and then the training hours will slow down for us,” Fertal said.

Having new students each year on the training staff comes with the different challenges of getting them trained and ready for the year. Most of the staff members are seniors this year and need training hours to fulfill the needed credit requirement to graduate.

Teachers within the athletic training major acknowledge the time the students put into the training hours they need, so they do not give as much homework as normal classes. This allows the students to keep up with their school work in their busy schedule.

Although they have hectic weekends, the athletic training staff keep Simpson athletics up and running to so each student can perform at their highest level.

College and University

Former Drake University trainer sues after being fired

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Article reposted from The Des Moines Register
Author: 

A former athletic trainer for Drake University has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Des Moines school, alleging he was wrongly fired because of a medical disability that caused him to urinate in a tub.

Scott Kerr, 62, of Urbandale was the school’s head athletic trainer for 31 years before he was fired last September.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Polk County District Court, seeks unspecified damages for discrimination based on age, disability and gender.

The university has yet to file a response to the lawsuit but has said that it does not comment on personnel matters.

FINNEY: Drake trainer fired for urinating is a bad ending for everyone

In his lawsuit, Kerr claims he has two diagnosed medical issues that cause frequent and sudden urination — an enlarged prostate and a condition called neutrally mediated syncope that requires him to consume large amounts of water.

He alleges that on Aug. 29, 2016, he was cleaning out dirty water coolers in an empty tub while working in a Drake University training room and had a sudden urge to urinate.

Knowing he wouldn’t be able to make it to the bathroom in time, Kerr urinated into the tub, at which point Drake’s women’s tennis coach, Mai-Ly Tran, entered the room.

Two days later, Kerr and Tran met and Kerr explained the situation, at which point Tran asked Kerr to report the matter to his supervisor.

Kerr did so, and the next day, he met with Sandy Hatfield Clubb, Drake’s athletic director at the time, and again explained his medical condition.

According to the lawsuit, Hatfield Clubb suggested that Kerr should have urinated in his pants, indicating she once did so while in an airport and traveling on university business.

She allegedly went on to tell Kerr he was unfit to continue as the school’s head trainer but wanted him to “leave with dignity,” so she would allow him to remain on staff for a few months while training his replacement.

The next day, the school’s legal counsel informed Kerr he was being terminated immediately.

Kerr’s claim of gender discrimination is based on the allegation that Hatfield Clubb urinated in her pants while employed by Drake, failed to report the matter to her superiors and, unlike Kerr, was never fired.

Hatfield Clubb left Drake in August to accept a job with an intercollegiate athletics consulting firm.

Kerr served as Drake’s head athletic trainer since his hiring in July 1985. He oversaw a staff of six certified athletic trainers that was responsible for the health of 375 student-athletes in 18 NCAA Division I sports.

The lawsuit follows a review of the case by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, which issued a right-to-sue letter in August, enabling Kerr to take his case to court.

#AT4ALLCollege and University

An Ode to the Athletic Trainer

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Article reposted from Seminoles.com
Author: Bryce Kelley

There once was a trainer

Who stayed up all night

To sit in a waiting room

Shaking with fright

For her athlete had called just hours before

Complaining of chest pains, head pains, nose pains and more.

 

After hours had passed

And every test was done,

The athlete walked to the trainer with his sorry head hung

For he knew the trainer was about to be told

That the athlete had nothing more than a common head cold.

 

By now the sun had rose

To reveal a new day

And with it a training room

Where the trainer must stay

Until the last of her hundred-odd athletes had gone

No longer complaining of legs they can’t walk on.

 

And the trainer went home

To eat her first meal

And wait for tomorrow’s inevitable spiel

About how this calf hurts and how this knee pops,

How this hip aches and how this leg stops.

 

But patience is key along strong coffee

So the trainer goes to bed

Dreaming of a vacation – or three.

An Ode to the Athletic Trainer

If you’re hurting, you go to the trainers. If you’re sick, you go to the trainers. If you’re like me and need someone to complain to about your statistics class and how there’s no earthly reason you’ll need to know how to reverse code variables, you go to the trainers (they may not listen though, they’re good at tuning me out at this point). Athletic trainers are the lifeblood of college athletics and they don’t get the credit they deserve. So this week, by the power vested in me, I now pronounce The Rundown, lowly as it may be, a dedication to Florida State Athletic Trainers.

By this point in my college running career, a list of my injuries probably looks more like the never-ending receipt you get from CVS after buying a Coke. Or maybe the opening credits to a Star Wars movie. And I wouldn’t be here today, able to still call myself a runner, if it weren’t for the trainers that helped keep the jigsaw puzzle that is my body in one piece. It’s not just me either.

In my time here, I’ve seen miracles be performed on the training table. I’ve seen athletes who spend more time in the training room than at home achieve their dreams that had, at one point, seemed so hopeless. I’ve seen the trainers, like in an episode of Scooby-Doo, solve the mystery of an injury and unmask the culprit – which let’s be honest, was probably just not enough stretching.

I think on every ACC title, hell every national title that FSU has ever earned, there should be, in fine print, a note that reads: “This wouldn’t have been possible without our athletic trainers.”

They really are the glue that holds this team together, or more thematically spoken, the athletic tape that holds this team together. They become our coaches, our parents, and our motivators. They drive us to our appointments and endure the countless hours spent in waiting rooms as doctors try to fit us in (Tallahassee Orthopedic Center, I love you guys, but if you’re reading this, please play something other than HGTV in your waiting rooms. I can’t watch another couple not pick the house that they CLEARLY should pick). But most importantly, our athletic trainers deal with us at our lowest lows so they can help us get to our highest highs.

Being an athletic trainer can be a thankless job. So thank you. Thanks Gwen, Armand, Kyra, and Danielle. Thanks to our past trainers, Natalie, Symone, and Kathleen. Thanks to all the student trainers. So raise your glass of PowerAde. Here’s to you athletic trainers. Ok, I’m done. I’m making myself feel like a pine tree with all this sap.

On another note, the Noles will be in the destination hotspot of South Bend, Indiana to run really fast on Notre Dame’s golf course this Friday.

Bryce Kelley, a graduate student in Integrated Marketing Communications, is a fifth-year Seminole from Hope Valley, R.I. A two-time All-ACC Academic selection in cross country with his undergraduate degree in Creative Writing, Kelley will be providing a weekly inside look at the FSU men’s team throughout the season.

College and University

North Dakota college students practice simulated patient simulations

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Article reposted from West Dakota Fox
Author: Cynthia McLaughlin

Gymnastics may appear to be a graceful sport, but it’s also proven to be one of the most dangerous, with more than 17,000 injuries a year.

Safely transporting an athlete with a neck or back injury can be almost as challenging as navigating the uneven bars.

If you’ve ever been in a gymnastics foam pit, you know how difficult it is to get out. Now, imagine trying to lift a gymnast out without causing more damage. Students in college athletic training programs discovered how hard of a rescue it is.

Many hands make this rescue work. Students of the University of Mary and North Dakota State University Athletic Training Programs were put to the test Friday morning. The task? An athlete has fallen into the foam pit, has neck and back trauma, and remains unresponsive. It’s the first responder’s job to extract them.

“I never realized a foam pit was 8 feet deep and working in there it’s very hard to move patients and work with patients,” said Kerry McCoy, Education Coordinator.

“Gymnastics is unique because not every town has it, not every school has it. So not every athletic trainer gets that experience in working with that type of situation,” said Brenda Potter, Certified Athletic Trainer.

Today’s simulation proved challenging because none of the surroundings were stable.

“Nothing is constant, you are always moving. You kind of have to overcorrect for the movement but you also want to keep them as still as possible,” said Becca Valleroy, Athletic Training Program student.

It took more than a half hour for a team of a dozen students to successfully lift a victim out of the foam pit.

Hopefully this training will better prepare these students if they’re ever called to a scene like this.

This is National Simulation Week, so athletic trainers have been learning how to respond to emergencies in unusual settings.

They have also been working in pools and on the football field.

College and University

What is it like to be an athletic trainer?

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Article reposted from  Stoutonia
Author: Logan Myhre

Look around the sideline of any athletic event and you will almost always find an athletic trainer present. However, most people might not know exactly what an athletic trainer does.  It is this trainer’s responsibility to make sure the competing athletes stay healthy, and to care for them if anything unfortunate happens.

This is not the only responsibility a trainer has. Susan Lew, head athletic trainer at University of Wisconsin-Stout, says that they “wear many hats.” These hats include anything from pregame wrist taping to helping athletes figure out where their insurance will allow them to go for specialized treatment.

“[We] work with the prevention, care, first aid treatment and on-field treatment of athletic injuries or active injuries,” Lew said.

Stout has two full-time athletic trainers, as well as two trainers who are contracted through Mayo Clinic Health System, occasionally. Lew, head athletic trainer, will start her 18th year at Stout in October.

Jessica Schlafke is the assistant athletic trainer for Stout, but Lew says that their responsibilities are virtually the same, excluding the extra administrative duties Lew has.

Lew and Schlafke, along with the Mayo trainers, rotate shifts to attend all home varsity athletic events. The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) requires that they attend all away football games as well because of the contact heavy nature of the sport.

Lew says that Schlafke wanted to work with the football team as soon as she was hired.

 

“That was a tough decision for me, but I’ve [covered the sport] for a lot of years, so she took it over,” Lew said.

Lew said that being an athletic trainer is a very fulfilling career, but that does not mean it’s without its drawbacks.

She added that the hardest part of being an athletic trainer, especially at a university, is the long hours they work. When asked about her favorite part of the job, she cited the relationships that she gets to build with the athletes.

“Some athletic trainers would say [their favorite part of the job is] seeing a player get back to playing after being injured,’ and that is rewarding, but I think for me it’s seeing the kids come in as freshman and mature.”

Lew advises that people attempt to pay attention to what’s going on behind the scenes at an athletic event next time they attend, as it could possibly spark a new career interest for them.

College and UniversityConcussionResearch

Cal State Fullerton researcher helps students return to class after concussions

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Article reposted from The Orange County Register
Author: 

Meaghan Beaudoin just could not figure out what was going on in her head.

Sure, she was once knocked unconscious while playing soccer at Cal Poly during the early 2000s. But a hospital told her she was fine because there were no blood clots in her brain.

But she was failing classes. She could not quite grasp what she was learning.

A couple of years into Cal Poly, Beaudoin got an answer: Second-impact syndrome from the concussions she got in high school.

“I don’t want my students to go through what I went through,” said Beaudoin, now the athletic trainer at Sage Hill School in Newport Beach.

Concussion and its symptoms can be hard to spot, but its impacts are far-reaching, especially for student-athletes. Furthermore, the athletes cannot fully dedicate themselves to rest or rehabilitation. They have classes to go and homework to finish.

Tricia Kasamatsu, a Cal State Fullerton kinesiology professor who joined the university in 2015, has been researching how high schools support student-athletes after a concussion.

She said that until recently, schools and researchers had neglected much of the so-called “return-to-learn” aspect of concussions.

“It’s still a gray area,” she said.

Kasamatsu had been working as a high school athletic trainer and biology teacher in El Modena High School in Orange, after getting her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and her master’s teaching degree at Chapman University.

In 2010, a football player told her that he was struggling in his classes.

People around him didn’t know what to do. They wanted to help, but some of them wondered whether he was faking his injuries to slack off.

This experience motivated Kasamatsu to research how schools can best guide concussed student-athletes’ return to class. For her doctorate in education at Chapman, Kasamatsu wrote a dissertation on the topic.

She said many concussed students experience similar issues as students with learning disabilities.

The concussed students get headaches when they try to focus. They have a harder time remembering what they had learned. They face emotional distress, from their concussions and also often from the fact that they can’t play the sports they love.

“(Concussion) is a collection of emotional, physical and psychological stress,” she said.

The California Interscholastic Federation, or CIF, has a “return to learn” protocol, which recommends teachers give recovering students breaks and less homework.

“But the communication is left up to each physician or school,” Kasamatsu said.

Each person reacts differently to concussions, which Kasamatsu said further challenges schools. For instance, some students get a headache from projectors emitting bright lights. Others may struggle to read small prints on whiteboards.

Some students can recover in days. Others take months.

Kasamatsu is not interested in setting a rigid rule. Instead, she said she wants to help schools create a supportive infrastructure.

Kasamatsu works with athletic trainers across Southern California, updating them on the latest research and studying how they deal with concussed students.

“She is kind of my go-to,” Beaudoin said.

Chase Paulson, the head athletic trainer at Diamond Bar High School, said he encouraged Kasamatsu to study his school’s protocol and its impact on concussed students.

“I have a responsibility to make the profession better,” Paulson said.

Kasamatsu said her next research will examine how a support team — which includes, among others, teachers, athletic trainers, parents, nurses and academic counselors — functions in schools.

Local high school’s “return to learn” policy

Sage Hill no longer plays 11-man football.

Beaudoin said only about 20 players are on the school’s eight-man football team, which she attributed partially to a shift in how parents view football and concussion.

Still, Beaudoin said seven to ten students come to her every year with a head injury.

The school has a concussion management team that includes athletic trainers like Beaudoin, a learning specialist, an academic counselor and a concussed student’s parents.

The team works with the student’s physician and teachers to find the right learning accommodation, which can range from giving more time to complete homework to having a dedicated notetaker.

At the beginning of school year, she reminds teachers of the school’s “return to learn” policy. The teachers have become more understanding of the students’ needs, Beaudoin said.

But Beaudoin and Paulson said many challenges remain.

Diamond Bar High, like Sage Hill, has a concussion management team. The team checks student’s symptoms daily and communicates with the student’s physicians and teachers.

However, Paulson recalled a teacher calling him, asking if a student should get an accommodation for a test. Paulson said yes.

“I didn’t believe (the student),” Paulson recalled the teacher saying.

He added some students’ parents, because of language or cultural differences, can’t quite grasp concussion.

“That has been an ultimate challenge,” he said.

But Paulson said the teachers and parents have begun to understand his protocol.

“I can always be more conservative, but never more aggressive,” he said. “I have to make sure the kid has a livelihood.”

College and University

Caring for Student Athletes at Pacific University Oregon

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Article reposted from Pacific University Oregon
Author: Anna Robaton-Winthrop, Video by Robbie Bourland

In August, members Pacific University’s Boxer football team arrived on campus fired up for the fall season and new academic year.

But before any of them stepped onto Ledbetter Field for practices, they first paid a visit to Pacific’s Dental Hygiene Clinic, where their peers in the dental hygiene program took impressions of their mouths.

Under the watchful eye of faculty members, the dental hygiene students used the molds to make custom-fitted mouth guards onsite.

A few days later, freshman football players filed into the basement of the Stoller Center athletic complex. There, they got free, pre-participation eye exams from students in the doctor of optometry program, who were supervised by Dr. Fraser Horn ’00, OD ’04, the College of Optometry’s associate dean of academic programs and an expert in sports vision.

At Pacific, caring for student-athletes is a community affair.

The university has 24 intercollegiate athletics programs, which compete as members of NCAA Division III. It also has the only college of optometry in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and its College of Health Professions prepares students to work in a variety of fields, from dental hygiene to physical therapy and psychology.

“We have all these resources at Pacific, so why not use them to our advantage?” said Head Athletic Trainer Eric Pitkanen, who has worked to ramp up the level of care that student-athletes receive through internal and external partnerships.

Among college athletes, sports-related injuries are fairly common. Each year, thousands of college athletes sustain injuries, whether concussions or sprained ankles, that lead to missed practices, competitions and in some cases classes. During recovery, some struggle with anxiety and a loss of identity.

“We are trying to provide a level of care that is equivalent to Division I schools and better than what other Division III schools offer,” said Pitkanen, who was an athletic training intern at Vanderbilt University, a Division I school, before he joined Pacific in 2010. He also spent six months as a training intern with the Denver Broncos.

The mouth guard clinic for football players was the result of a new partnership between Athletics and the School of Dental Hygiene Studies. The idea for the clinic — which may be offered to other Boxer teams in the future — grew out of a senior capstone project by dental hygiene student Zachery Young ’17. The project focused on mouth guards and sports safety.

Custom-fitted mouth guards are a big step up from the inexpensive, plastic mouth guards used by many young athletes. That’s partly because they provide more cushion and fit snugly, making them more likely to stay in place. They’re also more comfortable, so players tend to wear them longer.

“In terms of straight-up protection, it’s the best you can get,” said Associate Professor of Dental Hygiene Kathryn Bell, one of several faculty members who supervised the mouth guard clinic.

The pre-participation eye exams for football players were also intended to reduce the risk of sports injuries by identifying players who need vision care before the start of the 2017 season. Players who needed additional evaluation and/or treatment were referred to Pacific’s EyeClinics for comprehensive exams.

Some players who wear glasses — and tend to take them off during games — might get prescriptions for contact lenses. Others might be candidates for vision therapy or sports vision training.

Vision therapy is an effective treatment for many common eye disorders, such as lazy eye and blurry vision. Meanwhile, sports vision training can improve depth perception, peripheral awareness and other visual abilities.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on at the College of Optometry is maximizing visual performance,” said Fraser Horn, who co-founded Pacific’s Sports Vision Club for optometry students when he was a student himself. The club provides screenings to Boxer athletic teams throughout the academic year.

“The better players can see, the better they can perform. And, we may also reduce their risk of injury,” Horn said. As head athletic trainer, Pitkanen has also leveraged his relationships within Pacific and the surrounding community to assemble a larger and more well-rounded sports medicine team than the one he inherited.

Horn is the newest member of the 12-person team, which also has three physicians (including an orthopedic surgeon and two sports medicine experts), two chiropractors and a physical therapist. With the exception of Pitkanen and four other athletic trainers, team members are volunteers.

See related story on safety tips for young athletes from members of the sports medicine team.

“We ask ourselves: how do we take care of students, make their lives better and enrich their collegiate experience? That’s what we are trying to do here,” Pitkanen said, adding that he aims for a holistic approach to caring for student-athletes.

It’s not just student-athletes who benefit from the growing number of partnerships between Athletics and other programs. The 2017 mouth guard clinic for football players provided dental hygiene students with an opportunity for service learning. Optometry students also gained valuable, hands-on experience by participating in the preseason screening program for football players.

“Having the hands-on, experience of making mouth guards is great. It’s something I will use in my practice after I graduate,” said dental hygiene student Anh “Justin” Mai ’18.

“I will be taking this knowledge [about mouth guards and sports safety] and bringing it to my patients in the future.”

Zachery Willits ’14, OD ’20, who played football for Pacific as an undergraduate, was among the optometry students who took part in the vision screening program. He saw it as an opportunity to gain experience and impress upon football players the importance of vision care.

“When I was playing football, I didn’t realize the importance of having an eye exam,” Willits said. “But now that I’m an optometry student, I recognize how important my vision was to both success in the classroom and on the field.”

College and University

COUNTING ON ATHLETIC TRAINER RANDY BOSWELL, BOTH HERE AND AFAR

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Article reposted from The Coeur d’ Alene Press
Author: Jason Elliott

For the past 25 years, if there’s one thing athletes at North Idaho College can count on, it’s that head athletic trainer Randy Boswell is looking out for them.

Now, some of the top wrestlers in the nation are finding out that same thing.

No matter if it’s a match at Christianson Gym, or for the gold medal in the world championships in Paris, Boswell is looking out for them.

BOSWELL RECENTLY returned from the wrestling world championships in France where the United States won the event for the first time in 22 years, topping Russia in the gold medal match.

“It’s an opportunity to work with the best athletes in the world,” Boswell said. “I get a chance to use my skills that I’ve learned, as well as share my knowledge with other countries, it’s win-win. I’m not shy about where I work either, so everyone that I come in contact with knows where I’m at.”

Boswell served as the head athletic trainer for the wrestling team, performing the same services he does at NIC.

“My role kind of expands a bit each time I travel with the team,” Boswell said. “It’s always comforting to know that these coaches trust me to be a part of this group. I traveled with this same group five weeks ago to Spain, and at that time, we didn’t have a doctor with us, so I had to perform some of those duties.”

For each USA Wrestling event, the group accepts applications of sorts from trainers nationwide. Boswell was selected as head trainer, and he worked with three assistants.

“There’s a lot of people that want to do it each time out,” Boswell said. “And I’m flattered to be honest each time I’m selected. Every time you go, the coaches and athletes can evaluate you on your performance. So I must be doing something right.”

Speaking of doing something right, Boswell pointed at the final bout of the weekend, a 213-pound match between Kyle Snyder of the United States against Abdusalim Sadulaev of Russia, which clinched the title.

“If we lose, we take silver and if we win, we take gold,” Boswell said. “Kyle was losing with 30 seconds to go, and wins it. The crowd went crazy, and you couldn’t have scripted better than that.”

American Jordan Burroughs, who won a fourth world championship, was another that Boswell has formed a connection with.

“It’s the third time I’ve been with him on this trip,” said Boswell of Burroughs. “It’s fun. When they come and look for you and trust you to take care of them, that’s something special.”

Since returning, Boswell added that he’s been approached by well-wishers, congratulating him on being a part of the team.

“It’s nice,” Boswell said. “The folks that know the wrestling part of things know it’s a big deal. It’s the first we’ve won in 22 years. To be part of a team that made history, it was a phenomenal experience.”

WHILE IN Paris, Boswell did take some time to see a few sights.

“When I’m on these trips, I’m on call around the clock,” Boswell said. “You’ve got to be cautious with your time, but I did take a couple of hours off to see the Eiffel Tower. But if guys are going to work out, I’m not taking off to go sightseeing. I work hard, and I think that goes a long way.”

His position with USA Wrestling is all volunteer, with no pay involved. This is the fifth time he’s been selected by USA Wrestling, the second as head trainer.

“When you’re selected, you go to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and spend a couple of weeks with the program,” Boswell said. “You can rank the top five tours you’d like to go on and a committee decides where you go. The coach gets the final say-so, but it’s also the intangibles, if you’re going to be a good teammate, work hard, and have good chemistry. Fortunately, I’d worked with these coaches before as an assistant trainer and they knew what I was about.”

And don’t worry Cardinal fans, Boswell isn’t going anywhere.

“My first love is working at the college, and everyone I work with knows that,” Boswell said. “I love what I’m doing, and I’m not in a hurry to sit in a rocking chair.”

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at (208) 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at jelliott@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter @JECdAPress.