College and UniversityNATM2017

By Water or by Land: Matthew Devens


Article reposted from Washington Square News
Author: Trevor Francesconi

NYU athletic trainer Matthew Devens, a Bellmore, N.Y. native, grew up exploring the bay on his family’s 17-foot Boston Whaler. One of five siblings, Devens spent summers fishing, clamming and water-skiing. He learned to love spending time in and around the water from a young age.

His love for sports continued into his time at John F. Kennedy High School, where he competed for the track, cross-country and swimming teams. He credits his track and cross-country coach Al Berkowsky for instilling discipline in him and inspiring him to succeed. Berkowsky, along with JFK’s record as as a state champion in multiple track events, pushed Devens to train hard. He ended up at the Division II school Southern Connecticut State University, where he ran track for one year.

It was at Southern Connecticut State that Devens realized he wanted to prioritize his passion for athletic training, but that didn’t mean he was going to hang up his swim trunks or his running sneakers just yet.

“I still competed in swimming, track and field and running on my own, in pursuit of meeting my own personal goals while mainly focusing on and working toward my career goals,” Devens said.

A certified lifeguard since the age of 16, Devens began at a local pool and advanced to lifeguarding at busy Jones Beach as a college student. He’s spent the past 13 summers keeping watch over people diving into the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

“It helps you stay fit, and it is very competitive,” Devens said. “Lifeguards have to try out every year and pass a test before they can be a lifeguard at Jones Beach. Being a lifeguard has taught me how to react and handle stressful situations when it’s you, a huge body of water, large waves and one or multiple victims.”

Devens said that lifeguarding has helped him as an athletic trainer because it taught him to be aware of his surroundings, whether it be by the water or athletic field. He said reacting and responding quickly and with control are essential for success in both professions.

Devens returned to New York after graduation. He volunteered as an athletic trainer at his alma mater and other local high school cross-country races in his community for a month following college. He finally convinced the organization facilitating the events that it was necessary to have a paid professional athletic trainer on site. As a graduate student at Long Island University Brooklyn, Devens worked these events exclusively.

After grad school, he landed a job at Hunter College, working as a part-time athletic trainer and in the equipment room. However, it was as a trainer for the Brooklyn Aviators hockey team that Devens’ athletic training career took off.

“I traveled for a year all over the Northeast and into Canada,” Devens said. “I was the primary health care provider for the team, taking care of traumatic on-ice injuries ranging from severe concussions to lost teeth. Having that experience showed me that I could be successful as an athletic trainer in competitive sports.”

Devens joined the NYU community in 2011, serving as the Head Athletic Trainer for the then NYU-Poly before NYU athletics and NYU-Poly athletics officially merged in the fall of 2014.

Devens works with the women’s softball, men’s soccer, and both the men and women’s track and cross-country teams at NYU. Devens said he particularly enjoys traveling with and working alongside the track and cross-country teams due to his own passion and  the years of training he has dedicated to the sport.

“My favorite part of working with college athletes is seeing their tenacity and ability to rebound and maintain a positive spirit when dealing with setback after setback,” Devens said.

In addition to his position at NYU, Devens also works as part of the medical team for the National Scholastic Athletic Foundation, the national governing body for high school cross-country and track and field in the United States.

Devens’ college mentor made a lasting impression on him while he was still studying at Southern Connecticut State. Charlie Davis, professor of Emergency Care and First-Aid CPR, told him to “be your own superhero.” Once Devens was put on the spot and forced to act under pressure as an athletic trainer, he understood Davis’ message.

“You’re the person everyone looks to on the field when a situation arises,” Devens said. “At first you think [Davis] is just saying it, but when it actually happens, you’re like, whoa I’m the guy.”

#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.”

College and UniversityNATM2017

Q & A with West Chester Athletic Trainer Nicole Cattano


Article reposted from The Inquirer Daily News
Author: Brian Cammarota

In honor of National Athletic Trainers’ Month this March, I wanted to spotlight a local athletic trainer and share some insight into the profession.

I had the opportunity to speak with Nicole Cattano, PhD, LAT, ATC, of Cochranville, Pa., about her position as an athletic trainer at West Chester University.

How long have you been a certified athletic trainer (AT)?
I have been an athletic trainer for 15 years.

What type of education do you need to be an athletic trainer?
You need to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program. However, the minimum requirement will soon change to a Master’s. Over 75 percent of current ATs have a Master’s degree or higher.

What do you do in current position?
I am currently an Assistant Professor / Athletic Trainer at West Chester University.  I have been a faculty member here for the past 12 years and I teach in the undergraduate and graduate programs in addition to serving as the AT for the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams.

Do you have an area that you specialize in?
My area of specialization is post-traumatic osteoarthritis after knee injury.  I am very passionate about trying to educate people about this long-term risk and in trying to find ways to prevent this debilitating condition.  I am happy to say that we have integrated injury prevention programs with our teams as a primary and secondary measure to try to help with this.  These programs can help reduce injuries by as much as 50 percent.

What is your general work week like?
In-season and out-of-season are very different.  Generally speaking, in-season work weeks are anywhere between 40-60 hours depending on the number of practices and games happening.  However, this does not include all the phone calls, emails, and text messages that I receive in my time not at work.

A typical day consists of teaching, meetings, office hours, helping students that pop in, and lots of emails!  I also help mentor graduate students through their research projects.  I serve on various committees and in other service positions.

The afternoons are typically dedicated to the basketball teams and conducting treatment and rehabilitations for these athletes.  I enjoy this time when I get to step away from the multitude of tasks and focus on being an athletic trainer.

I also supervise teo graduate students and four undergraduate students each semester.  Interacting with them and helping them develop is a very rewarding experience to me personally.

Are you involved in any organizations as an AT?
I recently became Southeast regional representative with the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society (PATS).  I write regularly for a Sports Medicine Research blog site. There are regular postings on a variety of topics that attempt to bridge the gap between research articles and the implications for clinical practice.  I am also involved in the Athletic Trainer’s Osteoarthritis Consortium (ATOAC) and the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA) which stem from my research and expertise in post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

Was there anyone that influenced you to become an athletic trainer?
I never met an athletic trainer until I was a senior in high school – and at the time it seemed interesting, but I had no idea about the profession.  When I arrived at college, I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to major in – but as an athlete, I really gained an appreciation for ATs.  My interactions with the ATs and professors at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro really helped me realize that becoming an AT was what I wanted.

What do you enjoy most about being an athletic trainer?
Evidence based practice.  Being able to identify a problem and utilize my clinical expertise, research, and taking into account patient values is a fun and rewarding way to help physically active people get back to what they love.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
The time and rapport that you establish with students over the course of their four years in the classroom and clinical setting.  I really enjoy seeing the exact moment on a student’s face when something “clicks.”  I love the West Chester Pride that alumni have, and I truly look forward to hearing from alums about all the fantastic things that they are doing.

Is there any advice you would share with someone who is thinking about becoming an athletic trainer?
Love what you do, and become as involved as you can.  The athletic training community is tight-knit and the profession can be very rewarding.  There will always be people who don’t know or may not fully understand/appreciate what you do.  Don’t get frustrated – see it as an opportunity to educate and make a difference.

NATM2017Secondary School

Dallas ISD Making Athletic Trainers a Priority


Article reposted from The Hub

Did you know that it’s a Dallas ISD priority to have a full-time, on-campus athletic trainer at each high school campus?

It’s true! Dallas ISD is among only 37 percent of public school districts in the nation that put such a high priority on athletic trainers. March is National Athletic Training Month, so it’s a great time to recognize the athletic trainers who protect and care for Dallas ISD student-athletes. This year’s slogan for the month is “Your protection is our priority.”

Ryan Peña, Sports Medicine Manager at Dallas ISD, has seen the benefits that come from an athletic trainer providing one-on-one availability to student-athletes.

“Managing injuries at school, rather than sending the patient to the emergency department, saves money and time loss,” Peña said. “Our trainers get the student-athletes back to activity safely.”

Whether at practice or at a game, athletic trainers have a wide range of responsibilities. From healing a sprained ankle to providing immediate emergency care in serious injury situations, athletic trainers are tasked with focusing on the health of student athletes. Being on campus every day allows athletic trainers to build relationships with their student-athletes and succeed in providing the necessary continuous care.

Just as professional and college athletes do, Dallas ISD student athletes have access to athletic-trainers that are motivated to care for and protect them.


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.

NATM2017Secondary School

West Virginia Athletic Trainers Keep Tabs on Area Athletes


Article reposted from The Dominion Post

They’re at every high school sporting event in the area, six days a week for hours at a time. They’re always there, but always go unnoticed — the athletic trainers at Morgantown, University and Clay-Battelle high schools.

March is a time to recognize the hard work trainers put in to keep student athletes safe and healthy on and off the field. National Athletic Training Month is used to help promote what athletic trainers regularly and to show outsiders the responsibilities they share to keep athletes safe from serious injury.

Under the direction of physicians, athletic trainers work to prevent and treat injuries to bones and muscles, as well as sports-related illnesses, such as asthma and heat stroke.

Some of the more serious injuries include those to the brain and spinal cord. Athletic trainers are equipped to treat those on the spot, while also being able to handle acute injuries, like broken bones or torn muscles.

Trainers also keep inhalers with them for athletes with asthma and work closely with those who have diabetes.

Today, concussion protocol is a hot topic, with many retired professional athletes speaking on the complications they now have as a result of head injuries during their playing days. In high school, athletic trainers manage whether an athlete is ready to go back into a game, and help teach coaches and parents about the signs and risks.

All trainers must be CPR certified every two years and must have an accredited bachelor’s program under their belts, while about 70 percent end up getting a master’s degree.

Part of that 70 percent includes the trainers in Monongalia County — two at MHS, two at UHS and one at C-B.

Luke Klawiter, of Jenison, Mich., has been at MHS for two years, working as an athletic trainer while finishing a two-year athletic training graduate program at WVU.

Klawiter said his number one responsibility is playing an vital role in keeping players healthy — which exemplifies the National Athletic Training Association’s 2017 slogan, “Your protection is our priority.”

“Their success is my success,” Klawiter said. “When athletes come back from an injury or look toward me for support getting through one, it gives me that internal satisfaction.”

Klawiter arrives at MHS before the school day ends and stays until the night is done. Whether he is addressing new and existing injuries or setting up water and emergency equipment, Klawiter stays prepared to act quickly for any scenario.

As he enters his last sports season with MHS, Klawiter reflects on his learning experience, and finding support from not only players and coaches, but from the community as well.

“The past two years I have learned more than I expected or could have wished for,” Klawiter said. “Being at a (Class) AAA school with many teams, I have seen many injuries and worked with many different athletes, coaches and parents. This learning environment is the best I could have asked for and I am thankful for what it has taught me.”

Kelsey Ulrich, a Reading, Pa., native, is a graduate student at WVU, working in her second year of a two-year program in athletic training. She has been at UHS both years, working with all sports team — from preseason conditioning to the end of the postseason.

Typical work days are from 2-10 p.m. with games and practices — being the first one there and the last to leave. The program includes paid tuition and a stipend with the help of the Monongalia County Board of Education and HealthWorks.

“I grew up playing many different sports and I love learning about the body,” Ulrich said. “Athletic training combined those two elements for me. Medicine is always changing, so we are constantly leaning newer and better ways to treat athletes, which is very exciting.”

Sam Buscher, of Pontiac, Ill., has helped with the Cee-Bees the last two years. He came to WVU after finishing his undergrad at James Madison. Getting hurt in high school led him in the direction of becoming a trainer.

“I’ve always been passionate about sports and have been drawn to medicine since I was young,” he said. “In high school, after suffering an ankle injury, I knew I wanted to become an athletic trainer. It gives me the opportunity to build lasting relationships with my community, co-workers and patients.”

Brian Hanson (UHS), of Mukwonago, Wis., and Cory Hester (MHS), of Aurora, Colo., are in their first year with the program. Hanson came to WVU from Wisconsin-Madison, while Hester went to Ithaca (N.Y.) College.

All five help at Trinity Christian School, as well as with the Morgantown Marathon, Mountain State Youth Football League, the Winner’s Choice Wrestling tournament and the Mon County Middle School Lacrosse League.


Preventing pain with athletic trainers


Article reposted from
Author: Mark C. Volain

It was only a few days into my high school career when I realized that the padded walls in the gymnasium were not only that; one section opened into a fluorescent-lighted room with a desk and a padded table, with muffled sounds of conversation, laughter and the unmistakable sound of tape being torn starting up shortly after the final school bell rang.

I’d found the athletic trainer’s office. While I didn’t need any help before soccer practice that day, I would eventually find myself a regular visitor, establishing a relationship not just with athletic tape and bags of ice, but also with the athletic trainer who helped manage the discomfort associated with my patellar tendinitis.

I was reminded of that relationship this month, as March is National Athletic Trainer Month. This year, the campaign’s theme is, “Your protection is our priority.”

“We do what we can to promote who we are and what we do,” said Aaron Gill, Marin Academy’s athletic trainer. “Athletic trainers are health care providers that have skills to evaluate injuries and illness associated with athletics. We manage, refer, treat and help those athletes return to their sport.”

While a big part of athletic training, at any level, is dealing with injuries that have already occurred, athletic trainers also work to strengthen the problematic muscle groups so another injury doesn’t occur.

“At the high school level, injuries occur because the development of strength and ability to withstand the forces (of the sport) is a large discrepancy,” San Rafael’s athletic trainer, Shana McKeever said. “We work on strengthening the muscles as well as synchronicity of the muscles working on the joints. We try to teach them practices that will keep them involved with their sport as much as is safe for them.”

As a sports fan, I constantly hear about professional athletes who are playing through injuries, not reporting injuries and the like. While the macho ideals of sports often influence athletes to play through pain, doing so can be detrimental. As a result, athletic trainers ­— especially those on campus full-time like Gill — have placed emphasis on developing good lines of communication with the athletes. If a good relationship has been forged, athletes are more likely to disclose that they’re dealing with pain.

“Something I didn’t realize I’d enjoy so much before coming (to the high school level) is trying to create an environment, trying to create a fine line between being serious (about injuries) and being a place they can feel comfortable and crack jokes,” Gill said. “There may be three kids who come in, with two of them (just accompanying) the injured one. Now we have that built-in relationship, at least that one interaction, so they can feel comfortable.”

In Marin County, there are now athletic trainers at almost every school, something which was far from the case as recently as four years ago.

“Knowing that in Marin there’s (an athletic trainer on duty) at those schools (when teams play games on the road) is always comforting,” Gill said.

The growth of athletic trainers at high schools in the area prompted McKeever to start organizing monthly meetings with her peers. Communication with the athletes is important, but she said trading strategies can be quite beneficial, too.

“Without mentioning (student athletes) by name, we’ll swap stories with situations we’ve had. We’ll bounce ideas off of each other for how to deal with that situation. We talk about current trends and topics within our profession, help each other develop a more well-rounded understanding,” McKeever said. “We all come from different backgrounds, both in where we got our athletic training certification, and the opportunities that we’ve had along the way.”

While most schools in the area employ at least one athletic trainer now, Gill said having multiples would create more opportunities to keep the athletes on their chosen playing field.

“One of the things I wish I had more time and hands to do, is that there’s a lot of research out there,” Gill said. “When we do specific exercises to strengthen, we can decrease injuries.”

After suffering an injury that saw my knee cap grinding into my knee, I needed the help of an athletic trainer to help develop the muscles around it. After some physical therapy, I worked with an athletic trainer for an entire track season to keep up my strengthening exercises. Exercises and stretches are often a small addition to an athlete’s routine that can have a large impact on their health.

“A few years ago, I looked at injury trends in cross country. The principles of an ACL injury prevention program are warm-ups that activate the muscles,” Gill said. “I came up with a set of exercises that can be done in 10 minutes. It addresses feet, ankles, calves and hips that they can do before they start warming up to actually run.

“It has helped. The coaches (agree) that it hasn’t gotten rid of every (issue), but has decreased the duration — how long the pain was bothering them — as well as the intensity.”

High school is a transformative time, both mentally and physically, and staying healthy is a key to athletic success. With the help of a strong line of communication with an athletic trainer, staying healthy is a little easier.

“The variety of kids and personalities, the ability to develop relationships with coaches and students and see them grow from young adults into true adults, there’s a lot of change there,” Gill said. “Having equipment and resources from the school and a plan in place keeps everyone calmer.”

Mark C. Volain is the sports editor at the Marin Independent Journal. You can contact him with story ideas, corrections, issues or compliments at or by calling 415-382-7298. You can follow him on Twitter @MarkCVolain and “like” him on Facebook.


National Athletic Trainers Appreciation Month Underway in Nebraska


Article reposted from News Channel Nebraska
Author: News Channel Nebraska

As popularity in sports increases nationwide, so has the appreciation for athletic trainers at high school events. But according to Columbus Community Hospital athletic training program director Rob Marshall, that wasn’t always the case.

“When I first came to Columbus 22 years ago, I had to explain what an athletic trainer was and what we did. It has changed quite a bit over 22 years, the school hates to have events where no athletic trainer is present now. In a short period of time I went from explaining why I’m here to, where are you, why aren’t you here,” said Marshall.

Marshall, who has already been named to the Nebraska State Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame, think it’s imperative for people to understand the importance of athletic trainers in the community.

“If you are going to have that many kids competing at those levels, there should be proper medical care there. Not just the universities, not just the NFL, there’s a lot more kids that play high school sports that go on to college. That athletic healthcare should be available for those people as well,” said Marshall.

The Columbus Community Hospital Medical Director of the Sports Medicine Team Dustin Volkmer is very pleased with what is happening here locally in the Columbus area.

“The hospital actually started a concussion clinic a few years ago, specifically for treating and managing concussions. That’s been something that I think has been outstanding for our community, there’s really not many around the state that have that type of clinic,” said Volkmer.

While March is officially athletic trainer appreciation month, with all of the hard work athletic trainers do around the country it’s apparent that they should be appreciated every month of the year.

NATM2017Secondary School

Athletic Trainer combines love of sports and helping into athletic training career


Article reposted from The Progress

When Glendale athletic trainer Jeff Smithbower realized he wouldn’t be playing baseball professionally, he decided he needed to find a different profession to pursue.

After deciding against working in other fields directly associated with baseball, he turned to athletic training, which allowed him to to stay involved with sports.

“I loved playing baseball and working out in my younger years and figured that if I couldn’t play baseball professionally that I would find a career to still be around it,” Smithbower said. “I lived in the weight room in my high school days and was always interested in the science behind training and improving athletic performance.

“Originally, I wanted to take the path to work in professional sports but I realized baseball is a pretty boring sport when you’re not actually in the game yourself and the hours, pay, and lifestyle were different than I imagined.”

The Penn Cambria grad went to Penn State University and majored in kinesiology with the athletic training option and then went to Mount Aloysius College to get his degree as a physical therapist assistant.

Since starting out Smithbower has worked for ProCare Health Systems and covered Cambria Heights and Mount Aloysius College. He has also filled in at Penn State Altoona.

He came to Glendale in 2008 and has been there ever since.

Since he is employed by the school and not contracted out, Smithbower’s day usually begins right when the students of Glendale are switching gears into athletic mode — the final period bell.

“Typically I come in after school lets out, check my email, and work with any athletes that are currently injured or need treatment and it can vary from 0-10 people depending on the time of year,” he said. “Sometimes athletes pop in and have a question or concern and I will take a look at them. My room is next to the weight room so I usually stop in there to see if there’s anything going on. Then I usually make rounds to each practice just to see what they are doing for the day and if anyone else needs me.

“If there’s a game that night then I will start to get equipment ready for the game and set up in the gym or out at one of the fields. If there’s a game that night then I always try to be present for it while keeping radio contact available with the other teams practicing in case they need me.”

Smithbower said the best part of his job is being around his athletes and getting to watch them play sports.

“I get paid to be around sports,” he said. “It beats doing physical labor and a lot of other jobs out there. I’ve built some great relationships with people over the years whether they were athletes or coaches. The athletic world is definitely a place where you get out what you put into it and I love it when the hard work pays off for the people I’m around.”

With over eight years of memories, Smithbower said it isn’t a specific sports moment that sticks out as his favorite, rather a group of athletes that he was able to follow.

“It’s hard to pick one (a favorite), but I really enjoyed the time I had working with the group of kids that graduated around 2011,” he said. “They were really good kids that worked hard, were coachable, and had great attitudes. It didn’t feel like work when they were around and I was always excited to watch them play.”

Smithbower says while he loves his job, there are a lot of misconceptions about what the profession actually entails, with some comparing it to completely different fields.

“The title “athletic trainer” gives people the impression that we are the same thing as “personal trainers” and its a constant battle to educate people that we are healthcare providers,” he said. “I was guilty myself when I chose the path in college of thinking that it was mostly “training” related when in fact it is more oriented around injuries as we are healthcare providers. It is a relatively new profession and I think in time the connotation will change as people are exposed to the professional.”

While the job allows Smithbower to be around sports on a daily basis, there are some downsides to the life of an athletic trainer.

“The second shift type hours definitely makes it less enjoyable at times, but I don’t mind it too much because I honestly don’t know what else I would be doing with my evenings anyway,” said Smithbower. “Losing definitely takes it toll on all the people associated with it and lately we have been struggling to be as competitive as we would like in different areas.”

In all of his different experiences, it’s two baseball injuries that stick out the most.

“I was working a college baseball game where two players collided head to head in the field and left them both unconscious,” he said. “In second place would be another baseball injury when I was an undergrad student where a player was struck in the face by a 85 mph foul ball. To this day it makes me cringe and I’m always warning people to be aware around the backstop.”

Smithbower also likes to give another bit of advice for anyone thinking of getting into the field.

“Job shadow multiple places so that you can have an idea of what its really like in different settings,” he said.

NATM2017Secondary School

Pennsylvania Athletic Trainer juggles family and duties


Article reposted from The Progress

With eight-year old triplets Coby, Kyla and Payton, Curwensville athletic trainer Trevor Kephart knows how to juggle his schedule both at home and at work.

Kephart has been working for Drayer Physical Therapy for the last several years, and has been athletic trainer at Curwensville for the last seven. Prior to the that he worked at Clearfield High School and Union High School.

A graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelors degree in kinesiology with the athletic training option, it was an injury he suffered on the football field at West Branch High School that introduced him to the profession.

“I had an ankle injury my senior year,” he said. “Back then, University Orthopedics sent athletic trainers to school once a week then to evaluate injuries.”

Kephart took an interest in the profession after his evaluation and hasn’t looked back since.

With his job contracted through Drayer in Clearfield, Kephart spends his mornings working at the clinic, where he helps physical therapy patients with their programs and assists the therapists in treating injuries.

After he leaves the clinic, he heads over to the high school, where he prepares his athletes for games or practices. If it’s a game night, Kephart will be there for both junior varsity and varsity games before cleaning up his gear and getting ready for the next day.

“When people see me at sporting events, I’m sure they think, ‘Wow, is that all he does? That’s easy,’” he said. “There is a lot of behind the scenes work that people don’t see. Covering games is a small fraction of what an athletic trainer does on a daily basis.”

The profession is not one for someone who can’t handle putting in a lot of hours. While Kephart doesn’t mind the hard work, he does have to balance his schedule so that he and his wife Carrie get to see their own kids do their activities as well too.

“With my growing family, the late evenings make it hard to be home all the time,” he said. “I try to manage it the best I can.”

So far, Kephart had done a very good job of that, as he has managed to keep his athletes in tip-top shape at Curwensville.

He says he enjoys seeing his athletes come back from injury and watching them succeed on the field and in life.

Kephart says he has two favorite memories from his time as a trainer in Progressland.

“The first would be when Curwensville won the 2010 District 9 Class A football championship,” he said. “Also in 2003, when I was at Clearfield being police escorted in to Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh when they played Perry in the state playoffs.”

The long-time trainer says he has seen a lot of injuries in his time in the profession, but there is one that sticks out, not for the severity or type, but because of his reaction to it.

“It wasn’t a major injury by any standpoint, but I had a softball player slide into home and chip her front tooth,” he said. “I think it was like two days before prom and she was so upset when she saw it in the mirror. And me, typical guy fashion, I remember saying, ‘it’s not that bad.’ And her saying hysterically with tears, ‘I have prom this Saturday.’ I think she was called out also, but by then it was a moot point.”

Kephart’s advice to anyone looking to get into the profession is to be realistic about the hours and the amount of work that goes into being a successful athletic trainer.

“If you are looking for an 8-5 job, this isn’t it, but it is a profession that continues to evolve with endless job opportunities, either collegiately, professionally or high school,” he said.

And with all of his experience in the industry, it’s a good bet he knows what he is talking about.