College and UniversityEmerging Settings

Wisconsin National Guard Medics get Training with Wisconsin Athletic Training


Article reposted from US Army
Author: Sgt. Katie Eggers | Wisconsin National Guard

From 1861 until the end of the Civil War in 1865, more than 70,000 Wisconsin troops trained at Camp Randall here in Madison. Today, Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers continue to train at the historic site in a different capacity.

The Wisconsin National Guard and the University of Wisconsin’s athletic training program have built a partnership over the past four years in which Guard medics train with University of Wisconsin athletic trainers on soft-tissue injuries as part of what planners coined “Operation Badger Medic.”

Combat medic skills are critical to the Wisconsin National Guard, an organization charged with fulfilling a key role as part of the nation’s primary combat reserve. Medics are vital to combat operations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in training environments and even when the National Guard responds to domestic emergencies here in the United States.

“Over the past 15 years medics have been trained on trauma injuries, gunshot wounds, amputations and we have sustainment training in place for those skills” said Staff Sgt. Tim Ehlers, the training noncommissioned officer with the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Medical Detachment. “We didn’t at the time have a sustainment in for soft tissue injuries, shoulder injuries, back injuries, knee injuries.”

Guard medics who participate in Operation Badger Medic spend five days working with University of Wisconsin athletic training staff. Soldiers attend practices and clinics, observing medical interactions with athletes. The Guard medics do not work on the athletes, but they are able to practice techniques they learn on the athletic trainers they work with.

The partnership has helped Guard medics learn preventative medicine techniques for orthopedic injuries, Ehlers said.

“A lot of the injuries that we’re seeing out in the field are the same injuries that these athletes are sustaining here,” said Spc. Zachary Bornemann, a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery.

Bornemann went through Operation Badger Medic in early November. He plans to put together a class with another medic who went through the program to help train more Soldiers in his unit.

“I really didn’t know that there was certain ways to tape ankles or knees, and not only a certain way to do it, but different ways to do it for different injuries,” Bornemann said. “That’s something I can take back.”

The program has also been beneficial for the university’s athletic training staff, according to Kyle Gibson, an assistant athletic trainer and the coordinator for the athletics portion of Operation Badger Medic.

“Athletic trainers are natural educators, so it’s great because we’re able to give back to the military,” Gibson said.

The athletic training staff also have opportunities to train with Guard medics on trauma training and managing injuries in stressful situations, he added. The UW trainers have also participated in U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) training for Wisconsin Army National Guard medics across the state at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

“You can imagine 80,000 people looking at you trying to do an evaluation,” Gibson said. “It’s a pretty stressful situation. How do you handle that stress and still perform your job?”

Alyson Kelsey, an assistant athletic trainer with the University of Wisconsin, agrees that the program has had a positive impact.

“I’ve seen [the program] grow in the last four years, and I think each year it’s gotten better,” Kelsey said. “I think we’ve been able to create a program that’s beneficial for both the athletic trainers growing as professionals, as well as all of the medics that come through the program.”

More than 30 Wisconsin National Guard medics have participated in Operation Badger Medic to date, with more scheduled to go through the training this winter. Both the UW athletic training staff and Guard medics gave the program positive reviews.

“I think it’s a really great program, and it’s important for different areas of healthcare providers to learn from each other,” said Margaret Pelton, an assistant athletic trainer with the University of Wisconsin. “I think just having that understanding and that partnership is really important.”


Moll hired as Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Medicine at Wisconsin


Article reposted from University of Wisconsin
Author: University of Wisconsin

Michael Moll has been hired as Wisconsin’s Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Medicine, UW Senior Associate Athletic Director Doug Tiedt announced on Friday. Moll has served as an athletic trainer for the Badgers since September of 2000, including spending the last five seasons as head football athletic trainer.

“We are fortunate and honored to have Michael directing the Department of Sports Medicine at UW-Madison,” Tiedt said. “His extensive knowledge, experience, and demonstrated strengths of being an exceptional leader will provide our student-athletes with the most comprehensive sports medicine and performance care and programing.”

Moll graduated from UW-Madison in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology. He earned a Master’s degree in higher education administration from Auburn in 1999 and served as a graduate assistant athletic trainer for the Tigers for two years. Following a short stint as the head athletic trainer at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, he joined the Badgers.

During his time at UW, Moll has served as the primary athletic trainer for a variety of sports including softball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s basketball and wrestling. From 2003-12 he was an assistant athletic trainer with the football team, providing daily athletic training and management of medical care for football student-athletes. He was also responsible for coordination and supervision of rehabilitation, including post-surgical rehabilitations.

Since the summer of 2012, Moll has served as the Badgers’ head football athletic trainer. In that capacity he is responsible for the coordination of sports medicine coverage as well as oversight of the athletic training staff assigned to cover the football team.

“I am honored to be taking over for Dennis Helwig as the Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Medicine at UW,” Moll said. “I look forward leading a medical staff that collaboratively provides access to high quality sports medicine care for our student-athletes at UW.”

Currently the vice president of the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers’ Association, Moll was awarded the WATA Distinguished Service Award in 2007. He is also currently the Wisconsin state representative to the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association.

In his new role as Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Medicine, Moll will be responsible for developing, coordinating, and administering the overall sports medicine program for UW. He will serve as the athletics health care administrator and oversee UW’s athletic health care administration and delivery. That includes directing the development, coordination and delivery of the professional and administrative services essential to the successful implementation of a comprehensive sports medicine program.

College and University

Athletic trainer Henry Perez-Guerra always has players’ best interests in mind


Article reposted from Wisconsin State Journal
Part of Henry Perez-Guerra’s job is to be the bad guy when necessary, and yet he’s considered one of the good guys in the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program.

That speaks to the level of respect the Badgers’ longtime athletic trainer has earned from players and coaches alike.

Case in point: When Perez-Guerra told Bronson Koenig during the stretch run of Big Ten Conference play that it was time to sit out a game to rest his ailing calf, the senior point guard wasn’t happy to hear that opinion. But he didn’t hold a grudge because he knew Perez-Guerra was looking out for Koenig’s best interests.

“He’s the best at what he does,” Koenig said Thursday, “and he was just doing his job and protecting his players.”

He returned the next game and has been a huge key to the Badgers’ postseason success. There’s no way UW (27-9) is still playing — it meets Florida (26-8) tonight in an NCAA tournament East region semifinal at Madison Square Garden — without a healthy Koenig in the lineup.

Since sitting against Michigan, which gave Koenig a full week between games, he’s averaged 17.3 points and shot 42.9 percent (36-for-84) from 3-point range in 10 games. In two NCAA tournament wins, Koenig has averaged 22.5 points and connected 11 times from beyond the arc.

“It’s turned out great,” Perez-Guerra said. “I’ll fall back to what a medical staff is supposed to do, it’s the big picture. It’s not one game.”

Big picture

Back in mid-February, Perez-Guerra didn’t know if one game would be enough.

Koenig had strained his calf against Penn State on Jan. 24, which ended a stretch in which he shot 57.5 percent (23-for-40) from 3-point range through the first seven Big Ten games.

After the injury, Koenig wasn’t himself. He shot 22.6 percent (7-for-31) from beyond the arc over the next five games.

It wasn’t the shooting slump that bothered Perez-Guerra the most. It was how Koenig was moving in practices and games.

“Specifically, was he able to cut hard?” Perez-Guerra said. “That’s where we kind of felt like he wasn’t quite the same. He wasn’t cutting hard off the screens. From a functionality point of view, I watch practice probably different than somebody else might watch practice. I watch how their bodies are moving. I know what the affected (body) part is, so I can sort of zero in on that and decide. Bronson just wasn’t the same.”

Perez-Guerra is in constant consultation with Dr. John Orwin, the team physician, and the decision was made to hold Koenig out of some practices. Eventually, they began to consider the option of keeping him out of a game; the injury wasn’t getting worse, but it wasn’t getting any better, either.

Finally, after Koenig went 1-for-8 overall and 0-for-5 from 3-point range while being held to two points in 30 minutes during a home loss against Northwestern on Feb. 12, Perez-Guerra thought the time had come to sit Koenig. After a physical examination the morning of the Michigan game, Perez-Guerra had a heart-to-heart with Koenig and they both agreed that sitting out was the best option.

“It’s always a difficult thing to do when you’ve got to tell somebody they can’t play — and it’s a senior,” Perez-Guerra said. “At that point in time, it was an important game. They’re all important, but that one had a little extra meaning. But in the world of sports medicine, as team physicians and athletic trainers, that’s what our job is to do is to help them make decisions that are going to benefit them in the future.”

Perez-Guerra considers it a major part of his job to educate players on injuries. That’s what made the decision easier to accept for Koenig, even though he had never sat out a game because of injury in his life and certainly didn’t want his first time to come with the Badgers in the midst of a Big Ten title race.

“I think we made the right decision,” Koenig said. “Taking a little bit of time to rest and heal my body. I definitely felt a lot better after it, I could move better and wasn’t nearly as sore.”

Notice the use of “we” by Koenig. When he says he’s that, he’s referring to a group that includes Perez-Guerra, Orwin and the player. Much less involved in the decision-making process are UW coach Greg Gard and his staff.

‘The boss’

Does it get contentious between Perez-Guerra and players at times? Absolutely.

But Perez-Guerra understands that a large part of UW’s success over the years is because the program recruits competitive, blue-collar players. The kind of players who want to be on the floor for an important game, as was the case with Koenig at Michigan.

“I’d be pretty disappointed if somebody didn’t come and yell at me a little bit and get on me a little bit for that,” Perez-Guerra said. “You’ve got to have a little thick skin every once in a while. Bronson’s not the first student-athlete that’s been mad about it and he won’t be the last.

“But you can’t waver. Sometimes, yeah, you’ve got to be mean about it and just say, ‘Hey, look, we’re doing this for your best interests.’ There are times when you’ve got to do the right thing for the student-athlete. They’re competitors and they want to do whatever it takes to get on the floor and play, and sometimes the answer is no.”

Just ask UW assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft, who played for the Badgers from 2005-09. While Krabbenhoft appeared in all 136 games during his four seasons at UW, there were times that Perez-Guerra forced him to sit out practice.

“As a competitor and a player, you feel like you can play through pains and aches and injuries,” said Krabbenhoft, who battled through injuries to his feet, ankles, knees and back. “But only the medical personnel know what’s really best for your body and for your future.

“When you’re young and you’re 18 to 22 years old, sometimes you’re too stubborn or hard-headed, you think you know everything and have all the answers. But ultimately, he’s the boss and when it comes to decision-making time, he’s got a track record that proves he’s made the right decisions every single time.”

In other words, sometimes Perez-Guerra had to be the bad guy. But even one of the players Perez-Guerra argued with the most considers him a really good guy.

“Absolutely, and it’s not just give-you-what-you want nice,” Krabbenhoft said. “At the end of the day, people say he’s nice because he cares about you. He won’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. He truly cares.”


Wisconsin Professor to Receive New Investigator Award


Article reposted from Wisconsin-Madison School of Education
Author:  Wisconsin-Madison School of Education

UW-Madison’s David Bell will receive the 2017 New Investigator Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Research and Education Foundation.

The New Investigator Award, according to the foundation’s website, “recognizes a researcher who is likely to continue to make significant contributions to the body of knowledge in athletic training and health care.”

David Bell

“I am extremely honored to be selected for this award,” says Bell, an assistant professor with the Department of Kinesiology’s Athletic Training Program and the director of the Wisconsin Injury in Sport Laboratory (WISL). “It is a wonderful acknowledgement of the positive efforts of our research group. “


In recent years, Bell and colleagues have conducted a range of studies examining the prevention of lower extremity injuries, with a special focus on knee injuries.

Earlier this year, Bell and researchers from across campus produced a groundbreaking study examining whether or not more young people are focusing their efforts on excelling at a single sport, instead of playing a variety through the seasons. This report, published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, was titled, “Prevalence of Sport Specialization in High School Athletics.”

This one-year observational study found that 36 percent of athletes were considered highly specialized, meaning that they trained in one sport for more than eight months in a year. The researchers also determined that these athletes were more likely to report a history of knee and hip injuries.

In addition, Bell this past fall was the lead author of a new study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, which is the American College of Sports Medicine’s flagship monthly journal. The report, “Hip Strength in Patients with Quadriceps Strength Deficits after ACL Reconstruction,” examined differences in lower extremity strength in individuals with ACL reconstruction with differing levels of quadriceps strength.

“A key component to receiving this honor is the winner’s ability to establish an independent and productive line of research and David has done that with his work on ACL injury, re-injury, and cutting-edge work on sport specialization,” says UW-Madison’s Andrew Winterstein, the program director of the Athletic Training Program.  “While this award is a terrific individual honor for Dr. Bell, it also reflects well on his research team, mentors, collaborators, and the Dept. of Kinesiology. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful young researcher as part of our program.”

Bell will receive his award at the NATA Clinical Symposia, which is held in Houston in June. In addition, Bell will present an exchange lecture at the American Medical Society and Sports Medicine conference in 2018.

College and UniversityProfessional Development

Wisconsin athletic trainers, military medics learning from one another


Article reposted from
Author: Andy Baggot

It all began with a familiar pose: A man sitting on his living room sofa watching sports on TV.

Tim Ehlers was relaxing at his home in Tomah, tuned into a Wisconsin men’s basketball game, when he saw something that piqued his professional curiosity.

Ehlers, a staff sergeant and medical training instructor for the Wisconsin Army National Guard, watched as longtime UW athletic trainer Henry Perez-Guerra came onto the court to tend to an injured player.

“Henry quickly evaluated a guy who had an ankle injury and it was a matter of 45 seconds and they had him up and were taking him off the floor,” Ehlers recalled. “I thought to myself, ‘Why can’t my medics do that in the field?'”

Ehlers, an Army medic for seven years, began to organize his thoughts and devise a plan of action for his volunteer charges.

“Over the past 15-ish years now we’ve been at war and we’ve learned great lessons about trauma medicine,” he said. “We pound into their head every year ‘trauma, trauma, trauma.’ They can treat people with missing arms, legs, shot in the chest.

“But when it comes to the fundamentals of simple clinical skills — how do we evaluate a sprained knee or a sprained ankle or a shoulder or back injury — we don’t have a set training plan on how to execute those skills.”

So Ehlers, a 37-year-old who grew up in Hudson, contacted Denny Helwig, the assistant athletic director for sports medicine at Wisconsin, in December of 2014.

In an email, Ehlers outlined how the two staffs — medics from the Wisconsin Army National Guard and UW Sports Medicine personnel — take a similar approach to diagnosing and treating concussions.

“I’m looking for an environment where I can teach my medics clinical skills, but put them in an environment where they’re going to learn,” Ehlers wrote.

“The more Tim and I talked about it — the medic training and our training — we thought it would be a good way for their people to come down and observe,” Helwig said. “The same people pulling from the same resources in terms of care for concussions and it went on from there.”

For the better part of a year, UW Athletics and the Wisconsin Army National Guard have been working together to improve their instincts and vital handiwork.

There have been multiple exchanges of personnel — UW athletic trainers trekking to Fort McCoy and Army medics volunteering to come to Madison — all under the guise of education.

The biggest chapter in that process is being written throughout August as the Badgers stage their preseason football camp at Camp Randall Stadium.

UW athletic trainer Kyle Gibson, one of the exchange coordinators, said 13 Army medics will come in small groups to observe one of the more strenuous periods for medical attention by the UW sports medicine personnel.

“That’s when we see a lot of injuries,” he said of the three-week training camp, which includes five two-a-day practice sessions. It began Aug. 8 and runs through the season opener Sept. 3.

The month-long exercise comes on the heels of two trips to Fort McCoy, located just west of Tomah, by UW athletic trainers.

Four went up in the first wave “and they came back with rave reviews on how realistic it is,” Gibson said, describing how $120,000 mannequins can have their heart rates and blood flow altered based on the treatment circumstances.

The second group, including Gibson, Perez-Guerra and Michael Moll, the primary athletic trainer for football, visited Fort McCoy and provided an overview on evaluation techniques to 160 medics.

“We’re not making them into athletic trainers; they’re not making us into medics,” Helwig noted. “It’s just an information-sharing situation.”

Helwig said the program that began with a discussion on shared concussion protocol is evolving into something much bigger.

“We realized that a lot of their training is in trauma — as you could imagine — and not so much in some of the, if you will, minor things like sprains and strains and things like that,” he said. “We occasionally deal with trauma, but not to the extent that they do.

“The whole thought was that we could help them understand a little bit better how to look at an ankle sprain, how to look at a muscle strain so that they can work with their people.

“We’re both interested in performance, obviously. Ours is on the field or court or whatever. Theirs is performance in the (battle) field.”

There are other similarities. Athletic trainers and medics share a like — read: stressful — evaluation process in the field. They both have a chain of command involved in every decision. They also become emotionally invested in their patients.

“We live in a what-if type of life where, ‘What if this happens? Are we prepared? Have we done the training that we need to do to be prepared?'” Gibson said.

There’s a major difference, though.

“They’re dealing with life-and-death situations and major trauma,” Moll said of the medics. “We’re dealing with on-the-field injuries, which can be significant, but really, it’s a matter of us trying to get guys back as quickly and safely as possible.”

Not only are medics dealing with mortal injuries, their lives are often at risk.

“It gives us perspective that, hey, this is really just football,” Moll said. “It’s important to everyone, but it’s much different.”


“We live in a what-if type of life where, ‘What if this happens? Are we prepared? Have we done the training that we need to do to be prepared?'” said Gibson (left).

Ehlers, who was deployed as a senior medic to Afghanistan in 2012 and ’13, said the teaching format grabs the attention of his charges who might otherwise be cavalier about the experience.

“You don’t see ACL, MCL (knee) injuries sitting in a hospital somewhere,” he said. “But you do see it out at training events.”

Such as a high-profile football practice where the participants and their efforts make headlines. In addition to injuries, medics will see UW sports medicine personnel initiate preventative care before practice and the after-care when the daily session is over.

“You put them in an environment like this where they’re seeing the people they look up to — you don’t get a chance to interact with a T.J. Watt or a Vince Biegel or people like that,” Ehlers said.

The cooperative plan calls for another rotation of medics to come to town in November to spend time with the men’s basketball team and in January to observe UW athletic trainers at work with men’s hockey. Visiting parties are there strictly to observe and ask questions.

“It’s a great educational experience for my soldiers to come down (to Madison) and learn,” Ehlers said.

All in all, it took 23 months for this idea to go from planting to harvest.

“It started with a conversation with my leadership,” Ehlers said. “I asked if I could do it. They said, ‘It’s your baby. If you want to make it happen, try and make it happen.'”

Along the way, Ehlers met with football coach Paul Chryst and UW Director of AthleticsBarry Alvarez and got their blessings.

“They all have gone out of their way of saying they’re in full support of having these medics come down here and interact with their players and learn,” Ehlers said, adding UW officials have been “absolutely amazing” in their support of the project.

“It’s a lot of time and effort, but it’s going to be 100-percent rewarding when I see my soldiers finally get to start rolling through this fall,” Ehlers said.

Helwig described Ehlers as “an honest, straight-forward guy who obviously, genuinely cares for what he does.”

According to Ehlers, there is no monetary investment from either party.

“It’s just a partnership based on mutual respect,” he said.

When Ehlers was in Afghanistan in late 2012, the base was visited by a group of touring NFL players. One was J.J. Watt, a former UW standout who now stars for the Houston Texans.

At one point, Ehlers approached Watt, shook his hand and thanked him for all he’s done on behalf of Wisconsin.

Fast forward to the spring of 2016. Ehlers was attending a UW spring practice session at the McClain Facility. By chance, so was Watt, a Pewaukee native whose brothers, Derek and T.J., followed him to Wisconsin.

Ehlers again approached J.J., who instantly recalled their first meeting. A brief photo session ensued.

It’s funny what can happen when a good idea takes wings.

“It’s a milestone in my career to build a partnership with the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Army National Guard,” Ehlers said.

The payback goes in both directions.

“This way we can do some very good community service,” Helwig said.

“I think it’s a great program because anytime we can give back as civilians to the military, we look for those opportunities,” Gibson said.

“We can learn from them. They can learn from us. It’s a no-brainer of a program.”