1. What is the importance of having an athletic trainer in secondary schools?
The majority of athletes are at the high school level, so the incidents of injuries are greater. Having an athletic trainer in the secondary schools can prevent injuries from occurring through proper technique training, proper nutrition counseling, and proper return to participation after an injury does occur. Athletic trainers are also vital in assessing the extent of an injury and the best course of action for returning to a sport when ready.
2. What are the risks of clearing an athlete for return to play?
Clearing an athlete to early can pose more harm to the athlete. This can have short term or long term effects on their physical and psychological well being. Also, being too conservative can cause problems for athletes physically and psychologically as well. Athletes are very motivated individuals, they need goals to reach to feel like they are making progress. If they meet these goals but are still not cleared to participate, psychological problems can arise that may effect their performance once they do return.
3. What are the benefits and the downfalls of being an athletic trainer?
The benefits are many. The most important one is that as an athletic trainer you help others achieve their goals, dreams, desires. Helping athletes achieve success, especially after an injury is an amazing experience. It is very reassuring to see all of your creative rehab ideas, motivational strategies, time, and effort pay off when an athlete returns to participation. The downfalls are many too. The biggest is time away from personal family and friends. It is a constant struggle to find the balance but finding one is the only way an athletic trainer does not become "burned out"
4. Why do you think some athletes do not like athletic trainers?
I think in the moment of an injury or the desire to return to participation and they can't, athletes may have the feelings of "not liking" their athletic trainers. No one likes to be told "No" or "you can't your not ready" or "I wouldn't advise doing that yet". It is difficult for some athletes especially at the high school level to see the big picture. But as an athletic trainer we know the ramifications of returning to soon and possibly causing more harm than good. I think after the emotional response is over and an athlete sees they are not ready to return they understand why the athletic trainer had to be the "bad guy". There are not too many others on a "team" that is really only looking out for the healthy interest of an athlete.
5. What characteristics do you think a person should have in order to be successful in this field?
Flexibility. Athletic trainers have to be flexible with regards to time management and working environment. Athletic training is never exactly the same from one day to the next. Something can always arise, whether its a new injury, time change for an event, added work load, or the moods of your athletes. If you can "go with the flow" while still maintaining your ethics then athletic training will become overwhelming. I think along with flexibility athletic trainers also have to be grounded. Sometimes bad things happen and sometimes good things happen. Being able to make the best of a situation is key. If athletic trainers are not willing to change for the better without losing their sense of responsibility to the athlete's health then this becomes a very stressful job. The old adage, "You've got to know when to hold em, no when to fold em" works well with athletic training.
6. Other than rehab, can you name and describe your other duties as an athletic trainer?
Injury Prevention Specialist. Teaching athletes proper technique on landing correctly, proper nutrition to fuel your body, and proper pre and post event strategies to prevent injuries from occurring. Athletic trainers are also amateur sports psychologist. We often hear athletes greatest fears, doubts, and insecurities, especially after an injury.
7. Do you believe all schools in tge united states should have a ATC on staff? Why or Why not?
Yes I think all schools should have ATC's. Their greatest assets are their students and keeping them healthy on and off the field is important. Sports definitely help athletes become better students and keeping them healthy is the job of the athletic trainers. When an athletic trainer is present or available the incident of serious or catastrophic injuries decreases. That translates in to saved lives!
8. Why do you think most schools do not keep an ATC on staff?
I think educational budgets are the biggest reason athletic trainers are not on staff in every school. Decreasing budgets make it one of the first programs to get cut. But in the long run athletic trainer decrease the cost of potential liability to a school that offers athletics to its students.
9. How did his profession affect your social life?
Again, finding the balance is key. During the school year your social life is limited. Most evenings are spent on the field or at events, while some weekend work is required too. Having an administration or AD that understands the demands of your job and helps keep schedules efficient is key to success.
10. How do you determine how many trainers are employed in a school?
I think the same way they determine teacher student ratios. Too many athletes to one athletic trainer will cause someone or some teams to feel negilected and not important. These teams may not utilize their athletic training services and may suffer from that.
Athletic trainers specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses. They work with people of all ages and all skill levels, from young children to soldiers and professional athletes.
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