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Winter Wednesdays– In the Clinic

2 Mar

The football season is officially over, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone.  Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more.  During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.

Dustin has written some about his “days in the life” and with National Athletic Training Month upon us, I thought I’d share what my current job is like as well. 

Like Dustin, I am an athletic trainer working in a physical therapy clinic and providing outreach services to local high schools.  I have worked a large amount of hours in the fitness centers, but I also spend a good amount of time working in the physical therapy area as well.  This is in addition to being at the high school one day week plus varsity games.  Now that spring season has begun (yesterday here in Illinois) things will begin to pick up; running between baseball, softball, girls’ soccer, and the occasional track practice.  But I have more recently added additional responsibilities in the physical therapy clinic.

As many surely know, athletic trainers are not “billable” providers in the physical therapy setting, but in our Continue reading

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The Winter Wednesday’s

9 Feb

The football season is officially over, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone.  Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more.  During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.

It is now postseason for sports here in Illinois the time is now for teams to be at their best as the winner moves on.  The state-series here in Illinois includes every high school participating in the sport.  First is the Regionals where 5-8 teams at 32 sites begin the march to a state title (speaking of basketball), if the team advances they move on to Sectionals at 8 sites where 4 teams vie for a birth into Super Sectionals where 2 teams face of for a Final Four birth.

This time of year is full of emotions like; excitement, happiness, and sadness.  As an athletic trainer the excitement usually wins out until your team gets eliminated (and for the very few elation if they win it all).  Part of our dealings with the school include post-season coverage including travel to away sites, this is where the excitement comes in.

Traveling to other schools that you usually have very little interaction with is exciting, a chance to reacquaint with other athletic training peers, or administrations you know allows us to network.  Continue reading

The Winter Wednesday’s

2 Feb

The football season is in its waning phases, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone.  Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more.  During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.

This one will be very quick…

We are experiencing blizzard conditions, have not been at school since last week.  This morning, worst of it, I am on the 4WD patrol for the hospital I work at to get vital personnel into the hospital.

With school out perhaps we can get to more posts?  Thanks for following!

The Winter Wednesday’s

26 Jan

The football season is in its waning phases, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone.  Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more.  During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.

Recently I sent out a tweet about wrestling and that I have “issues” with injury time.  I love wrestling, no it’s not the WWE version, it is Folk Style, and the pure athleticism that is needed for this is amazing.  Not only must you defeat your opponent but you must defeat yourself doubts, a great sport.  The issue I have is the limited time you have to assess an injury.  If you think something like football is demanding to make a judgement, try this on for size…  You get a minute and a half, 90 seconds, to determine what is wrong and if they can continue.  Not only that you must apply any bracing/taping in that 90 seconds.  For most injuries like a knee, ankle, or elbow that can be done, but with a concussion NOT A CHANCE.  In this sport you get 5 minutes of “blood time”, to stop and bandage any blood, but for injuries you get 90 seconds.  Oh, I failed to mention, that time is not for each incidence, but rather cumulative for the entire match, and with injuries you can only stop twice the third constitutes a DQ.

I completely understand the nature and spirit of the rule, they do not want wrestlers taking advantage of stoppages in the match as conditioning is a HUGE part of the sport.  And as I mentioned with most injuries it’s not an issue, but the concussion is troublesome.  The easy answer is to just remove the wrestler if he hits his head hard enough to produce symptoms, dully noted and done on my part.  However, what do you do with the individual Continue reading

The Winter Wednesday’s

19 Jan

The football season is in its waning phases, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone.  Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more.  During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.

This week’s entry comes on the heel of the Chicago ordinance about concussions.  As we highlighted earlier, the biggest city in Illinois has placed an ordinance for its schools to require removal from game any athlete suspected to have a concussion and once confirmed not be allowed to play until cleared by proper medical staff.

The school I work at has had this procedure in place for just about two years, with even more emphasis on education for parents, athletes, coaches, teachers and administrators.  It was a long road to get this going in a direction that is palatable and the bumps in the road are still present.  The point is that just “waving a magic wand” and creating an ordinance or law that will protect the student-athlete just does not exist.  It is an effort by everyone that has the patience and stomach for erasing a stigma that has been in place since the “dark ages”.

Allison W. Bullock of MedIll wrote about the worries of some players still playing, even with the ordinance in place.  The educational Continue reading

The Winter Wednesday’s

12 Jan

The football season is in its waning phases, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone.  Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more.  During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.

It has been a couple of weeks since the last “Winter Wednesday Edition” and the break, albeit very small, was good indeed.  Santa was good to the family and spending quality time with the wife and kids was awesome.  Now it is back to the grind, and the routine that I seem to enjoy.

School is back in session, and not seeing most of the school for the past few weeks, some lingering injuries popped up that I had to address.  Most of it was simple, an ankle sprain, patellar tendonitis, quad/hamstring strains, but only one major injury to take care of, yup you guessed it, a concussion.  However this one did not happen in sports, but it is related to the winter solstice and “kids-being-kids”.

So last Thursday, the girls basketball coach bought me a player that was not feeling “right” and he had just found out, and even though she was at practice the last few days, she had a headache and ringing in her ears.  She had been at school the entire week and finally she had thought to bring it to someone’s attention.  Before the mechanism of injury, she explained to me that because it didn’t happen at school, she felt she would be OK to not report it.  She also believed, incorrectly, that the symptoms would just pass, Continue reading

The Winter Wednesdays

29 Dec

The football season is over in high school and will be completed soon in college and pro’s, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone.  Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more.  During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.

Christmas Break, but for whom?

Being a high school athletic trainer there are a lot of people that think that when school is on break we get a break too, um wrong.  The sports are still going, practices are being held and kids continue to get hurt.  Granted the hours at the school are less but the responsibility remains the same and can be more difficult.

When school is not in, the structure of practices changes, coaches want to get in and get out on their time and they deserve that.  Due to this we may not get to every practice during this “break” and injuries occur.  When this happens the communication line between the athletic trainer and the coaches/parents is key.  Getting a phone call about an injury is not uncommon, and having to adjust whatever schedule you have made to accommodate the pressing issue can be difficult.  In a perfect world, regardless of profession, it would be GREAT if everyone else would work around you, but that is not going to happen.

Being flexible is a huge part of athletic training, not only with things like practice schedules, but dealing with coach expectations, doctors, parents and kids alike.  The best trait of an athletic trainer is being able to adapt to any and all situations in regards to injuries and safety.  We do it on a daily basis, with games/practices we have no idea what will be walking through the door next; perhaps a laceration to the arm or a strained calf or dislocated shoulder or a concussion.  Being ready is part of the job, and being ready for the unknown is what makes this job both exhilarating and stressful.  So when I get a call from the wrestling coach that his “star” wrestler has a knee injury Continue reading

Exciting Beginnings and Unsafe Return

1 Dec

The football season is over in high school and will be completed soon in college and pro’s, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone.  Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more.  During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.

New Center

As you may or may not know, I am employed by a hospital as an athletic trainer, and part of my duties include being outsourced to the high school I mention frequently.  The other part of my job is to serve the hospital in whatever fashion they think I can be of help.  Continue reading

Girls Basketball…Danger-Danger Power Ranger

19 Nov

Picture Labeled for Reuse

Last night we had our second girls basketball contest of the winter season and it was a VERY, VERY busy night!!!  First, some back story on my experience with girls basketball as an athletic trainer…

This sport is extremely physical.  In all my years covering girls high school basketball (11), I’ve observed there are more bodies on the floor and bumps and bruises than any other winter sport, wrestling included.  I have no idea why it is like that, but this sport lends itself to a high rate of concussions.  In fact, I had four last year, which equals what we had in football this year.  I also have been dealing with an athlete that sustained a concussion last January, still has symptoms and has yet to return, which is my second such long-term concussion issue in four years.

Back to last night, we (my A.T. student, two high school observers and I) were going through the routine of the JV game when a previously-concussed athlete that had been cleared by a physician (AGAINST MY ADVICE) was warming up for the second half, and a ball hit her head.  Most individuals that get hit in the head by a ball would just get mad and brush it off, but not this one.  She crumpled to the floor, dazed and upset.  We took her to the training room for evaluation, and she would not return (we will get back to her later).

Double Dribble

While my students were observing her in the dark training room, I was back on the floor covering the game, when no more than 5 minutes later a player was dribbling up the court and was tripped and her head bounced off the court.  She grabbed her head and was writhing in pain.  I got to her side and she had tears in her eyes and a dazed look.  After calming her down, she reported just a small headache while sitting on the court, but she was not acting like herself.  We stood her up and like a cornstalk in the wind, she wobbled back and forth.  She was ushered to the dark training room for observation as well.

By this time our resources were strapped.  Good thing I had student observers, as they were put in charge of watching them, (as you could guess, these high school students are well versed in concussions, and working with me they get daily homework about this injury) and if they changed demeanor they would contact me or my college student.  We were not in the training room because of paperwork, finding parents, or covering the game still going on.  Then chaos knocked on the door.

Dads

The phone rang, and it’s from a parent at the junior high just across the parking lot, and he reports a girl on the floor with a head injury (you can see our community is becoming so VERY responsive to this issue).  Continue reading

The Winter Wednesdays

3 Nov

Courtesy of Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina

OK, it’s not winter yet, and not a “catchy” title, but with football over I thought I would amuse the followers of The Concussion Blog with the continuation of real stories.  Both on the concussion front and in athletic training.

Time to roll out the balls & mats

With the end of fall sports… Oops…The transition to the winter sports (as our volleyball team is in the Sweet 16 of the state series, sorry gals).  It is time to get ready for some gym madness, either on the court or in the circle.  Basketball practice has begun and wrestling is about to get underway, so it’s time to change gears.

People tend to think that athletic trainers and concussions go into “hibernation” just like the bears of North America, but they could not be further from the truth.  Sure, at the professional level you see both occurring year round, but at the high school level there is a stigma attached to the winter, non-bladed, sports about the incidence of concussions and need for an athletic trainer.  The traditional sports of basketball and wrestling are CONTACT sports, and injuries, including those to the head, occur all the time.

This week we are pre-testing our athletes with the ImPACT neurocognitive system to get baseline results in the unfortunate case of a concussion.  The school where I work is pretty small, so most of the kids that play in the winter have played a sport in the fall and have been tested prior.  However, with incoming freshman and those that chose not to play in the fall, the tests are mandated at our school.

My head hurts

I always get a kick out of those taking this exam for the first time.  After some serious rules are laid down about taking it seriously and letting them know they cannot fail the test, I always have one or two kids who need help understanding where to put their name on the computer screen.

Upon getting to the task of putting in information about any current symptoms, the athletes learn some of the common signs and symptoms of a concussion.  “So you mean that if I am in a ‘fog’ after hitting my head I might have a concussion?”  “What does it mean by trouble concentrating?”  “What if tests give me headaches?”  And so begins the early stages of educating the athlete about concussions. Continue reading

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