The Winter Wednesdays


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 and they leave for a tournament at 0530 the next day, what can I do but say, “I will get it looked at.”

Holiday Tournaments

Also during this break from school are Holiday Tournaments of all kinds; boys and girls hoop and wrestling.  Being at the event is really no sweat, even if it means 4 consecutive 14 hour days, thats the job.  What makes it a challenge is dealing with upwards of 30+ new coaches and a multitude of players that you have never worked with before.  How am I to know that Player A is a “drama queen” and that with every hangnail they act as though their life is coming to an end?  Or, that Coach A hates athletic trainers because they “take away” their players for “silly” things such as a headache?

Dynamic is really how this part of the year is, from the events to the injuries.  When you sit and watch a basketball tournament for 48+ hours in a 4 day stretch you will see it all, including some bad, bad, bad sports/games.  You also get a chance to “spread the word” about athletic training to schools that do not have the luxury of having an athletic trainer.  All in all it is a great time to be an athletic trainer, oh I forgot to mention the most important thing about tournaments, the hospitality room!

Concussion Awareness

As predicted, with winter sports the concern for concussions has waned a bit.  We just don’t see the rate during this time compared to football season, but this is not the time for athletic trainers to let their guard down.  With the “down time” the coaches have now would be a good time to sit down and hash out the current research and policies where ever you are.  In fact it would be a good time to put some policies in place, or start that process.

As you have seen on the blog the stories are slowing down a bit, due to the holiday’s, and less sports, also the news cycle has slowed a bit in this area as they are focused on things like retail and economy.  We will make every effort to stay on top of things here and hope that you continue to visit and give feedback about what we are doing.

I would like to say thank you to everyone out there who has helped in the process as 2010 comes to a close.  This site went from a “pipe-dream” to a passion in a blink of the eye.  When it started in September we averaged 20 hits a day, now we average over 200 a day.  Spread the word about the Face Book page and Twitter account as well.  I believe that what we are doing is working, and again thank you for being here.

Dustin Fink

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