NATM 2011 Letter (3/22/11)

This post is from March 22, 2011 and is great to bring back for all to read.  I am unaware of any changes in Paul’s professional life, but this remains relevant!


During the month of March we will continually highlight the work of an athletic trainer.  This series will incorporate open letters about the men and women of the profession from other professionals, the aim is to have at least one a week.  If there are others out there; parents, coaches, teachers, doctors, lawyers, athletes or anyone that would like to form a letter please do so and send it to

I have saved this letter for publishing toward the end of the month, because we should be thinking about what an athletic trainer does every month, and every day if you are lucky enough to have one around.  Paul LaDuke Jr. is a full-time athletic trainer for a public high school in Pennsylvania and has “uber” years devoted to athletic training.  Not only does he provide daily coverage, he has recently created a blog entitled “Promote The Profession” devoted to Athletic Training.  Paul has been a wonderful resource and “reality check” for me during my process.  It is an honor that he took time to write this letter;

What is it like to be an Athletic Trainer?

Every day is a different day and that keeps being an AT interesting.  A few days are incredibly hectic with many games and practices at the same time or spread throughout the entire day.  Some days between seasons have little to no action and this allows us to finally stop and smell the roses.

Every injury is different and that makes being an AT challenging.  Injuries early in the season or early in the career need a lot more time and attention to rehab so that the injury is a one-time thing.  Injuries late in the season are stressful since playoffs and last games are near.  Some athletes want to use the injury to keep from playing.  Some athletes want to completely ignore an injury.

Every coach is different and that keeps ATs on their toes.  Some allow you to do your work with little interference.  Some coaches must be updated about every little change.   Some question your every move.

Every athlete is different and that keeps the ATs young at heart.   Some need to learn the difference between pain and injury.  Some need to be pushed through some pain.  Some athletes need to be held back because they will just hurt themselves again.

Every parent is different and that develops a deeper appreciation for the athlete.   Some parents are helicopters hovering around every practice and every game cheering for their stars.  Some parents are Ma Bell parents and can only be reached through long distance.  Some parents care too much; some care too little.

Every athletic season is different and that helps ATs to enjoy the wins and championships when they can.   Some teams are lovable losers.  Some teams are talented.  Some teams have no talent.  Some teams have heart.  Some teams have no heart.

Every Athletic Director has their own agenda and it helps us to develop our own priorities.  Some ADs will make life easy for the AT by providing a professional, trusting and respectful atmosphere within the athletic department.  Some ADs are in over their heads and make the ATs job difficult.

Every athlete needs something and this helps ATs to learn to listen and assist when we should.  Some need someone who cares about them.  Some need a kick in the pants to motivate them.  Some athletes need a help up when they are down.

So what is it like to be an AT?  Never a dull moment!

Thanks again Paul, for the letter, and all that you do as an athletic trainer.


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