How did you get into Athletic Training?
In high school, I had knee surgery due to a sports injury. I had a fantastic experience with my orthopedic surgeon, which drew me to that specialty. However, when I entered college as a pre-med student, I craved a more hands-on career that would allow me to guide the athlete from the initial injury, through rehabilitation, and back to play.
How did you
end up at NEB?
I am originally from Shinglehouse, PA. When interviewing with Guthrie I was informed NEB was a small town setting with a strong community and I jumped at the chance. That was how I grew up and NEB has felt like home since day one.
What all do you do?
Athletic Trainers (ATs) are healthcare professionals who have a wide skillset including injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergency care, evaluation, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and other medical conditions. We care for ALL athletes, not just athletes from our own school. Our area is fortunate to have many highly skilled ATs working in school districts who provide high quality care to athletes. I am on campus for all practices, games, matches, and races of PIAA sanctioned sports involving junior high, JV, and varsity levels. I am often the first healthcare provider athletes see following an injury. This allows for immediate evaluation, treatment, and referral to the appropriate office or specialist. Our care is tremendously helpful for athletes in many ways, including concussion diagnosis, pain management via therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation, and acting as a liaison between the athlete and their physician.
What are some things you like about your job?
I enjoy having the ability to be outside for much of the year, but not suffer in the winter cold. Working with the specific demographic also makes it fun. My athletes never fail to make me laugh. They also make rehabilitation fulfilling due to their drive to return to their sport as soon as possible.
What are some things people might find surprising about it?
ATs are NOT personal trainers. We must graduate from a CAATE accredited college program and pass the Board of Certification Exam. We must have a minimum of Bachelor’s degree currently (changing to Master’s in 2022). We are required to complete clinical rotations throughout our studies, which exceed 1,500 hours of hands-on experience. Many nursing programs require less clinical experience. Many are often surprised to hear my position is fulltime, 100% at the school. I do not have clinic obligations at a hospital or physical therapy clinic like some other ATs. I am able to dedicate each day to my athletes in need of treatment. I am also lucky to have the opportunity to travel with my teams for postseason contests.
How does your job change going from sport to sport?
During the fall, my office tends to be quite busy. Fall sports tend to bring more injuries caused by overuse and contact with other players. Winter sports bring longer days due to all sports being indoors and lack of gym space. This is when we deal with skin infections and ankle injuries quite frequently. Spring sports, at NEB at least, bring large numbers of foot/ankle/lower leg issues due to our asphalt track for our track and field athletes. In addition, shoulder stability and strengthening exercises can be witnessed daily in my office for the softball and baseball teams.
What’s it like to be a part of the student’s lives year in and year out, similar to a coach?
It is very rewarding to see athletes grow in their abilities, as well as a person. I am in a unique position to see 2-3 sport athletes throughout the entire year. This allows me to gain their trust and build strong relationships with them.