September 12, 2019

SLU AT Student Gets Varied Perspectives in Immersive Clinical Experience at Fort Zumwalt North HS

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Fort Zumwalt North High School
By: Cheyenne Meinershagen (MAT Class of 2020)

I spent my summer gaining experience at Fort Zumwalt North High School. I had the opportunity to be mentored by SLU alum Jay Maturan MAT, ATC, from Athletico, and multiple other athletic trainers gaining insight to their ways of thinking and had the opportunity to see how that translates into their practice.

We had multiple different team camps with athletes in the athletic training room before and after each of their practices. I have had the opportunity to learn multiple different rehab programs and instruct different athletes through them.

I am enjoying my time spent at Fort Zumwalt North and can’t wait to spend the rest of my PY2 year there!

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

September 10, 2019

SLU AT Student Builds Clinical Confidence and Communication Skills at New Trier HS

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - New Trier High School, Wilmette, Illinois
By: Gwyn Brown (MAT Class of 2020)

My summer clinical experience is as New Trier High School in Wilmette, IL. New Trier has a highly recognized athletic program in the Midwest with many of their athletes going on to play at the collegiate level. This summer New Trier has been an amazing experience and has helped build my clinical confidence and communication skills. 

I had the opportunity to be there for all the summer sport camps which include, football, girls’ and boys’ lacrosse, girls field hockey, girls’ soccer, and occasionally basketball. What has been new for me at new trier is that I am used to athletes playing one sport a season or just one sport period but not at New Trier in the summer. These athletes are going back to back practices for different sports. It is a great experience because I get to be involved with multiple sports consistently that don’t occur during the same season regularly. 

Another highlight of New Trier that I haven’t seen anywhere else at my clinical sites, is that they, in the last year, built an athletic training room right next to the fields, fully equipped with an ice machine, plinths, whirlpool, electrical stimulation and ultra sound machine, and enough space for rehabs to take place, and if there is not enough space, take 10 steps and you have an entire turf field. Being so close to the fields makes us more accessible to the athletes. They come in more and are more willing to come in and get checked out versus us being all the way in the building down in the basement which tends to be a deterrent being so far. 

Communicating with high schoolers can be hard and at New Trier, their Athletic Trainer Jordan Anderson ATC who was my preceptor really helped me improve on how to communicate with the athletes and how to understand the way they communicate. This has helped me immensely get increasingly better at evaluations and being able to walk the athletes through rehab or explain their injuries to a parent or coach. New Trier was a great summer clinical because it helped me keep old skills and knowledge sharp but improve skills that needed to be sharpened. It was truly an incredible experience with intelligent mentors and high-end equipment and tools.  

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

September 09, 2019

SLU AT Student Learns Many Skills in Comprehensive Clinical Experience at Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital Chicago

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
By: Allison Stefan (MAT Class of 2020)

My summer field experience at Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital Chicago was amazing! During the week I had the opportunity to cover four pediatric orthopedic clinics with four different preceptors at various locations throughout the Chicagoland area. I also had “Flex Fridays” which consist of shadowing different departments that work close with the Pediatric Orthopedic team, such as the Orthotics and Physical Therapy Departments.
In a nutshell, on Mondays I covered Dr. Labella’s clinic with my preceptor Kristi McCracken, MBA, ATC. Through this clinic I have seen multiple concussion cases. During the appointments my preceptor let me run BESS testing on patients, as well as, SCAT questions. On Tuesdays I went to clinic with Dr. Hang and Maddie McHugh, MS, ATC. This clinic schedules more fracture/ orthopedic injuries and I assisted with casting patients, in addition to practicing my documentation skills in Epic. Wednesdays were clinic with Dr. Finlayson and Emily Worobec M.S.Ed, ATC, LAT, which mainly deal with seeing various orthopedic patients, such as ACL tears and OCDs. Dr. Finlayson is one of the surgeons on the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine team so many of his appointments are referrals for possible conditions that may require surgery, or post operation check-ups. On Thursdays I covered a clubfoot children’s clinic with Dr. Carl and Adam Potteiger MS, ATC. In this clinic, I have learned about the Ponseti Method of correcting clubfoot children and much more about the casting procedure.

In addition to these clinics, I had the opportunity to observe the OR, teach female athletes Lurie’s Knee Injury Prevention Program at summer camps, and attend the Orthopedic and Sport Medicine team’s monthly meeting. I couldn’t be more thrilled about my summer field experience, the doctors and my preceptors are outstanding. They made me feel apart of the team by explaining each condition to me, letting me view images, and just overall including me into their clinics. I can tell that I will walk away with a toolbox full of skills that I did not have before.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

September 08, 2019

SLU AT Student Appreciates Preceptor's Role in Immersive Clinical Learning Experience at St. Louis Scott Gallagher

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - St. Louis Scott Gallagher
By: Becca McGrail (MAT Class of 2020)

For my summer field experience I had the opportunity to assist my preceptor, Emily Costabile MAT, ATC (SLU MAT Class of 2015) from Mercy Sports Medicine, with preventative care and rehabilitation of the athletes at St. Louis Scott Gallagher. During my time caring for these athletes, I was exposed to various new learning opportunities that have made me more confident in my abilities. Emily has taught me a lot about different ways to perform manual techniques and how to implement rehabilitation programs with this unique athlete population. Since the SGSL has such a large athlete population ranging from young kids to high school seniors, I have learned to adapt my communication skills in order to best explain to my athletes what their injury entails and how to best treat it in a way that they will understand.

I could not be more appreciative to Emily for allowing me to practice my evaluations skills, improve my techniques and develop rehabilitation programs on my own in order for me to become the best future Athletic Trainer that I can be. She has created a positive learning environment that encouraged me to consider and work through different situations that I may face again on my own in the future. 

I have really enjoyed getting to work with soccer especially because that is what I aspire to do in my future career. I cannot wait to apply everything I have learned this summer at my next clinical site in a few weeks!

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

August 09, 2019

SLU AT Student Gets Hands-on Learning Experience at Roswell NeuroSport Physical Therapy

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - NeuroSport Physical Therapy, Roswell, GA
By: Carmen Roberson (MAT Class of 2020)

This summer I am doing my clinical rotation at the Roswell NeuroSport Physical Therapy clinic in Georgia. So far, it has been such a great experience that I always look forward to throughout the week. My preceptor at the clinic, Chris Ross is a certified Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapist, and I have learned so much from his expertise. Being in this setting has given me the opportunity to work with patients one-on-one each hour and increase my knowledge on the use of a variety of different modalities, manual and myofascial techniques, and joint mobilizations.

Overall the experience I have had thus far has been beneficial to my growth as an AT student and has given me a great idea on the patient population that I would like to work with when I have completed my program. I look forward to learning more as my last couple weeks wrap up and I am excited for the future.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

August 08, 2019

SLU AT Students Enjoy an Immersive Summer Experience Providing Care for the SLU Billikens

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Saint Louis University Athletics
By: Mitchell Buerck (MAT Class of 2020) and Maria Lingardo (MAT Class of 2020)

Starting in July, we had the pleasure of gaining clinical experience at Saint Louis University. Our preceptors, Jonathan Burch ATC and Petra Knight ATC, caring for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Each week we switch off, getting experience with both teams.
Mitchell - I was with the men’s basketball team during the spring semester. It was nice coming back, jumping right back where I left off with practices and helping the players. The women’s team was a new experience for me but I enjoyed it just as much. Being with the men’s basketball team really helped my transition to the women’s team with how they do their practice and rehab. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the summer goes.

Maria - This has been an incredible experience so far. I hope to have a future in Division I athletics, so this setting is perfect for helping me get a feel of how things work. I started off with Petra and the women’s basketball team. I helped set up for practices, helped with treatments and recovery and even ran through rehabs with the athletes. Petra is also in charge of ordering and inventory for the AT room. Getting to help her puts in perspective all of the hard work that AT’s do behind the scenes that no one thinks about. Being with the men’s basketball team has been a similar experience. The players work hard, even at early morning practices, and I’m honored to be helping out.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

August 06, 2019

SLU AT Student Builds Rehabilitation Skills with a Variety of Patients at Illinois Bone and Joint Institute

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, Highland Park, IL
By: Alejandra Chavez-Hernandez (MAT Class of 2020)

This summer I have the privilege of being at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute in Highland Park, Illinois for my summer field experience under the guidance of my preceptors Paul Schmidt PT, ATC and Bria Wanzung PT, DPT, ATC.  The Illinois Bone and Joint Institute is one of the largest independent orthopedic practices in the US.

IBJI is truly a great fit for me because one of my goals for the summer was to learn more about rehab and being at this site has helped me achieve that goal and so much more. I have two great preceptors that have each taught me a lot about the rehab process from different perspectives. I am often challenged to think creatively when thinking of new exercises that are appropriate for different patients according to their injury and rehab goals. I have especially learned a lot about different manual therapy techniques as well as rehab tools that I found very interesting such as a blood flow restriction used to help patients recover from their injury by periodically reducing the blood flow to the limb as they perform different exercises to help increase their strength.

I typically spend two days out of the week with Bria and then two days with Paul. I usually observe my preceptor as they work with their patient and then I lead the patient through their rehab exercises. This has helped me learn a lot about how to properly communicate the right cues to the patient to make sure they are doing their exercises in a safe and correct manner. I have also had the opportunity to shadow other health professionals at IBJI such as sports medicine doctors and other physical therapists who specialize in things such as rehab for patients with concussions.

Something that I really appreciate from being at IBJI has been learning to practice my skills with patients of all ages. I am used to being around high school and college athletes from previous clinical experiences, but at IBJI I have been able to utilize my skills with kids, adults and elders, which has been great because I have learned a lot about how to modify different rehab exercises to fit the patients needs.

I am enjoying this experience because it has showed me a different setting where athletic trainers work, especially because it is a setting I aspire to practice in the future. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn from great clinicians in this dynamic learning environment. I look forward to the rest of my summer at IBJI!

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

August 05, 2019

SLU AT Student Appreciates Opportunity to Learn in High-Profile Setting at Ole Miss

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - University of Mississippi Athletics
By: Caitlyn Thomas (MAT Class of 2020)

This summer, I got the opportunity to get my field experience at Ole Miss with the women’s soccer team. I was super stoked to get experience at a Division I, Power-five university since this is the setting I want to pursue in my career.  My preceptor, Corbit Franks, MS, ATC, CES, is highly knowledgeable and is a fabulous teacher. The women on the soccer team are a fun bunch to be around and I am enjoying spending my time with them.
At Ole Miss, Corbit and a few other AT's have been teaching me about some new rehabilitative techniques, such as Active Release Technique and Postural Restoration Institute. They often use these techniques in their rehab protocols and see great results.

Another interesting aspect of my experience is getting to observe Brian Wiseman CSCS, the strength and conditioning coach, work with the women’s soccer team. I have been able to chat with him about why he incorporates certain exercises into their conditioning routine and I have seen Brian and Corbit work closely together to ensure the athletes are as healthy and fit as possible. I am excited for preseason to officially begin and to be around for the women’s first regular season game!

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 15, 2019

SLU AT Student Returns to Clinical Site with Improved Confidence at Christian Brothers College HS

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Christian Brothers College High School
By: Abigail Hoffman (MAT Class of 2020)

I’ve enjoyed my experience at Christian Brothers College High School (aka CBC) so far this summer. It is nice to be back and be able to work on my skills here again. I know how everything works and who everyone is, so it was an easy transition. I am excited to see how much my skills have improved from being here in the Fall to being here now. I can confidently do things I was not comfortable doing before. 
When I was here during the fall semester, it took me a while to warm up and become comfortable practicing new skills. Now since I have been able to practice what I learn in class for an entire year, I have confidence to go ahead and tape athletes without needing to consult with Kristen Jeans, ATC, LMT, my preceptor from Mercy Sports Medicine, as well as do evaluations on athletes. Evaluations are something I never felt comfortable doing during my first rotation here at CBC, so I’m proud of myself for being able to throw myself into evaluations since I’ve started my summer field experience.
I look forward to improving my skills this summer. CBC football is a good place for me to keep doing evaluations because injuries happen often and since my preceptor is a licensed massage therapist, she is teaching me some of her techniques for treating athletes with neural tension. Kristen teaches me things that I feel I would only learn from being in the field practicing. That is why I have always appreciated my time here at CBC because it is a valuable learning experience.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 14, 2019

SLU AT Student Grows Clinical and Time Management Skills in Busy Professional Setting with the Schaumburg Boomers

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Schaumburg Boomers 
By: Rachel Wilhelm (MAT Class of 2020)

Having finished my first year as a professional student in SLU’s Athletic Training program, I am now preparing for my second year with a summer field experience. I am set with the Schaumburg Boomers, a professional baseball team apart of the independent Frontier League. My preceptor is Mylie Leatherman, ATC. She is employed by the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute (IBJI) and is currently going on her third year as the head athletic trainer for the Boomers. She received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from the University of Tulsa (Oklahoma) in December of 2016 and is currently working toward her Master’s degree. Having already been with the team for a few years, Mylie really understands what is required of her to keep the team running with their hectic schedules of games six days a week and constant travel. Everyday, we come in even before the set treatment time to prep for the day. The athletes then come in and we work to get their treatment and rehab done before BP (batting practice). Even then, we go out with them to observe and do a little bit extra here and there for some of them, such as eccentric ball toss or agility training drills. But one of the best parts, is being able to see the team in action from the dugout. I have definitely learned a lot about baseball since starting with the Boomers.
Treatment time before games is when I really get to practice my skills and learn new techniques. Honestly, it can get a little crazy with just Mylie and me for the whole team, but it’s training me to be able to think quickly and be more efficient with my time. Since coming to the team, Mylie has given me the responsibility of designing rehab protocols for a few of the players. I have been doing the evaluations and helping athletes complete the treatment plan I lay out for them. We also make use of different soft tissue techniques to help with cases involving muscle strains, trigger points, neural tension, and more. There are also modalities that we include in some treatment protocols such as electric stimulation and ultrasound. While I am very familiar with these options from my previous clinical sites,  it is always interesting to me just how different the uses of these treatment methods are just going from sport to sport. Because of this, I am trying to make sure I learn as much as I can in the short time I have left here with the Boomers. I am really looking forward to how much I will have learned by the end of the summer.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 12, 2019

SLU AT Student Gets a Variety of Experiences on a Closely Integrated Team with the Louisville Cardinals

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - University of Louisville Athletics
By: Courtney Nall (MAT Class of 2020)

My time at the University of Louisville had been very fun and immersive. I am able to get experience with many athletic trainers that are here, so I am able to get a good sense of how everyone works. My preceptor, SLU alum Stuart Plamp MAT, ATC, does a great job of keeping me engaged every day and keeping me on my toes. He asks me my opinions on what I think we should do with a particular athlete, how I think we should progress a rehab and much more. I am able to use my knowledge and skills that I already have as well as learn new things every day. I feel that I am included in every step of an athletes’ care and that is really helping build my confidence as I move closer to becoming a professional in this field.
It was also refreshing to see the athletic training staff and the sport performance staff work well and close with each other. They both have the best interest of the athlete at heart and easily are able to modify things of a specific athlete on an as needed basis. I also like to see that the athletic trainers have a good working relationship with their respective coaches because I have not always witnessed that in my personal experience. It makes me feel at ease to know that those good relationships are attainable at this level of competition. I am very thankful for all the different opportunities that I have been given here and the things that I have been able to learn along the way.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 10, 2019

SLU AT Student Connects Interest in Music and Healthcare with the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps, Diamond Bar, CA
By: Emma Yonkers (MAT Class of 2020)

This summer, I have had the privilege to be part of the health care team for the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps. I’ve been interested in athletic training in the performing arts since getting injured during marching band in high school. I got better with the help of the ATs there, which is one of the reasons I wanted to become an athletic trainer. My preceptor, Cami McCallum RN, ATC, is an amazing example of someone who knows the activity and understands what these athletes go through. She knows what they need to say healthy; everything from what they eat to how/when they stretch, she is such a wonderful teacher and I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from her.
Drum Corps is, in essence, theatrical, competitive marching band. Each corps travels the US throughout the summer, competing in various competitions, ending in Indianapolis, where the national championships are held. A typical day at drum corps spring training consists of breakfast at 8 am. Then the members have a light workout, followed by a 3 hour rehearsal working on marching technique. Lunch is at 1 pm; music rehearsal starts at 2:30 and goes until dinner at 5pm. 6:30 is full ensemble rehearsal with all 200 members of the corps. They end the day with a snack and stretching protocol at 10 pm, before shower and lights out. The activity in itself is extremely physically and mentally challenging, not to mention also having to play a musical instrument at the same time.

Throughout my time here so far, I have seen injuries ranging from concussions to ankle sprains to fractured fingers and, unlike other sports, these athletes need to be in their show so as not to create a visual hole. Therefore, rehab is more about modifying movements to avoid recreating pain than it is about resting entirely. This is on a case by case basis but focusing on sport specific movement is very important. Soon, we will be traveling the country, caring for these athletes while they put everything they’ve got into the activity they love so much. I cannot wait for what the rest of the summer brings.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 04, 2019

SLU AT Student Enjoys Person-Centered Outpatient Rehabilitation Experience at Athletico

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Athletico
By: Marissa Burch (MAT Class of 2020)

During the school year, clinical experience is confined mostly to a school setting where we are seeing the same kids every day and experience all aspects of injury (prevention, emergency management, evaluations, rehabilitation, etc.). We see a lot and are constantly on the run. I love this environment, however, I wanted something a little different for my summer field experience. I was very excited to be with someone who not only works as an Athletic Trainer, but also as a Physical Therapist. SLU alumnus Bryan Lind, MPT, ATC works with the Saint Louis Ballet during their season. This is what drew me to want to learn from him this summer. Providing therapy for individuals who are used to such high intensity and high strain on their bodies is not an easy task. Finding ways to provide them comfort and relief when they are extremely flexible and strong, so those are not the issue becomes quite the task.

Bryan is incredibly intelligent, and I have already learned so much in such a short time with him thus far. He has expressed many times how his experience and years in the field have contributed so much to his knowledge and approach to treatment. The field is constantly changing and growing and to see that in action has been very interesting and rewarding. It has been a nice change of pace, where I am seeing a lot of new techniques and approaches to treating the underlying causes to injury and not just the injury itself. While I do not have as much training or certifications as Bryan does and many not be able to perform all of the same techniques that he can, I will still be able to use so much of this knowledge in my upcoming career.

I have helped a much more diverse group of individuals, varying from high school athletes to older individuals who have fallen and need help strengthening to prevent this from occurring again. With this diverse group of individuals comes a large variety of injuries as well, although Bryan specializes in mostly lower body injuries, he does everything. I have learned so much more about manipulations and mobilizations than I thought possible and have seen a lot of new ways to perform soft tissue work. While I am not able to perform as much hands on activities in the clinic as I am at the school setting, I am learning so many new techniques, I have enjoyed being able to help patients through their rehabilitation and watch as Bryan performs a ton of manual therapy, which I will be able to use in my own practice.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 03, 2019

SLU AT Students Get Hands-on Experience in Professional Baseball with the Gateway Grizzlies

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Gateway Grizzlies Baseball Club
By:  Hannah Daily (MAT Class of 2020) and Justin Durham (MAT Class of 2020) 

This summer we have had the opportunity to experience professional baseball with the Gateway Grizzlies and preceptor, Geof Manzo, MS, ATC. The Grizzlies are an independent baseball team in the Frontier League located in Sauget, IL. 

Since day one, everyone within the Grizzlies organization has created a fun and immersive atmosphere on and off the field. Getting to know Geof and the players has been a good insight to the world of athletic training in the professional setting, which is much different from a traditional setting in a high school or university. Every day brings something new and exciting for us as we get to help the athletes feel better and get back out on the field. From new stretching techniques to dynamic warm ups on the field before games, we have already learned a lot from Geof within the first few weeks of our rotation.
Our typical day starts around 12:30pm and usually ends around 11:00pm. We have about two hours of treatments and rehabs before we head out to warm-up the pitchers. After the pitchers are done, hitters take batting practice and soon after we head back to the club house where we can do any final stretching or anything else the players may need. The rest of the day we are busy with the game and clean up. We get a lot of experience using soft tissue mobilization and cupping techniques along with rehab programs for upper and lower body. We have also had the opportunity to experience a new technique for getting the hips in proper alignment if the athlete feels like their motion is restricted. 

We have already learned so much from Geof and are looking forward to the continued hands-on experience with the athletes. Even though it has only been a couple of weeks, it has been a great experience so far and we are excited for the rest of the summer with Geof and the Grizzlies.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 02, 2019

SLU AT Student Learns the Importance of Communication While in Multiple Settings at Athletico and Fenwick High School

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Athletico and Fenwick High School
By: Conner Mongoven (MAT Class of 2020)

My summer field experience is at Athletico and Fenwick High School with preceptor Tony McCormick ATC. Throughout this experience, I get to be in both a high school athletics setting and a physical therapy clinic. Between these two settings, I get to witness a wide variety of populations with a wide variety of goals. With many athletes, their goals are typically to perform as best they can in their sport, to avoid injury, and to minimize or eliminate the time they sit out due to injury. In the clinic, the patient’s goals very much more. Some are athletically minded as well, but many patients are there just wanting to be able to perform activities of daily living without pain or extra assistance, or to be able to go to work and be effective there without complications.

Being in both these settings adds a new challenge to face having only worked with athletes during clinical rotations thus far in the program. That challenge involves communication. In an athletic setting, many athletes tend to be easily coachable and teachable with regards to the rehab and exercises you put them through. With different populations in the clinic, this isn’t always the case. Many of the patients there aren’t necessarily as exposed to the exercises and environment that athletes are in all the time. This means that there needs to be a lot more attention to detail in the clinic with your explanations, demonstrations, cues, and feedback of rehabilitation exercises. In the position of being in both settings, it is necessary to determine and excel at the techniques that work best in each place and be able to communicate the reasonings and benefits of each exercise to the athlete or patient.
Another aspect of communication is the patient interaction apart from their rehab and exercises. This requires strong interpersonal skills and abilities. In the clinic, it’s necessary to form a relationship with each patient. Forming this relationship builds better trust from the patient and will provide an overall greater outcome of their rehabilitation and experience. With the high school athletes, it is also key to build relationships with them to build trust and create a positive environment for the team as a whole which allows the best care to be provided throughout the whole season. Perhaps the most important consideration in forming these bonds is to keep a high level of professionalism. Being able to understand patient goals and execute the best communication practices leads to successful outcomes across the high school and clinical settings.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 01, 2019

SLU AT Student Appreciates Professional Sports Clinical Experience with St. Louis FC

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - St. Louis Football Club
By: Claire Ditman (MAT Class of 2020)

This summer I had the incredible opportunity to work with St. Louis Football Club, a professional soccer team in the United Soccer League located in Fenton, MO. My dream setting would be in the professional realm somewhere, even if it is not soccer, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to spend the summer gaining experience in the care and treatment of professional athletes. Although it is similar to collegiate athletes in some ways, it is also drastically different. This is their career and how they make a living, so the way in which injuries are approached and treated is much different.
I have the pleasure of work with and learning from STLFC Head Athletic Trainer Jake Tanner, MS, ATC, LAT from Mercy Sports Medicine. We spend the majority of the time at training session and games preparing the athletes beforehand through many different soft tissue techniques such as massage, trigger point release, positional release therapy, and active release techniques. This has been different than previous experience I have had where manual techniques were not utilized. However, it has allowed me to gain both experience and an understanding of the importance of these techniques and how they can greatly benefit athletes. 

Another domain that is largely reflected at STLFC is rehabilitation, specifically using corrective exercises to improve how the athletes moves in hope of preventing further injury. Almost every athlete on the team has 5-15 exercises, depending on their health status, they complete every day before training. They also do “pre-hab” as a team which consists of 3-5 corrective movements that are put together by the Athletic Training staff and the Strength and Conditioning Coach in order to improve the athlete’s performance.  Being part of the construction of the exercise programs, as well as, teaching the athletes the proper way to perform them, has greatly increased my knowledge and comfort with rehabilitation.

Along with the clinical skills I am gaining, I am also gaining many professional skills that are necessary when working with any athletes, but specifically those at the professional level. From your appearance to your actions, they are a direct reflection of you and it is important to maintain a high level of professionalism when working at this level.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

June 28, 2019

SLU AT Program Faculty and Alumni have a Great Week in Las Vegas

The National Athletic Trainers' Association hosted its 70th Annual Clinical Symposia and AT Expo at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas from June 23-17, 2019.

It was a great week of fellowship and professional development and Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program faculty and alumni were highly engaged in the conference.

A highlight of the week was when SLU AT faculty member Dr. Kitty Newsham was presented the 2019 Dan Libera Service Award from the Board of Certification recognizing her long-time dedication to the BOC and the profession of Athletic Training.

In partnership with the Alumni Office and Billiken Athletics, SLU held its annual AT Program Alumni Reception at Hussong's Cantina - Las Vegas on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.  Over 50 attended this gathering of SLU AT faculty, alumni and friends.

SLU participated in the NATA Ethnic Diversity Advisory Committee Town Hall on Wednesday, June 26th where doctoral student Kemba Noel-London and Dr. Anthony Breitbach presented on SLU's Ethnic Diversity Enhancement Grant project "Development Program in Athletic Training at Ethnically Diverse High Schools".  Alumnus Jose Mendez MAT, ATC also stopped by the event, Jose served as the initial leader for this project while a student at SLU.

SLU was also well represented in the educational sessions:

Oral Presentations/Workshops

Exercise-Related Respiratory Conditions: Sorting Through the Differential Diagnoses
Kitty Newsham PhD, ATC

Facilitating Intrinsic Foot Muscle Training
Kitty Newsham PhD, ATC

Intrinsic Foot Muscle Training and Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Lead to Increased Arch Height Index and Improved Y-balance Composite Scores
Dave Gutekunst MS, PhD and Kitty Newsham PhD, ATC

Charting Athletic Training's Future- Perspectives from the Academy (ASAHP Affiliate Session)
Anthony Breitbach PhD, ATC (moderator), Lou Fincher EdD, ATC; Chris Ingersoll PhD, ATC and Chris O'Brien PhD, ATC

Poster Presentations

NASA Task Load Index – Measuring Patient Experience With Novel Exercise
Kitty Newsham PhD, ATC and Dave Gutekunst MS, PhD

Filling the Gaps in Adolescent Care and School Health Policy: Tackling Health Disparities through Sports Medicine Integration
Anthony Breitbach PhD, ATC, FASAHP and Kemba Noel-London MAT, ATC, CES

May 27, 2019

SLU AT Students in the MAT Class of 2021 Write About Their Transition to Professional Phase of the Program

The Professional Phase of the Saint Louis University Athletic Training has two points of entry: (1) as a graduate student after receiving a bachelor's degree; and (2) as a progressing student in SLU's freshman-entry 3+2 Master of Athletic Training program.

SLU Pre-professional AT students take MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II in spring of their junior year where they prepare to enter the professional phase of the program.  This course includes directed observation in athletic training clinical settings and professional engagement. Each of these student writes a blog post about these experiences as they look forward to progressing into the professional phase of the program:

Maria Balistreri
I completed the majority of my observation hours with SLU Athletics. I got the opportunity to observe and help with a variety of Athletic Training events, including SLU Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, SLU Volleyball, SLU Track and Field meet preparation, and returning athlete physicals.  I was fortunate enough to get the chance to experience Athletic Training in a few of its different capacities, not just game coverage, but also practice, pre-game, behind-the-scenes event prep, and annual mandatory physicals. It was a really great look into the reality of Athletic Training, as I got to observe multiple of SLU’s Athletic Trainers and be involved with an assortment of events.  In my very first direct observation event, I was observing Men’s Basketball game coverage. During the game, an opposing player suffered and injury on the court and was immediately tended to and transported off the court to the AT room for treatment. The speed and efficiency of action to care was both impressive and exciting. Being only steps away from the incident, it was really cool to see the fast-paced reaction to the scene. 

Jose Blanco
This semester I had the opportunity to observe SLU’s women softball and volleyball athletic trainer, Elena Melillo. After observing the softball team’s practices and games for several hours, I feel more confident to face my first semester in the professional phase as well as my first clinical experience. Looking carefully at the interaction of the athletic trainer with the team members taught me that building a strong relationship between the athletic trainer and his or her athletes is key, especially if it is based on trusting each other. This experience also gave me an insight of what an appropriate relationship between the athletic trainer and the athletic training student should be. As a student, I understand that my clinical knowledge is going to build with time and experience, but a way to make the learning process faster is definitely going to be by asking questions and observing the techniques and interactions of the athletic trainer at my clinical site. 

Maddie Bozych
My favorite experience of direct observation was working the Lou Fusz soccer tournament under the Athletic Trainers from the Young Athletes Center. I got to see a lot of action and injury, compared to the other high school and colleges I went to. I also got to talk to three great Athletic Trainers, from different settings, all in one day. I got to ask a lot of questions and hear about how four different people used their AT degree. Because of the high volume of activity at a soccer tournament, I got to see more injuries. I also got to go onto the field for each one with the Athletic Trainer. It was a great experience to get to see the first reaction and steps of when AT asses the injury. The AT’s were great about letting me get right up to the action. The best part of the experience was getting to hear from different ATs. They all came from different paths of education and went a different route with their degree. One went on to become an Occupational Therapist, one works for an orthopedic surgeon, and one has a main role at the Young Athletes Center.  They encouraged questions and we had very real conversation about the profession and health care as a whole. Getting to ask questions and talk about the different paths of AT was such a valuable experience that I will cherish down the road into my profession phase. 

Nick Fanselow
This past year I have had many wonderful experiences that have prepared me to enter the professional phase of the Athletic Training Program at Saint Louis University. These experiences have included professional development where I have been able to immerse myself in the network of athletic trainers and direct observation of practicing athletic trainers at various clinical sights. Although my path as a pre-med student is different than most athletic training students, these experiences have been so beneficial and have set me up to succeed not only in my last year as an undergrad at SLU but also during medical school and far beyond. The professional development activities that I have been able to take part in this year include things like the Athletic Training Speaker Series, the SLATS Bowl-a-thon, and the Athletic Training Capstone presentations. These events all allow students networking opportunities and a unique experience to learn from peers. The amount of knowledge gained from watching the capstone presentations was outstanding. The students put in hard work on their research topics which covered a wide array of topics that any health professional would find beneficial. In the coming year I look forward to continuing my professional development and I am especially excited that I have the opportunity to be the Vice President for Iota Tau Alpha, our Athletic Training Honors Society. I was able to observe many different athletic trainers and graduate athletic training students at a variety of clinical sights. I was able to be with teams like Webster Groves High School Basketball and SLU track and field as well as attend coordinated events such as the Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Tournament. Being able to learn from professionals in a direct clinical setting is a great experience. Each athletic trainer has insight and invaluable information to be shared with students willing to learn. These experiences have helped prepared me to engage with patients in future settings. I am very excited to be moving forward in the SLU Athletic Training program and I look forward to where the future takes me!

Iris Herrera 
Over the course of this spring semester I have learned a lot at Harris-Stowe State University. I was able to observe preceptor Timothy Herlihy ATC and Carmen Roberson (MAT Class of 2020) during my time there. A big bulk of what I saw in Harris Stowe’s AT room was rehabilitation. Athletes came in throughout the day for rehab appointments that also incorporated strengthening. Tim is the only athletic trainer at Harris Stowe, which means that he sees and treats all of the athletes at Harris Stowe. His knowledge about injuries, common injuries within each sport, and rehabilitation exercises is inspiring. I really like that Tim has a lot of trust in Carmen, so she was able to have a lot of hands on experiences with the athletes coming in. I also appreciate that Tim shared a lot of wisdom with me and talked to me about his personal experiences as an AT in different settings. I really enjoyed going in to the AT room and seeing athletes following a rehab protocols because I’m personally really interested in the rehab component of Athletic Training.  While I was not able to work directly with any athletes at Harris Stowe, I have learned a lot this semester from Tim and Carmen. Moving forward I hope to be as knowledgeable as Tim and as eager to learn and have hands-on experiences as Carmen.  

Kaylla Juarez
During my time observing certified Athletics Trainers and the PY1 and PY2’s, I got to get a better understanding of the setting of being an AT. I was able to observe a high school setting and the college setting of Athletic Training.  At the sites I have gone to, I experienced different aspects of each setting.  The site I have pictured was when I observed a soccer/ lacrosse tournament at Creve Coeur Soccer Complex.  At this site it was for younger athletes, rather than high school or college athletes. It was interesting to see how to handle younger kids, compared to older athletes I usually get to observe. While at Creve Coeur, not many athletes came to the AT tent for injuries.  They were mostly bumps or scrapes that needed bandages or ice from us.  It was much less to do, compared to high school or college athletes who seemed to be constantly coming in and out of the AT rooms or tents.  In the college and high school setting, I was able to observe rehab implementation much more.  Before or after games athletes would come into the AT room and tent where they spent a lot of time in rehab or icing to prevent further injury. Whereas in this setting, the AT’s will only briefly meet with their athletes if they get an injury. Most of the time is was very minor. In a high school or college setting, the AT’s work more closely to their athletes and build strong relationships between each other. The setting of college and high schoolers is something I enjoyed observing more, because of the relationship that was built between the AT and athlete. 

Kate Perko
I spent the final weekend of April at the Creve Coeur Soccer Park completing my direct observation hours with a soccer tournament. One of my preceptors for the weekend was Tom McGowan, ATC. He and the other Athletic Trainers are part of the Young Athletes Center of St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University at St. Louis Physicians. He answered all questions I had on the profession and warmly welcomed me into the team of health care professionals despite the cold weather. During the first day it rained most of the morning and into the afternoon. Not exactly what I had in mind for my Saturday morning, but the young players were still out on the field practicing and competing. My estimate of the age range for this soccer tournament would be Elementary through Junior High. There was a few injuries, bumps and bruises, that occurred that morning. I quickly caught on, especially with the younger ones, that often the child would be hit with a ball or kicked by an opponent and fall. It would be shocking and scary for the child, so they would take their time standing up and by the time the Athletic Trainers got to them on the field or the bench the child had calmed down and was only shaken up a little bit. I am very happy to not see a child more seriously injured but after the first few times running out on the field for no injury I was a little bored. I remembered though that with people of such a young age that ball to the cheek or collision with an opponent may have been one of the most painful and scary moments they had experienced in their life so far. The child is not over-reacting or “crying wolf” to get a break from the game, instead they are learning about their body. They are learning about what their body can take, what their pain tolerance is, how to handle potential injuries safely. I was pleased to see the referees, coaches, and parents want to have their kids checked out. In older athletes’, injuries might often be hidden or ignored until the problem gets too large to handle on their own. It is important for the adults taking care of the players to tend toward the side of caution as it teaches the young players to trust the healthcare providers that will be caring for them into adulthood. 

Joey Wenzl
This semester was my most enjoyable one so far in the AT program. Finally getting to go out to different sites to see what happened was very much enjoyed, even if I didn’t get to do much. My favorite site this semester was John Burroughs School. It had the most going on there when I was there. I enjoyed watching the sporting games and although unfortunate there were some injuries. I played along with what I saw and how I would go about finding what was wrong and then what I would do about it. Before the games, the AT room was busy with many different students and seeing everything that happened there and how the after-school rush was handled was impressive. The ability to get everyone treated and in and out in a timely matter was impressive and involved a team effort from everyone that was there. Talking to the students was also fun. I wasn’t sure if they would be open and willing to talk to me since I was new and didn’t really do anything, but they were and hearing what they had to say was interesting and helped make my time feel more worthwhile.