December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays from the SLU ATEP!!!

We wish you an enjoyable and blessed holiday season!
We hope you get a chance to spend time with family and friends.
If you have to travel...please do so safely.
Happy holidays!

December 19, 2008

Darcy Downey Interviewed in University News

Healing the issue of alternative medicine as therapy
By: Laura Casey

Posted: 11/20/08

Sometimes, ankle wrapping and ice packs just don't do the trick. When it comes to this, Saint Louis University (athletic) trainers turn to alternative approaches to treating a wide range of sports injuries.With a common goal of alleviating pain, techniques such as chiropractics, acupuncture, massage therapy, laser therapy, "rolfing" and light therapy are methods that make up these alternative approaches.Unfortunately, every injury is unique.

There is no one, universal algorithm applicable to every case."You have to look at treatment options on an individual basis," Miya Sullivan, SLU's assistant athletic trainer, said. "Of course, we want to try and use all of the services we have at SLU, but if that doesn't work, I would be open to trying alternative approaches."

Darcy Downey, clinical coordinator for athletic training education, reiterated this sentiment."It's definitely something to look at if 'regular' measures aren't working," she said.Regardless of the effectiveness of these so-called "regular" measures, alternative treatments are becoming a more standard method of therapy.

According to an article on, more than 36 percent of adults over the age 18 have sought some type of alternative treatment.Because of their cheaper prices, alternative treatments are becoming more popular. The same online article said that 60 percent of healthcare companies have jumped on board to this trend.

One of the therapies that SLU (athletic) trainers are currently using is laser light therapy. Sullivan explained how she has been having good success with an alternative treatment called "light therapy" on some athletes. This is the same therapy that Lance Armstrong and his teammates made use of during the Tour de France.

Downey said that many of these alternative treatments could be effective. She emphasized a technique called "rolfing," a structural integration technique featured on Oprah. Rolfing is similar to a deep tissue massage, except it uses a whole-body approach. It is a series of 10 sessions designed to realign the body's structure to reduce pain. She said SLU doesn't use this approach too often. At the University of Texas (where she used to work), however, the rolfing technique was used frequenly.

Along with physical measures, Downey also emphasized looking at nutritional aspects, as they can have a huge effect on healing. Freshman Nicole Kent, a member of SLU's field hockey team, said that each team works with a dietician who outlines what they should and shouldn't be eating. Athletes are educated on what the makeup of the food they each should look like and encouraged to be conscious of how it affects them. While they are not required to take dietary supplements, Kent said that some men's teams are required to take a protein supplement called "Muscle Milk" after workouts.So, why are these approaches labeled as alternative or unconventional?

Many of these methods are based off of unscientific methods, principles and knowledge. Many of them also lack a scientific model for experimentation. Some people, including Sullivan, say they think that the power of the mind may play a part in the results of these treatments. The power of the mind can affect the healing process.

Whether or not skeptics agree, the effectiveness of these measures is incontrovertible.

"They definitely have a place," Downey said.

© Copyright 2008 St. Louis University News

December 17, 2008

Getting going on the right foot!!!!

The first full semester of classes is finished and it has been a great semester! We have 40 students across all levels of our program and we all showed a tremendous amount of growth.

In addition to our regular faculty, being located in a town like St. Louis gives us access to alot of great resources.

Recently, our professional students took a field trip to Wrymark/Resource Labs for a demo on orthotics and prosthetics. Orthotists and certified athletic trainer Dale Watson showed them all aspects of orthotic design, production and fitting. It made for a great day!

Making an impression of a foot. What a plantar-flexed first ray!

Preparing the plaster cast of the foot for production of an orthotic.

Checking out the large production facility.

December 01, 2008

U101 wraps with some food and fun

The U101 "Enhancing the First Year Experience" wrapped up the semester with some pizza and fun at Vito's restaurant last week. U101 is designed to help first semester freshmen get acclimated with SLU and college life. The Athletic Training Education Program also has a section that is designated just for AT students. This aids in the communication between program faculty and staff and the new students.

Some of the topics include:

  • Getting connected to the SLU community: Involvement on campus

  • All about SLU: Learning about campus resources

  • Decision Making in College: Issues for college students

  • Time management: Achieving your goals

  • Academic Success: Tips for in and out of the classroom

  • Diversity: Exposure and understanding

  • Career preparation: Values as they relate to your choices

  • The Jesuit mission: Core values

The class also had a field trip to Rams Park and did a med campus scavenger hunt.

Good stuff from the NATA

From the National Athletic Trainers Association website (

Salary Survey Shows Pay Scale on the Rise

"Athletic training salaries are on the rise nationwide, according to the latest NATA Salary Survey.
Compensation in all 10 NATA districts is higher than in 2005. The national average for a full-time position now stands at $44,235 (not including bonuses and benefits). Not only are salaries increasing, but we’re also seeing a wider variety of opportunities. This year we measured salaries for 34 different job titles, across 36 specific job settings....."

They also produced a video that features an interview with an athletic trainer in the university setting.