August 02, 2017

SLU AT Student Spends a Busy Summer in South Bend with the Fighting Irish

SLU AT Summer Field Experience Spotlight - University of Notre Dame
By: Ben Wildman (SLU MAT Class of 2018)

This summer I joined with the Sports Medicine staff at the University of Notre Dame. I had the opportunity to get experience with several different preceptors with the youth and high school sports camps that Notre Dame hosts throughout the summer. 
While in South Bend this summer I covered 11 different camps, each lasting from 3 to 4 days. I was able to gain experience and insight in covering Girls’ basketball, lacrosse, and soccer. For the boys’ I covered football, hockey, soccer, and lacrosse. There were anywhere from 60 to 600 campers at a given camp. It was imperative that me and the other athletic training students, who came from various universities, employed strong communication skills between each other and our supervising preceptors. We were often spread out covering several fields across campus throughout the day so it was essential that important information regarding campers was communicated effectively to ensure continuity of care and awareness of certain conditions. This also provided an enriching learning environment in which my peers and I not only learned from our preceptors but each other. We often discussed different methods of evaluating, treating, and preventing the many injuries we encountered. 

The high volume of campers meant that we were quite busy any given day. We would typically arrive at the Joyce Athletic Center each morning to prepare medical kits, water and ice coolers, and discuss any follow ups or referrals that were needed. Then we would head out to our assigned fields where we would check in on our campers and provide any first aid, stretching, and/or taping they may need to get through the day. We would then monitor the practice or scrimmage sessions and tend to any camper who was injured or ill. 
Our camper population was very diverse and typically were between 6 and 18 years old. The wide age disparity and skill level meant we would manage injuries ranging simple contusions and abrasions to fractures and concussions. Much of the injury management was done on the field and if further referral was needed we would coordinate with the supervising preceptor so that we could refer the camper onto the proper health care provider. I feel that through this experience, I greatly benefited in enhancing my evaluation and injury management skills. I learned to be flexible in managing several athletes at a time and to be diligent in following up with the campers throughout the day. There was a lot of autonomy provided by the preceptors at Notre Dame. 

This proved to be very valuable in further development of confidence and skills. I greatly enjoyed the enriching and dynamic environment this summer at Notre Dame and am very grateful for each of the preceptors and peers that I have worked with 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.

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