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.