December 14, 2019

Athletic Therapy Student from Ireland at SLU Experiences Collaborative Approach to Sports Medicine

International Clinical Exchange - SLU and Athlone Institute of Technology
By: Cillian Worrall (Athletic Therapy Student, Athlone Institute of Technology)

My clinical experience began shortly after my arrival in St Louis, at Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School, where I was mentored by SSM Health Sports Medicine AT Cara Bowton, MAT. ATC. along with Jose Blanco, PY1, and Einne O’Connor, AIT.
This was a truly invaluable experience. Cardinal Ritter provided a fantastic opportunity to interact with ambitious athletes participating in sports that are not as popular or played in Ireland, such as American Football. Seeing the level of preparation that the athletes and coaching staff had was very insightful when compared to equivalent levels back in Ireland. It was great to be involved with a group that demanded a high standard of care of me. More, it was great to be involved with a group that had great characters, experiencing high scoring games and to see what “showtime” was really all about as they aimed for an undefeated season.

Given the physical nature of the sport, there were a lot of injuries and treatments to manage both on and off the field. During my experience at Cardinal Ritter I gained a wide range of experience from acute management of sprains to spinal board immobilization. Cara established a very educational environment which greatly helped my learning experience. She was always willing to share her knowledge and give valuable advice.


Coming over to SLU, I was very interested to learn about and compare the alternative taping techniques, concussion protocols, new and different treatment/rehab methods and I was very keen to learn about the different electronic documentation systems used, which is something that is only beginning to become common place back home. A highlight, thanks to Dr. Kitty Newsham’s Contemporary Clinical Practice module was learning how to suture and insert an IV in a sim lab.

To maximise my learning opportunities I also shadowed Ben Heimos ATC. SLU men’s soccer, as they made their way to the A-10 Quarterfinals and later Petra Knight ATC. SLU women’s basketball.

I’d like to thank both as well as the PY2 students present for the advice and insights they all shared with me. It was an invaluable experience to shadow in a collegiate setting, to observe how higher-level athletes prepared themselves for competition and learn about the wider range of care that the training staff could provide by virtue of having a larger facility to work with.

The training facilities at SLU are of a higher standard than most semi-pro, amateur clubs and smaller universities in Ireland so to learn about their intra-team coordination between coaching the staff, the Strength and Conditioning staff and AT staff, managing athlete workloads and game preparations was a great benefit. It was a highlight of my time at SLU to interact daily with each member of these teams.

December 12, 2019

Athletic Therapy Student from Athlone Institute of Technology Appreciates Varied Experiences in the USA at Saint Louis University

International Clinical Exchange - SLU and Athlone Institute of Technology
By: √Činne O’Connor (Athletic Therapy student, Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland)

For my clinical placement here in Saint Louis I was at Cardinal Ritter High School with fellow AIT student Cillian Worrall, SLU and SLU PY1 AT student Jose Blanco and my preceptor Cara Bowton MAT, ATC. We got a lot of hands on experience here at the high school as well as lots of field experience covering a range of sports like American Football, Soccer, Basketball and Volleyball. From this we got to experience American sports and got to see the different types of injuries involved in each sport. Luckily, I was involved in two great high school teams in Cardinal Ritter as their American Football team was ranked number 1 in the country in small schools, while the American Football team and Men’s Basketball team both remained unbeaten for my time there and it was an honour working with some of the athletes as they have such high motivation to make it to the highest level possible and many have offers from Division 1 universities around America.


I also got experience with SLU’s Men’s soccer team who made it to the Quarter final of the A-10 Championship. Although there was not as much hands on experience with the university team I did enjoy seeing how things were run at that level and seeing the professionalism involved especially in the Athletic training room in the Chaifetz arena which seemed to have everything needed for an athlete.


Coming to Saint Louis I really wanted to get more comfortable dealing with patients and having to work with them on my own and thankfully I have achieved this from help and guidance from my preceptor. I enjoyed taking classes and getting a taste of the American university experience and really enjoyed taking class Contemporary Clinical Practice with Dr. Kitty Newsham where we learned how to suture and take blood samples in the simulation lab which are things we would have never been able to do or learn back in Ireland.
I really enjoyed my time here in Saint Louis and unfortunately my time here has come to an end from this once in a lifetime experience which I would recommend anyone to do if they have the chance. I have made life-long friends from Saint Louis GAA club as well as students from SLU and placement at Cardinal Ritter which I hope to keep in contact with. I came here wanting to experience the American way of life and thankfully I have done that and have many stories and life-long memories to bring home with me.