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.

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