During my clinical experience at De Smet Jesuit High School, I have definitely learned a lot from my preceptor Mercy Sports Medicine AT and SLU alum Dan Herrin MAT, ATC. The dynamics within the athletic training environment has been a new realm that I have never experienced before. One thing that I learned is how important and crucial communication is; whether that be between the athletic trainer and the athletes, or with the coaches, or with any other person. I have learned so much about the athletic trainer-athlete relationship, and how important it is to build that relationship. Having that proper communication between the athlete and I makes the entire process so much easier. With that communication also brings with it a general gaining of trust from the athletes. By being personable with and being able to interact with the athletes allows for a connection to form between us, which just makes the entire process much more enjoyable and streamlined for both parties.
And with those different people coming through the door, comes with different needs and expectations. There is no cookie-cutter one size fits all method that works for everyone. It helps to be creative and be able to think on the spot about a better treatment for an athlete. It could be something as simple as a small addition of an extra figure 8 or stirrup in my ankle tape for them to give them better support, or if an athlete has not been showing results in their rehab I observed as my preceptor Dan tries different techniques that might be of more help.
I have also learned that it is very much alright to not understand everything, something that I have definitely had to work on. Being able to understand my limits and what I know and don’t know how to do has definitely been eye opening for me. The thing that has helped me the most in situations like this is admitting when I don’t know something, but then paying attention to and asking Dan questions has been one of the biggest helps for me. Or even when I do something wrong, or if an athlete wants their ankle or wrist re-taped because they didn’t like how I did it the first time. These are all moments that I have learned from and will continue to learn from through the experiences I have had.
This is one of a series of posts by the Saint Louis University Athletic Training students featuring their clinical site and their preceptors. The number, quality and diversity of clinical instruction are major assets for the SLU AT Program.