May 23, 2022

SLU AT Students Receive Degrees at 2022 Graduation Ceremonies

The Saint Louis University Master of Athletic Training Class of 2022 graduates were recognized on Friday, May 20, 2022 in the Doisy College of Health Sciences Precommencement Ceremony at Chaifetz Arena.

Master of Athletic Training Class of 2022
Maddie Cavanaugh
Mason Cotterel 
Amra Kardasevic
Sydney Nash
Brittany Risko
Michael Ryan

SLU AT Program Director Dr. Anthony Breitbach also hooded MAT graduate Brittany Risko's service dog "Penelope" with an honorary master's hood.

Students from the SLU MAT Class of 2023 in the 3+2 MAT program also received Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degrees.

Degrees were officially conferred at the SLU University Commencement on Saturday, May 2021, 2022 at Chaifetz Arena.

May 20, 2022

SLU AT Student Engages in Diverse On-campus Opportunities

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Caroline Miller (MAT Class of 2024)

This semester in MAT 3000 I really enjoyed the opportunities I got to do for my direct observation hours. My opportunities included shadowing ATs right here at Saint Louis University and at the NCAA division 2 wrestling championships hosted right on campus in Chaifetz Arena!

The athletic trainers I shadowed here at SLU were Elena Melillo ATC, Maddie Bozych MAT ATC, and Gwyn Brown MAT, ATC. While shadowing Elena I got to learn about what she does on game days with SLU womens basketball including treatment before the game and during half time. She let me know the injury status of her athletes, what she’s given them for treatment, and the most common injuries she sees with this sport. While shadowing Gwyn Brown, I got to observe her and Maddie Cavanaugh (both pictured), her PY1 student, at SLU softball games! I learned about the most common injuries seen with softball players and got to see what treatments players are given before, during, and between games! Fortunately at both of these experiences, none of the players were injured during games.

The coolest experience I had this semester was at the NCAA division II wrestling championships. I got to shadow PYs Eldwin Neritani and Mason Cotterel, and watch them work with other athletic trainers from the event. Along with specifically shadowing them I also got to talk to athletic trainers from other universities or other settings and learn about their experiences in their undergrad, professional years, and at their places of work. I was also able to talk to fellow junior student Grace Golembiewski and other students in SLU’s MAT program.  

I learned that there are many settings that I could work in as an athletic trainer. I’m extremely excited to be able to practice my skills and demonstrate my knowledge as a professional student in our program this fall!

This is one of a series of blog posts written by students entering the professional phase of the SLU AT Program as a part of MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II.

May 19, 2022

SLU AT Students Enjoy Learning and Mentoring from Older Students in the Program

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Mark Romero and Michael Patino (MAT Class of 2024)

Mark Romero

This semester I had the opportunity to observe Katie Wissing and Olivia Mani under their preceptor Dean Tiffany ATC at John Burroughs School. I went to JBS and observed them after school one day where I observed them during two lacrosse games, soccer practice, and a baseball game. I was able to observe the relationships that they have developed with the athletes and staff at the school throughout the year. I was impressed with the trust that the athletes had in Katie and Olivia to provide them care and treatment. Before going out to the fields, I was able to observe Katie use electrical stim while Olivia was working on some strengthening exercises with another athlete. I went back for a track meet early in the morning during the weekend . At the meet I was able to see common injuries that track athletes experience like scrapes, muscle cramps, and shin splints. I also saw the different ways Katie and Olivia approached these injuries and how they worked with athletes and sometimes parents regarding the issues. I was overall very impressed with John Burroughs school and the work Dean, Katie, and Olivia have done.

Michael Patino

As we prepare to enter the professional phase of the Athletic Training program, we have covered various types of modalities and scenarios in class an Athletic Trainer might encounter on the field.  Each day we would go to class and learn new techniques ATs use to treat injuries in theory but never in action.  However, being able to visit clinical sites and observing ATs in action really helped to see the whole picture.  This semester I had the opportunity to gain experience at the college level, visiting other SLU Athletic Training students already in the professional phase as well as their preceptors.  While visiting different clinical sites I was able to see my preceptors use different types of modalities (such as therapy, cupping, heat/ice, electrical stim, taping) firsthand which helped to reinforce what we’re learning in class.  Most of my experiences at clinical sites were spent in the AT room however there were some gamedays and special events where I was able to help with pre and post set up.  While I was not allowed to participate in any of the modalities, I gained a considerable amount of knowledge and experience from observing and asking questions.  The most important thing I took away from my experiences was how vital communication is amongst health professionals and the patient.  I’m grateful to all my preceptors as they were very patient with all the questions I had and can’t wait to start the professional phase soon!

This is one of a series of blog posts written by students entering the professional phase of the SLU AT Program as a part of MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II.

May 18, 2022

SLU AT Students/Billiken Athletes Gain a Wider Understanding of the Profession

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Karsen Kohl and Julia Martinez (MAT Class of 2024)

Karsen Kohl

Entering the Professional Phase of the AT Program requires students to experience
athletic trainers at a clinical site. There were multiple options in choosing where to get directed
observation hours and with being a student athlete at SLU I chose to get a look at how a school,
in particular a high school, manages an athlete’s health in the training room. I started my
observation experience at John Burroughs School, a high school close to SLU’s campus. I
shadowed PY1 student Olivia Mani and PY2 student Katie Wissing who are currently placed
there as their every day clinical site this spring semester. I got the opportunity to observe athletic
trainer Dean Tiffany ATC care for and tend to his athletes.

During my experience at Burroughs, I learned a lot about the impact an athletic trainer
has on the athlete both in rehabilitation and in recovery. As a student athlete at the collegiate
level, I understand the importance of rehab but I did not understand this when I was in high
school. It was eye opening to see how many students visited the training room right when school
ended and before practice. Most of the students that visited the trainer were familiar faces every
day with normal routines pre game/practice and some of the students were new and wanting the
help to best manage their body and health in regards to their sport.

The process of an athletic trainer goes further than rendering treatment to athletes, it is
about providing water to prevent hypohydration. I was able to be hands-on in helping Olivia and
Katie get ice and water in coolers to all fields for the teams as well as help with the clean up process after all teams finished their events. I had the opportunity to watch the events on the
sideline with Dean who is ensuring the safety and health of the athletes in his care. A learning
experience that I will take with me as I enter the professional phase was when Olivia and Katie
assessed an athlete who came in with pain in the knee. The two of them began by asking the
athlete a series of questions in order to come to the conclusion of the occurrence and timing of
the injury. They ran through a series of tests of mobility and strength to try and pinpoint the exact
muscles that were being affected. Through this information based on the athlete's pain, they were
able to come up with a diagnosis that allowed the athlete to receive a set of exercises and pain
management to effectively return the athlete back to play. This experience allowed me to
understand the process of assessing a new injury and the job of an athletic trainer to help with the
athlete’s pain. I had such a great experience at Burroughs and learned a lot that I will take with
me while I enter into the Professional Phase of the AT Program.

Julia Martinez

 really enjoyed doing the direct observation hours. I was able to learn from different people and see athletic trainers do things in different settings with athletes. Some things that I learned from this experience was about PPE (preparticipation physical exam). These exams are important for SLU athletics. Elena Melillo ATC had all returning student athletes get these exams taken. They had to get their weight, height, vitals, and BESS testing measured. It was cool to watch PY1 and PY2 do some of these tests because I learned the BESS testing in class and was able to apply it to this PPE. With regards of the track meet, I witnessed a hamstring tear and other lower leg injuries. It was interesting to be at a track meet because I’ve never been to one and I was able to see how runners respond after they finish running. Lastly, Elena also taught me the concussion protocol and what she needs to do and use for reference for the student athlete and see how their concussion is improving. The different types of testing you do to test out the student athlete’s concussion is a long process but an important one.

I went to John Burroughs high school and observed Olivia Mani and her preceptor Dean Tiffany ATC. It was nice to observe a high school setting since I’m so used to a college scene. I watched Olivia do stem and a Graston massage on an athlete. Dean also did a shin splint taping which was interesting since I’ve never seen one before. We watched the girls’ and boys’ lacrosse games. It was very cold, sleeting, and pouring rain on us while we were sitting in the gator watching the games. Something I learned from that experience is to always make sure to dress warm and prepare ahead of time with extra layers in my car. In conclusion, I enjoyed these direct observation hours because I was able to get a good taste of what I’ll be doing next year. 

This is one of a series of blog posts written by students entering the professional phase of the SLU AT Program as a part of MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II.

May 17, 2022

SLU AT Student Gets an Exciting Look into Her Future Through Experience at Pattonville HS

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Marissa Uecker (MAT Class of 2024)

This spring I had the opportunity to visit Pattonville High School during direct observation with PY1 Emily Haley and her preceptor, Alex Hubbs MAT, ATC. During this experience, I learned more about the environment of an athletic training room. I experienced a very social and inviting atmosphere in the Pattonville athletic training room, which made every student feel cared for and welcomed.

This environment made me excited for my future clinical experiences and professional practice. I also learned more about the professional phase of SLU’s program during this observation opportunity. At Pattonville, I observed Emily perform a joint mobilization and drain blood from under an athlete’s toenail. I was pleasantly surprised by her wide span of knowledge and capabilities, and I was excited by the realization that I will be in her place in just a year. With this understanding, I made sure to ask about her experiences and for any advice that she had.

Accordingly, she shared her experiences with everything from gross anatomy to clinical sites and preceptors. I found great comfort in our conversation, as it came from someone who has experienced everything that I am getting ready to go through.

Furthermore, I learned more about myself during this process. I surprisingly found joy in Alex’s immaculately organized athletic training room, which I will note when it comes to my future clinical experiences. Additionally, Alex helped me to realize exactly how I learn best. I observed that Alex allowed Emily to do most of the work in order to gain hands-on experience, but he was there to guide her and give her feedback. He also fostered an environment where questions were always welcomed. Before coming into this experience, I didn’t know how to exactly explain the environment that I learn best in. However, after observing at Pattonville, I came to realize that I learn and thrive best where there are hands-on learning experiences with feedback and welcomed questions. This realization will definitely help me when finding a clinical site that best suits me.

Ultimately, this experience gave me an opportunity to look into the future and finally experience what I came to college for. Direct observation allowed me to learn more about athletic training in general, the professional phase of SLU’s program, and myself. After this experience, I am even more excited for the hands-on learning experience that is to come in the professional phase of the program.

This is one of a series of blog posts written by students entering the professional phase of the SLU AT Program as a part of MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II.

May 15, 2022

SLU AT Student Sees the Importance of Professional Relationships and Networking in Athletic Training

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Carlton McDonald-Jordan (MAT Class of 2024)

During the semester, I had the opportunity to observe various events and clinical sites. These opportunities allowed me to witness first-hand what it is like to be an athletic trainer (AT) and engage in a professional healthcare setting, both with patients (athletes) and other healthcare professionals. Two big takeaways from the experience would be the importance of establishing good, healthy relationships with the athletes that build a foundation of trust and being open to exploration in the athletic training world and allowing your personal desires to be stepstones through your journey as an athletic trainer. 

A great observation opportunity I was able to experience was the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament held at the Enterprise Center on the first weekend of March. I loved being in the collegiate basketball environment and it is something I wish to experience at some point in my professional career. I had the opportunity to witness interprofessional collaboration on a bigger scale as there were various professionals from different institutions and practices. This experience also showed me how small the athletic training world is, which places much emphasis on connecting and networking. My favorite part of the experience, though, was seeing the athletes interact with the athletic trainers. Instantly, you could tell the relationship between the athletes and AT was unique and cannot be replicated by many other professionals. It was also great to be able to connect with old friends and teammates who were playing in the tournament for their respective institutions.

Another great handful of observations came at Affton High School with PY1 Jordan Hyink and preceptor Becky Stigen ATC. During this experience, I was able to observe up-close the working relationship between trainers and young athletes. The athletes in this case (young teenagers) seem to engage more with the AT on a personal level. This experience provided a different atmosphere, one that appeared to be less competitive and more convivial. The AT's at Affton did a great job of communicating areas of concern while also recognizing the athletes’ autonomy. From this, I was able to  recognize the importance of placing the athlete at the center of care and catering care to meet their needs and/or wants.

This is one of a series of blog posts written by students entering the professional phase of the SLU AT Program as a part of MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II.

May 12, 2022

SLU AT Student Inspired by Person-Centered Focus of Peers, Preceptors and Professional Experiences

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Claire Love (MAT Class of 2024)

It is well known that the life of an athletic trainer is oftentimes hectic. There are always multiple people demanding your attention, multiple things you have to get done, and somehow certified athletic trainers find a way to get it all done. This was definitely the case when I visited Fontbonne University where PY 1 Lauren Swords is learning from Sammie Hochmuth ATC. Currently Sammie is the only athletic trainer serving all 18 athletic teams. But even in the midst of being busy, you could tell that Sammie's  number one priority was the relationships she has with her athletes. Throughout the afternoon out of season athlete after out of season athlete came in just to hang out and see Sammie. They wanted to share the joys and excitement of school success and potential job offers. While others came in just to ask for advice. Whatever it was Sammie made time to be there and be present for them. Athletes trust Sammie because when they come to her they feel that their voice is being heard. As I start my time in the professional program and progress into being a certified athletic trainer, I want to be this type of ATC. I want to be a person-centered athletic trainer whose athletes trust me with their health and treatments, but also just in life. I want my athletes to know that I am always in their corner and will support them in every positive decision they make. Getting to watch Sammie live this out is inspiration to me. 

Another huge inspiration for me this semester was getting to attend the MAATA District 5 Annual Meeting and Symposium in Omaha, NE. During this conference I was able to attend different educational sessions that covered a wide variety of topics. One of the most interesting sessions  I attended was titled “Cultural Competence in Athletic Training” and talked about how athletic training is so much more than treating an injured athlete. Being an athletic trainer really means becoming an invested member of the community you are working in, so that you can be a comrade for a patient as they walk through their injury. So this means when a patient is not compliant in their home exercise program, you don't just write them off as lazy, you dig in  and find out why they have not been compliant. And for many athletes it is because they have a multiple of other responsibilities on their plate. In the secondary school setting you might have an athlete who is homeless. Non-compliance is no longer the problem, addressing where they are going to sleep that night is. And as an invested member of the community, you make connections and are able to link them to resources that they might need. I think this is a part of athletic training that is not talked about enough, but I think it is so important.  Another opportunity I was fortunate enough to have during MAATA was to meet and network with certified athletic trainers. I met so many different people who work in so many different settings. Getting to hear their stories and experiences just excited me even more to join the profession! 

This is one of a series of blog posts written by students entering the professional phase of the SLU AT Program as a part of MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II.

May 09, 2022

SLU AT Students Appreciate the Benefit of Experience at Multiple Clinical Sites

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Justin Epperly and Brandon Pavon (MAT Class of 2024)

Justin Epperly

This spring semester has been the beginning of our transition into the professional years of our Athletic training program. When we started observation hours it was equally exciting and nerve-racking, but after visiting John Burroughs, Washington University, and Fontbonne I realized there was much more to be excited about than nervous. It was very interesting to see the similarities across each clinical site and the minute differences such as scraping, taping techniques, and the use of cupping for examples. Not only were some of the therapeutic modalities different, but so were the spaces and overall environments. It was very interesting to see the part of being an AT that is not focused on as much. When I was not watching patient care, we spent our time talking with the athletic directors, coaches, and other athletes. This whole experience has really shed some light on the importance of the bond between the AT and those we work around. We truly are the connection from athlete to the school and sometimes the coaches.

During my observation hours I was fortunate to shadow Eldwin Neritani and Muharem Komic at Wash U; Lauren Swords and her preceptor Sammie Hochmuth ATC at Fontbonne; and Olivia Mani, Katie Wissing and their preceptor Dean Tiffany ATC at John Burroughs. I was also fortunate enough to have some of my fellow AT classmates shadow with me, shout out to Sha Jones, Brandon Pavon, and Marissa Uecker. However, one of my most memorable learning experiences came to me when I was shadowing at John Burroughs alone and one student dislocated his shoulder. I had never seen a dislocation or reduction of any kind so this was an amazing opportunity to witness something that one would not normally get to see. Luckily the student’s shoulder was reduced, and he was alright. Another memorable experience was also at John Burroughs with my fellow AT classmate, Brandon. Being our last day, we were able to try cupping…. Not on anyone else of course, but Olivia offered to cup our backs. This was a great learning experience because cupping, while it is not accepted everywhere, is a growing modality that many athletes enjoy. I think it was very beneficial to understand how cupping works and feels for my future as an AT, and for that matter, I think my time as a whole, at all the clinical sites I visited, were critical in my development as a future AT and have sparked excitement for my future!

Brandon Pavon

Starting this clinical observation process I was pretty nervous because this was the closest, I’ve been to seeing what it would be like to actually be an athletic trainer. Throughout my time at multiple different clinical sites, I was able to get a feel of how the different environments operate and how they vary from place to place. I mainly got to see the difference John Burroughs High School and DeSmet Jesuit high school. While the training rooms themselves vary drastically, the day to day very a lot too. At DeSmet, which is a all boys school, we mainly talked to the coaches before practices as well as watched the varsity volleyball team practice. At John Burroughs we saw a lot more students as they are required to take a sport along with it being a coed school. With the fall sports games starting around the time I went to John Burroughs I was also able to watch more games compared to my visit to DeSmet where the games had not started yet.

Justin and I have been to John Burroughs High School a couple of times now with Olivia, Katie, and Dean as the preceptor. Each time we went Dean has been super welcoming and helpful. There was one time Dean was taping an ankle and his technique was different than the one we learned from class so he was explaining to us why he does it the way he does. There was also some other times where Dean would be taping an arch or shin splint and he was explaining what happened to the person and why they needed this kind of taping job. It is experiences like these that lead to a further passion in this profession

This is one of a series of blog posts written by students entering the professional phase of the SLU AT Program as a part of MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II.

May 07, 2022

SLU MAT Class of 2022 Celebrates Excellence and Scholarship at Capstone Day

On Friday, May 6, 2022 students in the Saint Louis University Master of Athletic Training Class of 2022 presented their Capstone Project presentations to the Doisy College of Health Sciences from the Multipurpose Room of the Allied Health Building on the SLU Medical Center Campus.  The event was also streamed live on Zoom. 

The SLU MAT Capstone Project is the culminating scholarly product that our students develop to meet the requirements of the Master of Athletic Training Degree.  One of the graduates, Katie Wissing, participated virtually as she was competing in the Atlantic 10 Track and Field Championships.

Video of the event is posted on YouTube: 

The SLU AT Program's Excellence in Professional Service Award, Community Service Award and Clinical Excellence Award were presented to graduating students at the event.  The Academic Excellence Award was presented after the final grades were posted at the end of the spring semester. 

Excellence in Professional Service
Academic Excellence Award
Maddie Cavanaugh 

Excellence in Community Service
Brittany Risko 

Clinical Excellence
Sydney Nash
Katie Wissing (not pictured)

May 05, 2022

SLU AT Student Relates How NCAA Division II Wrestling Tournament Previewed the Professional Phase of the Program

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Grace Golembiewski
By: Grace Golembiewski (MAT Class of 2024)

I had the opportunity to complete a handful of my direct observation hours at the DII NCAA Wrestling Championship at Chaifetz Arena from March 10th-12th, under the guidance of the Head Athletic Trainer for the event, Austin DeBoer ATC, the Assistant Athletic Trainer at Maryville University. Caroline Miller, one of my peers, and a few PY1 and PY2 students in the SLU AT program were also attending the event to acquire a unique, collegiate level, clinical experience with wrestling, since we don’t have access to wrestling at Saint Louis University. This in itself made my overall clinical experience invaluable in the sense that I was able to connect with a lot of my peers and receive advice from experienced athletic trainers at other DII programs throughout the many hours I spent at the tournament.

On the first day of the championship, I was partnered with PY1 student Eldwin Neritani for the preliminary rounds of the tournament. I had never been to such a large collegiate wrestling tournament before, so it was astonishing to see the number of matches occurring at once. Before the matches started for the day, all of the head and student athletic trainers covering the event were required to gather together in order to review emergency action plans and divide up which athletic trainers would be in charge of covering which mats. This was essential as there would be eight matches occurring at once, and some wrestlers would not have a traveling athletic trainer with them. Therefore, Eldwin, Austin, Caroline, and I were in charge of covering two mats throughout the entirety of the day. Upon listening in on this initial meeting and interaction between all the different athletic trainers, I realized how important interprofessional relationships and emergency action plans were for such a large and chaotic event such as this one. With eight simultaneous matches going on at once, and large crowds, it was very difficult to hear and see all the different athletes competing at one time. Therefore, as the athletic trainers on call, it was imperative that Eldwin and Austin were always paying close attention to the zone they were in charge of covering, and for them to be aware of where the other healthcare professionals (such as EMTs) were located around the mats in case of an emergency. 

For instance, in one match, an athlete cried out in pain and grabbed his chest. Almost immediately, two head trainers were out on the mat assessing the situation, with Eldwin assisting as necessary. Together, along with the support of the head and assistant coaches of the athlete, all five personnel were able to safely assess the situation, evaluate the athlete’s injury, and transfer the athlete to the athletic training room for further inspection and optimal treatment and care. Another observation that I made about athletic training during my time at the wrestling tournament was how efficiently an athletic trainer does their job could make the difference between a win and a loss for an athlete. For instance, with collegiate wrestling, each athlete is only aloud a cumulative total of five minutes for “blood time.” This means that if an athletic trainer is not paying close attention to the match or is not prepared with the correct materials to clean and stop the bleeding, then the athlete will suffer not only in the physical sense, but also in their level of performance as well. This was made very clear to me throughout the tournament as every time there was a call for “blood,” multiple athletic trainers rushed out with the proper materials prepared to clean, bandage up, and stop any further bleeding from occurring as fast as possible. Overall, it was amazing to see how such a large group of athletic trainers worked like a well-oiled machine as they communicated and danced around one another throughout the three-day tournament.

In conclusion, there are a variety of important takeaways from my experience at the DII National Wrestling Championship which have all helped prepare me for my Professional Phase of the Athletic Training program. For instance, I am now much more aware of the importance of interprofessional collaboration and communication when working at any healthcare setting, especially at one as large as a national championship. Next, I discovered how essential it is for an athletic trainer to be organized, prepared, and have a high attention to detail in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for any emergency situations that may occur. And finally, my overall experience at this clinical site demonstrated that athletic trainers are an essential part of the athlete’s performance whether they are in an athletic training room or on the mat, field, or court.

This is one of a series of blog posts written by students entering the professional phase of the SLU AT Program as a part of MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II.