July 31, 2012

SLU AT Student Gets Intensive with Wrestling in Summer Internship

My Experience at J Robinson Intensive Wrestling Camp
By: Janese Evans (SLU MAT Class of 2013)

My summer internship experience was very unique. In just 28 days I accumulated over 200 clinical hours and gained a great deal of hands on knowledge. A typical day for me started between 8:30-9:00 am and ended anywhere between 8:30-11:00 pm. As the primary medical staff responsible for overseeing the safety of over 300 wrestling campers and the University of Minnesota wrestlers participating in this camp, the responsibility was initially overwhelming. However, with the support of my other athletic training staff, I was able to get outside of my comfort zone and take advantage of the abundant learning opportunities. At this J Robinson camp I was able to deal with lots of athletes with skin infections. Every day before the first practice we did routine skin checks to ensure wrestlers were not spreading skin infections. I was able to see and identify various forms of impetigo, folliculitis, and ringworm. This year we had no herpes outbreaks, which was something the J Robinson wrestling camps were infamous for over a decade ago.

At the J Robinson wrestling camp I drained my first blister and steri-striped my first facial laceration. The amount of injuries I witnessed in the past 28 days was surreal! I have seen everything from a surgically removed ingrown toenail to a fibula fracture to an AC joint separation. This does not even include the numerous concussion assessments that I have conducted on many athletes. And due to the unusual amount of heat in Minneapolis this summer, we had to take extra precautions to ensure that we prevented heat illness from occurring in the athletes.  This included weigh-ins before practice and monitoring signs and symptoms of heat illness and dehydration during practices. The counselors and J Robinson also did a great job of making sure the athletes were staying hydrated by providing Powerade in the camp store that was available to the athletes in between all practices. J Robinson also restricted the athletes from drinking soda the first 14 days of camp.

Each work day concluded with completing paperwork accumulated that day. I actually enjoyed doing the paperwork because this was my first experience dealing with paperwork to this extent. Not only was I responsible for writing up injury reports when I evaluated athletes, but I was also responsible for writing progress reports on athletes I had seen or spoke to about different situations. Also throughout the day, the athletic training staff did a lot of communicating with the parents of the wrestlers. Parents were called whenever athletes were taking to the emergency room, were ill, out of practice due to dehydration, or if an athlete was out of practice due to having a skin infection.
Janese Evans (SLU MAT Class of 2013) pictured with the AT staff from the 2012 J Rob Intensive Camp
Overall I would highly recommend the J Robinson wrestling camp for athletic training students seeking to gain practical skills in management of acute injuries, seeking independence in conducting initial assessments and making return to play decisions, or becoming more knowledgeable on skin infections. Overall this internship has given me a personal insight on what being an athletic trainer is all about. We worked long hours, we were the first ones to arrive at practice and the last people to leave, we were bombarded with athletes for treatments at times, and at other times we sat and watched practice, we adjusted to last minute schedule changes, and we did a great deal of paperwork, counting inventory, and filling water coolers. This internship provided so many unique opportunities that I would not have gotten anywhere else. And most importantly through repetition and a strong supporting staff, gave me the confidence I lacked throughout my first year of graduate school. Thanks to J Rob internship I have more self-assurance in my skills and knowledge as a future athletic trainer.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program have a required internship in the summer between their two professional years in the program.  This blog post details a student's reflection on their internship experience. 

SLU AT Student Gets a Wide Variety of Experience with AthletiCo in Chicago

A Summer of Learning and Inspiration
By: Mary Finkenkeller (SLU MAT Class of 2013) 

Tony McCormick ATC with Mary Finkenkeller (SLU MAT Class of 2013)
For the past 2 months, I have been an intern for AthletiCo in Oak Park Illinois.  AthletiCo is a Chicago based company that offers health care services at over 70 clinics in the area and is a fantastic company to work for.  This company is the single largest employer of athletic trainers in the country, and also employs physical therapists, occupational therapists, and massage therapists.  Athletic trainers employed by AthletiCo are working in clinics, high schools, universities, professional sports, club sports, and US sports.  I have had the pleasure of working with Athletic Trainer Tony McCormick, who works both in the Oak Park AthletiCo clinic and at Fenwick High School.  Tony has been an athletic trainer at the university level and the high school level, as well as a college professor, which makes him the perfect clinical instructor for any student. 
During my time with him and AthletiCo, I have been given countless opportunities for experiences and learning.  Tony is very well known within the company, and he also has countless connections outside the company.  He has introduced me into fields that I am interested in like the performing arts, volleyball, and rugby.  He has also provided me with opportunities in the clinical setting that I never expected, like working with work conditioning patients, observing functional capacity evaluations, and assisting in physical screens at a local high school.  He really enjoys teaching and working with students, and has been an amazing mentor and clinical instructor for the past 2 months.  He will continue to be an inspiration to me and to all young professionals who know him.    

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program have a required internship in the summer between their two professional years in the program.  This blog post details a student's reflection on their internship experience. 

July 20, 2012

SLU AT Student Gets Physician Extender Internship Experience

Athletic Training is "Extending" into a New Setting
By: Sarah Schaefer Reifsteck (SLU MAT Class of 2013)

For the past few months I have had the opportunity to work at the Crane Clinic in Chesterfield, MO with Dr. Matthew Bayes and his athletic trainer Devon Lacy. The experience I have had with the two of them has been nothing but enjoyable. From day one I was treated with the utmost respect as if I had worked there for years. For the first week, Devon took me under her wing and taught me everything I needed to know about the role an athletic trainer has within the physician’s office specifically Dr. Bayes’ office. By the following week  I was essentially on my own with the supervision of Devon and Dr. Bayes of course. My job was to get a thorough history from the patient as well as a complete exam.I would then be expected to present the case to Dr. Bayes so that he had a better idea of the injury or problem that individual was coming into see him about. A good exam and history meant I was able answer any question Dr. Bayes may come up with before going into the room. This is something I have continued to get better at each day, but he often comes up with something I didn’t think to do during my exam. Even though it is often frustrating to forget something, those are the times I learn the most, and I am less likely to forget it next time.

Devon Lacey ATC, Sarah Schaefer Reifsteck, Dr. Matt Bayes
Another important aspect to my job is to prepare and assist Dr. Bayes with procedures, which range from simple aspirations and steroid injections to more complex platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections often combined with stem cells that are harvested from a layer of the patient’s fat. Dr. Bayes typically uses PRP and stem cells to treat chronic tendon and ligamentous injuries in his practice. However, we have done a few hamstring cases, which were fascinating to watch as the fat and PRP filled the holes that were present within the patients’ hamstring muscle bellies. 

All and all, I have had anamazing experience at the Crane Clinic working along side and learning from some really intelligent, well-rounded health care professionals. Most importantly I have gotten to experience what the physician extender role consist of and how much help an athletic trainer can truly be within the physician’s office. I am very grateful for the opportunity Dr. Bayes and Devon gave me this summer, and I am really going to miss working with them.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program have a required internship in the summer between their two professional years in the program.  This blog post details a student's reflection on their internship experience.

July 18, 2012

SLU AT Student Gets Summer Football Experience

My Summer at UNI.  Go Panthers!
By: Katie Mae Herington (SLU MAT Class of 2013)

This summer I’ve had the privilege of working at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  I’ve been under the supervision of Football Athletic Trainer Ryan Callahan, and two of his Graduate Assistants, Keri Sotak and Emily Link.  The summer has primarily consisted of working camps and rehabs with injured football players.  UNI’s athletic training facility was built about five years ago, with easy access to their indoor football field, the Hydroworx, and abundant space for treatments and functional rehab.   

Katie Herington poses in the hydrotherapy area.
While expanding my knowledge about functional rehabilitation for multiple injuries, I’ve also learned how to use a variety of different modalities like InterX, BioWave, and GSO.    One thing I’ve truly loved about this experience is that in a Division 1 setting where lack of equipment is not an issue, it’s all about how creative you are.  Every day a rehab can be totally different if you want it to be, which helps keep the athletes engaged on a day to day basis. 

Hydrotherapy area.
Being at the University of Northern Iowa has given me a better insight into all the behind the scenes work that goes on, even in the off season.  The entire summer has been dedicated to preparing those in rehab for in-season football and maintaining the rest of the players throughout summer training.  The staff here has been very supportive in helping me learn, and have also does their best to challenge me on a daily basis so that every day is a learning opportunity.  I can’t believe this is my last week!
Rehabilitation Facility
Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program have a required internship in the summer between their two professional years in the program.  This blog post details a student's reflection on their internship experience.

July 12, 2012

SLU AT Student "Goes Home" for an Internship

Summertime with the Tigers
By: Sarah Hall (SLU MAT Class of 2013)

This summer I had the opportunity to complete my internship at the University of Missouri – Columbia.  Being a Columbia native is was very exciting to be helping out with my hometown teams.  The award winning staff at Mizzou really has created such a great learning atmosphere and a ‘doors always open’ athletic training room where athlete care is always #1 priority.  With so many great resources at their disposal I was able to experience many new ways of treatment and rehabilitation.  Head Athletic Trainer Rex Sharp ATC is very easy to work with, and you can see the athletes really trust him.  He has a very streamlined rehabilitation process in place which is helpful for the athletes, as well as interns and graduate assistants.  
SLU AT Student Sarah Hall (3rd from left) pictured with Mizzou Sports Medicine Staff members including Head Athletic Rex Sharp (far left) 
I also was able to meet and work with Dr. Laney Nelson a faculty member who comes once a week from Logan School of Chiropractic Medicine in St. Louis Missouri.  His excitement about teaching and treating athletes was contagious and I am glad to have met him while I was at Mizzou. My internship with Mizzou has given me the opportunity to help with football early morning workouts, as well as the Gatorade high school football camp hosted at Mizzou.  I also helped with high school basketball camp, athlete rehabilitation, preseason strength testing, and general athletic training duties.  I am glad to have had the experiences I have had over the last couple of weeks, they will help better my future practice as an athletic trainer.  

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program have a required internship in the summer between their two professional years in the program.  This blog post details a student's reflection on their internship experience.

July 10, 2012

SLU AT Student Gets Unique Summer Experiences in St. Louis

Busy Summer with the Billikens
By: Alexandria Sawyer (SLU MAT Class of 2013)

This summer I am completing my athletic training internship at Saint Louis University (SLU). I have always known that I wanted to work with Division I athletics in my professional career. So, naturally, working at SLU was ideal for me. It did not take long for me to realize that working at SLU this summer could open up doors for other learning opportunities. On my second day, I assisted head athletic trainer, Jonathan “JB” Burch ATC, LAT, with welcoming the staff of USA Gymnastics for the Visa Championships. The USA-G medical staff was very friendly and such great teachers. Working with past, present, and future Olympians was no doubt an awesome experience. 
Alex Sawyer in the mouthguard lab at SLU's Center for Advanced Dental Education.
Working at SLU also allowed me to attend the National Athletic Trainers' Association Annual Meeting and Symposium, since the lovely city of St Louis was selected to host this year. I attended lectures and volunteered at the trade show. It was so motivating to be around certified athletic trainers, newly certified athletic trainers, and students like myself. The most important lecture I attended was “Providing Dental Coverage at Athletic Events – Be Prepared” (presented by the Academy for Sports Dentistry). This lecture was important to me because I would later help Dr. Paul Nativi and Theresa Hummel, MS, ATC, LAT make mouth guards for some women’s basketball and field hockey players. Although I was not allowed to take the impressions, I was allowed to participate in every other detail that is put into making a mouth guard, from heating the material over the impression to polishing the mouth guard to the final fitting. This was such an awesome learning experience and I am so grateful that Dr. Nativi allowed me to work alongside him.
Alex Sawyer trimming the mouthguard with a heated knife.
In addition to these experiences, I have been working closely with each SLU athletic trainer (JB, Theresa, Miya Sullivan, MS, ATC, LAT, and Angie Wills, MS, ATC, LAT) to monitor and treat the men’s and women’s basketball and soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams during summer workouts. I have also been working to get the Simtrak injury monitoring software up and running. So far this summer had been very busy yet rewarding. I am looking forward to what is left to come.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program have a required internship in the summer between their two professional years in the program.  This blog post details a student's reflection on their internship experience.

July 08, 2012

SLU AT Student Interns with Professional Baseball Team

Experiencing Life on the Frontier (League)
By: Derrick Neuner (SLU MAT Class of 2013)

My internship this summer is with the Gateway Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are an independent, professional baseball team that competes in the Frontier League against other teams primarily from the Midwest. The team is located at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, IL, just a few minutes across the river from St. Louis. They’ve been an organization since 2000 and won the Frontier League Championship in 2003.

I work with Geof Manzo, MS, ATC, as well as two other interns, Jordan Blankenship from Eastern Illinois University, and Taylor Chapman, from the University of Indiana. As a team, we provide medical treatment for the 25-men roster each and every day of the regular season, which started in mid-May and ends Sept. 1. That includes pre-game treatment, supervising team stretching, pitching preparation, supervising bullpen rotations, game management, post-game treatment, and preparing Geof to travel with the team. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, we do not travel with the team.
From left: Derrick Neuner, Geof Manzo ATC, Izzy the Grizzly, Taylor Chapman, and Jordan Blankenship
So far, the internship has been unique in that it’s the first clinical experience I have working with other students. That has provided a tremendous learning opportunity – both for learning new styles and ways of treatment and tampering my ego! Though we may all approach a situation differently, that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.

The most challenging part of working with the Grizzlies is the independent nature of the athletes. They will seek us out for treatment, not the other way around. That’s been a tough adaptation for me, but Geof has been incredibly encouraging and supportive. It’s also difficult with a limited budget. While we have electrical stimulation and ultrasound available, our athletic training room is essentially a closet, and there isn’t a lot of time to implement extensive rehabilitation plans. The Frontier League is also unique in that players can be traded or released with no notice – here today, gone tomorrow is truly a way of life. That can make establishing treatment goals challenging, but it’s a great challenge to develop innovative ways to provide care.
Working with the Grizzlies has really given me an insight as to how higher levels of athletic training operate. I’m extremely blessed and fortunate to be working alongside a great athletic trainer, Geof, as well as players and coaches who are eager to help me achieve my own goals of growing and learning as an athletic trainer.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program have a required internship in the summer between their two professional years in the program.  This blog post details a student's reflection on their internship experience.

July 05, 2012

SLU AT Program Director Quoted in St. Louis Post-Dispatch Article About Athletic Trainers


Athletic trainers are expanding roles in fire districts, schools

BY CYNTHIA BILLHARTZ GREGORIAN • cbillhartz@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8114 | Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:00 am

A typical day for athletic trainer Ruth Young begins by leading firefighters at the Riverview Fire Protection District through a vigorous workout that mimics things they do on the job.
"We'll drag heavy weights on towels, move giant hoses and hit used tires with sledgehammers," she says. She also counsels them on nutrition.
Then, at 2 p.m., she heads to Francis Howell High School, where she works with student-athletes to prevent, treat and rehabilitate injuries and illnesses on the sideline and in the training room.
Young and her colleagues at Excel Sports and Physical Therapy in O'Fallon, Mo., illustrate the growing demand for athletic trainers as well as their versatility.
Last week, more than 8,000 athletic trainers from around the country converged on America's Center in St. Louis for the National Athletic Trainers Association's annual meeting. That was a fraction of the 35,000 who make up their membership nationwide. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job opportunities for athletic trainers will grow by 30 percent by 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.
"High school has been the most solid growth, but other areas of growth are industrial places like Boeing and working with orthopedic surgeons, who hire them to work side-by-side with them. They get hired every couple of months," says Anthony Breitbach, director of the athletic training program at St. Louis University.
Most of what athletic trainers do concerns musculoskeletal injuries such as ankle sprains and muscle pulls. But they also treat concussions, heat stroke and cardiac events.
Professional and college teams were the first to hire them. Then high schools started using them during games, and now many use them full time for practices as well.
"Athletic trainers are an important part of sports medicine team and they serve a vital role," said Dr. Mark Halstead, an orthopedic surgeon at Washington University Orthopedics in Chesterfield and an expert on concussions. "They're our eyes and ears and the initial evaluator and the first to treat them."
Young estimates that she and her colleagues at Excel test and train more than 300 firefighters at four local fire districts.
Since joining the Riverview district a year ago, Kendell Jones, 23, has lost seven pounds and increased his flexibility and energy level.
"The nutrition part is the hardest. We could all do better in that," he said. "It would help if Ruth was there so when we picked up something bad, she'd slap it out of our hands and say: Here, eat this."
Jones was at the Excel fitness center recently trying out VO2Max testing equipment, which measures how efficiently the body processes oxygen, and computer software that tailors workout and nutrition plans to each athlete.
The goal is to help the firefighters perform better and prevent injuries when they're wearing 50 pounds of gear. If they are injured, the athletic trainers develop other plans to rehabilitate them.
Dr. William Feldner, a sports medicine specialist at St. Anthony's Hospital, has noticed an uptick in the number of companies hiring athletic trainers for employees who have physical jobs.
"They're starting to look at them as worker-athletes," he said.
But most health experts agree that athletic trainers are most vital when something goes terribly wrong with athletes during practices and games.
Nearly all local school districts, including Ladue, Francis Howell, Ritenour, Rockwood, Clayton, Parkway, Webster Groves and Lindbergh, have athletic trainers on hand for practices and games.
In 2005, the Fox School District in Arnold hired two full-time athletic trainers after Mizzou football player Aaron O'Neal collapsed during a volunteer strength and conditioning workout and later died.
Three years ago, a California woman created Advocates for Injured Athletes to bring a certified athletic trainer to every high school in the U.S. Her son sustained a cervical spine fracture during a lacrosse game, and the team athletic trainer refused to let him stand up on the field. It saved him from becoming a paraplegic and possibly even dying.
Yet fewer than half of all high school athletic programs nationwide have access to them. Some simply can't afford them, while others choose to spend money elsewhere, says Jim Thornton, president of the National Athletic Trainer Association.
"So we have all these kids competing in football, lacrosse, soccer and other high-impact sports with a significant chance of injury and no one there to take care of them except a coach," he says. "Coaches often don't have a lot of medical training and are busy coaching, so they can't monitor how each athlete feels."
Breitbach knows of schools that don't have athletic trainers but have built new, modern football fields. They could set up an endowment with that money and pay for an athletic trainer into perpetuity, he says.
"Someone is eventually going to start asking, when a school board decides not to hire an athletic trainer, are they making the best use of funds?" Breitbach says. "Or are they trying to participate in an athletic arms race where everyone has to have nicer, cooler stuff."
Feldner points to the rise in cases of rhabdomyelosis in recent years. It's a syndrome marked by muscle degeneration and muscle enzyme leakage after a workout that's too intense. In severe cases it can result in renal failure and sudden death.
Two years ago, 12 Oregon high school football players were treated for it after a preseason workout. Athletes with sickle cell trait are more susceptible to it, and has been linked to the death of O'Neal.
"If an athlete has more than normal muscle soreness, the athletic trainer is the first person he'll see, and the athletic trainer will determine whether it's normal for a strenuous workout or it's a significant problem and they need to get it checked out," Feldner says. "They're the first line of defense."
Halstead points out that athletic trainers also usually recognize the signs of concussion better than most physicians and know how to treat them better. He also says they become like counselors or psychologists to the athletes."
"Sometimes they'll realize that it's more than just an injury going on," he said. "Some kids may not want to truly get back out there and play, and they don't want to tell the coach or the parents. And the athletic trainer has the inside information."