August 01, 2012

SLU AT Student Develops Skills with Summer Camps at Washington University

Working and Growing at Washington U.
By: Rachel Cocek (SLU MAT Class of 2013)

The past two months I have gotten the opportunity to work with the four wonderful Athletic Trainers at Washington University in St. Louis: Rick Larsen, Jim Anderson, Kelly Lawson, and Jacob Blasingame.  In these few months, I covered various summer sports camps with athletes ranging from age six all the way up to seniors in high school.  Working with such young athletes allowed me to have an extremely unique experience which helped me further develop skills that I had originally only practiced on Division I and III collegiate athletes.  I definitely gained a lot more experience in clinical evaluation because sometimes kids don’t want to talk to you and tell you what’s going on with them so you really have to work with them and ask all the right questions to get information regarding their injury out of them.  On the other hand, some kids will tell you anything that’s on their mind so I learned how to filter what was most important in order to make an accurate diagnosis and create a recovery plan for them.  I also learned how to simplify my explanations and the details of their injury so that they could know exactly what was going on with them and not feel lost or out of the loop.  I feel that this is something that I can definitely carry over into working with high school and college athletes because they might not always understand the anatomical terms or the facts about the injury they have sustained.
Rachel Cocek (SLU MAT Class of 2013) taping an ankle before a practice session.
This summer has also made me realize that younger athletes and older collegiate athletes can be so different but so alike.  The younger athletes seem to be a lot more trusting right away just because of their personalities and how they interact with new people.  Towards the end of my internship, I worked a soccer camp for high school female soccer players and I could tell it was going to take a little bit more for them to trust me and the skills that I have.  Although they are different in this way, younger athletes and older athletes tend to have one big trait in common: stubbornness.  Neither wants to accept that they are injured and need to sit out in order to fully recover.  While it was frustrating for both the athletes and myself, it was so rewarding in the end when they recovered and could return to play pain-free.

I also loved working with four different Athletic Trainers because I got to experience how each one assesses an athlete or performs special tests.  I think working with so many ATCs had helped me to understand the process of evaluation and develop my own way of evaluating an athlete so as to reach the correct diagnosis and start treating that athlete.  I also got the chance to work with many of the different coaches at Washington University and it was so great because they were very enthusiastic about me being there and willing to work with me so that I could learn as much as I could in two months.

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. 

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