December 17, 2012

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Parkway South High School

Parkway South High School – Home of the Patriots!
By: Kelley DeGreeff (SLU MAT Class of 2014)

It seems like yesterday I was nervously walking up to Parkway South High School not having a clue what I was getting myself into. I was the first SLU athletic training student to be placed at the clinical site. Was Dr. Howell crazy for sending me? Would I be a good representative of SLU? Who is Kyle Boyce? However, I learned quickly that I had nothing to worry about. I enjoyed an amazing semester of learning while meeting some awesome people.

SLU AT Student Kelley DeGreeff (MAT Class of 2014) with Kyle Boyce ATC
The first thing I loved about clinical was my site. Parkway South could not have been more welcoming towards me. From day one, the Athletic Director Dr. Eric Wilhelm made me feel like I was a “Patriot” even though they gave me trouble for being a Nerinx Hall grad (Go Markers!). I have a newfound respect for the role of the AD after seeing how hard Eric and Jen Holtmeyer worked day in and day out, providing the best facilities for the students to play. I owe so much gratitude to them for being so great to work with, and also for giving me food tickets for football games J

Like I mentioned earlier, I was the first athletic training student at PSH, so the coaches, staff, and athletes were not used to another person in the AT room. However, they all quickly warmed up to me and let me be a part of their teams. Whether we were giving concussion evaluations to the football players or helping a softball girl with a laceration, the student athletes always trusted and allowed me to help them out.  Having about 2,000 students enrolled at PSH, there was always an opportunity for me to learn. The coaches were also so great in letting me a part of their practices and games, allowing me to see what sideline and on field evaluations entailed.

Kelley "using the force" to practice taping blindfolded.
The second thing that made my clinical experience so great was my preceptor, Kyle Boyce ATC. He was able to tolerate my incessant questioning and for that I thank him. He also was great in getting me through my proficiencies and goals. He pushed me to try things I would have otherwise shied away from. Some days he declared “Kelley days” in which I was in charge of all evaluations, on field and in the training room. I was terrified of these days, but I also got to drive the Gator so they had its perks. Without him pushing me outside my comfort zone, I probably would not have the confidence I now have to go to other clinical sites. One important thing Kyle taught me that I will always take with me is to have fun. Everyday we would laugh about something, which I think is such an important quality of an athletic trainer. No matter how many broken athletes walked in, or how many games were going on at once, we always found time to joke around and have fun.

The third thing I loved about the clinical experience was putting what I learned in the classroom to use. Every day I brought my books and was able to apply special tests, modalities, or muscle assessments into evaluations. This not only helped me remember the tests for class, but also gave me a chance to be watched when doing them. Kyle was able to correct and give suggestions as I was learning instead of just practicing blindly.

Kyle & Kelley poised and ready at a basketball game.
Parkway South was such a great place to experience my first taste of athletic training. I cannot believe how attached I became to the Patriots. When the football team lost their first game, I could not believe how upset I was. (Thankfully this happened the same night the Cardinals beat the Braves in the Wild Card game, so I was not upset for long.) The point is that I am so happy to have had such a wonderful experience with some amazing people. Being a part of such a great community really helped me explore and learn so I could become a more confident athletic training student.

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.

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