March 21, 2013

SLU AT Student "Flips" Over Experience with Gymnastics

By. Katie Schneebeck (MAT Class of 2013)

This year, I’ve had the opportunity to work at Affton High School with Becky Stigen. She is on her 20th year in her athletic training career.Congratulations Becky!

Becky Stigen ATC with SLU AT Student Katie Schneebeck
Along with her experience at Affton, Becky also works at the St. Louis Gymnastic Centre. It is a 21,000 square foot training center that provides instruction for approximately 800 gymnasts. Once a week, Becky and I see athletes and their coaches for injuries. Yes, coaches, who are flipping athletes all day get hurt. Because they do high-flying stunts on bouncy floors and hard beams, gymnasts are prone to many injuries. Every week, I work with a multitude of gymnasts from 5-17 years of age and injuries ranging from broken bones to wrist pain.

The first time I walked into the training center, a huge smile drew across my face. My sisters and I grew up watching the movie, Nadia, and doing cart-wheels on the front lawn. I’ve always wanted to be a gymnast! It is incredibly magical seeing these kids live their dream. While, the margin of gymnasts who make it to the Olympics is low, these athletes are learning very valuable life lessons within their teams. It is truly rewarding working with gymnasts.

The mentality in gymnastics is just like any other sport; they want to push through the pain.  Whether they are 5 or 13 years old, they are some of the toughest athletes with which I’ve ever worked. To give you a better perspective, a couple weeks ago, I prescribed 3 sets of 15 backwards lunges with a twist. The gymnast smiled at me and said with a grin, “We usually do 200 of those on each leg.” If you ever get the opportunity to work with Becky at the St. Louis Gymnastics Centre, take it! You’ll learn more than you can imagine.

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