November 11, 2014

Preceptor Creates a Great Experience for SLU AT Students at Webster Groves High School

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Webster Groves High School
By: Cara Bowton and Mark Pais (MAT Class of 2016)

Life as students in the first professional year of the SLU Athletic Training program comes with a plethora of experiences, demands, and challenges. Fresh off of a rigorous summer of gross anatomy and MAT 501, we are now armed with a foundation of information that is critical for our success as athletic training students. Most of us entered our first week of clinical rotations with some trepidation due to the fact that we lacked experience in the field that we all hope to soon be certified in. For the two of us, any feelings of uneasiness were quickly quelled as soon as we stepped foot on campus at Webster Groves High School. Our clinical site preceptor, Sean Wright ATC, immediately made us feel welcomed and comfortable with our new second home. He made it clear that he did not want us to be put into situations that we were uncomfortable in handling, but he did (and continues to) encourage us to challenge ourselves and our knowledge. Sean is always willing to answer a question, elaborate on treatment/procedure rationale, or demonstrate a technique in order to facilitate our learning. This strong relationship with Sean has been the driving force in our positive experience so far at Webster Groves.

Mark Pais, Sean Wright ATC and Cara Bowton
The clinical rotation at Webster Groves allows for PY1 students like ourselves to garner a wide variety of experiences valuable to our growth. We have been exposed to all levels (Freshman, Junior Varsity, Varsity) of a wide variety of sports, with our priorities lying mainly with high contact sports. However, that is not to say that we have not seen our fair share (as most everyone probably has) of cross country self-diagnosed “shin splints.” In our daily routine, we see some regular faces of those who need taping and treatment prior to practice and games, and then we get to work with the rehabbers who are coming off of injury. As our time has progressed, Sean has given us more freedom to develop and carry out the rehab programs. This gives us a chance to work exclusively with athletes and to develop strong relationships with them, as well as giving us a better understanding of the rehabilitation process. Once 4:00 hits, we are out to the fields to monitor the home games for that day. The coaches and athletes always acknowledge us with a smile and a kind word, which is a testament to the relationship that Sean has built during his time there. His decisions are respected and never questioned due to his professionalism and expertise as an athletic trainer. Sean exemplifies the importance of staff collaboration and how it is imperative for smooth functioning of an athletic department.
Our clinical rotation at Webster Groves has already provided us with memorable experiences that we will not soon forget. Seeing an injured athlete, who has worked hard day after day in rehab, return to play is a very rewarding moment. One of the football athletes sustained a sprained MCL during a game and required significant rehab before he could return to play. He worked with us for two weeks doing countless monster walks, terminal knee extensions, and rounds of the “VMO special” in order to be fit to return to play. After his dedicated effort in rehabilitation, he was back on the field and playing at a high level, and that was a very rewarding moment for us as students. It this sort of impact that we can have on an athlete’s life that drives our desire to be athletic trainers. Being at Webster Groves has offered us an experience that reinforces our decision to become athletic training students. All of the time and effort required to help things run smoothly is incomparable to the feeling of gratification when we can help athletes return to a high level of performance for the sport that they love. We feel incredibly fortunate for our opportunity to work with Sean and Webster Groves and we look forward to what the next two months bring!

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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