SLU AT Summer Field Experience Spotlight - Ayr, Scotland and NutriFormance/Athletic Republic
By: Caitlin Gibson (SLU MAT Class of 2018)
A few days after graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, I flew to Scotland to join Michelle Pollock a physiotherapist for part one of my summer field experience. Michelle works with Irvine Rugby Team, Ayr United Football Club and a badminton club team. Since the teams practice in the evening Michelle sees a variety of patients during the day.
One of the most interesting parts of the health care system over in the United Kingdom is that a physiotherapist can see patients in a variety of places. Michelle saw patients in a standard clinic setting like the clinics in the United States. However; she also had people come over to her house for a session and she went to the patient’s home if that was more convenient. While with Michelle, I saw different techniques than I have seen in the United States. She performed manual therapy techniques, osteopathic techniques, physiotherapy, acupuncture and dry needling. For the most part I performed different types of massage, which made me more mindful of my body mechanics and gave me the opportunity to refine my technique. I helped Ayr United Football Club with their youth conditioning testing to establish a baseline, which will be used to determine an individual plan for the players as their bodies mature. This is an on-going project that will take years to develop with the goal to reduce injuries.
After returning from Scotland, I started part two of my summer field experience at NutriFormance/ Athletic Republic located in Saint Louis, MO. NutriFormance’s motto is “if you have a body you are an athlete”. Similar to my experience in Scotland I worked with a variety of patients ranging in age. My preceptors used different exercises than I have seen before. For example, Heidi Frey ATC introduced me to postural restoration and opened my eyes to different balancing exercises. With Randy Leonardo, I was able to practice my evaluations on FMS screenings as a patient joined NutriFormance. This screening was used to see what the best placement would be such as an individual training session, a small class or a hybrid class.
NutriFormance gave me an opportunity to blend the skills that I had learned in Scotland and exercises from NutriFormance to make me a more well rounded Athletic Training student.
Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.