December 16, 2017

SLU AT Program Provides Varied Immersive Experiences for Irish Clinical Exchange Students from Athlone Institute of Technology

International Clinical Exchange- SLU and Athlone Institute of Technology
By: Andrew Moran & Fiachra Lennon (Athletic Therapy Rehabilitation Students - Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland)

Our experience studying at Saint Louis University for 15 weeks has now come to an end, we feel that we have found the experience that we were looking for before we came out to St. Louis. Working with Webster Groves HS and the SLU Billikens Sports Medicine staff at Chaifetz Arena, we have definitely benefited from this international clinical exchange. From our very first day at Saint Louis University we were welcomed by Anthony Breitbach PhD, ATC the Athletic Training Program Director who took time to collect us from the hotel we were staying at and brought us to induction day at SLU.
Induction week was very helpful as we got a good feel for SLU and its facilities. We also had the privilege to be brought to a park along with the rest of the international students to witness the Solar Eclipse on the 8/21/17 which was one of the most incredible things we have ever seen.
After we got settled into our new apartment and familiar with SLU, we got out schedule for clinical placement and class. We were placed at Webster Groves HS Monday to Friday working from 2pm till 8-9 depending on what sporting events were on each day. We also had rotation with Jason and Jordan the other two Irish students from AIT, at Chaifetz Arena in the morning where we working with the SLU sports medicine staff in the medical room in Chaifetz. We began our day at Chaifetz at 7am and finished at 10:30 am. At first we found it hard to get up for this but once we got into the swing of things we became more accustomed to it.

In the middle of the day we took 3 different modules Rehabilitation in AT II with Mike Markee, ATC, PT, OCS, COMT, Clinical Practicum III with Tim Howell, EdD, ATC, CSCS and Contemporary Clinical Practice with Kitty Newsham, PhD, ATC. We found these classes really beneficial for us. We also had the chance to take a Mock BOC exam with our PY2 classmates which will help us study for our ARTI exam that we will be taking for accreditation. In these classes, as well as furthering our knowledge in athletic training, we made a lot of friends for life with our classmates. This turned out to be a very symbiotic relationship as we could share the knowledge that we have learned in AIT and in turn they could share what they have learned with us.

Our clinical experience at Webster Groves high school has been extremely beneficial towards our learning experience in St. Louis. Our preceptor Sean Wright ATC has been head AT at Webster Groves for the past 13 years and his continued culture of collaborating to give the best care to athletes. Sean welcomed us into his school and Athletic training room with an open hand. From day 1 he threw us into the fire with evaluations and treatments which I felt was very beneficial because we could get hands on real life AT experience right from the start.

We made many friends working at Webster Groves, especially the SLU AT students who we traveled to Webster with, Paul Lamb, Pat O’Neill and Dimitri Kilian. We benefited greatly from working alongside each one of them which made our life in SLU much easier and also became very close friends whom we will never forget. Sean Wright ATC was so beneficial to work alongside at his high school, his vast knowledge of athletic training and his care for athletes will stand with us as long as we practice athletic training. This busy fall season we experienced a wide range of athletic events. Sports which were new to us such as American Football, Basketball, softball and wrestling along with sports we would be more accustomed to back in Ireland such as soccer, volleyball, athletics and field hockey. To work in a school with such a high caliber of athletes and working Friday night football was everything and more we expected when we heard we were working at a High School.

Working at Chaifetz Arena with the SLU Billikens Sports Medicine staff was a huge opportunity which allowed us to work with high quality athletes at a top of the range sports facility and medical room. We had the opportunity to work with the SLU Men’s Basketball team and Jonathan Burch ATC, SLU Men’s soccer, SLU baseball and Ben Heimos ATC, SLU field hockey and Petra Knight ATC, and SLU volleyball, tennis and softball and Tammy Pastor ATC. We had great experience working with each athletic trainer at the sports medicine room in Chaifetz arena, from covering a SLU baseball game at Busch stadium to taking full volleyball practices with Tammy pastor ATC at 6am in the Chaifetz pavilion. We loved every minute of this experience and gained valuable knowledge along the way. We honestly felt that this experience was more than we asked form the first day Tammy let us do a full evaluation on one of her athletes we felt a huge amount of respect and gratitude towards Tammy to the final day when we said our goodbyes, it will be an experience we will never forget.

Our time in Saint Louis University sadly has come to an end. We have gained so much experience on our 15 week international clinical exchange. From taping Ironman’s wrist at the Marvel Universe Live show at the Chaifetz Arena, working Friday night lights at Webster Groves HS, sharing classes with PY2 SLU students, to the early, early mornings in the sports medicine room at Chaifetz Arena and the late, late Saturday nights with our new and lifelong friends we made along the way this experience will never be forgotten.

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