International Clinical Exchange - Saint Louis University and Athlone Institute of Technology
By: Adam Whelehan (Athletic Rehabilitation Therapy Student, Athlone Institute of Technology)
While being here in St. Louis my clinical placement site was in DeSmet Jesuit High School in Creve Coeur. My time was spent with one of the PY1s in the master’s program Mitch Buerck. Under our preceptor Dan Herrin ATC, from Mercy Sports Medicine, we got loads of hands on experience both on the field and in the clinical setting. During my time here, I got to experience a variety of different sports such as American football, soccer, basketball and wrestling, all of which have different demands. We got to see a wide range of injuries and also got an opportunity to work with a variety of athletes.
Before coming here and beginning clinicals there were certain fields in AT that I wanted to get more comfortable doing such as rehab, concussion protocols and different treatment techniques that aren’t widely available in Ireland. By being in a high school for the 16 weeks, I believe it was the best way to improve all of these skills as I actually was given the freedom to practice by my preceptor, Dan, who helped me every step of the way and never made me feel like there was such thing as a stupid question. Personally, I cannot say a bad word about my preceptor as he always gave me something to do and is an advocate for students getting hands on experience in every aspect of athletic training. I also learned invaluable rehab skills in class with SLU AT faculty member Mike Markee PT, ATC, who always made sure we were included in the class discussions and were up to date with what was going on.
At DeSmet, our football team won the district final but were sadly beaten by nationally ranked side CBC in the State quarterfinals. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the payers on the team and have no doubt that they will be back again next year striving to go a little bit further. Our soccer team perhaps had the biggest success reaching the state final this year and during my time here I was put in charge of looking after most of the players and as a result I built a good solid relationship with them. Before I finished my time in De Smet I got the opportunity to work with the basketball team and I have a strong feeling they could go all the way this year considering the talent that was on display during my first home game against Borgia.
One thing I will never forget is experiencing my first high school football game and the hype that comes with it. The same can be said for soccer, but I feel like getting the opportunity to see behind the scenes in STLFC was a bigger deal for myself as soccer is one of my favourite sports back home.
During our time here, we also got the opportunity to get a tour of the Cardinals home, Busch Stadium, where we got a tour from one of the athletic trainers and got to see how they work during the season both at home and on the road.
My time at DeSmet was definitely the highlight of this entire experience as I got to meet some great people there who made me feel like part of the ‘D-Block’ family. I definitely will keep in touch with my preceptor and Mitch when I return to Ireland and hope they come to Ireland some day or I return to St. Louis.
Also, during our time here, we got some placement with the women’s basketball in SLU on week 10 and although we didn’t really get any hands-on experience in the university it was nice to use it as a comparison to how our college in Ireland is ran and also versus how a high school is set up.
In conclusion I feel my time here was definitely beneficial especially getting great hands on experience in the high school and being able to learn from Dan and Mitch every day about the way Americans run their practices and deal with certain injuries. I really enjoyed the past few months meeting new people and definitely feel like I have made some long-lasting friends here in St. Louis.