May 27, 2019

SLU AT Students in the MAT Class of 2021 Write About Their Transition to Professional Phase of the Program

The Professional Phase of the Saint Louis University Athletic Training has two points of entry: (1) as a graduate student after receiving a bachelor's degree; and (2) as a progressing student in SLU's freshman-entry 3+2 Master of Athletic Training program.

SLU Pre-professional AT students take MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II in spring of their junior year where they prepare to enter the professional phase of the program.  This course includes directed observation in athletic training clinical settings and professional engagement. Each of these student writes a blog post about these experiences as they look forward to progressing into the professional phase of the program:

Maria Balistreri
I completed the majority of my observation hours with SLU Athletics. I got the opportunity to observe and help with a variety of Athletic Training events, including SLU Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, SLU Volleyball, SLU Track and Field meet preparation, and returning athlete physicals.  I was fortunate enough to get the chance to experience Athletic Training in a few of its different capacities, not just game coverage, but also practice, pre-game, behind-the-scenes event prep, and annual mandatory physicals. It was a really great look into the reality of Athletic Training, as I got to observe multiple of SLU’s Athletic Trainers and be involved with an assortment of events.  In my very first direct observation event, I was observing Men’s Basketball game coverage. During the game, an opposing player suffered and injury on the court and was immediately tended to and transported off the court to the AT room for treatment. The speed and efficiency of action to care was both impressive and exciting. Being only steps away from the incident, it was really cool to see the fast-paced reaction to the scene. 

Jose Blanco
This semester I had the opportunity to observe SLU’s women softball and volleyball athletic trainer, Elena Melillo. After observing the softball team’s practices and games for several hours, I feel more confident to face my first semester in the professional phase as well as my first clinical experience. Looking carefully at the interaction of the athletic trainer with the team members taught me that building a strong relationship between the athletic trainer and his or her athletes is key, especially if it is based on trusting each other. This experience also gave me an insight of what an appropriate relationship between the athletic trainer and the athletic training student should be. As a student, I understand that my clinical knowledge is going to build with time and experience, but a way to make the learning process faster is definitely going to be by asking questions and observing the techniques and interactions of the athletic trainer at my clinical site. 

Maddie Bozych
My favorite experience of direct observation was working the Lou Fusz soccer tournament under the Athletic Trainers from the Young Athletes Center. I got to see a lot of action and injury, compared to the other high school and colleges I went to. I also got to talk to three great Athletic Trainers, from different settings, all in one day. I got to ask a lot of questions and hear about how four different people used their AT degree. Because of the high volume of activity at a soccer tournament, I got to see more injuries. I also got to go onto the field for each one with the Athletic Trainer. It was a great experience to get to see the first reaction and steps of when AT asses the injury. The AT’s were great about letting me get right up to the action. The best part of the experience was getting to hear from different ATs. They all came from different paths of education and went a different route with their degree. One went on to become an Occupational Therapist, one works for an orthopedic surgeon, and one has a main role at the Young Athletes Center.  They encouraged questions and we had very real conversation about the profession and health care as a whole. Getting to ask questions and talk about the different paths of AT was such a valuable experience that I will cherish down the road into my profession phase. 

Nick Fanselow
This past year I have had many wonderful experiences that have prepared me to enter the professional phase of the Athletic Training Program at Saint Louis University. These experiences have included professional development where I have been able to immerse myself in the network of athletic trainers and direct observation of practicing athletic trainers at various clinical sights. Although my path as a pre-med student is different than most athletic training students, these experiences have been so beneficial and have set me up to succeed not only in my last year as an undergrad at SLU but also during medical school and far beyond. The professional development activities that I have been able to take part in this year include things like the Athletic Training Speaker Series, the SLATS Bowl-a-thon, and the Athletic Training Capstone presentations. These events all allow students networking opportunities and a unique experience to learn from peers. The amount of knowledge gained from watching the capstone presentations was outstanding. The students put in hard work on their research topics which covered a wide array of topics that any health professional would find beneficial. In the coming year I look forward to continuing my professional development and I am especially excited that I have the opportunity to be the Vice President for Iota Tau Alpha, our Athletic Training Honors Society. I was able to observe many different athletic trainers and graduate athletic training students at a variety of clinical sights. I was able to be with teams like Webster Groves High School Basketball and SLU track and field as well as attend coordinated events such as the Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Tournament. Being able to learn from professionals in a direct clinical setting is a great experience. Each athletic trainer has insight and invaluable information to be shared with students willing to learn. These experiences have helped prepared me to engage with patients in future settings. I am very excited to be moving forward in the SLU Athletic Training program and I look forward to where the future takes me!

Iris Herrera 
Over the course of this spring semester I have learned a lot at Harris-Stowe State University. I was able to observe preceptor Timothy Herlihy ATC and Carmen Roberson (MAT Class of 2020) during my time there. A big bulk of what I saw in Harris Stowe’s AT room was rehabilitation. Athletes came in throughout the day for rehab appointments that also incorporated strengthening. Tim is the only athletic trainer at Harris Stowe, which means that he sees and treats all of the athletes at Harris Stowe. His knowledge about injuries, common injuries within each sport, and rehabilitation exercises is inspiring. I really like that Tim has a lot of trust in Carmen, so she was able to have a lot of hands on experiences with the athletes coming in. I also appreciate that Tim shared a lot of wisdom with me and talked to me about his personal experiences as an AT in different settings. I really enjoyed going in to the AT room and seeing athletes following a rehab protocols because I’m personally really interested in the rehab component of Athletic Training.  While I was not able to work directly with any athletes at Harris Stowe, I have learned a lot this semester from Tim and Carmen. Moving forward I hope to be as knowledgeable as Tim and as eager to learn and have hands-on experiences as Carmen.  

Kaylla Juarez
During my time observing certified Athletics Trainers and the PY1 and PY2’s, I got to get a better understanding of the setting of being an AT. I was able to observe a high school setting and the college setting of Athletic Training.  At the sites I have gone to, I experienced different aspects of each setting.  The site I have pictured was when I observed a soccer/ lacrosse tournament at Creve Coeur Soccer Complex.  At this site it was for younger athletes, rather than high school or college athletes. It was interesting to see how to handle younger kids, compared to older athletes I usually get to observe. While at Creve Coeur, not many athletes came to the AT tent for injuries.  They were mostly bumps or scrapes that needed bandages or ice from us.  It was much less to do, compared to high school or college athletes who seemed to be constantly coming in and out of the AT rooms or tents.  In the college and high school setting, I was able to observe rehab implementation much more.  Before or after games athletes would come into the AT room and tent where they spent a lot of time in rehab or icing to prevent further injury. Whereas in this setting, the AT’s will only briefly meet with their athletes if they get an injury. Most of the time is was very minor. In a high school or college setting, the AT’s work more closely to their athletes and build strong relationships between each other. The setting of college and high schoolers is something I enjoyed observing more, because of the relationship that was built between the AT and athlete. 

Kate Perko
I spent the final weekend of April at the Creve Coeur Soccer Park completing my direct observation hours with a soccer tournament. One of my preceptors for the weekend was Tom McGowan, ATC. He and the other Athletic Trainers are part of the Young Athletes Center of St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University at St. Louis Physicians. He answered all questions I had on the profession and warmly welcomed me into the team of health care professionals despite the cold weather. During the first day it rained most of the morning and into the afternoon. Not exactly what I had in mind for my Saturday morning, but the young players were still out on the field practicing and competing. My estimate of the age range for this soccer tournament would be Elementary through Junior High. There was a few injuries, bumps and bruises, that occurred that morning. I quickly caught on, especially with the younger ones, that often the child would be hit with a ball or kicked by an opponent and fall. It would be shocking and scary for the child, so they would take their time standing up and by the time the Athletic Trainers got to them on the field or the bench the child had calmed down and was only shaken up a little bit. I am very happy to not see a child more seriously injured but after the first few times running out on the field for no injury I was a little bored. I remembered though that with people of such a young age that ball to the cheek or collision with an opponent may have been one of the most painful and scary moments they had experienced in their life so far. The child is not over-reacting or “crying wolf” to get a break from the game, instead they are learning about their body. They are learning about what their body can take, what their pain tolerance is, how to handle potential injuries safely. I was pleased to see the referees, coaches, and parents want to have their kids checked out. In older athletes’, injuries might often be hidden or ignored until the problem gets too large to handle on their own. It is important for the adults taking care of the players to tend toward the side of caution as it teaches the young players to trust the healthcare providers that will be caring for them into adulthood. 

Joey Wenzl
This semester was my most enjoyable one so far in the AT program. Finally getting to go out to different sites to see what happened was very much enjoyed, even if I didn’t get to do much. My favorite site this semester was John Burroughs School. It had the most going on there when I was there. I enjoyed watching the sporting games and although unfortunate there were some injuries. I played along with what I saw and how I would go about finding what was wrong and then what I would do about it. Before the games, the AT room was busy with many different students and seeing everything that happened there and how the after-school rush was handled was impressive. The ability to get everyone treated and in and out in a timely matter was impressive and involved a team effort from everyone that was there. Talking to the students was also fun. I wasn’t sure if they would be open and willing to talk to me since I was new and didn’t really do anything, but they were and hearing what they had to say was interesting and helped make my time feel more worthwhile.  

May 20, 2019

SLU Celebrates Graduating 2019 Master of Athletic Training Class - 10th in Program History

Saint Louis University graduated its first Master of Athletic Training class in 2010.  The SLU MAT Class of 2019 marked the 10th in program history.

These graduates were honored with several SLU Commencement events:
  • Baccalaureate Mass - Thursday, May 16, 2019 - St. Francis Xavier College Church
  • Doisy College of Health Sciences Precommencement Ceremony - Friday, May 17, 2019 - Chaifetz Arena
  • University Commencement - Saturday, May 18, 2019 - Chaifetz Arena
Best wishes to these outstanding graduates as they begin their careers as health professionals!


May 19, 2019

SLU AT Students Support Scholarships Through Successful Bowl-a-thon Event

On Wednesday April 10, 2019  the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Society (SLATS), our student organization, held its annual SLATS Bowl-a-thon for SLU AT Student Scholarships at the Moolah Lanes in Midtown St. Louis.

This year's SLATS Bowl-a-thon raised $3650.00 for the SLU AT Scholarships developed to recognize our students in the memory of long-time SLU and St. Louis Cardinals Athletic Trainer Bob Bauman and 2017 program alum Brandi Burgett, who tragically passed away in December 2017.

Through the Bowl-a-thon, SLU AT students have raised over $30,000.00 over the past six years and numerous students have been supported through the scholarships.

Click on this GIVING LINK to support SLU AT Scholarships.

May 15, 2019

Students from UCJC in Madrid Learn about More Than Just Athletic Training in the USA at SLU

The Athletic Training Experience at SLU
By: Sergio Álvarez Gómez  and Hartzea Ibáñez Múgica (Universidad Camilo Jose Cela)

An incredible experience, is the best way to summarize the last 2 months. Experiment and carry out tasks such as Athletic Trainers, with the importance of daily prevention work, supervise that athletes are hydrated and nurtured well and the special importance of attention to the field to detect any injury so precocious or concussions (injury to which in Spain we should give more importance).
We came to St. Louis to learn all that an Athletic Trainer does (improving our English), to get through our Master in Athletic Training to be one of them in the near future, and who knows, someday like a recognized profession in Spain.

We started our clinicals at Missouri Baptist University with his football team under the supervision of Drew Potter ATC. There, we worked with the athletes treating them and preparing them with what they needed (tapping, cures ...) for the training, and preparing the hydration of the players during the practice. Once the work was finished in the Athletic Training room, we went out to the field to prepare everything necessary for the players, from the water carts, ice for the players, RCP briefcase, or to be alert to the meteorological changes (in case we had to suspend the training due to a storm), and we helped the athletes with the stretches and in the rehabilitation exercises of those who were injured.

The football season ended, so we started our second clinical rotation in SLU under the supervision of Petra Knight ATC and the women's basketball team, although thanks to the kindness of the Athletic Trainers they let us collaborate with other SLU sports like women's soccer, men's basketball or others that in Spain are not so common or do not exist, like softball and baseball. Here we meet another  level. Another level of physical preparation, another level of work of the athletes and another level in the means and facilities available.

Overall, the experience has been incredible, the improvement of our English, with laughter and uncomfortable moments for the strange things we could say. It has been enriching at professional level, since one day (and it will be soon) we will be Athletic Trainers and we will put into practice everything learned here, although it has also been enriching on a personal level as we met people who have helped us and we are grateful I heart to have done it as Alejandra Chavez, Juan Calero, Alisha Frierdich, Rory Cusack ... and many others, but above them to Cat Chua and Eleanor Fogarty to whom we can thank everything that has helped us and what they have laughed with and of us, allowed to know the customs of another country like the USA and welcomed us as if we were one more in their 'family'.
The experience would not have been the same if it is not for all these people who have helped us outside and within the world of Athletic Trainers, also thank Drew Potter for the reception he gave us in MoBap.

Last but not least, to thank Dr. Tony Breitbach, Dr. Tim Howell, Roberto Murias, Álvaro García-Romero and Fernando Reyes for making this possibility and this great experience a reality.

Nuestra experiencia como Athletic Trainer
Por: Sergio Álvarez Gómez y Hartzea Ibáñez Múgica (Universidad Camilo Jose Cela)

Una experiencia increíble, es la mejor manera de resumir los 2 últimos meses. Experimentar y llevar a cabo las tareas como Athletic Trainers, con la importancia que supone desde el trabajo de prevención diario, vigilar que los atletas se hidraten y nutran bien y la especial importancia a la atención a pie de campo para detectar cualquier lesión de manera precoz o conmociones cerebrales (lesión a la que en España deberíamos dar mas importancia).
Vinimos a St. Louis a aprender todo lo que hace un Athletic Trainer (a parte de a mejorar nuestro inglés), para conseguir por medio de nuestro Máster en Athletic Training ser uno de ellos en un futuro cercano, y quien sabe, algún día como una profesión reconocida en España.
Comenzamos nuestras prácticas en Missouri Baptist University con su equipo de fútbol americano bajo la supervisión de Drew Potter. Allí, trabajábamos con los atletas tratándoles y preparándolos con lo que necesitasen (vendajes, curas…) para el entrenamiento, y preparando las botellas para cuidar la hidratación de los jugadores durante el entrenamiento. Una vez que finalizaba el trabajo en la sala de Athletic Training, salíamos al campo a preparar todo lo necesario para los jugadores, desde los carritos de agua, hielo para los jugadores, maletín de RCP, o estar atentos a los cambios meteorológicos (por si había que suspender el entrenamiento por alguna tormenta), y ayudábamos a los deportistas con los estiramientos y en los ejercicios de readaptación de los que estuviesen lesionados.

La temporada de fútbol americano concluyó, por lo que comenzamos nuestra segunda rotación clínica en SLU bajo la supervisión de Petra Knight y el equipo de baloncesto femenino, aunque gracias a la amabilidad de los Athletic Trainers nos dejaron colaborar con otros deportes de SLU como el fútbol femenino, el baloncesto masculino u otros que en España no son tan comunes o no existen, como el softball y béisbol. Aquí nos encontramos con otro nivel. Otro nivel de preparación física, otro nivel de trabajo de los atletas y otro nivel en los medios y las instalaciones disponibles.
En conjunto, la experiencia ha sido increíble, la mejora de nuestro inglés, con las risas y momentos incomodos por las cosas extrañas que podíamos llegar a decir. Ha sido enriquecedora a nivel profesional, ya que algún día (y será pronto) seremos Athletic Trainers y pondremos en practica todo lo aprendido aquí, aunque también ha sido enriquecedora a nivel personal ya que conocimos a gente que nos ha ayudado y a la que agradecemos de corazón el haberlo hecho como Alejandra Chávez, Juan Calero, Alisha Frierdich… y tantos otros, pero por encima de ellos a Cat Chua y Eleanor Fogarty a las que agradecer todo lo que nos han ayudado y lo que se han reído con y de nosotros, permitido conocer las costumbres de otro país como es EEUU y nos acogieron como si fuéramos uno más en su ‘familia’.

La experiencia no hubiese sido la misma si no es por todas estas personas que nos han ayudado fuera y dentro del mundo de los Athletic Trainers, también agradecer a Drew Potter por el acogimiento que nos dio en MoBap.

Por último y no menos importante, dar las gracias a Dr. Tony Breitbach, Dr. Tim Howell, Roberto Murias, Álvaro García-Romero y Fernando Reyes por hacer realidad esta posibilidad y esta gran experiencia.

May 06, 2019

St. Louis Public Schools AT Clubs Wrap-up School Year with a Fun Day of Learning and Competition at SLU

Athletic Training Olympics and Health Professions Day
By: Kemba Noel-London MAT, ATC, CES

Athletic Training Olympics is a fun athletic training-based field day which is the way we wrap up AT Clubs at the end of the semester. SLU has sponsored the AT Clubs with the St. Louis Public Schools, through grant funding from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Ethnic Diversity Advisory Committee, for the past 5 years.

I was introduced to this concept on an AT Olympics during my last clinical rotation when I was a SLU AT student, at Webster Groves High School from my then clinical preceptor and the legend Sean Wright ATC. I remember thoroughly enjoying myself and saw how much his students also enjoyed having an avenue to compete and show their skills. Since then, I have taken it to any school where I have been involved in sports medicine education. I find that it is an amazing way to facilitate and encourage teamwork, communication and healthy competition, while also allowing students to enjoy the skills that they worked hard to learn. 

This year, with the introduction of an AT Club in a new Saint Louis Public School, we expanded the competition to be interscholastic rather than within the club. We wanted the students to take ownership and be protective over their clubs like any other team, with the long-term vision of the club being another avenue for them to represent their schools. 

This year's event, which took place on May 3rd at SLU’s Medical Center Campus, were: ankle taping, a 40-yard cooler carry and AT trivia “obstacle” course, ice bag making and stacking, and the coup de grace; a first responder simulation (inclusive of log rolling, as the students notified me of how often they practiced this particular skill). The students at Clyde C Miller Career Academy took the first ever “Golden Fanny Pack” award when they won the day over Roosevelt High School. 

Despite logistical challenges outside of our control, the kids had fun, and who knows, may be the start of a rivalry outside of sport. It is always a joy to create avenues for joy while also assessing the utility of our instructional methods for certain skills in the club. It is a good litmus test for how well we did that year and I look forward to it as much as the students. 

Prior to the Olympics, we had a health professions day in the SLU Allied Health Building, which include a Skype presentation from St. Louis native Murphy Grant, MS, ATC, LAT, Associate Athletic Director at University of Kansas and President of the NATA Intercollegiate Council for Sports Medicine, who imparted words of wisdom and answered some probing questions. 

They were also introduced to other health professions through a panel of faculty from the SLU Doisy College of Health Sciences and learned of the different pathways to achieve a degree in AT or other health professions. The key takeaway being, no path is the same. Whatever journey you take, do not lose sight of your goal, and see lack of representation is an opportunity not a barrier. 

Special shout out to SLU PY1 AT student Marissa Burch (MAT Class of 2020), who volunteered her time this semester to assist with the clubs. She came to each meeting ready and willing to assist and made the most of the opportunities that were presented to her. 

May 04, 2019

Students in the SLU MAT Class of 2019 Celebrate Excellence and Scholarship

On Friday, May 3, 2019 students in the Saint Louis University Master of Athletic Training Class of 2019 presented their Capstone Project presentations to the Doisy College of Health Sciences in the Multipurpose Room of the Allied Health Building on the SLU Medical Center Campus.

The SLU MAT Capstone Project is the culminating scholarly product that our students develop to meet the requirements of the Master of Athletic Training Degree.  The topics of the 2019 projects can be viewed here:

The SLU AT Program's Excellence in Professional Service Award and Clinical Excellence Award were presented to graduating students at the event.  The Academic Excellence Award will be presented after the final grades are posted at the end of the spring semester. 
Erin Fabbri - Excellence in Professional Service
Chris Mecherle - Excellence in Professional Service
Rory Cusack - Clinical Excellence
Matthew Eifert - Clinical Excellence
Award winners pictured above with AT Program Director Anthony Breitbach PhD, ATC, FASAHP and Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training Chairperson Tricia Austin PhD, PT, ATC.

A complete photo gallery of the event is available at: