July 10, 2019

SLU AT Student Connects Interest in Music and Healthcare with the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps, Diamond Bar, CA
By: Emma Yonkers (MAT Class of 2020)

This summer, I have had the privilege to be part of the health care team for the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps. I’ve been interested in athletic training in the performing arts since getting injured during marching band in high school. I got better with the help of the ATs there, which is one of the reasons I wanted to become an athletic trainer. My preceptor, Cami McCallum RN, ATC, is an amazing example of someone who knows the activity and understands what these athletes go through. She knows what they need to say healthy; everything from what they eat to how/when they stretch, she is such a wonderful teacher and I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from her.
Drum Corps is, in essence, theatrical, competitive marching band. Each corps travels the US throughout the summer, competing in various competitions, ending in Indianapolis, where the national championships are held. A typical day at drum corps spring training consists of breakfast at 8 am. Then the members have a light workout, followed by a 3 hour rehearsal working on marching technique. Lunch is at 1 pm; music rehearsal starts at 2:30 and goes until dinner at 5pm. 6:30 is full ensemble rehearsal with all 200 members of the corps. They end the day with a snack and stretching protocol at 10 pm, before shower and lights out. The activity in itself is extremely physically and mentally challenging, not to mention also having to play a musical instrument at the same time.

Throughout my time here so far, I have seen injuries ranging from concussions to ankle sprains to fractured fingers and, unlike other sports, these athletes need to be in their show so as not to create a visual hole. Therefore, rehab is more about modifying movements to avoid recreating pain than it is about resting entirely. This is on a case by case basis but focusing on sport specific movement is very important. Soon, we will be traveling the country, caring for these athletes while they put everything they’ve got into the activity they love so much. I cannot wait for what the rest of the summer brings.

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.

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