May 15, 2022

SLU AT Student Sees the Importance of Professional Relationships and Networking in Athletic Training

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Carlton McDonald-Jordan (MAT Class of 2024)

During the semester, I had the opportunity to observe various events and clinical sites. These opportunities allowed me to witness first-hand what it is like to be an athletic trainer (AT) and engage in a professional healthcare setting, both with patients (athletes) and other healthcare professionals. Two big takeaways from the experience would be the importance of establishing good, healthy relationships with the athletes that build a foundation of trust and being open to exploration in the athletic training world and allowing your personal desires to be stepstones through your journey as an athletic trainer. 

A great observation opportunity I was able to experience was the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament held at the Enterprise Center on the first weekend of March. I loved being in the collegiate basketball environment and it is something I wish to experience at some point in my professional career. I had the opportunity to witness interprofessional collaboration on a bigger scale as there were various professionals from different institutions and practices. This experience also showed me how small the athletic training world is, which places much emphasis on connecting and networking. My favorite part of the experience, though, was seeing the athletes interact with the athletic trainers. Instantly, you could tell the relationship between the athletes and AT was unique and cannot be replicated by many other professionals. It was also great to be able to connect with old friends and teammates who were playing in the tournament for their respective institutions.

Another great handful of observations came at Affton High School with PY1 Jordan Hyink and preceptor Becky Stigen ATC. During this experience, I was able to observe up-close the working relationship between trainers and young athletes. The athletes in this case (young teenagers) seem to engage more with the AT on a personal level. This experience provided a different atmosphere, one that appeared to be less competitive and more convivial. The AT's at Affton did a great job of communicating areas of concern while also recognizing the athletes’ autonomy. From this, I was able to  recognize the importance of placing the athlete at the center of care and catering care to meet their needs and/or wants.

This is one of a series of blog posts written by students entering the professional phase of the SLU AT Program as a part of MAT 3000 - AT Student Development II.

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