May 18, 2022

SLU AT Students/Billiken Athletes Gain a Wider Understanding of the Profession

New PY1 AT Student Blog Post - Karsen Kohl and Julia Martinez (MAT Class of 2024)

Karsen Kohl

Entering the Professional Phase of the AT Program requires students to experience
athletic trainers at a clinical site. There were multiple options in choosing where to get directed
observation hours and with being a student athlete at SLU I chose to get a look at how a school,
in particular a high school, manages an athlete’s health in the training room. I started my
observation experience at John Burroughs School, a high school close to SLU’s campus. I
shadowed PY1 student Olivia Mani and PY2 student Katie Wissing who are currently placed
there as their every day clinical site this spring semester. I got the opportunity to observe athletic
trainer Dean Tiffany ATC care for and tend to his athletes.

During my experience at Burroughs, I learned a lot about the impact an athletic trainer
has on the athlete both in rehabilitation and in recovery. As a student athlete at the collegiate
level, I understand the importance of rehab but I did not understand this when I was in high
school. It was eye opening to see how many students visited the training room right when school
ended and before practice. Most of the students that visited the trainer were familiar faces every
day with normal routines pre game/practice and some of the students were new and wanting the
help to best manage their body and health in regards to their sport.

The process of an athletic trainer goes further than rendering treatment to athletes, it is
about providing water to prevent hypohydration. I was able to be hands-on in helping Olivia and
Katie get ice and water in coolers to all fields for the teams as well as help with the clean up process after all teams finished their events. I had the opportunity to watch the events on the
sideline with Dean who is ensuring the safety and health of the athletes in his care. A learning
experience that I will take with me as I enter the professional phase was when Olivia and Katie
assessed an athlete who came in with pain in the knee. The two of them began by asking the
athlete a series of questions in order to come to the conclusion of the occurrence and timing of
the injury. They ran through a series of tests of mobility and strength to try and pinpoint the exact
muscles that were being affected. Through this information based on the athlete's pain, they were
able to come up with a diagnosis that allowed the athlete to receive a set of exercises and pain
management to effectively return the athlete back to play. This experience allowed me to
understand the process of assessing a new injury and the job of an athletic trainer to help with the
athlete’s pain. I had such a great experience at Burroughs and learned a lot that I will take with
me while I enter into the Professional Phase of the AT Program.

Julia Martinez

 really enjoyed doing the direct observation hours. I was able to learn from different people and see athletic trainers do things in different settings with athletes. Some things that I learned from this experience was about PPE (preparticipation physical exam). These exams are important for SLU athletics. Elena Melillo ATC had all returning student athletes get these exams taken. They had to get their weight, height, vitals, and BESS testing measured. It was cool to watch PY1 and PY2 do some of these tests because I learned the BESS testing in class and was able to apply it to this PPE. With regards of the track meet, I witnessed a hamstring tear and other lower leg injuries. It was interesting to be at a track meet because I’ve never been to one and I was able to see how runners respond after they finish running. Lastly, Elena also taught me the concussion protocol and what she needs to do and use for reference for the student athlete and see how their concussion is improving. The different types of testing you do to test out the student athlete’s concussion is a long process but an important one.

I went to John Burroughs high school and observed Olivia Mani and her preceptor Dean Tiffany ATC. It was nice to observe a high school setting since I’m so used to a college scene. I watched Olivia do stem and a Graston massage on an athlete. Dean also did a shin splint taping which was interesting since I’ve never seen one before. We watched the girls’ and boys’ lacrosse games. It was very cold, sleeting, and pouring rain on us while we were sitting in the gator watching the games. Something I learned from that experience is to always make sure to dress warm and prepare ahead of time with extra layers in my car. In conclusion, I enjoyed these direct observation hours because I was able to get a good taste of what I’ll be doing next year. 

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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