Contact Us

Thank you for visiting our website. If you'd like a demo of Healthy Roster, please fill out the form below and we'll follow up with you as quickly as possible!

Name *
Name

20 North Street
Dublin, OH, 43017
United States

Healthy Roster provides patient engagement, care coordination, telemedicine and outreach tools for Sports Medicine, Orthopedics and other medical specialties. We enable patients to communicate with providers, reducing communication gaps, phone tag, and readmissions. Use with Home Health & SNF’s to manage CJR and Cardiac bundled payments.

Blog

Sports Medicine Outreach and Engagement Platform

 

Filtering by Tag: athletic trainers

Seven Tips for Attending #NATA2019

Healthy Roster

Screen+Shot+2019-06-21+at+1.22.03+PM.jpg

7 Tips for Attending #NATA2019

Have you noticed that this week has a touch of that magical, night-before-Christmas-and-you-can’t-fall-asleep feeling to it? We have, too. After all, next week is one of the biggest events in the world of athletic training, as thousands of ATs, technological innovators, and other industry professionals will be descending on Las Vegas, Nevada, for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s 70th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo. If you’re as excited as we are, you’ve probably been X-ing out the days on your calendar ever since the 2018 convention wrapped up.

The gathering promises to be informative, engaging and fun, featuring the world’s largest sports medicine exhibit (over 350 companies will be showcasing their products and offering hands-on demos), as well as a diverse slate of speakers and educational events. Not to mention, #NATA2019 is likely the biggest networking opportunity for those within our industry. As thrilling as that all sounds, you might also feel a little overwhelmed by the importance and potential packed into these four days. Well, fear not! To prep for the 2019 convention, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you make the most out of your journey to Nevada.

1. Schedule Ahead

We’ll start with the bad news: You won’t be able to experience everything #NATA2019 has to offer. With a schedule this stacked, even the most experienced convention-goer couldn’t check it all off the list. That said, you can optimize your time in Vegas by planning out your schedule before you even step on the plane. Take a look at the convention schedule, analyze the Expo floor plan, research the speakers, and peruse the educational programming in order to decide which events will be your highest priorities. Once you’ve made your list, write out a detailed schedule (including meals, breaks, and downtime) to follow throughout the week. This might seem like overkill, but the last thing you want is to leave your schedule open, lose track of time, and realize you’ve missed out on a speaker or demo you needed to see. If something isn’t on your itinerary, save it for next year.

Pro Tip: Download the NATA Events app before arriving. Not only will help you network and stay up-to-date on convention communications, but its built-in scheduler will help you personalize your agenda.

2. Sit in the Front Row

Gone are the middle school days when all the cool kids congregated in the back of the room. The people getting the most out of a conference are the ones sitting right up front at every speaker event. The benefits of securing a seat in the front row are countless: you’ll see the speaker better (and, not to mention, the font on their presentation); you’ll likely get called on if you have a question at the end; you’ll be engaged and won’t be tempted to check your phone every couple of minutes; and because other speakers and go-getters often sit in the front row as well, you’ll make some great connections. Plus, if you’re typically more reserved, being proactive and sitting in the front row will give you a confidence boost you can carry through the rest of the week. So do your best to get to each event 10 minutes early and snag a spot up front!

3. Pack your Day Bag Strategically

The last thing you want is to realize in the middle of an event that you forgot your business cards or your notebook so you have to waste precious networking time by running back to your hotel room. That’s why it’s essential that you make sure you have everything you need in your day pack before heading out the door in the morning. Here are some suggestions of items you might need throughout the day:

  • Laptop

  • Notebook

  • Pens (Bring extra — you’ll probably lose yours at some point, or if someone else forgets theirs, you’ll be able to save the day)

  • An extra charger or power strip (another surefire way to make friends)

  • Water bottle

  • Business cards

  • A light jacket or sweater (“But it’s the desert!” you say. Yes, but you never know how chilly those convention centers might get — better to be safe than sorry.)

  • Chapstick

  • Mints

  • Hand sanitizer/lotion

  • Snacks

4. Take Care of Yourself

Like an undergrad during finals week, sometimes convention-goers get so focused on optimizing their schedule that they forget to make time for the essentials. Even though #NATA2019 lasts only four days, pushing yourself too hard might earn you a one-way ticket to burnout. So, make sure that you’re turning in early (save the late-night casino runs for a different Vegas trip), eating healthy and not skipping meals, and making time to go for a run or hit the hotel gym. If you can, maybe carve out some personal time to relax and experience the city as well — some shows are even offering discounted tickets to NATA attendees. By taking care of your physical and mental well-being, you’ll ensure that you’re ready to take on everything the convention has to offer.

5. Practice Your Elevator Pitch

As with any networking event, a convention is a place that will see you having the same conversation over and over again. So, before you get to Las Vegas, you should rehearse your clear and concise answer to that age-old question, “What do you do?” That said, don’t be afraid to be flexible if people don’t seem to be engaging with your pitch. Edit on the fly by testing out new angles or anecdotes and seeing how the other convention-goers respond. Most importantly, however, you should be listening to your peers and asking them follow-up questions about what they do — networking is a two-way street, after all. Make sure that you’re repeating peoples’ names in order to remember them, exchanging business cards or contact info to stay in touch, and following up (either on LinkedIn or, even better, with a handwritten card) after the convention.

6. Use the Convention Hashtag

Conventions are all about making connections, and in 2019, the best vehicle for doing that is social media. By following and using the #NATA2019 hashtag, you can engage with your peers and stay abreast of the latest news and happenings. Feel free to tweet out your thoughts on a speaker’s presentation in real time, to publish a blog post on your favorite demos at the Expo, or to take pictures with your new connections and post them on Instagram. You might even run into Twitter famous athletic trainers like Mike Hopper, MS, ATC from Texas, so make sure to take a picture and make your followers jealous :) Everyone at the convention will be following the hashtag as well, so use it liberally to join the conversation!

7. Enjoy It

As this post has laid out, getting the most out of a convention requires constant engagement and a lot of meticulous planning. But don’t get so caught up in your agenda that you forget to have a good time. After all, this is one of the biggest celebrations of athletic training all year, and you’ll be among some of the most accomplished and intelligent minds in the industry. So take a breath, carve out some downtime where you need it, and go out and make the most of #NATA2019 !

BONUS: Make sure to visit Healthy Roster at Booth 3351 in the AT Expo!

Not only are we launching SAFE Athlete, sports medicine’s first active mental health and screening platform, we’ll also have games, seating, and giveaways! See you in Vegas!

mental-health-booth.jpg

Healthy Roster Mental Health Series: Mental Health and Sports

Healthy Roster

evening-field-goal-399187 (1).jpg

Mental Health & Sports

Healthy Roster Mental Health Series: Part 1

To coincide with Healthy Roster’s launch of SAFE Athlete, sports medicine’s first active mental health screening and alerts platform, we’ll be featuring a series of mental health related articles and personal stories. In this first installment, learn more about mental health in relation to sports and athletes.

When an athlete suffers a physical injury, the road to recovery is never easy, but it at least feels familiar. We know, for instance, that a football player who breaks their leg is most likely going to tell somebody about it, and that athletic trainers and other medical professionals will step in to assess and diagnose the injury before initiating immediate care and establishing a plan for rehabilitation. Eventually, the injury will heal, and the athlete will be cleared to play once again.

But when it comes to mental illness, the process is rarely so cut and dried. Not only are the procedures for treating mental health typically more dynamic and complex, but the stigma surrounding these conditions will often prevent athletes from expressing what’s bothering them in the first place. Furthermore, a lack of education and awareness surrounding mental health concerns can sometimes prohibit medical professionals from recognizing symptoms and administering proper diagnoses.

Make no mistake, however — for ATs, monitoring their athletes’ mental and physical health are equally important aspects of the job description. This is especially true at this moment in time, when rates of mental illness, behavioral disorders, and suicide among children and adolescents are increasing each year. While this crisis is present across all adolescent populations, the unique stressors faced by student athletes place them at an increased risk.

It’s with all of this in mind that we’ve decided to launch our new mental health initiative, SAFE Athlete, a new feature of Healthy Roster that is a secure, automated platform to Screen, Alert, Facilitate, and Engage athletes right when they need support the most. We hope that by contributing to this conversation and providing a space for further education and discussion, we can help to break down the stigma surrounding mental health in the athletic world.

A Behavioral Health Crisis

While we’ve made great strides in recent years to raise awareness about mental health issues and establish resources for students struggling with conditions such as depression and anxiety, there is still much work to do. Children and adolescents across the United States are facing a behavioral health crisis greater than ever before.

A 2015 report by the Child Mind Institute estimated that 17.1 million American children have or have had a psychiatric disorder — that’s the highest number ever reported, and it’s greater than the number of kids with cancer, AIDS, and diabetes, combined. Most distressing is the report’s claim that 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder, 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression, and 40 percent of kids with diagnosable ADHD do not get treatment.

The cost of this lack of treatment is often fatal. According to the CDC, suicide is the third-leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds, resulting in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year — a number that has more than doubled since 2008. And those numbers only account for a fraction of the individuals affected by suicidal ideations. A nationwide survey of American high school students found that 16 percent of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13 percent reported creating a plan, and 8 percent reported attempting suicide. Each year, roughly 157,000 individuals between the ages of 10 and 24 go to the emergency room for self-inflicted injuries. Just this month, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio’s suicide rate among children 14 and younger jumped 80 percent between 2008 and 2017. Given how devastating a single suicide or attempt can be to the friends and family of the affected individual, the human toll of these statistics are staggering.

The potential explanations for this developing crisis are many, varying from a rise in cyberbullying to the overwhelming information overload made possible by smartphones and social media. What is certain, however, is a pressing need for increased education and the breaking down of social stigma surrounding mental illness. Students can’t receive help if they can’t recognize their symptoms and feel comfortable to reach out.

Unique Stressors for Student Athletes

Given how many adolescents are affected by mental illness, it’s likely that any athletic trainer in a high school or collegiate setting will be treating students who suffer from conditions such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD. However, because of their unique schedules, responsibilities, and lifestyles, student athletes are actually at a greater risk for these types of psychiatric disorders. These additional stressors include pushing themselves (or being pushed) too hard during training, trying to balance their athletic pursuits with their academics and extracurricular activities, maintaining their weight and physique, being hazed as new members of a team, and fatigue and athletic burnout.

It’s imperative that athletic trainers are aware of the role that an athlete’s sense of identity can play in their mental health. Mental illnesses often manifest in self-critical thoughts, and because athletes are regularly encouraged to push themselves to be better, they are more likely than the average individual to subject themselves to those sorts of thought patterns. As athletic trainer Katie Ostrovecky explained in a 2017 article for the BOCATC blog, “struggling performance, chronic injury, or career-ending injuries can all negatively affect an athlete’s identity which can then lead to psychological responses such as depression, anxiety, or suicidal ideations.” Without a reliable support system, these athletes can fall deeper into the throes of mental illness.

The Role of the AT

So what can athletic trainers do to address these problems? As Ostrovecky explains, the AT’s three main goals for addressing mental health concerns should be to gain awareness and recognize the signs and symptoms, incorporate mental health assessments in pre-participation exams, and create a team plan for referral and treatment. What the implementation of these goals actually looks like within an athletic training facility can vary depending on a particular population’s needs. The Children’s Hospital Association has laid out five effective methods incorporated by adolescent health care facilities across the country to address the behavioral health crisis — these range from conducting re-education sessions with health care professionals (many providers worry that they haven’t received enough mental health training throughout their schooling and residencies) to instituting telemedicine systems to reach a greater population of affected individuals.

One tactic that has proven particularly successful among athletic trainers is the implementation of wellness screenings. Many students who are struggling with anxiety or depressive disorders don’t always recognize what they’re going through. Or, even if they do, they might not feel comfortable discussing it explicitly. By having student athletes fill out surveys with questions about their stress levels, sleeping and nutrition habits, relationships, feeling of hopelessness or lack of motivation, and levels of interest in doing things, athletic trainers can identify certain symptoms they might not have been able to recognize otherwise.

Another aspect of mental health that is unique to the athlete is the emotional stress and pain caused by medical disqualification. When an athlete’s self-worth is wrapped up in their identity as a competitor, getting sidelined can take a devastating mental toll on them. Athletic trainers should be prepared to help students through these types of situations and should familiarize themselves with different techniques and coping mechanisms they can offer to injured athletes.

Joining the Conversation

In launching this new platform, we at Healthy Roster are joining the movement of organizations and initiatives aiming to raise awareness of mental health issues, make the resources for addressing them more accessible, and reduce the stigma surrounding seeking help.

We’ve been moved by the empathetic work of writers like Kate Fagan, whose groundbreaking book “What Made Maddy Runrevealed the struggles faced by college athletes with mental illness. We’ve been inspired by individuals such as Julia Paxton, who have bravely shared stories of their own struggles in order to make others feel less alone. We’ve taken notes from campaigns such as On Our Sleeves, Half of Us, and Fresh Check Day, who are fighting to normalize mental illness, promoting open dialogue as a way to form communities and show that there’s no shame in suffering. And we’ve been encouraged by other athletic organizations such as the NFLPA, who announced a new mental health and wellness committee earlier this month, and the NHL, whose embrace of the Bell Let’s Talk movement has helped raise millions of dollars for mental health initiatives while inspiring hockey players young and old to speak out about their personal struggles.

All around the world, athletes are learning to prioritize mental wellness, and we’re proud to join the movement.

This article is informational and should not be used as medical advice.

If you need to talk to someone immediately, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US from the Crisis Text Line.

Let's Talk: Increasing Coach and Athletic Trainer Communication

Healthy Roster

pexels-photo-1376863.jpg

Let’s Talk:

Increasing Coach and Athletic Trainer Communication

Last week, our team member, Amelia, had a great conversation with Shauna, a long-time customer.

Shauna had just had a team meeting where they’d discussed an article studying whether communication between sports medicine providers and coaches correlates to the number and duration of athlete injuries, and it had made her think about how much Healthy Roster’s communication features had helped her sports medicine staff communicate better with their school’s coaches.

The results of the study were not surprising - “Teams with high internal communication quality had lower injury rates and higher player availability than teams with low communication quality.” Additionally, the study found that when an organization had frequent miscommunications and members felt out of the loop or not valued, the added stress led to a potential for a higher injury rate.

This conversation got our team thinking - why are those miscommunications occurring and how can Healthy Roster be used to improve communication between ATs and coaches?

Most sports medicine providers communicate via text because they don’t have an effective communication platform, and even those that do, often find it’s not HIPAA compliant (which is critical when including clinicians into a conversation about an athlete’s health).

Plus, in most environments, the athlete to athletic trainer ratio is typically quite high, meaning that the athletic trainer is so busy treating athletes, they might not have time to communicate with every coach about every athlete. Along with this kind of time constraint, athletic trainers have historically reported feeling pressure from coaches to return athletes to play sooner than a medical professional feels comfortable because of the athlete’s value on the field.

Coaches might have specific knowledge about an athlete’s mental and physical health, but without a simple and secure method to inform sports medicine providers about these insights, the athletic trainers and team physicians might be in the dark about this potentially crucial information.

Healthy Roster was built to help stop these miscommunications and allow everyone devoted to keeping athletes safe up-to-date and in-the-loop about anything related to the athlete’s health.

By providing a platform for athletic trainers, coaches, team physicians, caregivers and athletes to all effectively, efficiently and securely communicate, we’ve created a way for athletic trainers to disseminate information without adding more hours to their workday and for coaches to be able to understand their crucial role in helping one of their athletes return to play safely and quickly.

Whether it’s through our interactive injury timeline, our secure messaging feature, or our telemedicine capabilities, Healthy Roster is changing the way sports medicine professionals and coaches communicate and helping to decrease the number and duration of injuries.

Do you want to learn more about how you can increase communication and improve relationships between coaches and sports medicine professionals? Schedule a demo with one of our team members today!

Book Recommendations for Athletic Trainers

Healthy Roster

books-indoors-pages-45717.jpg

Take A Book Break

Six Book Recommendations for Athletic Trainers

If there’s one thing that all athletic trainers have, it’s free time… Ok, maybe you could detect a bit of sarcasm there. In fact, with the long hours, high expectations, and pressures from coaches, parents, and administrators, ATs have to manage a variety of stresses every day. In order to avoid burnout and stay on top of your mental health, it’s important that you take advantage of what free time you do have to rest, recharge, and engage your mind.

One great way to do so is by reading. More than just a fun way to pass the time, reading has been shown to sharpen your mind, boost your mental health, and even increase your tolerance for uncertainty. And while you might not imagine that the “Athletic Training” section occupies that large of a chunk of the Dewey Decimal system, there are countless books that can help you stay up to date in your field and motivated in your career. From practical information to athletic inspiration, here are six books to pick up during your off-hours recommended by ATs on Twitter!

Quick Questions

Quick Questions

The “Quick Questions” Series, edited by Eric L. Sauers

From ankle sprains to heat-related illnesses to concussions, each volume of this series offers brief, yet comprehensive answers to a variety of frequently asked clinical questions surrounding a particular type of athletic injury. The series, which is co-published by Slack Incorporated and NATA, sources from experts in each field who back up their responses with the current research. Written in a conversational tone and covering a cavalcade of questions within each topic, these volumes make for the perfect reference to keep on hand at your facility or to peruse at home to stay up to date on the latest advancements.

“The Brave Athlete,” by Simon Marshall, Ph.D., and Lesley Paterson

The Brave Athlete

The Brave Athlete

The world of athletic mindset literature revolves around the idea of optimization. How can you enhance your mental toughness in order to push yourself to your greatest potential? The solutions these books provide often follow a sort of no-nonsense approach to improvement: accept responsibility, stop making excuses, and put in the work. While there’s nothing wrong with this simple philosophy, the problem is that the mental challenges that athletes — especially young athletes — face in today’s world are much more varied and complex than just how can I be better? Luckily, “The Brave Athlete” fills in the gaps. Written by sports psychology expert Dr. Simon Marshall and world-champion triathlete and coach Lesley Paterson, the book lays out mental skills for athletes plagued by questions such as “other athletes seem tougher and happier than me,” “I don’t cope well with injury,” and “I don’t handle pressure well.” Especially if you work with college or youth athletes, this is ideal reading to provide you with the mental health tools you need to assist your patients.

A Still Quiet Place for Athletes

A Still Quiet Place for Athletes

“A Still Quiet Place For Athletes,” by Amy Saltzman, M.D.

Given the fast-paced and frenetic nature of 21st-century society, it’s no wonder that mindfulness has exploded in popularity in recent years, offering individuals from all walks of life the opportunity to take a breath, recharge, and improve their stress management. The benefits of the practice extend far beyond decreased anxiety, however. The world’s best athletes have long-understood that being able to be still and observe your thoughts and physical sensations can help you achieve the ideal mindset for success. That’s what makes this workbook from holistic physician and longtime athlete Amy Saltzman such an essential addition to the library of any athlete or athletic trainer. By guiding them into that “still, quiet place,” Saltzman helps athletes better engage with their physical training, pain, injury, and fatigue. So whether you’re looking to help your patients or improve your own mental skill set, go ahead and add this one to your wishlist!

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

“Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook,” by Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D.

As we’ve covered before, a nutritious diet is an essential element of any healthy athlete’s routine. And while every athlete should ideally have access to a sports dietician, in reality that’s often not the case, so it’s important for athletic trainers to have some basic knowledge regarding proper nutrition. The sheer abundance of books on sports nutrition is overwhelming, so to make things easy, we’ll recommend just this one, from renowned sports dietician (and team nutritionist for the Boston Red Sox) Nancy Clark. Offering basic concepts, recommendations, and meal plans for athletes of all levels and types, Clark can help you understand how to modify your patients’ diet in order to improve their performance, manage their stress, and increase their energy. Plus, ATs will be happy to see how meticulously researched and cited the volume is, allowing you to easily access the studies she drew from in order to review her conclusions yourself.

Eleven Seconds

Eleven Seconds

“Eleven Seconds,” by Travis Roy

Absent the scientific education and expertise of the other titles on this list, “Eleven Seconds” offers another key element of career improvement: inspiration. The haunting title refers to the entire timespan of Travis Roy’s collegiate hockey career. Having dreamt throughout his childhood of playing hockey for Boston University, Roy finally got his chance in October of 1995, but 11 seconds into his first shift, he plunged headfirst into the boards, cracked his fourth vertebra, and became paralyzed from the neck down. What followed was a long, long road of rehabilitation, as Roy struggled to make sense of his new life — and wondered if it was even worth living. Through perseverance, humor, and a whole lot of introspection, Travis manages to find meaning in the road ahead and to learn to still love sports even though he’ll never play them again. Being familiar with the pain and anxiety that often accompanies the recovery process, ATs will draw inspiration and energy from Travis’s impossible story.

What Made Maddy Run

What Made Maddy Run

HEALTHY ROSTER’S PICK: “What Made Maddy Run,” by Kate Fagan

Mental health is quickly becoming one of the most important topics in sports and in education. Our Chief Technology Officer, Shawn Price, recently read What Made Maddy Run, and he recommends it to anyone invested in the health and wellbeing of student-athletes nationwide:

“We are in the midst of a mental health crisis and there’s no place that’s more clear than on college campuses. Sports can be tremendously helpful when growing a young athlete’s sense of self, but when that identity is challenged at the college level it has the potential to compound all of the normal mental health issues the college experience can trigger. Mental Health should be at the forefront of anyone’s mind who regularly interacts with athletes. “What Made Maddy Run” really brings that point home by telling the real life story of an all-American girl who struggles with, and ultimately loses, that battle.” - Shawn Price

Have any titles to add to the list? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @HealthyRoster!

What Athletic Trainers Should Know About Esports

Healthy Roster

action-blur-close-up-735911.jpg

Game On(line)

What Athletic Trainers Should Know About Esports

Athletic trainers are accustomed to seeing the same groups of athletes coming through their facilities every season: football players in the fall, wrestlers in the winter, softball players in the spring. There’s a rhythm to this cycle, each sport arriving with its own set of injuries and ailments to contend with. But now, a new sport is shaking up that rhythm, and its equipment consists of a console, a controller and a computer.

That’s right, esports is the latest competitive activity taking the world by storm. Though the stereotypical image of a hardcore gamer is someone holed up in a dark room and sitting stagnant in front of a screen all day, don’t be mistaken — these are called e-sports for a reason. And as with any other sport, esports requires ATs and other medical professionals to work with the athletes to ensure they’re staying on top of their physical and mental health. With esports rising in popularity and with more and more schools adding varsity esports programs, it’s important for ATs to understand the sport and the risks these athletes face.

What is esports?

Esports, as a whole, describes the world of competitive, organized video games. The games themselves vary, with teams competing in leagues dedicated to titles such as “League of Legends,” “Overwatch,” “Hearthstone,” “Fortnite,” and “CS:GO.” Though some leagues host live events and some competitions are even broadcast on television, the majority of esports fans tune in via streaming services such as Twitch. This is where most of the sport’s following has grown — and quite the following it is.

Esports Competition

Esports Competition

According to research firm Newzoo, the international esports audience will reach 453.8 million this year, generating revenues of $1.1 billion. With that much money at stake, a growing number of esports teams are now fully or partially owned by traditional sports team owners such as Robert Kraft and Stan Kroenke. Those sorts of investors are able to provide esports programs with the same level of medical staff as other professional athletes.

But the popularity extends beyond the professional realm as well. Varsity scholarships have been available to college esports athletes since 2014, and today, the National Association of Collegiate Esports consists of more than 135 member schools and over 3,000 student athletes. There is even discussion about making esports an Olympic event. Much more than just “gaming,” esports is a legitimate sport that requires intense levels of training and conditioning. Without the assistance of athletic trainers, esports athletes can succumb to myriad injuries, both physical and mental.

Common Physical Injuries

When you watch esports, you might not consider it a very physical activity. It involves a lot of sitting, clicking a controller, and staring at a bright screen. But these repeated motions actually put esports athletes at risk for very particular injuries, the most common of which is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, caused by intense repetitive movements of the fingers. Young gamers that notice their hands beginning to tingle or go numb tend to ignore it, thinking that it will heal on its own. But with time, use of their hand can grow more difficult, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can actually end their careers. Education and preventative care are essential to catching injuries like this before they affect one’s future.

Other common areas of concern are the elbows, knees, feet, and neck, all of which are subject to repetitive motion or stress injuries, or even tendinitis. Additionally, medical professionals should work with esports athletes to monitor their eye health, as prolonged periods of staring at a screen can cause significant fatigue and strain, and can even affect their hand-eye coordination — an essential element in their athletic repertoire.

Common Mental Concerns

When working with any athlete, it’s important to focus on both their body and their mind. This is especially true with esports athletes, as their intense training regimen (12-16 hours of gaming a day) tends to keep them inside. In addition to the burnout that can be caused by looking at a screen for that long, their schedule often forces them to give up time with friends and family, and unlike other sports, they don’t enjoy a built-in off-season. Job security is also a concern, as the competitive nature of the burgeoning sport means there is always someone gunning for a player’s job, ready to take it if they don’t succeed. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s no surprise that mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are pervasive throughout the community.

Another item of concern is drug abuse. In the past, esports athletes have admitted to using Adderall during a competition to enhance their performance, as the ADHD medication can help them stay energized and focused. Though there is little evidence that Adderall actually gives players an extra advantage, abusing any prescription medication is dangerous, especially an amphetamine like Adderall that, in addition to increasing one’s heart rate and blood pressure, can be incredibly addictive.

One thing we have tried to do is create a support network for them to become more healthy overall, just like any other athlete. The esports team has voluntary team lifting with our Strength & Conditioning coaches, as well as the option to receive individual nutrition counseling…Every so often we have small groups talks on topics such as posture, hand/forearm injury prevention, and physical activity.
— David Jameyson, MS, AT, ATC (Ashland University)

Healthy Habits

So what should the relationship between an esports athlete and an athletic trainer look like? In addition to providing prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for the conditions listed above, ATs — along with coaches and other medical professionals — should work with esports athletes to establish proper nutrition and general fitness routines.

We talked to David Jameyson, MS, AT, ATC, at Ashland University (which houses one of the country’s top esports programs and uses Healthy Roster for injury documentation and communication) about his experiences providing athletic training services to esports athletes:

Ashland University Esports

Ashland University Esports

“One thing we have tried to do is create a support network for them to become more healthy overall, just like any other athlete,” Jameyson said. “The esports team has voluntary team lifting with our Strength & Conditioning coaches, as well as the option to receive individual nutrition counseling…Every so often we have small groups talks on topics such as posture, hand/forearm injury prevention, and physical activity.”

Gaming itself is not physically exhausting, but because of their intense commitment to training, many esports athletes neglect to eat healthily, develop a regular sleep cycle, or get enough physical exercise. This sedentary lifestyle that esports has a tendency to breed can lead to mental burnout. Even more seriously, at least six high-profile esports players have suffered spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung), though there has been no direct indication of causation.

Keep in mind that esports is still young, as is the knowledge of how to treat these athletes. New advancements are being made every day. For instance, in 2017, a 2,000-square-foot esports training center opened in Thousand Oaks, California, with state-of-the-art technology designed specifically to perfect gamers’ physical and cognitive skills. And Dr. Levi Harrison, a Los Angeles-based orthopedic surgeon has established the country’s first esports-focused practice, helping to develop specific exercises and ergonomic hand positions for athletes based on what sort of controller they use. There is a lot of ground to cover, so as with any field, it’s important for ATs to stay up-to-date on the latest advancements, continuing their education so they can provide the best possible care.