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Filtering by Category: Athletic Training

Book Recommendations for Athletic Trainers

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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!

Athletic Trainer Twitter Roundup: #NATM2019

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AT Twitter Roundup

National Athletic Training Month 2019

Has your bracket been busted past recovery? Need something to cheer you up? Well, we have just the thing! In addition to being the month of Madness, March was National Athletic Training Month, which was celebrated this year with the slogan “ATs Are Health Care.” As we all know, ATs are also quite Twitter savvy, so as a final hurrah, we’re rounding up some of the most insightful, heartfelt, and hilarious #NATM2019 tweets from the past few weeks. Retweet away!

Throughout the month, we remembered that ATs Are Health Care across a variety of settings, from the military:

…to the ballet:

…to NASA.

It was a month of recognition, with athletes recognizing the athletic trainers that support them:

…ATs recognizing the athletes that make their job so rewarding:

… and even lawmakers recognizing the importance of the AT profession:

We took notice of the ATs behind the scenes at our favorite March sporting event:

… and learned that some ATs are quite literally watching over us from above:

Some ATs joked about the hectic calendars that come with each new season:

… while others made use of what free time they do have to continue their lifelong learning:

We highlighted key issues within the community, such as the importance of licensure:

… while reminding businesses around the globe that quality athletic training is an investment worth making:

ATs spread the word by mapping their anatomy:

… celebrating the unsung heroes:

… and exerting an impressive amount of willpower:

Our favorite plastic AT managed to highlight two important celebrations in a single tweet!

And finally, we took the time to say thank you to the athletic trainers that make our lives safe and better every day:

WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE ATHLETIC TRAINING TWEETS FROM #NATM2019 ? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND TAG US @HEALTHYROSTER ON TWITTER!

What Athletic Trainers Should Know About Esports

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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.

Beyond the Sideline: Athletic Trainers in Unique Environments

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Beyond the Sideline

Athletic Trainers in Unique Environments

When we think of athletic trainers, we tend to picture them standing on the sidelines at youth, college, or professional sporting events, ready to spring into action at the first sign of an injury. It’s right there in the name: athletic trainers support athletes. Right? Well, not entirely. In fact, ATs are healthcare professionals whose skills and expertise are being utilized across a variety of environments — not just in the world of sports. As March is National Athletic Trainer Month, we’re celebrating how and why ATs Are Healthcare, and to kick things off, we’ve decided to shine a light on some other settings where you will regularly find ATs employed.

From the workplace to the battlefield, here are just some of the industries being supported and improved by the hard work of certified athletic trainers.

Military

In many ways, sports represent a simulated battle between two opposing sides. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that athletic trainers are essential to those preparing for actual battle as well. Whether they’re just starting out at boot camp or seeing regular combat, members of our armed forces are at risk for injuries such as sprains, strains, and concussions, and thus, it’s essential for ATs to be on-site to help evaluate and treat them, as well as provide screening and aid in injury prevention. Formed in 2001, the Armed Forces Athletic Trainers’ Society (AFATS) aims to “advance, encourage, supplement and improve the profession of athletic training by developing the common interests of its membership for the purpose of enhancing the quality of US Armed Forces Health Care.” Today, you can find ATs in a variety of military settings across the country, from Fort Benning to Officer Candidate School in Quantico. And in coming years, AT involvement in our armed forces will only be increasing. The Marine Corps is expected to invest up to $8.6 million annually on experienced athletic trainers over the next four years as they seek to expand and assign ATs to expeditionary forces.

NASA

There’s a reason NASA doesn’t let just anyone explore the solar system. Given the millions of dollars and extensive brain power that go into planning and executing a successful space mission, it’s imperative that astronauts are in peak physical condition — any injury could be incredibly costly. Furthermore, because astronauts face zero gravity while rocketing through the cosmos, they’re placed at risk for muscle atrophy and a decrease in bone density. With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder that NASA keeps athletic trainers on staff to limit the risk of injury by helping astronauts get in shape for flights, stay in shape during a mission, and return to peak condition once they return to Earth. Known as the Astronaut Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation group (ASCR), this team of ATs and strength and conditioning specialists focus specifically on musculoskeletal injuries during all phases of spaceflight. And we mean all phases — you might be surprised to learn that a good chunk of astronaut injuries occur while getting into or taking off their cumbersome spacesuit! Whether or not that plays into your romantic ideal of a job at NASA, there’s no doubt that providing healthcare to the planet’s greatest explorers is a job that’s truly out of this world.

Workplace

Any fan of “The Office” probably remembers Toby’s not-so-exhilarating presentation on safety training day. And while we certainly hate to criticize such a classic show, it’s important to note that Michael’s description of these injury prevention practices as “lame” is misleading. In fact, more and more forward-thinking employers are beginning to see the physical and mental health benefits of implementing stretches, exercises, and lifestyle strategies into the workplace and are therefore electing to hire on-site athletic trainers. Workplace settings for ATs range from traditional offices — where they focus on musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) that can be caused by repetitive motions, confined spaces, static posture, improper tool use, and uncontrolled climates — to industrial environments. In the latter cases, industrial workers typically face the same physical demands as traditional athletes but lack the means to properly manage their body fitness. They often falsely believe that their work on the floor keeps them in shape, meaning they don’t need to devote extra time to their fitness. ATs can help them develop fitness strategies, identify risk factors, and promote healthier choices — and that is far from lame!

Performing Arts

Not every world-class athlete wears a uniform and plays on a field; many instead don costumes and take to the stage eight times a week. From actors to dancers to musicians to trapeze artists to… well… however you would describe the Blue Man Group, performing arts groups around the globe rely on athletic trainers. With their knowledge of musculoskeletal injuries and prevention strategies, ATs can analyze a performance area for potential hazards, educate performers on strategies for mitigating risk (a high percentage of performance arts injuries are overuse), and evaluate an injury quickly — as, after all, the show must go on. Any AT with an interest or a background in creative arts will find working within a performance setting incredibly rewarding, as they’ll have the opportunity to touch the lives of the performers and ultimately feel an integral part of the final performance.

Television

Ever dream of making it in Hollywood? Well, good news: your career as an AT doesn’t preclude you from a job in Tinsel Town. Just look at Sandy Krum, an athletic trainer who, after years working for professional baseball teams, took a job as the Head Athletic Trainer for “The Biggest Loser.” He’d go on to work with contestants on the reality program for 11 years, while also overseeing other shows such as “American Gladiator” and “Losing It with Jillian Michaels.” Sandy is just one example of the countless dedicated athletic trainers working within the entertainment industry, where they report to studios and location shoots to provide healthcare and preventative education to contestants, stuntmen, and myriad other on-set workers. Even World Wrestling Entertainment hires ATs to work with their wrestlers — and, given the intense nature of the WWE, we’re glad to hear it!

At Healthy Roster, we work with athletic trainers in many different environments, from high schools to colleges to industrial to performing arts. To learn more about how Healthy Roster can help you document and communicate more effectively and efficiently, click here.

Understanding Sudden Cardiac Arrest

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Understanding Sudden Cardiac Arrest

#HeartMonth

It’s hard to believe that February is almost over. It seems like just yesterday we were reviewing winter safety tips, and now schools are gearing up for the spring season! But before we trade in the hockey skates and wrestling mats for tennis rackets and lacrosse sticks, we thought we’d take a moment to think about American Heart Month.

One of the most serious cardiac issues facing athletes today is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Though SCA technically has its own awareness month, it’s never a bad time to review the warning signs and prevention measures — after all, being properly prepared just might save a life.

A little background

SCA is a condition in which the heart “suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.” When this happens, blood flow to the brain and other vital organs stops, which can lead to unconsciousness, permanent brain damage, and death all within a matter of minutes. Almost 300,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals in the U.S. each year, including the 2,000 patients under the age of 25 who die of SCA annually.

It’s important to understand that SCA is not a heart attack. A heart attack, or a myocardial infarction (MI), occurs when blockage within a blood vessel prevents oxygen from reaching the heart tissue. SCA, on the other hand, is a cessation of the heart’s pumping caused by arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat prompted by issues within the heart’s electrical system. While some MIs can additionally cause cardiac arrest, there are numerous other conditions that can trigger an SCA-inducing arrhythmia.

Because intense physical activity is one of the stresses that can cause the heart’s electrical system to fail, SCA is a serious concern for athletes. (In fact, one of the first reported cases was Pheidippides, the Greek soldier who collapsed after running 24 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce victory over the Persians.) Another common cause is Commotio Cordis. Caused by a “blunt, non-penetrating blow to the chest,” Commotio Cordis accounts for 20 percent of sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes.

While athletes with underlying heart issues are at a higher risk, as many as 80 percent are asymptomatic until SCA occurs, and some causes won’t be detected through pre-participation screening. Furthermore, SCA can occur in athletes who exhibit no risk factors and appear otherwise healthy. It’s thus imperative that athletic trainers understand how to recognize and react to SCA as quickly as possible.

Signs and symptoms

Just one in 10 students who suffer SCA survive, but survival rates improve drastically when proper steps are taken within three to five minutes of collapse. In fact, the greatest factor affecting survival is the time from arrest to defibrillation. If an athletic trainer can recognize the symptoms of SCA within a quick window, they can optimize the chances of saving the athlete’s life.

While any unexpected collapse should warrant consideration of SCA, additional symptoms in male athletes include chest, ear, or neck pain; severe headache; excessive breathlessness; vague discomfort; dizziness and palpitations; abnormal fatigue; and indigestion or heartburn. In female athletes, symptoms include center chest pain that comes and goes; lightheadedness; shortness of breath; pressure, squeezing or fullness; nausea or vomiting; cold sweats; and pain or discomfort in the arms, neck, back jaw, or stomach. Additionally, seizure-like activity occurs in half of young athletes with SCA, so seizures should be perceived as SCA until proven otherwise.

Prevention and preparedness

All athletes should undergo cardiovascular screenings before participating in competitive sports. This should, at minimum, include a comprehensive review of medical and family histories, as well as a physical exam. If possible, an electrocardiogram (ECG) should also be used to identify underlying heart issues that may put an athlete at risk for arrhythmia.

However, as we mentioned above, SCA can occur in athletes who exhibit no risk factors, so it’s essential that schools, clubs, and sports facilities develop an emergency action plan to respond immediately to suspected SCA. This should include recognition of SCA (see above), calling 9-1-1, initiating early CPR beginning with chest compressions, using an AED (see below), and transporting the athlete to a hospital capable of advanced cardiac care. Remember that once the heart stops beating, death is imminent within minutes, so the emergency plan should be activated as soon as possible. It should incorporate an effective communication system, ensure that first responders are trained in CPR and AED use, and be coordinated with the local EMS agency.

AEDs

Perhaps the most important aspect of a facility’s emergency action plan is its access to an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Studies have shown that the survival rate from SCA drops 10 percent for every minute that passes without defibrillation, and in cases where CPR is provided and defibrillation occurs within three to five minutes, survival rates have been reported as high as 74 percent. It’s therefore recommended that all facilities have an AED on-site and readily available within three minutes, though one minute is ideal. Additionally, all athletic trainers, medical professionals, coaches, parents, and athletes should be educated annually on their location and use so that an AED shock can be administered swiftly and properly in the event of SCA.

Have a great final week of American Heart Month!