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!
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 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,” 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,” 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,” 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.
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