Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Who’s taking care of your kids?

Who’s taking care of your kids?

If your kids are college athletes, more than likely, the answer to that question is the athletic trainer.

March is National Athletic Training Month, organized by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), a not-for-profit organization based in Dallas, Texas, to highlight the importance and value of athletic trainers to patients, clients and athletes.

Although most of us are familiar with the athletic trainer rushing to the aid of an injured athlete, the fact is that these men and women perform much wider duties in their day-to-day work. They are unique health care professionals who work in a variety of settings and with all kinds of people — not just athletes. They can be found just about anywhere that people are physically active and are experts in injury prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.

In college athletics alone, they spend countless hours working with their athletes. Athletic trainers must be present for team practices and games, which are often in the evenings and on weekends, and their schedules can change on short notice when games and practices are rescheduled. As a result, athletic trainers may work 6 or 7 days per week, including late hours, on a regular basis.

Unfortunately for me (and perhaps for them) I spent quite a bit of time with the athletic trainers over my four-year soccer career at Wheeling Jesuit. I got an up-close look at their dedication to their profession, as well as the depth of concern they have for their athletes. Our Wheeling athletic trainers were probably the biggest reasons that I was able to play my sport all four years of college - or at least walk under my own power all four years. I'm sure I was quite a challenge to them! I owe a huge thanks to John Tagg, John DeBlasis and Herb Minch to name a few.

For more information: National Athletic Trainers Association

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