All Hands on Deck

March 13, 2017

Regardless of the size or level of an athletic department, there is going to be turnover. And when an athletic trainer leaves a job, his or her responsibilities need to be taken on by the rest of the staff. The only way to get through it is to work as a team and make the best of the situation.

This is exactly what happened in the athletic training room at Castleton University when Hannah Goeggelman, MS, ATC, CES, a former athletic trainer at the college, moved to a position closer to her hometown in the fall. Her absence left a higher burden on the rest of Castleton’s athletic trainers.

“With [Goeggelman] leaving, we all have to chip in and pick up the slack,” Assistant Athletic Trainer Ed Wozniakewicz, MS, ATC, told the Castleton Spartan.

“Being shorthanded certainly causes more work for the rest of the staff because we are providing coverage for the teams that [Goeggelman] was covering,” added Head Athletic Trainer Steve Austin, MEd, ATC.

But these athletic trainers have found a way to make it work. While they have had to make concessions and add to their already busy days, they were able to do so by communicating with each other and staying organized. They have had to restructure schedules, learn to adapt to different environments in a short amount of time, and understand each team’s unique needs.

“I think that the [athletic training] staff does a great job communicating and making sure that whoever is covering knows what is going on with the team,” said senior hockey player and athletic training major Lisa Kilroy. “I think that although it is easier and makes more sense for each team to have their own [athletic trainer], it is perfectly fine to have different [athletic trainers] at each practice/game.”

One challenge they continue to work on is how to address the lack of female athletic trainers on staff. Now that Goeggelman is gone, Assistant Athletic Trainer Ellie Goldense, ATC, is the only female on the staff. And while Goldense does not hold herself above her male counterparts in ability to carry out athletic training room procedures, the struggle comes in providing female athletes a confidant.

“While male co-workers are fully capable handling female issues, females would rather talk to other women,” said Goldense.

Despite some complications, the athletic trainers at Castleton may have found a silver lining to their shorthanded situation. The increase in workload has a positive impact on their care strategies by not allowing for distraction and making them more alert to the needs of their athletes.

“I have taken care of over 20 of [Goeggelman’s] athletes since she has left,” said Goldense. “As a staff, we have had to do cross coverage, and it makes us focus more on quality care and not forgetting anyone.”

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