High School Athletic Trainer Workload

March 31, 2019


By Maria Hutsick, MS, LATC, CSCS

I came to my current job from the university setting. I always had a staff and athletic training students at my place of employment. However, moving to the high school level none of this was available. I had to do everything and each year as the student-athletes realized the skill and experience I had to offer the numbers increasd.

I started to think about beginning a student-mentoring program. I began with one student. That student was very intelligent and went on to become a certified athletic trainer at the college level. Since then I have been fortunate to have created a very solid student athletic training program at my school. I have several students who are certified athletic trainers and are planning to go into the health professions. My alumnae are nurses, physical therapists, athletic trainers and studying to become physicians. I have several students who are majoring in a double major of AT/PT and will be certified in athletic training and a doctorate in physical therapy.

My students attend the athletic training camp at Springfield College in the summer and have had a great experience there. I also teach an elective class in sports medicine/athletic training. The class teaches basic anatomy, and injuries in sports from concussions to dislocations. We also teach how to apply tourniquets in light of our current school shootings and living in the Boston area post marathon bombings. The class has labs for practicing taping, and a chicken lab where students dissect a chicken quarter because the chicken has the same structures as a human knee. They dissect the ACL, PCL, meniscus, patella and fibula. We also have two field trips to a local university and to one of the many professional sports teams in the area. In addition to the field trips I also have several speakers in the healthcare professions come to class to discuss their jobs. The class is very popular and I now have a group of 6 students every year that come almost every day after school. They learn how to tape and help with the rehabilitation of the injured athletes. They also travel with me during football season and to play-off games. Some of the students play a sport and come to the athletic training room before practice and after their practice to the games.

I have very intelligent and dedicated students who have been a tremendous help in the care of our student-athletes. They know and understand about confidentiality and they can only work under my direct supervision.

The students are interested in healthcare and are part of our team. They gain confidence and learn how to stand their ground when people challenge them. They learn how to deal with all types of people and stressful situations. So far they love what they do and go on to careers in healthcare. I have had this program for twelve years and each year it grows and becomes more popular. The students who leave here are usually equivalent to a sophomore or junior athletic training college level student. They learn and are able to perform many skills that college athletic training majors learn their second or third year.

The students are well respected by the student-athletes and coaches. They learn a lot of skills besides the athletic training lessons and go on to successful careers. In Massachusetts we have an annual Thanksgiving Day game and many or the alumni come back for the game and to spend time in the athletic training room. We bring coffee and food and have a reunion. It is a fun reunion. I would encourage anyone who is interested in teaching and mentoring students to begin a program for their school. It is very rewarding and keeps me current and helping to develop our future.

Things to Consider if you want to Start an Athletic student Trainer program:

  • Put out flyers to see who may be interested

  • If you can get on a teachers contract and create a class for the students to take as an elective. I have 75 students that want to take it each fall and I take 44. I only allow 10, 11, 12 to enroll.

  • It takes a full year to get the class approved and into the list for students to enroll.

  • My class comes through wellness department.

  • I am also on a teachers contract but only teach the AT class.

  • Line up speakers from various areas of healthcare, nurse, MD, PA, PT S&C other ATs.

  • I plan 2 field trips, one to Boston University. I have gone to MIT, Boston College and may go to Holy Cross. I also have former graduate students who are ATs for Bruins and Celtics. I have taken my class to the Bruins and to TB12 where a former student is in charge.

  • I order a book but keep in classroom and put everything on Google Classroom.

  • I have ppt. on each joint and all injures

  • I only give quizzes and have labs

  • Labs are taping and general med and functional movement screen and basic rehab.

  • Students are welcome to come after school and see if they like the AT room. They know that school comes first and can have the day off to study. Many of my students are on the National Honor Society.

  • Chicken lab is a big hit. If you type in on Google you can get the lab. I have them dissect a chicken quarter and they find the ACL,PCL, meniscus, patella and fibula. I go to a science lab to do the dissections.

  • I provide shirts for the students and if they are licensed they get a kick out of driving the Gator.

  • They know they can not work with out my direct supervision. They don’t cover practices or games without me being present.

  • They learn soft tissue and basic rehab. They help because the wt. room is across the hall.

  • I have over 15 students that are now athletic trainers, at the college level, PTs, and nurses. I also have one who is double majoring in AT/PT and another at my College I am an alum. Who is studying AT.

  • I also have a graduate student doing a clinical rotation from Bridgewater state.

  • Having students keeps you on the cutting edge and is fun and rewarding.


Maria Hutsick, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS, is Head Athletic Trainer at Medfield (Mass.) High School and former Director of Sports Medicine at Boston University. She is a past president of the College Athletic Trainers' Society and was honored with an NATA Athletic Trainer Service Award in 2010. She can be reached at: [email protected].

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