Jan 29, 2015
Showing What You’re Worth

An end-of-season report can make sure everyone appreciates all that you do.

By Greg Frounfelter

Greg Frounfelter, DPT, SCS, LAT, ATC, CSCS, is an Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapist in the Physical Medicine Department at Agnesian Healthcare-Waupun Memorial Hospital in Waupun, Wis. He can be reached at: [email protected].

If you ask a coach, athlete, or administrator how important athletic trainers are to their teams, they’ll say “very.” Even though we don’t often receive public recognition, those who work with us understand that we provide valuable and much-needed services. But how can we quantify that? What are we really worth to the organizations we work with?

As you prepare to enter the field of athletic training, it’s important to realize that no matter what setting you choose, there is more to the job than simply being a great healthcare provider. To be successful, you also have to know how to promote yourself to your supervisors. This can seem like an unpleasant task, but for everything from earning a fair salary to ensuring that your program gets the resources it needs, communicating your value is essential.

A useful tool for doing just that is an end-of-season report. The conclusion of the season is when coaches and athletic directors step back to look at what has worked and what hasn’t. It’s also when decisions are made about where to spend money in the upcoming year.

Too many athletic trainers ignore this crucial decision-making time. We move on to the next season and a new sport. Instead, we should be treating this as an opportunity to show all that we’ve done.

I recommend that athletic trainers develop a memo that reviews the season and send it to all relevant parties. Depending on the setting, this can include coaches, athletic directors, supervisors, principals, superintendents, and possibly even boosters. It’s best to keep the document short and concise (one page), and divide it into individual sections.

Introduction: First off, list how many practices and games the athletic training staff covered, how many hours were spent in coverage and treatments, and how many sports medicine personnel were involved. If members of the audience may not know what athletic trainers do, this section should also briefly explain the profession, including our specialized training and certification.

Season/Year Breakdown: Here you can discuss specifics of the season. List the types of injuries seen, how many athletes were treated, and how many referrals were made for further medical treatment, including any injuries or conditions that required surgery. This is also a good place to talk about any catastrophic or season-ending injuries that occurred and the athletic trainer’s role in dealing with them.

Finances: Use this section to highlight just how cost-effective and valuable your services are. Compare the amount of money spent on salaries for the athletic training staff to how much all the assessments and treatments would have cost if they were outsourced. You can also do some research to find out how much your colleagues at peer institutions and other nearby athletic training settings are being paid. If your department’s current salaries are below market value for your area, that should be noted here.

Recommendations: Once you’ve laid out the way things are, it’s time to talk about the way you think they should be. You can list any thoughts or ideas on changes in the program that could result in more efficient or effective treatment of athletes. You can also review and evaluate changes that were put into place for the previous year. This section demonstrates that you are interested, above all else, in improving the quality of care you provide to the team.

Wrap things up with a brief conclusion and thank-you to the readers for considering your thoughts and ideas. Keep the conclusion positive, and say that you’d be happy to discuss this information and your recommendations at any time.

An end-of-season document can open an important dialogue with the stakeholders in an athletic program. It can help others understand your role, and it can show them your importance to the athletes and program you serve. It demonstrates your professionalism, and puts you in a position to ensure that your value will never be overlooked.

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