Jan 29, 2015
NATA 2014: Indy Insider

Check back here to read T&C Managing Editor Mary Kate Murphy’s insights from the floor of the NATA 65th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. Mary Kate is armed with a pen, pad, and a list of highlighted sessions to attend and will spend the rest of the week taking in the sights and sounds of the convention and share her observations in this blog.

Saturday, 2:23 p.m.
Currently, the T&C crew is on the road out of Indianapolis after we spent the last afternoon of the Expo chatting with our readers. I was able to get some great feedback from the athletic trainers that stopped at our booth. I was surprised by how many said they use our magazine as a teaching tool. They read the articles and then distribute them to their students or student athletic trainers. And a few athletic trainer readers said they read T&C in conjunction with their strength coaches so they can approach strength and conditioning together. I was glad to hear such great feedback on the magazine. Thanks to all who stopped by our booth! Your feedback was so helpful and informative.

And an additional thanks to the NATA for having us at this 65th Clinical Symposia and AT Expo! I attended some phenomenal presentations, and it was a blast getting to interact with our readers at the booth. All in all, we received more than 600 new or renewed subscription forms! Take care, Indianapolis! We’ll see everyone in St. Louis next year!

Saturday, 10:28 a.m.
I took in my final seminar this morning, and it ended up being a great way to wrap up the convention. The presentation I saw, “Negative Encounters in the Workplace: Recognizing and Dealing with Various Forms of Conflict in Athletic Training Settings,” was made up of three separate speakers.

The first topic was, “What Happens When the Interests of an Organization and a Health Care Professional Working Within it Don’t Match?” and was presented by William A. Pitney, EdD, ATC, FNATA, Professor in the Kinesiology and Physical Education Department at Northern Illinois University. Next up was Stephanie Mazzerolle, PhD, ATC, Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut with a presentation titled, “Workplace Conflict: Finding Work-Life Balance.” Finally, Celest Weuve, PhD, ATC, CSCS, LAT, Assistant Program Director, Clinical Coordinator, Assistant Professor, and Assistant Athletic Trainer at Lincoln Memorial University spoke about “Interpersonal Conflict in Athletic Training.”

Although each topic differed slightly, they all centered on the concept of “soft skills.” Weuve made an interesting point about this–she said that all athletic training students graduate with the knowledge to treat injuries, set up rehab protocols, etc. But few know how to deal with soft skills like how to manage and cope with conflict. Therefore, all three presentations offered tips on how athletic trainers could handle these different types of conflict.

Finding a work-life balance is something T&C has written about extensively. In fact, Mazzerolle wrote our May/June cover on this topic. Check it out here to get her insight and tips.

Friday, 3:14 p.m.
Just getting out of the NATA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, and what a class of 2014! This year’s six inductees are all incredibly accomplished and have contributed greatly to the field of athletic training. The NATA did a fantastic job of putting a video tribute together for each inductee, and their speeches were moving and from the heart. All in all, it was a fantastic way to honor the class of 2014. Congratulations to all!

Below is a list of this year’s NATA Hall of Fame Inductees. For more information on their distinguished careers, check out the May issue of the NATA News by clicking here.

Jon Almquist, ATC, VATL–Concussion Specialist, Fairfax Family Practice Comprehensive Concussion Center, Athletic Training Program Administrator, Fairfax County Public Schools

David Draper, EdD, ATC, FNATA–Professor in the Exercise Sciences Department at Brigham Young University

Mark Gibson, MEd, ATC, PT–Department of Exercise and Sport Science Chair and Assistant professor, Director of Undergraduate Athletic Training Program, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Catherine “Katie” Grove, PhD, ATC, LAT–Undergraduate Athletic Training Program Director, Indiana University

Paula Sammarone Turocy, EdD, ATC–Associate Professor, Director of Pre-Medical and Health Professions Programs, Duquesne University

Kenneth Wright, DA, ATC–Professor and Director of Athletic Training Education, University of Alabama


Friday, 12:03 p.m.
This morning on the AT Expo floor, it was my pleasure to help present T&C’s 2014 Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award, sponsored by Sports Health, to Brian Robinson. For the past 37 years, Robinson, MS, ATC, LAT, has served as the Head Athletic Trainer at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Ill, building a model sports medicine program.

Posing for pictures with his Most Valuable Athletic Trainer plaque behind an Indy car painted in Sports Health’s bright orange, Robinson described how the award came as a total surprise. “I was very surprised, touched, and humbled,” he says. “I didn’t even know I was nominated. Two of my longest athletic training friends are the ones who nominated me, and when Sue Stanley-Green [MS, ATC, LAT, Athletic Training Program Director at Florida Southern College and one of the athletic trainers who nominated Robinson] called to tell me, I was dumbfounded. It’s an especially nice award to receive because it came from a nomination from my peers.”

Flanked by fellow members of the NATA Secondary School Athletic Trainers’ Committee (SSATC) who came to offer their support, Robinson savored the moment. “This has been very nice,” he says. “I am pleased to see some of the guys from the SSATC show up. It is like having my little brothers here.”

Robinson wrapped up his athletic training career at the end of the 2013-14 academic year, and he says he’s going to miss the players and coaches. “It hasn’t really set in yet,” he says. “I had the opportunity to do something I really loved for 37 years. There are some people who say they never went to work a day in their life, and I kind of feel like that. I never went to work–I went to school, and it was a lot of fun.”

Despite retiring from Glenbrook South, don’t count on Robinson staying too far away from athletic training. “Some people have talked to me about joining an orthopedic practice, which I’m considering,” he says. “And others have talked to me about teaching in an athletic training education program, and that’s something I would love to do.”

Congratulations to Brian Robinson on being named the 2014 Most Valuable Athletic Trainer and for a pioneering career in athletic training! Click here to view our profile of Robinson in our April/May issue of T&C.

Friday, 8:04 a.m.
On Tuesday, June 24 GForceTracker™ Inc., and XLNTbrain LLC announced the formation of an alliance. I had the pleasure of meeting with both companies on the AT Expo floor to learn more about the collaboration and how it can benefit athletic trainers.

GForceTracker is an impact sensor monitoring system. Inserted into or on top of a helmet, it is able to monitor and measure head impacts and provide statistics on the amount and severity of blows an athlete receives. XLNTbrain offers a complete concussion management tool for all sports and all levels. It gets parents, coaches, athletic trainers, and health professionals involved in monitoring hit count and impact severity, assisting in detecting concussions, and helping athletes return to play safely.

The alliance between the two companies creates the first fully integrated concussion management system that includes both the Hit Count® Certified impact sensors of GForceTracker with the concussion management system of XLNTbrain. As Paul Walker, Co-Founder and President of GForceTracker, says, “Merging the hardware and software together is going to be very helpful for athletic trainers.”

This integration has the potential to make athletic trainers’ lives much easier. “Right now, there are so many products on the market for concussion management that athletic trainers have to get their baseline testing procedure from one company and their impact sensor from another and their concussion management protocol from a third, and so on,” says Walker. “The alliance between the GForceTracker and XLNTbrain acts as a one-stop shop for everything that athletic trainers need. The merging of these two resources is going to be a big benefit when it comes to concussion monitoring and management.”

Perhaps the best way to describe the value of the GForceTracker-XLNTbrain collaboration is how it would apply to an in-game situation. “When an athletic trainer is utilizing both tools during a football game, for example, they can use the GForceTracker to set a particular level of g-force that the head can take,” says Harry Kerasidis, MD, Co-founder of XLNTbrain and neurologist at Chesapeake Neurology Associates. “They can removing any athlete from the game if they experience a hit that goes above that threshold. Once the player comes to the sideline, the athletic trainer can run them through XLNTbrain’s concussion assessment protocol on their smartphone. If everything looks good, the athletic trainer can return the player to the game, while still monitoring them on the GForceTracker for any further hits to the head.

“The alliance can also help by tracking and monitoring the sub-concussive hits to the head that players experience,” Kerasidis continues. “A head impact of 20 g’s isn’t likely to cause a concussion. But if the athlete experiences 20 of those hits in the game, and the athletic trainer can see it on the GForceTracker, they can pull the player out and put them through XLNT’s assessment to check for concussion.”

A press release describing the alliance between GForceTracker and XLNTbrain can be found here.

Thursday, 6:28 p.m.
After several hours on the AT Expo floor with the T&C gang meeting with our readers, I wrapped up the day with two seminars. The first, entitled, “Taking the Blinders Off: Helping Athletic Trainers Make Good Ethical Decisions,” provided an inside look at the ethical dilemmas athletic trainers face on a daily basis and how they proceed through these sticky situations. Presented by Catherine Grove, PhD, ATC, LAT, Clinical Associate Professor in Kinesiology at the Indiana University School of Public Health, and Suzanne Konz, PhD, ATC, CSCS, Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Marshall University, several athletic trainers were gracious enough to share some of their personal experiences, which made the whole seminar much more of a communal experience. A noticed a lot of athletic trainers nodding along in solidarity whenever someone shared their story.

Next, I headed upstairs to a seminar presented by Jeremy Hawkins, PhD, ATC, Director of the Athletic Training Program at Colorado Mesa University and titled, “Hyperbaric Chamber Use in Sports Medicine.” A number of professional athletes have touted the benefits of hyperbaric chambers for years–with Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers calling them the “fountain of youth”–and Hawkins provided a impartial view of the existing research surrounding this treatment. Like laser therapy, hyperbaric chamber use in sports medicine seems like an exciting new methodology, so keep an eye out for additional research in the future!

Thursday, 2:11 p.m.


Before the AT Expo officially opened its doors, I went outside to check out the crowd.

It is so great that there was so much anticipation for the show! We had a flood of people stop by the T&C booth to chat and either sign up for a new subscription or renew a current one. We saw a lot of familiar faces and got some great feedback on the magazine, which is always appreciated!

An unexpected but awesome surprise came when we ran into an especially familiar face: Ernest Eugene MS, LAT, ATC, NASM-PES, CES, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine at Virginia Tech, who appears on the cover of our T&C May/June issue with his beautiful family. Not only did he stop by our booth, but we were able to snag an autograph and snap a picture. Thanks for coming by, Ernest!

The show is still chugging along today, and the T&C crew will be manning our booth until 5 p.m. We’ve had a lot of readers win prizes already, and you could be next! Plus, with any new or renewed subscription, you’re automatically entered for a chance to win a $100 gift card. So stop on by at booth 337!

Thursday, 9:22 a.m.
I began the first full day of the NATA Convention bright and early with two morning seminars. First up was “Bridging the Gap Between Emergency Medicine and Athletic Training: Planning for Emergencies and Catastrophic Events,” presented by Ron Courson, ATC, PT, NREMT-1, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine at the University of Georgia. This session provided guidelines for the development of emergency action plans and described how to hold scenario-based emergency training. Courson began the session with what I thought was an interesting point–the low rate of catastrophic injuries can create a false sense of security for athletic trainers. He said if they aren’t ready for an emergency and haven’t prepared for one, the results could be tragic.

Courson advised that athletic trainers practice their EAPs on a regular basis. He used the example of a football team practicing an onside kick to reinforce this point. If the team only practices the play once a year, it’s unlikely that it will be executed correctly during the game. A EAP follows the same format. If it’s only practiced once a year, it will likely be less effective than an EAP that is practiced on a monthly basis.

Changing focus quite a bit, my next seminar was entitled, “Low-level Laser Therapy: Translating Evidence-Based Science into Clinical Practice.” Presented by Douglas Johnson, ATC, EES, CLS, Co-Owner of Sports and Industrial Rehab and Timothy Demchak, PhD, ATC, Associate Professor of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation at Indiana State University, this session explored the role of therapeutic laser applications in athletic training. I was really excited to attend and so was everyone else–every seat was taken and athletic trainers were lined up out the door trying to listen!

As an emerging treatment tool for athletic training, Johnson and Demchak covered the basics of what laser therapy is and how it works, then went into detail about the ways it can be applied to athletic training. What surprised me is that both Johnson and Demchak have used laser therapy to treat a variety of issues, such as muscle sprains, contusions, joint sprains, tendonitis, swelling, bursitis, arthritis, fractures, and neuropathies. Only about a dozen athletic trainers in the room indicated they had previous experience with laser therapy, but based on the large attendance, it seems like many are eager to learn more!

The AT Expo show is kicking off in a little more than a half hour, so I’m headed to the T&C station. Don’t forget to stop by and say hi at booth 337!

And if you haven’t had the chance already, stop by the hall of decades in the Crossroads Lobby (below). Find the decade you became a certified athletic trainer and add your signature. I’ve seen everything from 1950 to 2014!

Wednesday, 8:39 p.m.
Our first day here at the NATA Convention wrapped up with a bang–on the drums, that is. We stopped at the Welcome Reception on Georgia Street this evening and were welcomed by a group of drummers banging out beats on trash cans and buckets. The 2014 NATA Hall of Fame class greeted attendees at the entrance and food trucks lined the space, giving all the visitors a taste of Indianapolis street food! Check back on Friday for our coverage of the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for a closer look at this year’s class.

Before the reception, the T&C crew spent the afternoon on the Expo floor walking around and talking with some of the exhibitors. I have to say–the attendees are in for a treat tomorrow! There are a ton of awesome looking booths, including everything from basketball hoops to pools to an octagonal fighting ring. And of course, our T&C booth is all set up and ready for visitors!

I spent the early evening in a fascinating minicourse entitled, “Concussion Prevention: The Role of the Cervical Musculature and Collision Anticipation,” and presented by Julianne Schmidt, PhD, ATC, Assistant Professor of the Exercise Science Program at the University of Georgia. Schmidt discussed a number of studies that examined the cervical musculature’s role in lowering the severity of a head impact. The biggest takeaway from Schmidt’s session is that neck strength and neck stiffness are two different things. Neck strength does not necessarily ensure that an athlete has a decreased risk of experiencing moderate or severe heat impact severity. Rather, neck stiffness–which is a composite of strength and neuromuscular response–has shown to be more effective at reducing the head impact severity.

Tomorrow, the T&C crew has a full day on the Expo floor, and I’ll be taking in a number of educational sessions. Don’t forget to stop by and say hi at booth 337!


Wednesday, 9:29 a.m.
We’re ready! Are you? This morning we set up our booth and got our first look at the Expo floor. Even without it being completely set up, I can tell there are going to be a lot of exciting displays. And I believe I saw an Indy racecar in the parking lot this morning, so keep an eye out for that on the floor!

I want to invite convention attendees to come visit the T&C booth in the exhibit hall (booth #337) where you can pick up your free show pack. It contains our May/June issue, plus a special guide to products on display at the convention.

Remember to look through your packet for tickets–there are hundreds of opportunities to instantly win a prize from one of our participating advertisers. This is also a great time to renew your free T&C subscription. And don’t forget to enter to win our T&C drawing for a $100 gift card!

Some of the educational sessions are starting today, and I’ll be checking out a bunch over the next couple of days. If you’re at the show, feel free to e-mail me with your own notes on any educational sessions you attend and your stories from the convention floor. If you aren’t attending this year, follow this live blog to see what you’re missing.

The T&C gang will be at the Welcome Reception tonight from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Georgia Street. Keep an eye out for our T&C shirts, and if you see us, please stop by and say hello!

Tuesday, 5:05 p.m.
We left Ithaca, New York at 6 a.m. this morning and hit the open road to Indianapolis for the NATA 65th Annual Meeting! We’re just getting in after a great day of traveling. Besides the tornado warning we encountered just outside the city (Yikes!) we had a beautiful day of sunshine and blue skies.

We’ll start setting up our booth tomorrow, but Indianapolis is already abuzz with athletic trainers! We’ve run into a bunch at our hotel already, and you can see them proudly representing their school or organization all up and down the streets of the city. The T&C crew and I are on the lookout for some good live music. If you have any ideas, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]. And be sure to check back here for updates, starting tomorrow morning. Can’t wait to get this convention rolling!

Here’s where and when to find T&C at the show:
Booth #337
Thursday, June 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (restricted to certified athletic trainers, certified athletic training students, and associate member attendees)
Friday, June 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open to all attendees)
Saturday, June 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (open to all attendees)

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