Jan 29, 2015
Read Me In St. Louis

Check back here to read T&C Managing Editor Abby’s insights from the floor of the NATA Annual Meeting.

Friday, 1 p.m.
The last session I attended today was about athletic trainer considerations when working with skiers. Adam Perrault, an athletic trainer with the U.S. Ski Team gave the presentation, and in a nutshell, elite skiers sustain a LOT of injuries.
The injury most often sustained by skiers is an ACL tear, though surprisingly, the tear usually occurs while the skier is still skiing and not during a crash (the crashes are for broken bones).

One of the neat parts about Adam’s job is that he must create an emergency action plan at each venue the team goes to. Skiers are often racing in Europe, so there is a lot of research that goes into making sure the skiers are safe before they even set foot on the mountain. (Adam also showed a couple of videos of skiers crashing–certainly a crowd pleaser for a room of athletic trainers!)

This wraps it up for T&C at the 2012 NATA Meeting. We are getting set to pack up our booth and head to the airport. I’m hoping for no running through the terminal in Detroit this time, but I probably shouldn’t speak too soon. Thanks for reading this blog, and thanks for reading T&C. Until next year!

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Friday, 10:45 a.m.
I came back to the convention center early this morning for a special topic session about concussions, and it was definitely worth getting up for! It was by far the most well-attended educational session I’ve been to in my three days here, and the three speakers did a great job explaining three main topics: what we know (and don’t) about sports concussions, the importance of cognitive rest, and some interesting information about an ongoing study of former NFL players’ brains.

The first section of the presentation was a recap of what research has told us about concussions. The take-home points of this section were:

– Only 80 percent of concussed athletes completely recover from their concussions within three weeks. That leaves 20 percent who continue to struggle with symptoms after 21 days.

– It is important for athletes (and parents) to understand that when physicians prescribe medication to patients who have suffered concussions, it’s not to treat their concussion. It is to treat the symptoms of their concussion, such as sleep problems, headaches/migraines, and depression or anxiety.

– There are factors that can increase recovery time from a concussion, including age, gender, the presence of a learning disability, if the athlete suffers from migraines prior to the concussion, and if the athlete has sustained a concussion previously.

– The DSM IV defines post-concussion syndrome (PCS) as being present after three weeks of symptoms, but the presenters believe that definition should changed to six weeks.

The second section of the presentation concentrated on cognitive rest and how to integrate an athlete back into the classroom after they have sustained a concussion. I think this was the section that athletic trainers got the most out of, and I think that we will most definitely cover this issue in more depth in T&C in the very near future.

Athletic trainers need more practical advice about how to work with teachers, administrators, and school nurses when an athlete is easing back into their classroom work. The presenters noted that the high school nurse can be a great ally for athletes, and I think this makes a lot of sense. It’s the logistics of this process that can be tough for athletic trainers who act as allies of concussed athletes.

The third section of the presentation detailed some preliminary results of a study involving 30 former NFL players (who are still living). The study hasn’t been published yet, so we got a sneak preview at some of the findings. Interesting to the researcher was that 24 percent of the players in the study were suffering from depression. But even more interesting to him was that only 25 percent of those players knew that they were depressed.

Suicide is associated with depression, but depression is treatable, so if there are former athletes out there who are depressed but don’t know it, early diagnosis could save their life. The researcher urged all of the athletic trainers in the audience to ask their concussed athletes if they feel depressed. And what he said made a lot of sense: Athletic trainers are administering neurocognitive and balance testing, but are they asking the simple question, “Are you depressed?” The answer is most likely no, and athletic trainers need to do a better job of just plain asking.

As noted, we will continue to cover the hot topic of concussions in T&C and we will aim to make it useful, practical information that athletic trainers can use in their settings. Attendance at this session was evidence enough that athletic trainers are very interested in the subject and are craving more and newer information.

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Thursday 3:30 p.m.
Just left the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I’m not an athletic trainer myself, but the ceremony is emotional and gets me every time! If someone there tells you they didn’t get choked up even a little bit, they are probably lying … It was the 50th anniversary of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and is always a highlight of the NATA Meeting.

There were a lot of familiar faces up on stage as the entire Hall of Fame sits behind the new inductees throughout the ceremony. And it was really neat to hear from two 2012 inductees, Jeff Stone and Dennis Hart, who are both past T&C authors I have worked with. Here is a full list of this year’s record 17 inductees:

Jeff Cooper, MS, ATC
Chris Gillespie, MEd, LAT, ATC
Dennis Hart, MEd, LAT, ATC
Roger Kalisiak, MSEd, ATC
Marjorie King, PhD, ATC, PT
John Lopez, LAT, ATC
Sally Nogle, PhD, ATC
Nicholas Pappas, LAT, ATC
Robert Patton, EdD, LAT, ATC
John Powell, PhD, ATC
Jay Shoop, MEd, ATC
Walter Smith, MEd, LAT, ATC
John Spiker, ATC, PT
Jeff Stone, MEd, ATC
Bill Tessendorf, MA, ATC
Arnold Thomas, MEd, LAT, AT Ret.
Matt Webber, MA, ATC

I’ll be reporting more tomorrow morning before the Meeting is over for this year. Off to the booth to spend the rest of the day talking to our readers.

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Thursday, 1:30 p.m.
I walked around the exhibit hall with my camera for an hour or so and saw some pretty interesting products and talked to some very excitable businessmen and women who are quite passionate about their products. Some of the booths certainly attract more attention than others, including the Active Ankle booth, which this year has a guy manning a wheel. You get to walk up, spin the wheel, and they give you whatever product it lands on. Here’s a pic of the wheel. You can’t see it, but the line to spin this thing was about 30 athletic trainers long and was snaking around the corner!


Gatorade is here of course, with one of the largest displays, and I got a free sample of grape flavor, my favorite. My excellent camera skills (just kidding) captured a giant mural of Giants Coach Tom Coughlin being dumped with the same flavor:


Hydroworx has an actual pool in here, with its underwater treadmills in it. Athletic trainers got the opportunity to put on their swimsuits and give them a try while a coach put them through a bootcamp:


And you could try the vision training board from Dynavision at their booth. It was pretty fun!


I’m off to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and keynote speaker now. I’ll have more soon!

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Thursday, 10:30 a.m.
I’m back at the NATA Meeting this morning, and just left a session about managing diabetes. We will be running an article in T&C later this year about metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to diabetes and something a lot of athletic trainers working with football athletes need to be aware of.

Yesterday afternoon I spent almost two hours at our booth, and although I asked a lot of people for feedback about the magazine and how we can make T&C even better, our readers never fail to gush about T&C and how much they like it. One athletic trainer even told me about how he catches his athletes reading it in the athletic training room when he leaves it there.

It was also great to catch up with some of our authors who I’ve worked with in the past year, including Kent Scriber and Tim Neal, who both traveled from New York to the NATA Meeting this year. Tim mentioned that he is still getting a lot of great feedback and fielding questions about the article he wrote for us in April about recognizing athletes’ mental illness issues. You can read it here

I’m off to walk around the trade show floor. It’s buzzing again this morning and I’ve seen some pretty neat booths. I’ll post some pics later on. In the meantime, here’s one of the T&C booth!


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Wednesday, 3 p.m.
I just left a special topic session titled, “Teamwork! How the Sports Dietitian Can Work Alongside the ATC in Maximizing the Athlete’s Performance and Health Goals.” The speaker was Dawn Weatherwax, RD, CSSD, LD, ATC, CSCS, who talked about how it’s a good idea for athletic trainers to refer their athletes to dietitians. She feels that athletic trainers either do too much or nowhere near enough, and usually it’s too much. Since athletic trainers are so busy all of the time, she stressed the need for them to step back and refer athletes to dietitians or their physician when necessary.

Here are some of the take-home messages from Weatherwax:

– Nutrition can impact performance up to 15 percent
– Three out of four athletes do not consume enough calories
– Anecdotally, Weatherwax has seen a correlation between caloric intake and injury
– Poor nutrition over time often results in low iron–for male athletes, too
– Low vitamin D levels don’t just put athletes at risk for bone fracture, but also upper respiratory tract infections and muscle weakness and discomfort
– The importance of body composition testing cannot be understated
– A one-percent dehydrated state can equal a 10- to 12-percent decrease in performance
– When supplementing for calcium, tablet size should be small, 200 to 500 milligrams at a time, because calcium is hard to absorb
– Athlete physicals are a great time to address a lot of these items with athletes.

All of these points are things that athletic trainers and dietitians can work on together. In the end, the athlete’s health and safety is most important, and nutrition plays a big role.

I found the World Series trophy and took a picture. Pretty cool to see it in person. For some reason, I thought it would be bigger. This is as close as I could get without having to stand in a very long line:


This is probably it for my blogging for today. I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon at the T&C booth talking to readers and taking subscription forms. More to come from St. Louis tomorrow!

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Wednesday 11 a.m.
The NATA press conference was this morning, and I got a sneak peek at a brand new NATA Consensus Statement that will be published in the July/August issue of the Journal of Athletic Training. We heard about the statement, “The Inter-Association Task Force for Preventing Sudden Death in Collegiate Conditioning Sessions: Best Practices Recommendations,” from a panel that included several of the 33 authors, as well as St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Rodger Saffold.

In addition to Saffold, panel speakers included Doug Casa, PhD, ATC, FACSM, FNATA, Director of Athletic Training Education at the University of Connecticut and COO of the Korey Stringer Institute, Jay Hoffman, PhD, CSCS, FNSCA, FACSM, President of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Richard Adler of the Adler Giersch law firm, Ron Courson, ATC, PT, CSCS, Head Athletic Trainer and Association Athletic Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Georgia, and Jolie Holschen, MD, FACEP, an Emergency Medicine and Sports Medicine Physician for Inifinity Healthcare in Chicago.

Here’s a snapshot of the guidelines:
– Progressive acclimatization is the cornerstone of safety.
– Introduce new conditioning activities gradually.
– Do not use exercise and conditioning activities as punishment.
– Strength and conditioning coaches require proper education, experience, and credentialing.
– Provide appropriate medical coverage, including a strength and conditioning coach and athletic trainer.
– Develop and practice emergency action plans.
– Be congnizant of athletes’ medical conditions, such as sickle cell.
– Administer strength and conditioning programs to manage health- and safety-related concerns for the student-athlete.
– Establish a close working partnership of recognized professional organizations, including athletic, coaching, sports medicine, and strength and conditioning organizations.
– Require adequate continuing education for the entire coaching and medical teams.

I hear the World Series trophy is in the building, so I’m going to go check that out next (even though it wasn’t my team that won it)! I’ll snap a pic if I can and upload it here.

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Wednesday, 9 a.m.
Phew! Last night’s traveling experience was an exciting one. I arrived in St. Louis in time to get some sleep, but had to run (and I mean RUN) through the Detroit airport to make my connection here to St. Louis. Good thing I wasn’t wearing heels because if I hadn’t made it before they closed the door, I would still be in Detroit right now!

Exciting traveling aside, I’m here at the NATA Meeting this morning. There are athletic trainers and exhibitors everywhere, and it’s a good thing I had coffee at the hotel this morning because the line for Starbucks was out the door. The T&C booth is set up and ready to go. The ribbon cutting ceremony into the exhibitor hall is at 10 a.m. sharp and there is already a line at the door!

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T&C Managing Editor Abby Funk will be making the trip to the NATA Annual Meeting on Tuesday afternoon. With her notebook, pen, and program with highlighted sessions to attend in hand, she will spend three full days at the convention taking in the sights and sounds and reporting them back in this blog space.

If you’ll be at the show, feel free to e-mail Abby at [email protected] with your own notes on any educational sessions you attend, your stories from the convention floor, or advice on where to go and what to see. If you aren’t attending this year, follow this live blog to see what you’re missing from the show.

We also want to invite convention attendees to come visit the T&C booth in the exhibit hall (booth #2824), where you can pick up your free show packet. It contains our May/June issue with the usual mix of articles, 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. And by renewing your subscription to the magazine at our booth, you will be entered to win a $200 Visa gift card!

Check back here for Abby’s updates, starting Wednesday morning. E-mail her if you have a good lead on the best place to eat in the Lou!

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