Jan 29, 2015
The Profession In Print

By R.J. Anderson

Though athletic trainers usually operate behind the scenes providing services that largely go unnoticed by the general public, occasionally their efforts are recognized in the mainstream news. From time to time, Training-Conditioning.com will present a collection of links to newspaper articles from around the country featuring high school and college athletic trainers in action, as well as other news from the field.

A recent study published in the Nov.-Dec. issue of the Journal of Athletic Training queried athletic trainers about how they approach their personal health. Researchers asked 275 trainers to fill out a questionnaire on a number of health habits, including weekly exercise, and eating and smoking habits.

According to the survey, 41 percent of the men and women reported meeting the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise five or more days a week, while seven percent said they were sedentary. None of the athletic trainers said they met the USDA’s Dietary Reference Intake for all five food groups during a typical week and seven percent of female athletic trainers said they consumed more alcohol than the USDA recommends, with two percent of men reporting the same.

Lead author Jessica Groth, an athletic trainer with Select Medical Corp. in Orlando, Fla., who conducted the research while she was a graduate student at Western Michigan University, says the results were not terrible, but that in general the athletic trainers’ habits could be improved.

“Overall, athletic trainers have fairly positive health and fitness habits, but there’s definitely room for improvement,” Groth told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re on other people’s schedules as far as practices and games are concerned. We work a lot of long hours, and nontraditional hours, as far as mornings, nights and weekends are concerned. You add in families and personal lives, and we’re spread pretty thin. But we’re still able to get in exercise and take pretty decent care of ourselves in spite of all of these things.”

To dowload a PDF of the study, visit the Journal of Athletic Training‘s home page and click “Current Issue,” then click on the article: “Self-Reported Health and Fitness Habits of Certified Athletic Trainers.”

Congratulations go out to the sports medicine staff for the Chicago Cubs, which was named by The Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society as the top Major League athletic trainers of the year. The award was announced this week at the Winter Meetings. Athletic trainers from all 30 Major League teams voted on the award based on how the Cubs staff works with its players, as well as with other teams and umpires.

Mark O’Neal, the team’s Head Athletic Trainer and his assistant, Ed Halbur, were named on the award, but the Cubs say the award also honors Minor League trainer coordinator Justin Sharpe and his assistant, Chuck Baughman.

“It’s a great honor for Mark,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry told MLB.com. “We consider them as good as it is in the business. It’s been a tremendous pleasure the way our situation has been run since Mark got there. I can’t imagine anybody having a better pair than we have. Individually, he’s the best we’ve ever seen.

“We’re thrilled–players love him, respect him. He’s got a tremendous balance of total respect from the doctors, which is very hard for trainers, and ultimate respect from the players. He’s got a great knack of what to keep Lou [Piniella] and Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] posted with and what not to keep them posted with, and the same with me. He’s thorough, he’s intelligent, he’s got the whole package.”

The Longview (Tex.) High School athletic training staff recently received some much-deserved media attention for its efforts in cutting costs and improving student-athlete care. After opening sports treatment clinics at two locations on the high school campus, the school says it has experienced tremendous savings. Deirdre Scotter and Lee Reynolds are the school’s athletic trainers and during the 2007-08 school year they handled 5,590 treatments that would have cost either parents or the school about $125,000 in rehabilitation or insurance co-pay costs. In the past, athletes with minor injuries were sent to local physical therapy clinics or hospitals.

“In this day and age when we have to watch every penny that comes across here, which we do,” Eddie Milham, Longview’s assistant superintendent of business and finance told the Longview News-Journal. “[LHS treatment clinics] are providing a service to us that would have cost the athletic department within its budget.”

Peter Malamet, a 21-year-old senior at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, recently talked to the Frederick News-Post about his position as one of two student athletic trainers with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Malamet spends six days a week working with the team while taking 17 credits at the school. During Steelers’ practices, Malamet’s duties include taping ankles, helping with exercises, and making sure players stay hydrated.

“It’s second to none,” Malamet said of his experience. “I can stay in football and it gives me the ability to work with athletic trainers and team doctors.”

Steelers Head Athletic Trainer John Norwig says Malamet has been a valuable asset for his staff.

“I’ve been impressed with a number of these guys and he’s one of the better students we’ve had here,” he told the News-Post. “I’m not sugar-coating that. He is very mature and very knowledgeable. He’s done a great job.”

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