Jan 29, 2015
Views From the Floor

T&C Assistant Editor Greg Scholand blogged from the 59th annual NATA Meeting and Clinical Symposia in St. Louis. Read his take on convention happenings as well as interesting tidbits he saw on the floor, during seminars, and while attending different events.

7:00 p.m.: Tomorrow (Saturday, June 21) is the last day of the convention, but I won’t be blogging because all the booths have been taken down and I won’t have Internet access during the day. So this will be my last entry in the NATA blog, and I wanted to use it to thank everyone who attended this year’s show. I learned a lot from the sessions, workshops, and panel discussions, enjoyed seeing two new inductees take their place in the NATA Hall of Fame, and perhaps best of all, got to talk with a lot of great T&C readers.

A special thanks to those who stopped by our booth to share their feedback on the magazine, and those who talked with me elsewhere in the convention hall about what they like about T&C, what they’d like to see more of, and how we can better serve the athletic training community. Your feedback will be very valuable as we continue working to improve what we do.

We’d like to use forums like this blog more often in the future to develop an ongoing dialogue with our readers, so if you ever have any comments, questions, or suggestions about the magazine, our Web site, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at [email protected].
See you next year!

6:00 p.m.: Have you ever had an athlete complain of pain, but you were unable to figure out a cause? Or has an athlete ever described his or her pain-related symptoms and left you scratching your head trying to figure out what’s wrong and what you can do to help? If so, you would have enjoyed session 36, which I attended this afternoon: “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: What To Do When the Evaluation Does Not Make Sense.”

CRPS is a complicated condition–it involves both physical and psychological elements, and can present in several different ways. The panel did a very thorough job explaining the mechanisms of pain in general and this illness in particular, and they provided some very practical solutions for what to do when you think an athlete is suffering from CRPS.
Whether you were at this session or not, if you’d like to learn more about pain and ways to relieve it, check out our cover story in the NATA Show Issue, “Unmasking Pain.” Our author, Dan Drury, did a great job describing how pain works in the body. He also discussed a phenomenon called exercise-induced hypoalgesia, whereby athletes experience pain reduction by engaging in physical activity. I’d tell you more, but I’m sure you’re already reaching for your copy of T&C to check out the article for yourself.

10:45 a.m.: Riding an exercise bike is a very common type of aerobic fitness training, and even those who never get on a stationary bike may be active cyclists to get around campus and around town. Have you ever thought about whether the bikes athletes are riding (stationary or otherwise) are a good fit for their body size and type? If not, they may be risking injury or aggravating other conditions—bicycles are definitely not one-size-fits-all.

I just attended a great presentation (workshop 29 for those at the show) entitled “Overuse Injury Prevention in Cycling Using Proper Bike Fit,” given by Connie Peterson, PhD, ATC, from James Madison University. She talked about some very simple adjustments that can be made to things like seat height, pedal/foot position, and handlebar setup to make athletes both safer and more efficient when cycling. If an athlete avoids the stationary bikes in your fitness center because “it’s just not comfortable to ride,” maybe they’ve only experienced bikes that are a poor fit for them. A few easy changes can make a world of difference.


1:40 p.m.: I just stopped by the HydroWorx booth and met Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings All-Pro running back. He was kind enough to sign my copy of the T&C Show Issue.

12:25 p.m.: At the Johnson & Johnson Symposium, the keynote speaker was Lee Woodruff, whose husband, ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff, was seriously injured in Iraq. She spoke eloquently about the human experience of providing care to those in need and said her journey throughout her husband’s recovery gave her a new appreciation for what it really means to help others improve their quality of life. She beautifully related this idea to the athletic training profession, expressing what a noble calling it is to provide athletes with care on a daily basis. I can’t do justice to Mrs. Woodruff’s speech by summarizing it any further here, but it was definitely one of the high points of the week.


11:20 a.m.: This morning I attended one of the true highlights of the annual meeting: the NATA Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This year’s honorees were Dave “DC” Colt, EdD, LAT, ATC, (pictured above) Head Athletic Trainer at Northwest Missouri State University, and Dave Pursley, AT Ret., former longtime athletic trainer for the Atlanta Braves.

During the video tributes to each new inductee, colleagues and athletes praised the two Daves for their longtime commitment to excellence and willingness to always go the extra mile. In their acceptance speeches, both men said this high honor is never an individual achievement: It’s a tribute to be shared with co-workers, mentors, colleagues, family members, and friends who supported and enriched them along the way.

On behalf of all of us at Training & Conditioning, a big congratulations Dave Colt and Dave Pursely for joining this exclusive club. Your accomplishments set an example for everyone in the field.


4:30 p.m.: For my last session of the day, I attended a panel discussion entitled “Solve My Problem,” which focused on finding ways to handle difficult situations in the workplace (workshop 15 for those at the show). The best part came when the floor was opened and audience members talked about recent problems from their own settings.

At one point, an experienced female high school athletic trainer explained how she was not with her school’s baseball team earlier this month when they won a state title, because the team’s coach (an “old school” type, as she put it) does not allow women in the dugout. It was obvious that she was deeply affected by the coach’s actions, and the problem was compounded by a lack of support from school administrators.

This provoked a healthy discussion among the panelists and attendees about the state of gender equity in athletic training, and how to handle situations where a coach acts in an improper or discriminatory fashion. The discussion participants seemed to agree that even when these stories don’t have a happy ending, sharing them with others in the profession is still a productive and worthwhile exercise.

If you’d like to share your own story of dealing with a difficult coach or administrator, e-mail me at [email protected].

1:20 p.m.: Show attendees: Have you been to our booth yet? If not, stop by (no. 521) to pick up your copy of the NATA Show Issue and renew your subscription. You can also enter a drawing for a $200 gas card, which should be good for at least half a tank.


12:15 p.m.: I just left an excellent session on making hiring and firing decisions in athletic training programs (workshop 9 for those at the show). It was in a fairly small conference room, but was full enough to be standing room only. The hiring topic involves quite a few interesting facets, from effective interview strategies to negotiating salary to advertising/job posting methods to coordinating with your human resources department. Then there are “emergency hires,” when you don’t have time to conduct a lengthy search but still want to bring in a quality professional. And when it comes to firing, ignoring proper procedures can leave your program open to a lawsuit.
If you’re in a position to hire and/or fire athletic trainers, graduate assistants, or other staff members, what questions are of greatest interest to you on this topic? Send me your responses at [email protected]–I’m interested to hear what our readers want to know. One of the attendees very astutely noted that “how to hire and fire” isn’t something most people learn while studying to become an athletic trainer, but it’s one of the most important factors in maintaining a high-quality program.

Personal note from the exhibit hall: How much free sports drink is too much? I may find out soon.

10:10 a.m.: Kernel of wisdom from Jon Almquist, VATL, ATC, Chair of the task force, on the approach to conditioning that high school athletes should use in order to lower injury risk: “Get in shape to play the sport. Don’t use the sport as a way to get in shape.”


10:00 a.m.: Now at the microphone is Chris Long, defensive end for the St. Louis Rams. He is by far the tallest member of the panel (6-foot-3 for those scoring at home) and was just describing how his high school athletic trainers played a key role in his ability to reach the level he has. Chris was a four-sport athlete in high school, and is currently talking about the value of participating in multiple sports and having athletic trainers who helped him stay healthy enough to do so.

9:50 a.m.: I am writing from the morning Press Conference (room 275 for those reading this from the show), which features members of the NATA’s “Appropriate Medical Care for the Secondary School-Aged Athlete” Task Force.
Currently at the microphone is Tamara C. Valovich McLeod, PhD, ATC, (hereafter, TVM) discussing the summary statement which will be published in the July issue of the Journal of Athletic Training. She is discussing consensus points from the task force’s forthcoming statement. Here are some highlights:
– The task force recommends that an athletic healthcare team should identify psychosocial issues associated with injuries. TVM says including a counselor or other professional with a mental health background on an athletic healthcare team can provide a valuable new dimension of care.
– Hydration awareness should be a priority for every high school athletic program.
– Developing injury and illness prevention strategies will be a major focus of the consensus statement. A healthcare team, TVM says, should recognize that finding ways to prevent injuries is just as important as treating athletes who have sustained an injury.


Even before the convention began, a few news items created a buzz. Jim Thornton, MS, ATC, PES, Head Athletic Trainer at Clarion University, will receive the College/University Athletic Trainers’ Committee’s Division II Head Athletic Trainer of the Year Award at the convention.

We spoke with him earlier this year for an article on MRSA and found him to be a great source of information and a first-class professional. Congratulations, Jim!

Other honorees at this year’s show include several people connected to Northwest Missouri State University’s athletic training department. Head Athletic Trainer Dave “DC” Colt will be inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame, and Assistant Athletic Trainer Kelly Quinlin will be presented with the NATA’s Division II Above and Beyond Award. In addition, an NATA Research and Education Foundation National Scholarship has been awarded to Northwest graduate assistant Jessica O’Neel. Congratulations, Bearcats!

T&C will be exhibiting at the show all week, so stop by and see us at booth 521 to pick up a complimentary copy of the Training & Conditioning NATA Convention Issue and sign up for a chance to win a $200 gas card and other prizes.

To contact Greg about important convention happenings or to share your own tales during the week, e-mail him at [email protected]. Also, feel free to leave feedback here that will be read by Training-conditioning.com readers.

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