At this point, my future professional goals are to become a certified athletic trainer and go to grad school to get my master’s degree in either kinesiology or exercise science. I’m hoping to find a GA program that will allow me to work as an athletic trainer at the same time as getting my master’s degree. I decided I want to get my Master’s degree immediately after undergrad because the whole field of athletic training is moving to a master’s degree and I want my degree to stay competitive. So far the schools I am interested in are Penn State University, James Madison University, and University of Texas. I decided to look into these schools because their programs seem advanced and enjoyable.
My dream work setting is in the performing arts. One in particular is Drum Corp International. My background of being in band in high school and my love of athletic training has been my main motivators to want to work with this kind of population. I feel like it would be so fun to travel with some of the most intense marching band in the United States. This summer I will be eligible to apply for an internship to work and study with athletic trainers in DCI. If I get this internship I will be ecstatic. This would be a stepping stone from leaving college and entering the work force. I would be able to make connections that hopefully would lead me to a job in this field after I graduate.
Another field of athletic training I would like to work in is the military, specifically for government contractors in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. I would like this a lot because I would be able to live in the area the I have grown up in most of my life.
This week I had 15 attempts with 7 masteries.
As an ATS I feel most confident when I am organized, and on top of all my work. This allows me to have more time to think about the application of what I learn in class and contribute it to what I am doing in the clinic. I also feel confident being able to participate fully in class. That being said, when I am disorganized I feel like I am behind and scatter brained. I feel like it is harder to participate in class which is disappointing and frustrating because I feel like I should know the information, or at least be able to contribute of conversation. When I’m disorganized and stressed it completely throws off all of my work ethic and it can be challenging to get back on track. The best way I have found to combat this is to buckle down on the weekends and try to catch up the best I can. This semester has been difficult in this sense because I feel like I’m in a constant cycle of being on top of my work, then being behind, then having to catch up, but then because I pushed so hard to get back on top I relax and fall behind again. I have to find a way to break this cycle, but I’m not sure how yet. This used to not be a problem for me so I’m not sure what has changed and how to fix it. However, once I do, I know I will be as confident as I can be and I feel like my class participation will be much better, which in the end will make me happier.
This week I had 5 attempts.
My favorite part of clinical this semester is being off site. Being at high school is a lot different than being at the college level. In years past we always have joked around what it is like to have to be creative on make things on the spot, but in the high school this is a reality because they don’t have as much of a budget as the college. At the high school level I notice a dramatic decrease on pre-performance rehab and interventions. I know the reason why this is different is because they have to either come straight from the end of the day to the clinic or they will not have pre-treatment because time is so limited. That being said, I don’t believe many of the athletes are aware they can have pre-treatments. I know when I was playing softball is high school I had no clue who or what an athletic trainer was, let alone what they were able to do.
Another part of this semester that I have enjoyed is being what I like to call a “Freelance ATS”. On weeks where I am not able to travel down to the high school I can do hours with my secondary preceptor on campus. I am primarily with women’s soccer when I can’t go to Bristol, but there have been many times where I have done clinical hours with other preceptors. I really enjoy this because I like the preceptors we have here and I also get to help them out when they don’t have students. There is always one preceptor that doesn’t have sophomores on their rotation and typically that is who I help if I’m not with soccer. I believe this allows me to have more experiences, but also keeps me aware of what is going on with campus athletics so that when I come back to on-site I will be more aware of who has what injuries and such.
I also really look forward to next semester. I feel like I have a lot of experience with lower extremities from this semester and last year. I really hope to be able to clinically experience baseball because I have helped with one of the player’s post-surgical rehab and I would like to continue seeing his progress and ultimately get to see his return to play.
This week I had 5 attempts in my clinical packet.
The advice I would give to the freshman and sophomore is to stay on track with their clinical packet and to figure out the way that they need to study. Being new to the program can be difficult if they are not good at time management and organization. Having both of these skills is important in finishing the clinical packet. If they are able to stick to their goals, then they will easily be able to finish their clinical packet on time. Another important thing the freshman and sophomore should know is how they need to study. I found the best way to study for me is with one other person because that person will keep me focused on the task at hand. They should also utilize their VARK test scores to figure out what methods of studying they should do. The final piece of advice I would give to the underclassmen is to ask the upperclassmen about anything. The upperclassmen are very willing to help so long as they ask.
This week I evaluated football player who was complaining of knee pain. He said he fell on his knee and it hurt on the spot of impact, but it also hurt on the back of his knee in the popliteal space. I started with history. The player said he fell on his knee, but it didn’t hurt on the back of his knee until later. The pain gradually got worse as he continued to play. He also mentioned it hurt to squat only in the first few degrees, and when he plants and cuts. Next I did an observation. There was a little bit of swelling over his patella, but I deduced it was from when he fell, and it was nothing more than a bone bruise. There was no deformity, swelling, or discoloration in the popliteal area. Then I palpated over the patella, the patella tendon, the quads, the hamstrings, the IT band, and the boney landmarks. There was point tenderness over the patella, lateral hamstring area, and around the insertion of the IT band. The IT bands also felt every tight. ROM was within normal limits, however there was pain with active knee flexion and extension. Strength for knee flexion and knee extension was 4/5. Then I started doing special tests. At this point I was between a hamstring strain and IT band friction syndrome. I had (+) Rene’s test, (-) Obers test, (-) Nobel’s compression test. I had the player do some functional tests, like the squatting and planting so he could show me when and where it hurt. At this point, I still felt stuck between IT band friction syndrome and Hamstring. I asked the preceptor to double check me and see what she thought. When I palpated I didn’t feel any roping or deformity between his two hamstring tendons. This was because I palpated on and then palpated the other, so I wasn’t able to differentiate the difference. When the preceptor palpated the hamstrings, she did both at the same time, and then had me feel it. It was obvious then that there was some serious roping and tearing of the tendon. AT this point, it was obvious he had a hamstring strain. What I learned from this evaluation was that I need to take my time when palpating and do a better bilateral comparison. I did palpate bilaterally; the only difference was I should have palpated them at the same time. This would have made my eval go a lot smoother.
This week I got 2 attempts and 1 to mastery
Think about the preceptors you have had, what characteristics did they exhibit that you have adopted or hope to utilize in your career. Explain why.
Melissa has been my life saver in many classes. I have learned many things from her, but the most important thing I have learned is administrative duties. Half the time I ever see her in the clinic she is on the computer doing some kind of paper work. This gives me insight to how being a certified ATC will be very different from being an ATS. I hope to be able to manage paperwork in a organized timely fashion to the best of my abilities when I am an ATC.
Chaypin exhibits a desire to learn more as she works. I feel like this is important in athletic training because the field is always changing and new studies are coming out daily. This is something I hope to utilize in my career after I am graduated. She also enjoys and take constructive criticism very well which, while I feel I did this well prior to being an ATS, I have a greater appreciation of because of Chaypin.
Hannah has a sense of finesse that blows my mind for her being a recent graduate. She never seems to do too little or too much of anything, and everything has a nice flow. Finesse is usually something that is built up over time, but Hannah’s just comes off so natural. I have learned a lot from Hannah. Particularly when she does certain treatments slightly different from how I learned. I am always interested in what she learned different at her college. I hope to be able to incorporate her differences into my style.
Cole is a new preceptor and I haven’t experienced him too much in the clinic, but it is very clear he has a very different way of doing things than any other preceptor I have been with. Something I find interesting is the way he uses modalities. He doesn’t uses stim nearly as much as the other preceptors and when he uses ultrasound he calculates a specific heat for an injury. This is different from how I was taught and I want to do more research and find more information that supports his way of using modalities.
Randy is my current preceptor, and once again very different from others that I have experienced. One thing I really like about what he does is that he explains the injury and what is going on to the athlete. This is something I have started doing myself. I believe it helps the athlete have a better understanding and it may lead to better treatment out comes, and prevention of similar injuries.
This week I was at a volley ball match at Virginia high school. Things were going smoothly until the JV team started their match. Right after the first play, a girl comes limping over to the side line. My preceptor had just stepped out for a minute, so I had another student go get him while I started my eval. I didn’t see her fall, but she reported she inverted her ankle and fell while going for a ball. She had never had an injury before so she was pretty worked up. I tried to calm her down and explain everything I was doing to so that she wouldn’t get scared or caught off-guard. Her ankle was really swollen around her lateral malleolus and point tender over the deltoid ligament, ATF, CF, and PTF. She had mildly limited AROM with pain. Next I did special tests. I did: (-) compression, (-) Kleiger, (-) bump, (+) anterior drawer, (+) inversion and eversion talar tilt. I didn’t believe she had a fracture, nor did my preceptor, but he gave them the option of going to get an x-ray. Our conclusion was that she had a grade I inversion ankle sprain. We iced, and elevated her foot for the rest of the game. Then after, we put a horse shoe pad and ace wrap to help push out swelling. We also put her in a walking boot. I was expecting to put her on crutches, but my preceptor said he prefers walking boots to begin mobility as soon as possible. This also makes sense because of Wolff’s law which states, “tissue will respond to physical demands placed on them, causing them to remodel or realign along lines of tensile force.” I felt very confident doing this eval and I feel like I am still working towards my goal of becoming more accurate with the assessment of injuries.
This week I had 5 attempts.
This week I did an eval on a soccer player who was complaining of hip and back pain. Something I found interesting in her history is that the head of her femur is too small for her acetabulum which she says causes various types if muscle a joint pain. She first noticed her pain when she went for a goal shot. She reported a sharp pain 7/10 when she kicked and 4/10 when running. She also reported pain with trunk rotation. I then went on to my inspection where there was no redness, no swelling, no bleeding, and no obvious deformity. Then I began my palpations. I started with her mid back. There was palpable tightness and knots on the left lateral side of her mid back and along para spinals. I also palpated her sacrum and PSIS where there was palpable tenderness and reported pain of 7/10. Her PSIS were also out of alignment. Next I did Range of Motion. I did active, passive, and resisted for hip flexion, hip extension, trunk flexion, and trunk extension. I also had the patient do active trunk rotation. From the ROMs I was able to rule in an oblique and possible para spinal strain. Her strength was a 5/5 hip flexion and 4/5 for hip extension. I then continued to special tests. I found a (+) Long sits, (+) SI compression, (+) SI distraction. Due to her strength, positive special tests, and palpation findings, I believe she had SI dysfunction. My immediate treatment for her was to correct the malalignment and to give her Ice. I feel like this eval was a good step for reaching my goal of becoming more accurate with my evaluations. I felt very confident with my findings and that I was able to flow easily from one section of an eval to another. I did use my special test book to remind me of special test. Although it is acceptable to use a resource while doing an eval, I would like to be at a point where I wouldn’t have to use one as often, especially for simple tests like compression and distraction.
This week I had two attempts, one was performed to mastery.
Now that I have nearly finished my first year in the program, I feel like I have gained so many new experiences and relationships. This week I was back with my primary preceptor and I feel like our relationship and work ethic has improved. At the beginning of the semester Melissa and I were pretty decently friendly and worked well together. Now, I consider Melissa a great friend and an amazing teacher. I wouldn’t have survived this semester without Melissa. She has been the biggest help for me when studying for tests and practicals. She gives me the most freedom in the clinic. All the evaluations I have done this semester were under Melissa’s supervision. It was my goal to improve my evaluation skills, and even thought I did not accomplish that in the way I said I would, I know I am much better at them. I think the only thing that has changed from the begging of the semester to now is that I don’t feel like a student. Previously I felt like everything I did, the preceptors were hand holding, which may have been necessary at the time. Now the preceptors let us have more freedom. They let us decide how to treat patients, and let us modify exercises, and let us create rehab programs. I think it is nice and respectful that the preceptors have given us these responsibilities.
The highlight of this week was when I was clinically experiencing softball practice on Friday. The team was doing their throwing warm up and the all the sudden a player was bent over. A ball had taken a bad bounce and hit her straight in the nose. It started bleeding immediately. We all ran out with the kit and Melissa determined it was broken. One of the AT’s drove her to the hospital where they confirmed her nose was broken. About 20 minutes later the players were doing a scrimmage type scenario and a player hit a line drive straight between the first and second basemen. The right fielder was going for it. The ball finally bounced and hit the right fielder in the jaw. Again we ran out to check her out. She was fine that time. But then this same player was batting. She fouled a ball and it hit her straight in the foot. When she came into the AT room after practice we did a bump test and used a tuning fork on her which were both positive. We gave her a walking shoe and we are sending her for an X-ray soon. Finally, another player comes into the AT room and is complaining of shin and ankle pain. Melissa did ROM and Kleiger’s and none of them had pain. Then I did a bump test, and she nearly jumped off the table because it hurt so bad. So we gave her a walking boot and we will be sending her for testing as well. Needless to say it was a very eventful day of practice.
This week I did not get any masteries or attempts, but I am filling out my clinical packet and so far, I seem to be on track.
My athletic training student mentor is Lauren. At the beginning of me being in the program she showed me a lot of techniques and helped me a lot, but now that I am able to do so much, I don’t feel like I need to rely on her to show me things. I think we work well as a mentor-mentee relationship because I can have my independence, but I know if I need help with anything she will be there for me. The one big thing I learned from Lauren is how to be a graceful clinician. She makes everything look so easy and gentle and it’s amazing to watch her in action. I think Lauren is going to be a great physical therapist because of that quality. One thing Lauren really helped me out with was studying for some of my Upper and Lower practical’s. I think she specifically helped me with the cervical spine practical. She showed me a way to remember some special test and it was very helpful. Also, a big help was when I asked her how she was doing her clinical question last semester. For some reason our whole sophomore class didn’t know there was an outline we had to follow and were about to submit our work in the wrong format. Because I asked her how she was formatting it, not only did that save me, but she saved the whole sophomore class once I told them about it.
A highlight from this week is that I did my Imaging rotation. I saw some pretty cool stuff there. I will talk more about it on my Clinical Experience page. We had and In-service with Dr.Handy and he talked about alternative treatments. One of the things that stuck with me was the yoga breathing exercise he taught us. I have been using it a lot to wake myself us when I feel tired in the middle of the day, and when I am stressed out because I have a million of papers to write that I can’t get myself to stop procrastinating on. Finally, I observed a tennis match over the weekend and I had a good time watching it this time since I wasn’t freezing to death. There was this one girl on the other team who I couldn’t stop looking at because of her shoulders. I wanted to take a picture because it was so strange, but that is just rude. Her AC joints were stick out so much, that at first when I looked at her, I thought she has some kind of large cyst on her shoulder. That was until I noticed it was Bilateral, and then I noticed I could prominently see her humeral heads. She seemed to be a healthy weight so I was very confused to see her shoulders looking like that. I assume it doesn’t have any functional effects on her considering she and her partner won their doubles match.
This week I had a hand and wrist practical. After I receive my test back I will have a definite number, but I estimate I got about 25 masteries this week.
This week’s blog prompt is,” Reflect on your progress on one of your unique clinical goals, other than completion goal.” So I will talk about my goal on evaluation proficiency. My goal is, “I will become proficient at doing evaluations by attempting or practicing at least 1 a week.” I most definitely have not done an eval a week. I guess it wouldn’t be impossible to do, but it would be difficult to find a teacher or upperclassmen to do this with once a week. That being said, I feel fairly confident in doing an eval. I have done 2 real clinical evals and several practice evals in my upper extremities class this semester. Each time I do one I feel like I do it better and more accurate. Thinking back to last semester, I remember one day in the clinic when the AT asked me to do a lower back eval and my class hadn’t even covered the knee yet; I kind of freaked out, and did not know what I was doing. I can compare that to the first eval I did this semester on the hip and even though I got stuck at some point, I was much better off. I can continue to compare this to the Elbow practical I took this Friday, and think that have been my best practical so far. I feel like I was actually palpating this time around instead of just poking a pointing to areas. Although I am not necessarily following through with my goal, I think the purpose of having this goal is still being achieved. Evaluations are a skill that builds up over time, and I can only see myself continuing to progress.
This week I did my Physical Therapy Out-patient clinic observations in addition to my normal clinical hours. I thought this was pretty fun. It was kind of like our clinic x10. I saw a variety of different patients from, post total joint surgery to stroke patients learning how to walk again. I think the highlight of being there was when the PT was showing me a model of the total knee repair, and I asked what the surgeons do with the ACL and PCL and she did not know so we had to look it up. Apparently, the product the surgeons put on the knee is secure enough to where the joint does not slide all over the place. I’m not going to lie; I was pretty proud of myself for asking a question they didn’t know. All in all, it was a good experience to go to the PT clinic. I’m not sure if it clarified if I would want to work there myself. Parts of it seem fun and interesting, but I also like the more live action that happens when working in a college setting. I think working in a PT clinic is something I would do after I lived my happy glory days in a college setting.
For more detail on the PT clinic, I will be posting another post on my Clinical Experience tab.
Like I said earlier, I took an elbow practical this week. Once I get my score back I will have an official number of masteries, but I could guess I got about 25 masteries.
This year the NATA slogan is, “Your protection is our priority.” This promotes Athletic Training because it lets our athletes know they are important. If our athletes think they are important they are more likely to appreciate us and tell other people about how important we are to them. Therefore, helping spread the word about how awesome athletic trainers are. This slogan is significant because it sets a mindset for AT’s to achieve.
This week I got 2 attempts.
This is where I do my weekly clinical blog assignment. There is either a prompt I am responding to, or I just talk about something exciting I saw during the week.