By Jackie Burner

As Stevens Point Orthopedics’ Athletic Training Resident (2018-2019), I’ve worked with orthopedic surgeons, physician’s assistants, and other healthcare professionals, and I’ve learned to wear many hats.

I primarily work as a physician extender, which means I see a patient before the doctor, collect an injury history, complete a physical exam – which I then report to the doctor – and discuss potential diagnoses and specific treatment options. This gives the patient more face-to-face time with a healthcare professional, helps the doctor make a more informed diagnosis, and creates a support team for the patient.

However, I also serve as a surgical assistant for the orthopedic surgeons. I scrub in to surgery and assist the doctor in any way I can, whether it’s handing them tools, helping position a patient, or suturing and dressing incisions at the completion of surgery.

Outside of the clinic and the operating room, I do athletic-training community outreach and hold injury clinics at UWSP and D1 Training. During these clinics, I evaluate injuries, create treatment plans, and act as a resource for referral for dance majors, ROTC members, and D1 members. 

Finally, I’ve completed research in collaboration with the UWSP athletic training program and the UWSP men’s and women’s hockey teams.

My research specifically focused on the muscle activation of hockey players while skating and running. I wanted to know if players’ off-ice conditioning was truly benefiting the muscles that they use on-ice.

During my research I had the opportunity to use a non-invasive functional-movement and muscle-activity analysis tool called Noraxon, which is used by the physical therapists here at SPO to help patients understand and correct movement patterns. 

With the use of Noraxon and the assistance of UWSP athletic training students and professors, we were able to complete this research using two players each from the men’s and women’s hockey team as subjects. 

In the research, we used surface electromyography sensors to collect data on the muscle activity of each player’s dominant leg, primarily on their hip and thigh muscles. We had each participant do four skating and four running tasks, which we then compared. 

Our results found that all four participants used their groin muscles the most while skating, and their hamstrings and buttock muscles the least; on the other hand, in running the back and hip muscles were activated the most, and the groin and quadriceps muscles were activated the least. 

These findings will help athletes, coaches, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and other healthcare professionals create off-ice injury prevention, rehabilitation, and conditioning programs that specifically target the muscles most commonly used during skating.

During my time as SPO’s Athletic Training Resident, I’ve been able to work in and understand the many roles and avenues an athletic trainer can pursue. I’ve been presented with many new opportunities, experiences, and challenges, all of which taught me something new and have helped me become the best athletic trainer I can be. 

I’m thankful to all of the wonderful staff here who welcomed me, taught me the ins and outs of the healthcare world, helped me grow and expand my knowledge as an athletic trainer, and most importantly, treated me like family.