Earlier this year, Damar Hamlin, safety for the Buffalo Bills, collapsed on the field during a Monday night football game due to cardiac arrest. Assistant athletic trainer, Denny Kellington, was quick to react and performed CPR on Hamlin while on the field. This life saving measure restored his heartbeat and allowed him to be transported to the hospital.
Thanks to the quick reactions of the medical staff on site, including the athletic trainer, Hamlin was able to receive further treatment at the hospital. He has since recovered and is hoping to get medically cleared to resume his football career.
We bring this story to light as March is National Athletic Training Month. Often whenever there’s sports there are athletic trainers supporting athletes – professionals (like Hamlin), amateurs, and weekend warriors.
Athletic trainers are on the front lines, helping athletes of all ages recover and rehab from existing injuries and prevent new injuries.
What’s Athletic Training?
But what is athletic training, and why do trainers need a month of their own?
Athletic training is all about the prevention, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions related to physical activity.
To promote safe, injury-free participation in sports and physical activity, athletic trainers work with athletes, coaches, and medical professionals.
According to the National Athletic Training Association (NATA), athletic trainers are educated in injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion, examination, assessment and diagnosis, immediate and emergency care, therapeutic intervention, and healthcare administration and professional responsibility.
They’re also educated in anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, which helps them identify and treat injuries ranging from minor sprains to more serious conditions like concussions and fractures.
If you’ve participated in sport and haven’t yet encountered an athletic trainer, consider yourself fortunate … but you’ve also missed out. Athletic trainers provide professional, compassionate care when athletes need it most.
They provide the reassuring words and the ice pack to soothe a young soccer player’s sprained ankle, and the professional expertise to recognize concussion symptoms, and remove a player from the game.
If there’s an athletic trainer at an event, you can rest assured that any injuries will get the attention they deserve.
Benefits of Athletic Training
Athletic trainers have a lot to offer athletes of all ages and fitness levels. Consider:
Injury Prevention: Athletic trainers work with athletes to prevent injuries by developing training programs that focus on proper form and technique. They also assess athletes for potential risk factors, such as muscle imbalances, and provide guidance on how to correct these issues.
Injury Management: Athletic trainers can assess and treat injuries quickly and effectively, so athletes can recover faster and return to activity sooner.
This is the sweet spot of SPO’s athletic trainer, Amanda, but it’s also the focus of everyone at SPO, especially if surgery or more significant treatment is needed.
Safety: Athletic trainers also play an important role in recognizing and responding to medical emergencies, whether the result of traumatic injury or a health crisis.
By having an athletic trainer on site during practices and games, athletes can participate in sports and physical activity with greater confidence and safety.
Health and Wellness
Preventing injuries starts by promoting health and wellness – and athletic trainers have a role to play there, too. Here’s some of the ways they help promote health and wellness:
Injury Prevention Education: Athletic trainers show athletes how to prevent injuries through proper form and technique, and how to avoid potentially risky situations on the field, the court, the track, or the ice.
Mental Health Support: Just by their presence athletic trainers can make some athletes feel better about participating in a sport. Also, they provide a calming presence when an athlete is experiencing an injury for the first time.
Community Outreach: Athletic trainers often engage in community outreach activities, such as injury screenings and education sessions for youth sports leagues. They can also be found at many sports camps and clinics, promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles – and sport done the right way.
That’s one of the reasons you’ll see SPO staff at events like the Gene LaRose Elementary Track Meet and the Ryan Ramczyk Lineman Camp.
Our Athletic Trainer, Amanda
At SPO we’re fortunate to have our dedicated athletic trainer, Amanda. During the school year, Amanda provides athletic training coverage for Pacelli High School. You are likely to see her on the football and soccer fields or at the ice rink where she provides outreach athletic training coverage for their high school athletics.
When she’s not on the field or at the rink, Amanda provides clinical athletic training to patients with Dr. Banovetz. She assists him in caring for patients and educating them on their orthopedic conditions and treatment options. Her position at SPO offers versatility and change of pace with the seasons.
A native of Waunakee, WI, Amanda has her bachelor’s degree in athletic training from UW-Stevens Point and earned her master’s degree in adult education from UW-Platteville. As an athletic trainer, she enjoys providing athletes with a thorough understanding of their injury and caring for them throughout their entire recovery. This will be Amanda’s 10th year at SPO and Pacelli.
Athletic trainers are special!
An American Academy of Pediatrics study found that athletic trainers can have a significant positive impact on student athlete health, resulting in lower injury rates, improved diagnosis and return-to-play decisions, and fewer recurrent injuries.
That’s something worth celebrating – and not just in March but all year long.
If you want to know more about the valuable work athletic trainers do, visit NATA’s informational website. And the next time you see Amanda, or another athletic trainer, thank them for all they do to make athletics – and athletes – safer.