This week the NATA’s national convention will be in St. Louis. I will head there on Tuesday and this will be my third time attending the national convention, second time in St. Louis. That’s not bad considering this is my 5th year in the profession. 3 of 5 isn’t terrible! But, why do people attend convention? Read the rest of this entry »

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Be Prepared

March 1, 2015

Be Prepared– A motto that the Boy Scouts introduced. And a concept that Athletic Trainers practice.

Be Prepared. For what? ANYTHING. Athletic Trainers are prepared for just about anything. We take the time to prepare prior to a game or practice so that you can perform fully. We prepare for emergencies. We prepare for weather. Read the rest of this entry »

What Has the NATA Done?

January 20, 2015

This question was asked on Twitter this week. And it’s not the first time. I’m sure it won’t be the last time. But this is a question that irritates me. What has the professional organization done for an individual lately? Read the rest of this entry »

Be Active, Be Heard

June 5, 2014

As Athletic Trainers consider the potential move to an Entry-Level Masters, there is much to be learned and much discussion to be had. It is important that we as professionals hold these discussions and educate ourselves on these matters. This type of a decision in the next few years will be a guiding force in how our profession moves forward. YOUR opinion is important. Please make sure to let it be known! The best thing you can do is to be active within the profession and be an active member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Who I am and What I do

February 28, 2014

People call me crazy (I am). People call me nuts (I am). People ask me all the time why I do what I do? Each day I have an opportunity to educate. Educate a healthcare provider about what an Athletic Trainer is. Educate a parent or a student-athlete about their injury. Educate the public about concussions. Hopefully each day I take that opportunity to educate with a positive attitude. I am an Athletic Trainer. It’s what I am passionate about. I love to spread the word. I hope your student-athlete never needs me on their darkest day, but know that if that shall come, I’ll be there. I’ll be there to manage the injury from start to finish. Because that’s what Athletic Trainers do. Each and Every Day.

Every Athlete Deserves an Athletic Trainer. #AT4ALL

Professional education is something that is ever-evolving and if a profession does not keep up, it is likely to be left behind. With that in mind, a taskforce was tasked with providing information regarding a potential move from the bachelors level to a masters level degree program as the “entry level” into Athletic Training. This group has no authoritative standing, however its recommendations can be beneficial for the profession and the related organizations who do have that power.

You can read the document here: http://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/The_Professional_Degree_in_Athletic_Training.pdf

Let me come right out and say it. When I began this discussion and began reading this document, I was against making the move to an Entry-Level Masters (ELM). I can’t say that my opinion has changed, but I do have a better understanding of the idea to move to an ELM is coming from and some of it does make sense to me. Continued work is definitely needed and thankfully this is not a move that will be made overnight.

This blog I am going to highlight a few points that I found to be important in this document and will provide brief commentary to go along with those points. In future blog articles in the coming days and weeks, I plan to expand on some topics and also share my vision of where our profession needs to head. Definitely check out my first post if you haven’t seen it already! Read the rest of this entry »

Read the rest of this entry »

This has been something I’ve meant to write for some time. It is something that seems to frustrate some within the profession and others are much more nonchalant about it. Well, I’m one who is much more of a stickler.

It is crucial that athletic trainers utilize proper terminology. You want respect from the media and the general public? Earn it. Live it. We must utilize proper terminology each and every day as professionals if we want our profession to get the respect it deserves. It starts with US! I have used the hashtag #AthleticTrainernottrainer numerous times on Twitter and so have other people. Read the rest of this entry »

This is a topic that has been around for several years now and I think it highly debated not only in athletic training, but in many different professions. Over the years, we’ve seen what some would call “degree inflation” in that a bachelor’s degree is no longer enough to be a professional. At one time, having a college degree was a big deal whereas now most people are getting at least a master’s degree. We have to consider if a master’s is the lowest that an athletic training professional should be required to possess.
At our summer session in June, we heard from Micki Cuppett, the Executive Director for CAATE and we also had a lively discussion amongst the students as to whether an entry-level masters (ELM) was the right route for our profession. In the August/September issue of the NATA News Dr. William Prentice from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill takes on this important topic. I believe he does a good job of remaining balanced and presenting the issue without necessarily shooting down the idea of making the transition. He does seem to oppose the idea based on a lack of research indicating that an advanced degree is necessary.
I believe there are advantages of making a switch to the ELM, but there are also disadvantages that have been brought up before. Let’s look at a few potential advantages and a few potential disadvantages.
Advantages
•Advanced degree
•Ability to take additional classes
• Potential to be more research-based
• Believed to strengthen profession by weeding out less interested individuals

Disadvantages
• Additional debt
• Eliminates graduate assistant positions
• Not clear what requirements would be in place for applicants

I do believe there are potential advantages to making this transition. But right now there are many questions that I believe out-weigh those advantages. The additional debt is definitely concerning to many because athletic training is not considered to be exactly the best-paying profession out there and there is no proof that by attaining an advanced degree the salary would improve. I can say that it would have priced me out of the profession. Another is the elimination of the graduate assistant positions. This can tie into a cost factor, but also from an experience standpoint. As Mitchell Gill tweeted me, his graduate assistant position allowed him to get his master’s degree and the experience that came along with that time. I had a former co-worker who did possess an ELM and she expressed concern about the lack of clinical experience that others can obtain when they pursue a master’s.

Probably my biggest concern with the potential transition is there is no standard prerequisite classes that one must take as an undergraduate student. Proponents say that this would improve our profession, but if one can get a bachelor’s in basket weaving and then get into an ELM program, then how has that improved the educational program? In fact, that could decrease the amount of classes required for the athletic training program. Other professions do not have specific undergraduate degrees that are required, but only a list of courses you must take. I’m not sure if that is the right route for us if we want to “improve our profession.”

Instead I have to wonder if a two-step approach is not more appropriate? There are many successful post-professional programs out there that are improving our profession and it is my belief that our professionals need to lean more toward these types of programs after obtaining the bachelor’s degree. This would allow one to become a certified athletic trainer after completing and undergraduate degree (and passing the BOC exam) and then they can choose a specialty of sorts as they select a master’s degree.

As Dr. Prentice says, there is much to be considered before making this big of a transition. I am making my voice heard. You should do the same!

Silly me, I thought a “fact sheet” was supposed to contain facts. But the so-called “fact sheet” that the California Physical Therapy Association posted on its website is full of mistruths and opinions. Let’s address a few of them right now!

  • The CPTA says that the current laws “protect athetes by the regulation of various professionals and vocations who serve the athletic population.” Umm.. which one of those professionals who are regulated are athletic healthcare specialists? Oh wait, NONE of them. Read the rest of this entry »
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