Like many college students, I ended up graduating without a job offer. However, within a month of graduation I was excited to accept a position as an athletic trainer at Athletico.
I started my new career in the second week of August at Loyola Academy. My position was at the Munz Campus, where I worked with the soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, baseball and softball teams. This position also included some clinic hours. Although college had prepared me to be successful as an athletic trainer, there were a few lessons that I could have only learned during my first year on the job.
Use Your Resources: In the fall I worked with the boy’s soccer teams and the girl’s field hockey teams. I also spent a few hours every week at the Glenview Athletico clinic helping out with front desk things and other clinic duties. Being in the clinic was awesome because I got to build a relationship with all of the clinicians, who have now become resources for me. I found that it carries a lot of weight with athletes and parents when you can tell them specifically who they are going to be working with at physical therapy and that you know them personally. This makes both athletes and the parents feel more comfortable with the rehabilitation process.
Be Adaptable: For the winter season, the plan was to have me transition to the clinic full time while also working Loyola Academy hockey games. That changed after about two weeks when I was transitioned into an athletic training position at the main campus at around the time Loyola was getting ready to start playoffs for football. Although this was a huge adjustment for me, it helped me with being able to adapt to changing environments which is something that will be important throughout the rest of my career as an athletic trainer.
It is important to note that I have had a lot of support throughout the transitions I have experienced so far in my career. From transitioning from college student to certified athletic trainer, to making sure that I had everything I needed at my high school, my managers at Athletico were very helpful. They make sure that I have everything that I need so that I can focus on providing the best care possible to my athletes. One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to work with the student athletes. I see a lot of the athletes while I am at the high school, and I always make an effort to ask them how they are doing. It’s important to remember that they are more than just athletes. Sometimes they just need to talk to someone about their life. Having a good relationship with the students also helps to build trust, which is an important part of the job.
Build Relationships: In this first year that I have been with Athletico I have had the opportunity to network and meet a lot of other healthcare professionals. Not only have I met a lot of physical therapists, I have had the chance to meet a lot of physicians as well. The more physicians that you know and build relationships with, the better the care that you can provide to your athletes. I have also been able to learn a lot from these physicians. I have had the opportunity to observe a chiropractor, a neurologist who works with a lot of athletes and concussions, a sports medicine physician, a hip specialist, and other orthopedic physicians. I have also observed a few surgeries. As with the physical therapists, when you can recommend a doctor to an athlete and a parent and show that you have a relationship with them, it makes them feel much better about undergoing treatment.
More Lessons to Come
In the spring I will be going back to my original position at the Munz campus, as well as being at Loyola Academy’s main campus. I will be responsible for boy’s and girl’s lacrosse, girl’s soccer, baseball and softball. I think that being at both campuses will be great for the athletes because it will provide a better continuity of care, and I have found that most people prefer consistency.
Overall, my transition from student to certified athletic trainer has been a great one. I have learned many lessons that will help me throughout my career. I am also looking forward to the lessons to come, as continued learning is an integral part of any athletic trainer’s career.
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