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Athletic Trainer Spotlight | Stacy Carone of University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Stacy Carone, Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine at UMBC, shares the success she’s seen with a sophisticated recovery strategy and Injury Prevention Task Force in place.

university of maryland

What initially attracted you to athletic training?

I knew that I wanted to be an Athletic Trainer beginning in high school. I tore my meniscus playing soccer and a physical therapist spoke to me. I knew that I wanted to work only with athletes– the geriatric and pediatric populations did not resonate with me.

I completed my undergraduate degree in sports medicine and had an amazing mentor, Steve Walz. He taught me to always place the wellness of student athletes first.  He’s incredible and has been one of my best cheerleaders throughout my entire career. That philosophy of placing student athlete wellness first shaped who I am as a practitioner. I still carry that message around with me today.

After I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I knew that I wanted to diversify and impact change in athletes’ lives in a substantial way. I knew that I needed to become an administrator, so I completed my Master’s Degree in Sports Administration.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

Student-athlete wellness is the number one priority. Student athletes are the “why” of why we are here to provide care. They are our everything. So it is up to us to provide the highest level of total care.

Building a strong relationship around trust makes the biggest difference in growing with student-athletes. We have the opportunity as athletic trainers to build a beautiful relationship with students while providing great-level care.

What sports do you typically work with? 

Right now, I am work as the men’s Lacrosse team athletic trainer. I am working with 45 lacrosse players on a day-to-day basis.

What injuries do you typically see on a regular basis?

We see many different types of injuries with lacrosse including joint injuries, concussions, and various oft tissues injuries.  It is a contact sport.

You created an Injury Prevention Task Force. Can you explain why this was important to you?

When I first arrived at UMBC, our injury rates and time lost were extremely high. I wanted to learn more about why the injuries were occurring and what we could do better to prevent some of them, so I created the Injury Prevention Task Force to figure out what injuries athletes are predisposed to based on movement patterns and functional deficits.

Every 4 to 6 weeks, our task force team comprised of our head team physician, our physical therapist, 3 strength and conditioning coaches, and another athletic trainer, all come together and review data. We ask questions like, “What do the injuries look like?” and “What are our numbers?”

Since the Injury Prevention Task Force was implemented in July of 2018, the average length of injury has reduced from 6.31 days to 1.86 days. We know that player availability equals team success. We also know that there are trends with acute and chronic athlete workloads. The workload of athletes needs to correlate to the amount of recovery for an individual athlete. The number one predictor of injuries is volume.

We are dedicated to injury prevention because a healthy athlete is a happy athlete.

What shifts have you seen in athletic training throughout the years?

I think as the field grows and the scope of practice grows, so does the profession; medicine is always evolving and so are we. Athletic trainers have partnered with physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, physicians; our partnerships with these professionals helps to provide the best care for our student athletes.   

What is the most difficult aspect about being a trainer?

The burnout rates are high with this profession and the hours are long.  I have learned that work-life balance is key. While the best athletic trainers are the busiest ones, you still need to find balance with the work that you love. Having a supportive family makes a world of difference too.

How were you introduced to the Marc Pro?

I have always been a huge fan of Kelly Starrett. I would always check out the latest with the Supple Leopard and Mobility WOD. In one video, I watched Kelly Starrett bring on this guy, Gary, and talk about anti-icing. I was automatically hooked on the idea, and did some additional research.

I decided I was going to do some of my own controlled studies with a Marc Pro Plus at Villanova. The idea of not icing started clicking and I learned more about what this machine could do. We saw amazing results. This changed my philosophy about having to use ice for injuries and I could show others case studies to prove it.

What is your Marc Pro protocol at UMBC?

The Marc Pro is catching on at UMBC now as more athletes benefit from using it. We like to keep one in the training room where we hook athletes on to it for at least 30 minutes. We check a Marc Pro out so that athletes can use the device for longer and while they sleep too.

What do your athletes like best about the Marc Pro?

Athletes like that they feel looser and flushed out after using the Marc Pro. Plus, they are usually less sore and have less swelling.

How has the Marc Pro helped you and your team in the training room?

When I started, there were no recovery tools available. Ice was the recovery tool. Since adding our first Marc Pro to UMBC in October, everyone is now noticing the difference in how athletes are recovering.

What is your favorite part about working with athletes on a daily basis?

Getting to make a positive difference in student athletes’ lives. I keep in touch with athletes way after their collegiate careers end. I have been to athletes’ weddings. I like to keep up with these amazing relationships.

What advice would you give to athletes about recovery?

Recover. Even if you don’t feel like your workout was the hardest you have ever done, you still need to recover. Put recovery first; we are now beginning to really understand how vital all aspects of recovery are to injury prevention and athletic performance.  An athlete needs to take personal ownership of recovery and make sure to sleep, fuel properly, and hydrate.

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