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university of delaware

Credentials: PhD, ATC, FNAK, FNATA, FACSM, RFSA, Professor, Director of Athletic Training Education, Editor-in-Chief, Athletic Training & Sports Health Care

At the University of Delaware, Dr. Kaminski directs the professional Athletic Training Education Program and has recently established the University of Delaware’s entry-level Master of Science degree program. Dr. Kaminski is the only athletic trainer in the United States to simultaneously hold fellowship status in the National Academy of Kinesiology, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, American College of Sports Medicine, and the Research Consortium of the Society of Health, and Physical Educators.

What initially attracted you to athletic training?

The profession has always been in my blood. In fifth grade, I started working as a manager for our high school football team. By the eighth grade, I had learned taping techniques and started getting involved with flexibility exercises and rehab protocols with athletes, something that continued throughout my high school career.   

Every month, my high school football coach received the Cramer’s First Aider.  He would always share it with me, and it was how I started learning about Athletic Training as a career.

What does a day in your life look like?

I left the University of Florida in 2002, and have mostly stepped away from the clinical aspect of athletic training. My days are now embedded in my roles as an educator, administrator, and researcher. I teach upper and lower extremity assessment, which are foundational classes for Athletic Training students. I also teach a course titled Evidence-Based Sports Medicine that is fundamental in teaching athletic training students the importance of evidence in supporting their clinical practice.   

What research are you currently conducting?

My research has been focused on two primary areas: repetitive head impact in sports and ankle injuries.

My research with repetitive head impact has been primarily with soccer, where players can use the head to advance the ball. My primary focus now is with youth soccer players and protecting them from any dangers that may be associated with the purposeful heading of a soccer ball and to eliminate the “Bobblehead Effect.” Additionally, I have worked with the United Soccer Coaches to create an on-line educational program for youth coaches called “Get aHEAD Safely in Soccer”

I have also researched ankle injuries and ankle instability throughout the years. I am the co-founder of the International Ankle Consortium and this year, we celebrated 20 years of the biennial International Ankle Symposium.

Since the start of your career, what are the biggest shifts you have observed in athletic training?

There has been a shift in thinking with injury prevention. Athletic trainers are doing a tremendous amount of work in the area of injury prevention. Evidence has grown so much demonstrating that interventions can be beneficial with athletes to prevent injuries including advanced taping & bracing techniques, strength training, and enhanced performance assessments. 

In addition, there have been shifts in athlete recovery. Years ago, it was all about practice and game repetitions with very little commitment to recovery from training and competition. The aspect of athlete recovery, not just in the athletic training world, but in coaching, has changed and now the importance of recovery and ways that it can be enhanced are practiced and refined.  Athletic trainers have had to expand their toolbox to include evidence-based practices, and apply them to help athletes recover better.

Why did you have your students read Gary Reinl’s book, ICED!?

We need to be practicing athletic training based on the best available evidence. Our profession gains more credibility when we use the best evidence. Now the evidence is showing that icing may not be the best practice in all situations. Gary Reinl has done some remarkable work to raise questions about a treatment that has been a mainstay of the athletic training profession for many, many years.

This work has opened people’s eyes about icing. Gary’s book cuts against just using ice because that is what we’ve always done! From this book, our students learn to look at different perspectives and why we need to constantly ask questions in our line of work.

How has the Marc Pro been integrated into your classroom practices?

university of delaware

We teach about the Marc Pro device in our Therapeutic Modalities classes and have purchased several units for our students to gain exposure and experience working with them. Our staff athletic trainers are beginning to utilize Marc Pro devices in their acute and chronic injury treatment protocols and their familiarity with the abundance of uses is growing.  We are looking are also looking to integrate the Marc Pro into a clinical trial research project involving the acute treatment of ankle sprains.

What advice would you give students about recovery?

The most important aspect of recovery is understanding the basic physiology/anatomy of how the body works on its own following injury and training to “heal itself”.  When you have a profound understanding, you can apply those foundational concepts to injury and recovery interventions. You can then ask, “What are these devices, exercises, or interventions going to do to supplement, promote, and advance normal healing?”

What is your favorite part about your work?

The relationships you have with your students both past and present. Being involved in the successes (and sometime failures) and watching them grow and mature into heath care professionals is truly enjoyable and special.

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Jeff Watson’s mission is to bring evidence-based, research information, quality training and teaching to student athletes. We got to interview Jeff about what makes his program unique and what keeps him motivated.

university of western ontario

About Jeff Watson: Jeff Watson completed his education at the University of Michigan. He received a Master’s of Science Degree in Kinesiology with a focus on Exercise Physiology, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology and a K-12 Teaching Certificate. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA and the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Western Ontario.

What initially attracted you to strength and conditioning?

Initially, I thought I would be a PE teacher. I started going down that path and realized how much I enjoy working with athletes in a weight room setting. I also realized that I don’t like seeing ugly pushups and poor technique. Movement standards that adhere to our anatomical design are critical for developing quality repetitions. For example, keeping your spine stable and protected while loaded will have a huge impact on a squat, a plank, a push-up or seated in a 5-way neck machine.

Movement standards are not the following—Range of motion, load, effort, speed, or cues. These are all factors and not standards of movements. My job is simply to move people toward better standards of movement.

Once you have created quality patterns of movement you can begin to load them appropriately. Program design becomes simple and uncomplicated because the movement pattern is more important than any exercise that you may want to utilize in your training. Finding solutions for major issues such as hypertrophy, utilizing the force-velocity curve, recovery, and lowering sub concussive impact forces with prudent and productive training has been what has kept my passion in the field of strength and conditioning.

What is your mission in your field?

My mission is to provide evidence based, research informed quality training, teaching, supervision and instruction to our student athletes that will allow them to maximize their athletic potential and reduce the occurrence of athletic injuries.

To find solutions to problems you have to ask athletes lots of questions to get to the heart of the matter. Is your lifestyle at odds with your performance goals? Are you overtraining? Are you using productive recovery strategies? It is my mission to help address these concerns through caring and education. I want athletes to train hard and then get out of the weight room as fast as they can to begin to recover for their next training session. They need to train smarter, not longer. Workouts in the weight-room are typically completed in under 45 minutes so the athletes can maintain focus on quality movement patterns with the neurological intent to involve the maximum number of muscle fibers innervated and the effort put forth on every rep.

Why is recovery important in strength training?

Strength training is built on the concept of progressive overload. If you are not allowing enough time for your system to recover from the stress applied to it then you will not have optimal improvement and performance. The Marc Pro is an excellent strategy in helping athletes improve their muscle recovery from exercise.

I have had conversations with various coaches about monitoring their athlete’s training load and recovery. A possible solution was to create a weekly schedule that would be followed to ensure that there were no dramatic increases or spikes in the training load presented to the athlete. Significant increases or spikes greatly increase the risk of overtraining and injury.

“40% of injuries in American Football were associated with a rapid change (>10%) in weekly training load in the preceding week” (Piggott et. Al. 2009). “When training load was fairly constant (ranging from 5% less to 10% more than the previous week) players had <10% risk of injury” (Gabbet).

Athletes will thrive and perform better when they allow their body, mind and spirit to repair and recuperate. If the individual is not recovering, they are going to break down and get hurt.

Describe your typical day at the University of Western Ontario? 

I love what I do. I usually start working at 7am and end at 7pm, never knowing what to expect as each day unfolds. Academics are a priority at Western and we have a diverse group of students studying in many different disciplines. Because class schedules are all over the place and our weight room is small – but well equipped, I am always working with different teams and small groups of student athletes throughout the day.

I leave work and usually there is a pick up or drop off for one or both of my kids, Maddie and Zach’s activities, my wife Allyson and I usually divide and conquer the transportation duties. After that I usually grab some dinner and review the day with my wife, do the bed time ritual of teeth cleaning and reading or homework project then head back to campus. I write all of the workouts on the whiteboards in the gym using a colorful stash of Expo dry erase markers –I should be a major stockholder. I have developed excellent printing skills through years of practice. This usually takes me about an hour and a half. The gym is quiet and I can be very productive. I am usually writing the workouts from about 9:30 – 11:00 pm. I don’t need much sleep.

What sports do you typically work with?

I work with all the sports, a total of 23 teams. I also work with some club teams too, based on their attendance and who is committed to showing up and putting in work, day in and day out. Teams with great attendance receive high priority scheduling in our endeavor to provide the best “hands on” strength and conditioning program in Canada.

What is your philosophy in regards to strength and conditioning?

jeff watson

My job is to be a service provider to both coaches and athletes. I believe in taking care of student athletes and giving them the tools and resources to soar.

I prefer to discuss what my physiology is rather than what my philosophy is because what we are trying to achieve should be evidence based and not bro science. But, if I was to use a quote as a statement for what my strength and conditioning philosophy is I would lean on Johann Goethe who said something to the effect thatIf you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”

What are your thoughts about the Marc Pro?

I like using the device and incorporating it into our athlete’s recovery strategies. The device uses such a simple concept and compliments your body’s lymphatic drainage system and supports the immune system function. The Marc Pro simply enhances your body’s way of flushing out the bad stuff and bringing in the good stuff. As soon as an athlete tries it, they are sold. Their brain knows that their legs feel lighter and that they are ready for the next training session or game.

What is your protocol for using a Marc Pro with athletes?

I don’t need athletes to expend more energy, I need them to recover. The Marc Pro is really smart and straightforward. Using the Marc Pro is so simple, people think that you are trying to deceive them.

We have four units for our department and eight units on campus. The Marc Pro is a way to individualize an athlete’s recovery program. For example, on a volleyball team your outside hitters, setters and defensive specialists may want to use the Marc Pro to help their neck and upper torso muscles recover and the middle blockers who are jumping for hundreds of repetitions may want to use the Marc pro to help their lower torso muscles recover. People may say that the concept of ‘recovery’ isn’t supposed to be in my lane as a strength and conditioning coach. However, I see that my lane is “What’s best for the athletes?” The Marc Pro is best for the athletes and is why I have them use it post-weight room workout and pre and post practice workout.

What advice would you give athletes about recovery?

I would give athletes three pieces of advice. Number 1, know your body. Number 2, understand how your body works. Number 3, use the Marc Pro.

I have an athlete training with me, that was playing summer league rugby games on a Saturday and then had to turn around and compete the next day as she was trying to earn a spot on a travel team for Canada. She has since accomplished this goal. She was overtraining in a 24-hour period and her body was in rough shape and I had her try the Marc Pro. She kept it for two days and used it for her neck and shoulders, her quads, and low back musculature. She is hooked now because she has felt the benefits of combining her training with quality recovery strategies. When I let an athlete try the Marc Pro for 30 minutes, I ask them, “How do you feel?” Without hesitation, they respond and say that they feel better and want to keep using the Marc Pro.

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

The athletes I have the pleasure to work with are young and eager to improve. I myself like to bring all my youthful energy in the creation and implementation of their training sessions. The athletes always keep you real. They are passionate and driven, filled with motivation, which helps to foster a competitive environment in the training facility and on the competitive field, rink, pitch, court or pool. You want a job where you enjoy the work you do, and every day, I get to say that I do.

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KC Hackman, Head Athletic Trainer at Taylor University, shares how using Marc Pro has helped free up time for his staff so they can treat more athletes at once.

KC Hackman is in his 19th year with the Taylor University Athletic Training Department, with the 2018-2019 year marking his 14th year as Head Athletic Trainer for the Trojans. Hackman also oversees the budget and insurance policies for the Athletic Training Department at Taylor.

What initially attracted you to athletic training?

I have always been an athlete. But in high school, I injured my back and could not do contact sports any longer.

I heard about athletic training and decided to go to an athletic training summer camp at the University of Kentucky. As a junior in high school, this was my intro to athletic training. We learned the nuts and bolts of the profession, like taping, basic anatomy, and the RICE method. I decided to major in athletic training in college and the rest is history.

How many student-athletes are at Taylor University?

Approximately 500 student-athletes.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

My philosophy has changed over the years. When I first graduated, it was all about ice and compression. You would keep ice on for 20 minutes, and then take it off for an hour. The thought was, keep the area cold and keep the inflammation down.

Throughout the years, I have learned and researched more about icing and beyond. I started thinking more about if the body is causing inflammation, then maybe it is trying to heal itself.  Now, I focus on more soft tissue work, massage, Graston, cupping, and other recovery methods.

What sports do you typically work with?

I work with Men’s Basketball, Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Golf, and Men’s and Women’s Tennis.

Do you typically see similar injuries across all of the sports you work with?

With basketball, we see a lot of knee issues and ankle sprains. In tennis and baseball, we encounter shoulder and elbow injuries. And in golf, there are typically injuries with the lower back.

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

There has been a major shift with the discussion of icing. More questions are being asked about when is it beneficial to do the cold whirlpool? When is it beneficial to heat?

It used to be that you would ice and use electrical stim for pain control. Now, we are going beyond just treating the injury.  We actually go into the recovery aspect of training.

The thinking is, “How do I help my pitcher recover quicker today so that he can be better recovered for a game that is in 3 days?” We are not just thinking about what we do when an athlete gets hurt.

Do you use ice for recovery?

I only use ice as a pain control. I rarely use it. For example, if a player gets hit by a baseball on the field, I use it to help with the immediate pain.

How were you introduced to the Marc Pro?

I went to the PBATS conference in January of 2017.  I met Gary at that conference in passing. Throughout the trip, I heard about all of the different technologies and modalities for athletes, everything from sleep chambers to recovery tanks. All of these things were ridiculously expensive and not practical for my facilities. I had a small budget with my NAIA school and I heard mention of the Marc Pro.

When I returned back from the conference, I continued to do research about the Marc Pro. During the season, one of my best pitchers got injured and nothing was working.

I ordered a Marc Pro to see if it would help him get back to play.  While the senior didn’t have the best year, he wouldn’t have played at all if we hadn’t found the Marc Pro. And, in he had his best start of the year during his last start of the season.

How many Marc Pro units do you have at the university?

We have 3 units now. My staff keeps saying that they need more units because we are always using them. We can use the Marc Pro for so many things—from acute muscle strains, to swelling, to recovery.

What is the protocol for using a Marc Pro in your training room?

The majority of treatments with the Marc Pro are done in the training room. The athletic trainer can then place the electrodes in the right spots for each individual athlete.

How has the Marc Pro helped your athletic training staff?

Using this device gives us more time to do other things and address more athletes. We are then not all tied up and are able to work with multiple athletes at the same time.

What is the most difficult aspect about being an athletic trainer?

Time. We work weird, random hours. There is no off season.  The fall is always the busiest for us because all 500 student-athletes are all participating at the same time, either off or on-season. But while the hours can be crazy,  I get paid to watch sports. It is amazing.

How are you invested in the student-athletes?

We are a resource. We are a confidante. We can be a sounding board. If an athlete is injured, you have to help an athlete recover emotionally and mentally too.

Athletes are the most vulnerable when they are injured and they are counting on you to protect them. You have to hold them out of games and practices when they might not want to. They might get mad at you, but it is your job to navigate the risks and put their health and wellness first.

And sometimes, you have to deal with the complete opposite side of the spectrum where you have to tell an athlete 3 words—”Suck it up.”

What advice do athletes hesitate to listen to?

Athletes do not want to hear that they are injured and having to sit out. Or, even worse, hearing that their season is probably over.  Telling an athlete that their season is over has to be one of the hardest part of the job. You know how much the athletes have invested in the sport and their teammates, and how much that can hurt to hear even if it is the best decision.

What modalities do you use in the training room?

I am not a big modality guy. We have access to ultrasound, stim, and other devices. There is a new trend with the foam rolling and rolling out on lacrosse balls. We teach athletes how to use these tools properly and effectively.

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

It helps me feel young. You get to learn from them and they learn from you.

But one of the best parts of the job is seeing athletes be successful.  When you have an athlete who has been injured and then you get to see them return to the sport, it is the most rewarding thing.  As an athletic trainer, you don’t do this job for the accolades and praise. You do it to see the smile of an athlete doing what they love.

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Timothy Clark, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine at California Baptist University, shares the personal fulfillment he’s found with a career in athletic training.

What initially attracted you to athletic training?

california baptist university

Since the 8th or 9th grade, I knew that I wanted to be an athletic trainer. I grew up in upstate New York, and have always been into athletics. My godfather was an athletic trainer with the New York Islanders Hockey Team, and I always thought it was so cool to see him running on the ice to take care of the players. I knew that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be around athletes.

I have now been a certified athletic trainer for 25 years—since 1993.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

Simply be aggressive. Be aggressive with treatments and rehab. You want to get the athletes back quicker. Back on the field, back on the ice, back to play. Finding ways to encourage faster and more effective healing is important.

What sports do you typically work with at California Baptist University?

I work with both men’s basketball and the cheer and dance team.

What injuries do you typically experience with cheer and dance?

You see everything with cheer and dance. The team is very competitive and the women are pushing their bodies to the limits.

We see all types of injuries—ankle, knees, dislocated shoulders, concussions. You name it, our cheer team has been through it.

What injuries do you typically experience with basketball?

We see a lot of injuries in basketball too. Ankle injuries, ACL, low backs, stress fractures.

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

california baptist university

There has been a lot of buzz with the ice controversy. Do you ice an injury or not?

While there has been a lot of talk about icing, there has also been a shift in overall thinking. When I speak to other trainers about not icing, there has not been much push back about not using ice as much for treatment.

I have changed my own practices over the years. Ice is no longer my “go-to” thing. I think it is important to flush out the area and allow the inflammatory process to take place. I want to help an injury run through the appropriate course and not inhibit the process.

What is the most difficult aspect about being an athletic trainer?

The hours that we work can be extremely long. We are not on a typical 9am-5pm schedule. There are nights, weekends, holidays. Plus, there are many additional demands that are placed on us. You have to love what you do and be passionate about the job.

What advice do athletes hesitate to listen to?

Athletes don’t want to hear that they can’t play. That is not what an athlete wants to hear.  But if you have a good relationship with an athlete, they trust you and will listen when you say that taking a step back is the best option to get back to play faster.

How were you introduced to the Marc Pro?

I was the Head Trainer of the Anaheim Ducks Ice Hockey team. One day, Gary Reinl came into our training room with the Marc Pro. He told me about the benefits of the devices and it didn’t take long before the players were loving the devices too.

When I left the Ducks and went to CBU, I brought a Marc Pro with me. We have been using them at CBU ever since.

“It helps get athletes back to what they love to do faster. It is an amazing tool for the rehab treatment process.”

How many Marc Pros do you have at the university?

We have 5 to 6 units now at CBU.

What is your Marc Pro protocol at your school?

We keep the Marc Pro in the training room. We try to use the devices before and after practices with the athletes.  The standard for athlete use is 15 minutes before practice and then 15 minutes after practice. I find that using the Marc Pro is a good base for other rehab activities. I can use the machine and then follow up with massage and rolling. I also travel with the Marc Pro because it is so portable for on the road.

What do your athletes like best about the Marc Pro?

The athletes like that they feel it working. You can see the muscle working. You can see swelling leave the area. You can visually see what is going on. Plus, the athletes say that they feel better as soon as they get off the machine.

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

It helps by doing what it is designed to do. It helps the treatment process. It helps get athletes back to what they love to do faster. It is an amazing tool for the rehab treatment process

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

Seeing athletes progress is tremendous. And, I love the environment with the athletes. I love the type of people the athletes are too.  We have good kids at this school, and I get to work with them everyday.

When athletes are happy, we, as athletic trainers, are happy. Being part of the process of keeping an athlete healthy or helping them return to their sport is extremely rewarding.

What advice would you give to athletes about recovery?

Do it as much as you can. Recovery is something that we are continuing to do more research on. The more you recover, the more you can push the next day.

Joel Luedke, Director of Athletic Training & Sports Performance at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, relays the shift towards movement-based injury prevention protocols in sports medicine.

university of wisconsin-la crosse

What initially attracted you to athletic training?

I didn’t know what an athletic trainer was in high school, but I knew that I wanted to do something in the kinesiology field when I was in college. At freshman orientation at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, I heard about athletic training. I liked that it tied in medicine and sports, and I decided to move forward with athletic training as my major. Plus, I got to avoid organic chemistry! 

I started taking courses and then got into the athletic training program during my junior year. During my clinical time, I worked with football, women’s volleyball, wrestling, and high school teams.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

My philosophy has evolved over time. I like to think of myself as a ‘jack of all trades’ that is always adding to my toolbox to help with injuries and recovery. I have focused on both soft tissue work and rehab, and different ways to address athletes’ issues.

What sports do you typically work with? 

I have worked mostly with football for the last 5 years. With football, we have had ankle injuries, shoulder injuries, AC joint separations, shoulder soreness, and hamstring strains.

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

There has been a huge shift to incorporating soft tissue work with athletes. There also is now a lot more movement-based tools and protocols to encourage athletes to move and rehab.

We now also focus on how to identify the root cause of chronic injuries and think about why the injury actually taking place as opposed to just treating the symptoms. We ask the questions about why certain areas of the body are weak and look at a more global view of why an injury is taking place.

What is the most difficult aspect about being an athletic trainer?

It is difficult to dedicate enough time to each individual. You want to give an athlete all of your time, but with so many athletes and limited resources, that is not possible.

What advice do athletes hesitate to listen to?

Recovery. Focusing on sleep and regeneration. Spending time on rolling out and helping the body recover. Athletes tend to avoid the things that are not the most fun or exciting. However, recovery is some of the most important work an athlete can do.

How were you introduced to the Marc Pro?

I am a big fan of Kelly Starrett and his soft tissue mobility ideas. On Kelly Starrett’s page, I saw a video featuring Gary Reinl and Mark Bell where they discussed the Marc Pro and why you shift away from icing as a recovery tool. A lightbulb went off in my head when I heard Gary describe why icing may not be the best protocol for injuries and I read Gary’s book.

Starting to learn more about icing, I began to challenge my own mindset about the effectiveness of using ice. I had the chance to speak with Gary and learned more about the logic of avoiding ice with treatment.

We were taught to use ice in school. When I thought about the “why” of why do we use ice, I couldn’t answer that question fully.

How many Marc Pros do you have at the university?

We have 3 units at our school and want more. We are looking at other avenues to get more so we can use more units for recovery, and not just injuries.

What is your Marc Pro protocol at your school?                         

We keep our Marc Pros in the training room and tell athletes that they need to be hooked up to the device for a minimum of 30 minutes to experience the benefits.

What do your athletes like best about the Marc Pro?

It has been quite the process to get athletes away from ice. We explain the physiological components of swelling and then athletes begin to understand moving away from icing.

For example, we had two athletes with dislocated elbows, which yielded a lot of swelling. With the Marc Pro, the swelling with these injuries was significantly reduced and these athletes could start rehab protocols much sooner.

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

Utilizing the Marc Pro for injuries has allowed us to incorporate and add more active recovery protocols and move away from passive modalities.

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

It is amazing to see what athletes can accomplish by doing the little things that can help them become very successful. Being a part of an athlete returning to the field after a major injury is an incredible part of this profession.

What advice would you give to athletes about recovery?

Make it a focus. Make sure to train smarter, and not just harder. Don’t short change recovery and truly make it a priority. 

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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.

You may also like these Athletic Trainer Spotlights:

Ron Linfonte: St. John’s University

Kenny Wilka: Marquette University

Andy Bliz: University of Buffalo

Athletic Trainer for the University of Buffalo, Andy Bliz, discusses his philosophy for getting athletes back on the court faster and why movement is the best medicine for a speedy recovery. 

university of buffaloWhat initially attracted you to athletic training?

I have always been involved in sports. In high school, I played football, wrestled and did track and field. When I first started college, I started in the nursing program, but I gravitated more towards athletic training.

I completed my undergraduate clinical education at Western Michigan University with a degree in Athletic Training. Through my clinical hours, I rotated with many different sports. I went to graduate school at Eastern Michigan University and received my Master’s Degree in Sports Management.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

I believe that athletes need to get the blood flowing and the lymph system pumping.  With faster recovery, athletes can return to play much quicker than doing RICE.

What sports do you typically work with?

I work primarily with the men’s basketball team at the University at Buffalo. I travel everywhere the team goes, and our main travel months are from November through the end of March. We also have off-season practice and conditioning throughout the year, so I am constantly working with the players.

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

The biggest shift has been from rest to movement. It used to be that you would cast ACLs, now you get them moving quicker. With ankle sprains we know getting the ankle doing rehab quicker pays off. There has been a shift away from just resting with injuries. Instead, the new focus is that tomorrow is day one of recovery and rehab.

university of buffaloWhat is the most difficult aspect about being an athletic trainer?

There is a huge time commitment with athletic training. Also, you have to manage the athlete’s drive to compete in an unsafe environment. Sometimes you have to slow an athlete down from running through the brick wall with injuries. As an athletic trainer, you have to ensure that a player is practicing and competing safely.

How were you introduced to the Marc Pro?

Initially, I heard about the device when I was at Michigan State. When I arrived at UB, I had the opportunity to get one new thing for the training room. I contacted Gary Reinl and purchased a Marc Pro.

What are your thoughts about the “Ice Age”?

I try to stay away from icing injuries as much as possible. I read Gary’s book, “Iced!: The Illusionary Treatment Option.” The concepts that Gary discusses, sparked my interest and confirmed some of my ideas. I was able to learn more about ice and how it can hinder recovery instead of promoting it. Now, I primarily use ice to cool the water down for Gatorade.

How many Marc Pros do you have at the university?

We have 6 to 7 units total at University at Buffalo.

What is your Marc Pro protocol at the University at Buffalo?

We keep the units in the training room and keep each athlete hooked up to the device for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. If an athlete’s schedule permits, then we encourage them to be hooked up to the device for longer.

I also travel with a Marc Pro so I can set players up with it during bus rides and in hotel rooms.

We sometimes will send athletes home with a Marc Pro unit, but only in rare circumstances. We tell athletes to use the Marc Pro at home for at least 2 to 3 hours at a time and recommend that they sleep with the device running too.

university of buffaloWhat do your athletes like best about the Marc Pro?

The athletes like that they feel recovered and looser than before a treatment.

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

The Marc Pro allows us to setup athletes to get recovered quickly. An athlete’s joints might not be moving really well when they first come into the training room do to any swelling and edema, but after using the Marc Pro, they feel looser and the joint less stiff. This makes rehab more functional and appropriate than keeping an athlete on a training room table doing ABCs.

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

My favorite part of the job is helping an athlete get back on the court post-injury. Seeing an athlete run after a major injury or back on the field after surgery is the best feeling.

What advice would you give to athletes about recovery?

Be active. The worst thing athletes can do is to not be active when they are sore. Heading for a jog or spinning on the bike can help flush out the body when you are sore.  Athletes also need to sleep at least 7 to 8 hours and fuel with the proper nutrition.

Continue Reading…

Why RICE is Outdated & What you Should do Instead

Athletic Trainer Spotlight | Ron Linfonte of St. John’s University

David McDonald, Head Athletic Trainer of UNF Sports Medicine Department, shares how he found fulfillment and camaraderie through his career in college athletics. 

university of north florida

Could you share about your career in athletic training?

My whole family was in the medical profession, and I was always around athletic trainers throughout high school.

I went to college to play soccer and during my freshman year, I had a stress fracture where I was out for a full season, and I then transferred to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Oklahoma State had athletic training as a major, and I found that as a better fit than pursuing a business degree.

I’ve been fortunate in my career to work at a lot of great schools with great staffs. From Texas, Oregon, Chicago, and now Florida, I would not trade my experiences for anything as they have made me who I am both personally and professionally.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

Being a servant overall– you are serving student-athletes and providing them with quality healthcare. You need to be able to coordinate things quickly with doctors, coaches, and athletes.

You also need to deliver the best care to athletes as quickly and safely as possible. We never put a student-athlete back on the field if they are not ready.

What sports do you typically work with?

I am the Department Head overall, with over 19 sports at our school. I mainly work with men’s basketball and men’s golf.

What are the typical injuries in golf and basketball?

In golf, we see a lot of hip and back injuries. In basketball, we mainly see ankle, knee, and back injuries.

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

There is more of a focus on recovery now, with finding the latest recovery tools and integrating manual therapies.

What is the most difficult aspect about being a trainer?

The time away from family. I have a two-year old son, so being away from him can be extremely tough when I am gone for three to four days at a time. I travel with men’s basketball mostly from November through March, but there is work with all of our student athletes year round, so my staff and I are always working to help them get better.

How were you introduced to the Marc Pro?

When I was at Oregon State University, I had a few complicated cases. One case was with a women’s volleyball player. She had hip issues, low back issues, and could not stay healthy. I was trying to figure out what to do to help this athlete, and I was looking at other recovery mediums online.  I came across the Marc Pro on the internet and reached out. I had a 2-hour conversation with Gary Reinl from the Marc Pro team who sent me a 3-month Marc Pro loaner to try.

I hooked the volleyball player up to the Marc Pro, and at this time, she was very frustrated. She had already worked with trainers and physical therapists.  She kept the Marc Pro on for four hours and then said to me, “I have never felt like this before.” She was so excited and happy. Her parents even said, “Thank you so much for what you did with her.”  I knew that something must be working with the Marc Pro.

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

The relationships. The camaraderie of college athletics. I always say that I have never left college– I graduated, but never left the atmosphere of college.

The athletes are my kids. From former athletes having amazing success at the professional level to ones that went professional in something other than sports, staying in touch with them is the best part.

What advice would you give to athletes about recovery?

Do it frequent, do it often, do what’s comfortable. Have an open mind towards it. With any new modality and technique, there is skepticism, but you have to have an open mind towards it because you don’t know what will work for you.

You have to do regular maintenance on your body and fuel it properly, just like a car. Listen to your body and take care of it.

More interviews from athletic trainers you may be interested in:

Ron Linfonte of St. John’s University

Pat Giruzzi of Hamilton College

Ronald Linfonte, Associate Athletic Director of Sports Medicine at St. John’s University, sat down with us to discuss his storybook career and the progression of sports medicine.

st johns athletic trainingCould you share about your career in athletic training?

I was a student at Seton Hall University in the mid-70s. I wasn’t good enough to make the baseball team, but I played golf during my first year in school. An athletic/academic counselor recommended that I consider athletic training, and the rest is history.

I started working with all sports as a student trainer at Seton Hall. While in college, I also was hired as high school athletic trainer at Columbia High School. I was eager to jump into this opportunity because I knew that I could gain valuable experiences by working more hours across all sports. At Columbia High School, I was the only trainer, so I had hands-on training with every sport you can imagine.

During my senior year at Seton Hall, I was at an Eastern Athletic Trainer Meeting. During the meeting, I started speaking with a gentleman and later found out he was from the Cleveland Indians baseball team. He recommended me for a job as an athletic trainer with the Cleveland Indians because he liked how I presented myself, and within a week, I was at Spring Training in Tucson, Arizona. I was able to arrange to pause classes at Seton Hall to gain that experience with a professional sports team.

I was also offered a position with the NJ Gems, from the Women’s Basketball League, to be their athletic trainer. So, I was able to work the first three years of my career where I was the athletic trainer for the Cleveland Indians from March through November, and then with the women’s professional basketball team from November through March.

What prompted you to shift away from the Cleveland Indians team?

I did not want make a career with minor league baseball, and I said that if I wasn’t in the major leagues, three years was going to be my limit. I had the opportunity to work at Princeton University for 3 to 4 months before I interviewed and accepted a position at Montclair State University.  I had interviewed at the same time at St. John’s University, but was not offered the position.

I kept checking the NCAA job boards throughout the year and saw that the position at St. John’s University was still open in June. I called about the job, interviewed, and was offered the position. I have been at St. John’s now for 38 years.  You never know what is going to come your way. I have had a storybook career.

st john's universityWhat initially attracted you to athletic training?

I was attracted to the relationship to athletics and the level of care that goes into the profession.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

Treat the athletes like they are your own children. And give back and serve the profession, be it at the local, state, national, sport conference, Olympics, and more.

Some trainers don’t have the passion to continually learn and give back. You have to have passion for this job. I still get a rush from traveling with teams and being on the court at Madison Square Garden.

What sports do you typically work with?

When I started at St. John’s, we worked all sports. At the time, we had 27 sports with 3 athletic trainers. Today, we have 8 athletic trainers and 17 sports.

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

When I started, it was all about treating injuries. Now the focus is the prevention of athletic injuries and also recovery. A huge part of our job is the recovery of an athlete.

We spend more time now on recovery and prevention than we ever did before.

What is the most difficult aspect about being a trainer?

The time commitment and traveling can be a grind. The NCAA allows year-round basketball practice. So as trainers, we get 2 weeks off in April and 2 weeks off in August.

st john's universityHow were you introduced to the Marc Pro?

I met Gary Reinl at a national athletic training meeting and also saw the Marc Pro in a publication. I spoke to him for over 3 hours about my philosophy about the negative aspects of icing for athletes.

What are your thoughts about the “Ice Age”?

I share the same philosophy as Gary about icing. The icing craze started in Major League Baseball with a picture of Sandy Koufax icing his arm in the Mid-1960’s. When people saw that image, they thought, “Should we be icing too?” and it led to a major shift towards icing for athletes.

How many Marc Pros do you have at the university?

We have 10 to 12 units at St. John’s.

What is your Marc Pro protocol at St. John’s University?

All of the units are used in the training room.  We don’t allow athletes to check the units out for home use. A trainer will also put the pads on the athletes and take the pads off too. We found that athletes would pull the pads off and damage the Marc Pro’s pads and wires.

We hook an athlete up to the Marc Pro for 15 to 20 minutes.

What do your athletes like best about the Marc Pro?

Once an athlete tries the Marc Pro and they see the results, they want to go on it everyday.

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

We don’t have to tie up other therapy machines. By using the Marc Pro units, we save the trainers’ time and allow athletes to use one of the best tools for recovery.

st john's universityWhat is your favorite part about working with athletes on a daily basis?

The satisfaction of seeing an injured athlete returning back from injury and back in the lineup.

You were selected as an athletic trainer for the Olympic Games. What was that experience like?

Being selected as an athletic trainer for the Olympics was the highlight to my career. The process for selection is long and arduous, and consists of multiple assignments and evaluations to ensure that the Olympic Committee is selecting the best medical professionals.  I had the honor of working with the Olympics from 1986 through 1996 and worked with amazing athletes and people. I also had the privilege of meeting President Bush at the White House alongside the US Olympic Team.

What advice would you give to a potential athletic trainer?

I would tell someone who is interested in the field to gain experience in as many sports as you can with both men and women. Do not limit yourself to one area.

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Athletic Trainer Spotlight | Pat Giruzzi of Hamilton College

Athletic Trainer Spotlight | Brandon Aiken of The University of South Carolina Aiken

Brandon Aiken, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine at the University of South Carolina Aiken, shares what excites him about sports medicine and how Marc Pro complements that passion.

athletic trainer spotlight brandon aikenHow long have you been an athletic trainer?

I have been an athletic trainer for over 20 years. I started out as a grad assistant and working as a rehab tech, with over 1,500 hours of internship hours.

What attracted you to athletic training?

I have always been interested in athletics. I injured my knee playing football and we had an athletic trainer come to the school. Seeing the athletic trainer, I thought to myself that athletic training offers the best of both worlds. In athletic training, there is the medical side of the profession and the sports side too. The job is a lot of fun and there is amazing satisfaction with bringing athletes back to play.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

I believe in treating the whole athlete, not just the injury. There are physiological components to athletes that must be taken into account that are both mental and physical. There are multiple elements that must be taken into account from nutritional deficits, stresses from school, to sleep deficiencies.

What sports do you typically work with?

I am lucky enough to work with all teams. In the fall, I work primarily with women’s volleyball and travel with the team.

athletic trainer spotlight brandon aikenWhat injuries do you most commonly address?

There are a wide variety of injuries, but most commonly I see ankle injuries, shoulder injuries, and issues with the knee.

What is the most difficult aspect about being a trainer?

There can be long hours with time away from the family. I have a 5-year old and 2-year old, so being away from them during travel seasons is difficult.

How and when did you hear about the Marc Pro?

I heard about the Marc Pro about 5 years ago. I am a fan of Kelly Starrett and his thoughts about mobility and working out tissue in the training room. I found Gary Reinl’s video from the CrossFit Games about not icing injuries. I liked Gary’s courage to say no to ice and thought that the theory of not icing made sense.

Initially, I started with a soccer player and did not use ice for treatment. I went home that night and thought, “Am I doing the right thing?” A few days later, the soccer player was feeling better, faster than we expected.

athletic trainer spotlight brandon aikenHow many Marc Pros do you have at the university?

We have 24 units at our school. Our treatment protocol includes the Marc Pro because it allows us to get athletes out to the field quicker. Because athletes see the Marc Pro’s benefits, we have to offer seasonal priority to teams that are in-season. Every year, it is in my budget to buy 2 more Marc Pro units because it is impossible to keep them in stock for the athletes.

The units are always checked out, and 4 of our athletes have purchased their own personal Marc Pro devices.  We have a check out sheet that includes the Marc Pro unit number and has a place for the athletic trainer to sign for approved athlete usage.

What do you tell athletes who check out the units?

We train the athletes on how to use the device and tell them that you are looking for the biggest contraction possible. We also say to turn it as high as you can tolerate, be in a completely relaxed position, and use it for a minimum of 4 hours in a row.

What do your athletes like best about the Marc Pro?

Simply, the athletes see the value in the Marc Pro because it allows them to get better, faster.

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

We include the Marc Pro in a range of motion and strengthening exercises. I am also a strength coach and we don’t recommend athletes ice post-lifting. Why would we do it for injuries? Now I only use ice for keeping water cold.

The Marc Pro moves things along so much faster and doesn’t slow the healing process down. Ice does not allow for the body to do what it has to do. With the Marc Pro, recovery times are faster, we can reduce pain, reduce swelling, increase range of motion, and strengthen. In turn, this leads to sustained and long-term recovery–complete recovery for the athlete.

What has been the most surprising thing you have learned throughout your career?

Everyday, my job keeps getting more fun. Someone once told me, “If you know everything in sports medicine, you should find a new job.” I am always looking to learn because there is so much to learn about how to get better in a sport. We have to get away from the thought that “we have always done it this way.” Our team incorporates continuing education courses into our budget every year to support ongoing learning.

What is your favorite part about your work?

I love the relationships that you build with athletes. It is such an amazing experience to see athletes come back from an injury.

Want to hear more? Watch our interviews from the NATA Conference, where talked with 13 athletic trainers about why they are leaving ice in the cooler and taking a new approach to recovery.

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