Athletic Trainer, Oklahoma Baptist University
"I want to add value
to the lives of those
Simply put, I do what I do as an act of service. Yes, I am an Athletic Trainer, and I do focus on providing quality healthcare to our student athletes, but there’s more to it than that. I only have so much time with my student athletes, and I want to make every moment count. I want to take advantage of every opportunity. And, most importantly, I want to add value to the lives of those I serve.
A lot of people look up to me, including student-athletes, coaches, and parents, and it’s my responsibility to give my best each time, every time. My position provides me with both authority and influence, and it’s my goal to leverage those to positively impact someone else’s life in a lasting way.
Lastly, I try my best to make every work-related decision as if my supervisor is standing right there watching me. This is a way I can question my decisions and hold myself accountable. I started doing this last month, and I believe it has led to both better decision-making and better outcomes.
We just purchased ten HydratER® units last month, which were our first Kinematic products! These have been a tremendous help, especially in light of COVID-19. This year we decided to assign each student athlete their own individual Gatorade bottle, so without our HydratER®s, we would’ve had about 20 bottle carriers – just for football alone! Now, we can station a HydratER® with each position group during football practice, then refill the bottles as needed. Not having these HydratER®s would mean transporting each bottle carrier to the refill station, which would require additional time and staff members.
Our HydratER®s will be a great benefit for other sports as well! We plan on using them courtside for indoor sports, such as basketball and volleyball. This is especially helpful because we typically don’t have student assistants for sports other than football.
Wow, what a time to be alive right now! We spent the first 3 months of COVID working remotely and providing services to our student athletes through telemedicine. This was a new and unique challenge for us as we had no prior experience with this method of healthcare. We tried our best to evaluate, re-evaluate, and demonstrate proper biomechanics through video chat, all while having access to little or no equipment. We also took advantage of late spring to prepare for re-opening and welcoming employees and student athletes back to campus safely. This included drafting new policies and procedures and creatively thinking of ways to continue providing the same services, all with new considerations.
While I was working at home during this time, my wife was working as an RN in the local ICU. Our daughter’s daycare was closed for a couple of months, so part of my responsibility was running Daddy Day Care. What a time that was! I also spent time during the spring and summer working on personal growth and development. Personal growth is something I’m passionate about, and I wish I spent more time doing it during the academic year. This involved starting the NATA Leadership Development Certificate, as well as reading new books and listening to podcasts. I’m excited for this growth and I look forward to the changes, both in my personal and professional relationships.
Something I also worked on was continuing education, which included both the OATA Annual Symposium and VNATA. I was looking forward to attending these events in person (I’ve never been to NATA), but the information I took from these events was incredibly useful and will directly improve patient care. I also dusted off some of my Athletic Training textbooks as a refresher for skills that I haven’t used in a while. This was a good reminder and has already proven useful with clinical examination.
Looking back, I am very thankful for Oklahoma Baptist University and the fact that none of us were furloughed or laid-off. I’m also thankful for the time off, which allowed us to reset and change the way we approach what we do. COVID and quarantine has taught us so much, and I’m looking forward to the growth we will see as we face new challenges.
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