Director of Sports Medicine, Pro Impact Physical Therapy
Head Athletic Trainer, Huntingdon College
"I do what I do for the athletes. They are my number one priority."
My main job is to get athletes back onto the field, court, rodeo arena, etc. There is no greater joy in my job than seeing the hard work an athlete puts in to overcome an injury and get back to doing what they love.
You have to love this job to do it. You have to love sleeping a max of 4-6 hours, working all day without a break, and getting home around 10:00 pm. It's all is worth it when I get a "thank you" or a framed picture and letter from an athlete just for taking care of them.
SidelineER® is one of the best inventions to come to a sideline ever. I love the privacy the athlete, doctors, and I have while evaluating or treating an injury. You feel like you are in a private exam room and not in front of 2000 fans.
The athlete is more likely to inform us of a injury with privacy. I can drop an IV on the sideline and never miss a beat. It’s also about twenty degrees cooler in the SidelineER® - and will be even cooler when I am able to get the SidelinER® Air System.
HydratER® is so simple and makes my job so much easier. I'm able to fill up four racks of water bottles and leave them with a group. One designated person with each group moves the cart to different locations. They then bring HydratER® to the sideline to be filled up when it's empty. Typically I only have to fill up each cart twice during a practice. I will eventually have 8 HydratER®s when all is said and done.
COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in all of athletics. For the first part of the pandemic, we kept busy with a handful of athletes that needed extensive rehab following surgeries. By the first of July, we were maintaining athletes - and most of them were working-out on their own. We all know that once they start doing things on their own, they tend to slack on their form and flexibility and potentially end up with lower body injuries. So that's been a challenge to navigate!
With not much happening on campus over the summer, I took the time to work in-clinic with our non-surgical orthopedic doctor, Dr. Derek Woessner. I love my job, and I think I would have gone crazy during the pandemic if not for this opportunity to improve my professional skills! He helped me tremendously improve my differential diagnoses - and improvements of my skills translates to improvements of care for our athletes.
We worked on diagnostic ultrasound reading and ultrasound-guided injection placements for SI Dysfunction, knee issues, shoulder injuries, etc. Now I can slap an ultrasound on a knee and see what grade their MCL tear is, or put it on a torn hamstring and tell how severe the tear is or find a cyst causing wrist pain.
The pandemic has afforded me an opportunity to progress my skills in a way I wouldn't have with my normal work schedule. Instead of just sitting at the house waiting for an answer on when I could get back to sports, I found a way to drastically improve my skills. When sports are allowed to resume, I'll be able to offer better medical care to the athletes.
I am extremely grateful for Mike & Rebecca Ellis, owners of Pro Impact Physical Therapy, the small, private company I have worked at for the last 9 years. They found a way to keep every one of their Athletic Trainers on payroll - none of us ever missed a paycheck during this pandemic, while roughly 80% of AT's in central Alabama went on unemployment this year. Mike and his wife do things the right way and take care of their employees.