Being An "Ultimate Mom"
What a great profession with so much behind the title! In fact, Athletic Trainers hate it when we are referred to as simply “trainers” because that title doesn’t include the majority of what we do, for both the team and for the athlete themselves. As the title does imply, we train our athletes/patients/clients. We assess their injuries, often with first-hand visual information as we stand on the sidelines, and evaluate where they are weak/tight/painful. We then develop a plan of action with the first-hand knowledge of what their sport requires of them because we stand on the sidelines every day and watch them in action. If the injury is traumatic, we hold their hands, translate medical information to loved ones, and are the constant throughout their care, from injury to return to play. If we are treating them in a clinic instead of on the field, we still understand what their sport requirements are because often we get out to their sporting event. That is what makes us more than “trainers”. We want to watch, assess their movement, and then change their plan of care based on those findings. We do this because seeing them participating at their best because of us doing our best is what brings us the most joy.
When we are on the sidelines, the athletes come to us first if they aren’t feeling up to their best, if they are sore, if they have a question, if they are looking for encouragement. We are the first person they seek because of the relationships we form with those we work with, especially when we are on the sidelines. In the clinic, we can relate to the experiences that the athletes have because we have all been a part of a team and understand all the aspects of team work: conditioning, strengthening, team meals, strategic meetings, practice, post-competition review. The Athletic Trainer is present for all and is the behind-the-scenes person who is most vested in the athlete’s well-being because that is our job. In the clinic, we talk to our athletes/patients/clients about their nutrition, mental health, and academics because we treat the totality of the patient, not just their diagnosis.
I am a mother of several athletes. In fact, I call myself the "Ultimate Mom." Not just because Ultimate Frisbee is my favorite sport to spectate, or that my daughter is an Ultimate player, or that I am such an awesome Mom (hopefully my kids don't attest otherwise!). But because I am an Athletic Trainer Mom who brings a fully loaded kit to whatever event I spectate, who carries insurance so I can help in whatever situation I come across, who is comfortable assessing for concussion. Those skills make me an "Ultimate Mom," who coaches appreciate sitting among their fans or on the sidelines. Because the everyone can relax knowing that there is an Athletic Trainer amidst them who is qualified to manage whatever medical event lays ahead!