During the first month of my graduate assistantship with Cross-Country/Track and Field at Indiana State, I was surprised to see the number of stress reactions and stress fractures which came through our athletic training room. After talking to fellow clinicians, student-athletes, and coaches about this finding, I learned this was not unusual for this time of year. Even when these findings are presented to the coaches, training regimens do not change. They still run 7 days a week. The reason for the unchanged training protocols is simple – they are winning.
Are we a successful Athletic Trainer if our team wins or are we successful when we protect our patients? If we continue to observe the effects of overtraining, take no action, yet the team wins, are we adequately protecting the welfare of our patients? Is the atmosphere of sport and the demand from coaches influencing our decision making?
We know that there is no substitute for rest, but it is hard to convince and educate coaches who have been implementing the same training regimen for years (successfully in their minds due to the team’s success in competition) to change their training routine. Nevertheless, preventing injuries is a large part of our job and we need to advocate for our patients regardless of the team’s performance.
We need to advocate for our student-athletes. We need to use literature and injury data to show our coaches areas for improvement in the training regimen. We need to provide comprehensive rehabilitation and use return to play criteria that adequately evaluates the function of our student-athletes. Health care for sport...Health care for life…
Michael Neal LAT ATC