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Posts Tagged ‘General Posts’

Biohazard

Here’s the scenario: It’s a Friday night and you are covering a high school basketball game. One of the players on your team sustains a bloody nose and has to leave the ballgame. While tending to the player, you notice that the player has blood on the jersey. At this point, the jersey has to be either treated or most likely removed in order for the player to return to the game.

This is not an unusual occurrence and in fact happened in a game that I refereed last week. So what’s the big deal?

Well, in the game I was working the player removed his jersey while he was still on the bench. The National Federation HS rules governing basketball state that a player shall not remove his or her jersey while “within the visual confines of the playing area.” (Rule 10, Section 3, Article 6h) Doing so results in a technical foul. Since the player is on the bench and technically now bench personnel, a technical foul further results in the head coach losing his/her coaching box privileges. So this seemingly innocent event could have potentially game changing implications. Talk about adding insult to injury quite literally.

So here’s the tip: If a player has blood on his or her jersey, make sure that you instruct the player to keep the jersey on and he or she can change it in the locker room. Most players will want to get back into the game immediately and so you may have to reinforce this with them. In my experience, most coaches are oblivious to this rule and so by applying this tip, you can take care of the injury and the issue of blood professionally and efficiently while at the same time preventing some additional negative consequences from taking place.

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This is supposed to be a joyous time of year and yet every time you turn around, the news just seems dismal. If you aren’t careful, all the doom and gloom just might bring you down. So I thought it was important to highlight some stories directly related to the field of Athletic Training that verify that what we do is important and positively affects the lives of those we serve every day. So take a look at these stories and testimonies and feel better about what you do – you are making a difference. Here’s the proof:

  1. While the story is born out of tragedy, I think that the implications speak to service that Athletic Trainers provide. Board members from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association have proposed that nine recommendations to improve the safety of student athletes be implemented. At the top of the list – every every high school have a Certified Athletic Trainer. Check out the story. While it is sad that it took tragedy to get people to finally act, we can take comfort in knowing that Certified Athletic Trainers are viewed as a huge part of the solution, they are valuable, and they help keep students safe.
  2. There is a four-page article in the December 2008 edition of HR Magazine written by Kathryn Tyler highlighting the benefits of Athletic Trainers in the workplace. Here are some excerpts from that article. ” In a 2003 survey report – the latest available – from the NATA, all 32 respondents, including HR professionals and safety managers, said their athletic trainers provide a positive return on investment of about $3 for each dollar spent, and almost all said the severity of employee injuries had decreased by at least 25 percent since they brought an athletic trainer on-site.” She goes on to highlight several success stories including this one. Gainesville, Fl. hired an ATC for their city employees. Steve Varvel, the city’s risk management director, reported that the return on investment “is a 300 percent direct return – $160,000 to $175,000 per year.” In the year after the full-time athletic trainer was hired, “the city reported a 20 percent reduction in the number of workers’ compensation claims and a $300,000 reduction in claim amounts.”
  3. Suzi Higgins, ATC is the Head Athletic Trainer at Case Western Reserve University. She has initiated an anti-tobacco campaign with any team needing an intervention. The program is three fold and includes 1) education; 2) tobacco alternatives utilizing sponsorship from David’s sunflower seeds and Quench gum; and 3) genuine care and concern. Through this program, Suzi knows of two coaches who were heavy tobacco users that stopped and that helped to lead the way for the kids to follow suit. Suzi says, “Knowing you potentially saved someone’s life, it’s a good thing.”

So when you start asking yourself – do I really make a difference? Is what I do really worth it? Hopefully you’ll catch a glimpse from these three quick examples that the answer is unequivocally – YES. Now go out and make a difference today!!!

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In the industrial athletic training setting, one of the more common injuries or conditions that I come across is carpal tunnel syndrome. This can certainly be a challenge to treat. One stretch that can be added to your arsenal in treating this, and other upper extremity injuries for that matter, is a stretch of the brachial plexus. Brachial Plexus Stretch

One little success story to share with you (results not guaranteed) involved a woman with chronic CTS. Her symptoms had been at a relatively dull roar for a while until she started experiencing increased numbness and tingling that were not going away. The symptoms were probably present for a couple of weeks and when I finally showed her this stretch. Her symptoms were gone within a day and she continues to implement this stretch in her normal stretching routine.

Again – taking in the total context – this may be a stretch that you can implement as part of your treatment regime. This stretch is also certainly not just limited to CTS sufferers. This can be used with general upper extremity tightness and more. As always, exercise care when instructing your patients of this stretch and be mindful of any situations that may cause this stretch to be not used in the first place or discontinued.

A couple final thoughts. As you can see from the picture, a small swiss ball was used. I like using the ball because it gives the patient a little flexibility in how they position the hand in order to get the best stretch. The ball provides a little more alterationability (if that’s a word) than using the wall as an anchor. A patient can simply use a ball from around the house to replicate this stretch at home. If they don’t have a ball, try a plastic mixing bowl and placing this against the wall. This will give a similar effect.

Make sure to keep the shoulder at “shoulder level” or lower so as not to aggravate the shoulder or any additional conditions.

Finally, you’ll notice in the picture that I am turing away from the wall. This again is a tweak to the stretch that will allow you to feel this stretch a little bit more. Turn away as much or as little as you wish in order to customize this stretch to personal preference.

Quite honestly this was not a “standard stretch” that I always gave to CTS patients (although one may argue it should have been). The point is – I tried this out one day thinking that it may benefit the patient and sure enough it did. This stretch and others for that matter won’t benefit you gathering dust in the bottom of your “toolbox”. Give it a try – you might be pleased with the results.

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