Friday, January 13, 2012

Ideas For Educating the Injured Athlete on Self Care

Are Your Athletes Fully Understanding Their Care Plans?

Today’s athlete must be smarter, more sport sophisticated and rule- conscious than ever before. But in athletic sport medicine realms they often are not students "of the game". As athletic trainers, part of our caring for our athletes is to make them more cognizant of practices and routines that will keep them safe, heal faster and prevent injuries from occurring. As certified athletic trainers, we know firsthand the anxiety and depression that accompanies our athletes when they get injured. We also know that while we are explaining the initial care plans to our athletes, the athlete often can't focus on what we are saying due to the stress of the moment.

Question: What do you do to educate your athletes?

  • Handouts, posters, and group talks are generally successful and are certainly a mainstay of the training room.
  • What about getting a guest spot on the local cable station that covers your events? This can be seen by athletes and parents alike and is often aired multiple times.
  • What about individualized computerized injury instruction?

Using Simple Technology To Educate

By creating Power Point presentations on topics of your choosing that include your own recorded voice, it is as if you were speaking to the athlete and giving them the information you want at a convenient time for both you and the athlete.

To ensure more complete care for my athletes, I set aside a corner of the training room as their area for learning. By placing a computer on the desk with headphones, I can select the presentation that the injured athlete needs to view. Since I create the slides and record my voice onto each slide, I am certain it applies in my situation and school.

I am creating a variety of Power Point presentations on topics such as ankle injuries, stretching guidelines, concussion, student assistants’ guidelines, knee and shoulder care, hydration, use of crutches, shin splints, and pre-season instructions. The inclusion of videos via YouTube and media outlet reports certainly adds to the education being presented.

Sports Health can ease the burden of finding material for you to share with your athletes. In the area of concussion, look at the Sports Concussion Tool Kit for Athletic Trainers and Coaches at

Phil Hossler, ATC has been an athletic trainer on the scholastic, collegiate and Olympic levels. He has authored 4 books and numerous articles and served as an officer in state and regional athletic training associations for 20 years. He is a member of four halls of fame including the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s.

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