How I Made It: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training

How I Made It: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training


The best thing I could share with you about my career path is I stayed where my passion was and I repackaged myself and I kept an eye on the trends in the industry that gave me the most satisfaction and I am in the field of wanting to keep people as healthy and as vibrant and as independent: physically, mentally, spiritually. 6-dimensional whole person wellness. And I think that’s where all of us in the healthcare profession, whether we’re in a specified niche, we are really probably all united. And there’s so much out there for all of you. My recommendation would be not
necessarily to go down a career path with a title. I want to be an occupational therapist. You might be disappointed after you’ve spent a lot of time and money. I want to be a physical therapist. That’s what I wanted to be and as soon as I was assigned my first physical therapy practicum I realized
that’s not what I wanted to be. It was a lot of patience. I wasn’t cut out for
that. I was in the right field in the right career path, but in the wrong profession for me. It was a one on one and my temperament didn’t do well with
that. So, luckily I didn’t spend a lot of my parents money and my time figuring that out. I learned really fast on that one. So, I stayed in the fitness industry and just kind of worked my way around the bend as it told me what to do and I would get jobs, volunteer and expose myself to as much out there because the career path changes constantly. What physical therapy was when I went to
school is totally different now. What athletic trainer, there wasn’t
even athletic training back when I was in school. I was a physical education
major. Started teaching high school at all three local high schools here. Left teaching high school and trained Jazzercise instructors, because I had the physiological background in that training, worldwide, had a wonderful time dancing myself all over the world. Took my education and my formal background and put it to work doing something I really, really loved and then realizing people were writing stories about how we were all getting injured jumping around dancing in bare feet. and our trainers were fixing our ankles and our hands and our backs. and realizing as we’re getting
older things need to shift. So my focus went into geriatric fitness and now the fastest growing population in the world is over 65. So, that’s a huge area you’re going to want to consider in any part of our healthcare industry. The majority of us are getting older. So, get some education, get some experience. At Vista Del Monte Fitness and Aquatic Center we will take on anybody that wants to try physical therapy, occupational therapy, I oversee that department as well, we do medicare Part B, we do medicare Part A, we do skilled nursing inpatient, we do outside community outpatient, we do group fitness classes in the pool, on land, we do personal training in the pool, on land. So we offer a lot of different things and all I will say is if you spend a lot of time and money learning one thing, you’re only going to be good at one thing and in this industry there’s probably very few, and you all might agree with me, very few organizations, agencies or institutions that have a 40 hour a week job doing exactly what you want. So, you’ve got to be willing to put that hat on, turn it this way, put it on backwards and say I can take my book knowledge and put into practical use So, when someone comes to me from Westmont and they want experience at the Fitness and Aquatic Center, I don’t really care how many degrees and certifications they have. I want to know they can apply their knowledge and work with an older person that says, “Oh, that hurts when you asked me to do that.” Now, how do I restructure that exercise
so that I can still get at the bicep and not kill her elbow? There you go. Okay. Well I have been working here for 22
years, so I am also adjunct faculty as well as the athletic trainer or one of the athletic trainers here. I started off actually knowing what I wanted to do as a freshman in high school. So, I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted to do and that was because I wanted to change the way it was and I wanted, as a female, to have that change make a difference. And so I had five brothers. They all played sports. They all got hurt. I played sports and it just, you know, that’s usually how, even my students now, get interested in it. I’m treating them and they’re like, “I really like this field.” and the students that work for me they’re like, “They have a great job,” or “they’re learning a lot in here.” So, the biggest aspect of athletic training is yes, it’s like PT, but it deals with athletes only. Okay and so you can’t, in athletic training, open a clinic because you would have to work under a PT or a medical doctor. So a lot of athletic trainers work at school settings. They’ll work within a clinic, but they won’t… So the cap of owning something is limited, especially in California. It’s not a licensed state for athletic training. So, that’s a little different. But, most of the time you’re going to find an athlete in the school setting, whether that’s, you know, at the high school level, college level or all different professional levels, as well as it’s going into dance, it’s going into military. So, there are a lot of different other areas that athletic training is starting to touch into. Even corporate. They are going into corporate as well. The main thing with athletic training is
that it is under Kinesiology at most schools. Some schools it’s a little separated. They have gone out of Kinesiology but it is a study of movement and dealing with the physical aspects that may happen. So, we want to be able to prevent injuries but a lot of times we’re the first responder to an injury. a lot of times where the first responder
to an injury so that’s what athletic So that’s what athletic training is. Is we’re right there when it happens. The difference between althetic training and PT is I will send them to the doctor and PT is typically getting them from the doctor. And they’re being, you know, given a script for PT. Where in athletic training I might be able to take care of their injury before I send them to the doctor or while they’re waiting to see the doctor because it takes a couple of weeks to see a specialist. So that’s an exciting part that the athletes, you know, start to feel better, “You sure I have to go?” They always try to work their system like, “I don’t really need to see that doctor, do I? I’m all better now.” So, that’s exciting and very rewarding to see an athlete who was high-caliber, get hurt, be depressed and then you all of a sudden get to put them back onto their field or court and they’re excited again and happy and that’s really rewarding to me, especially at this level. You’re going to have different types of personalities at all different levels of an athlete. To me the community college is the most rewarding level. I’ve worked at the high school level, I’ve worked at the professional level and I’ve worked at the division 1 level. So out of all the levels I just personally love the community college level. The classes here, so that you know if you’re interested or think you’re interested in physical therapy, even occupational, my beginning class is Health Education 104 which is introduction to athletic injuries and I touch base on the first day I ask what everyone’s interested in and, you know, half the class might be athletic training and PT, the other half is personal training, we might have some orthopedic surgeon, you know, doctors that want to eventually be a doctor or chiropractic and so I plug that class into just learning the basics: How do you hydrate an athlete? What’s a sprain? What’s a strain? What’s the difference between the two? And so just those slow steps to start getting interested in the field. I do have a lab portion that’s a lot of hands and a lot of times they’re like, “Oh, this is the best part.” So they start to realize that they want to use their hands. They don’t want to be a researcher. They want to actually help somebody. So, you do have to have the passion and the feeling that you can communicate with people one-on-one or in groups, because that’s huge and a lot of people have that opportunity, if they go through my program or the program here, is that you can do work experience here on campus in the athletic training room and you really get to find out if you do have the personality and the drive to be what you think you want to be and it’s a rude awakening for some people. They’re like, “This is not for me. I thought it was and it’s not.” And then there’s others that just go with
it and they just absolutely drive. So, there’s a real need to find out and like Peggy had said put yourself out there for 50 hours of service to somebody, volunteer at the rehab institute, the hospital, Sansum. So, you just put in those hours and you get exposed to so much and not only does it look good on a resume that you did this, but it also gives you the idea that maybe I don’t want to go that path. Without being stuck into, “Now I just paid for college and I don’t want to do what I just went to college for.” So, there’s such an avenue. And so if you are interested in our area it’s really important that you come down to athletics and physical education or kinesiology and touch base with our
department. Our department head, Kathy O’Connor, can help with making sure that if you need to see me for athletic training you come to me. If you want to go exercise science or personal training, Ellen O’Connor. So, we get you going in the right path so that you don’t take the extra classes that you might not need or think you need because something might… The problem is a lot of the Cal State’s and UC’s have so many different paths and then you take extra units that aren’t necessary. We want to try to keep you on path as quick as possible. So, a lot of people say that I started young. So, if it seems like there’s a period of time here that… It’s 25 years that I’ve been doing this. But, sophomore in high school I had a knee injury and I went to PT. And that’s how I kind of got into…So, once I started to decide on colleges, PT was the track. So, I wanted PT. Unfortunately, at the time when I was trying to get into colleges, there was a lot competition. And so getting to PT, I had a harder time. I went to a couple of schools got in, maybe to a few, but I didn’t want to go to some of those schools and mainly because you want an accredited school, really. When you’re looking you want to make sure it’s an accredited school. So, the one school that I fell in love with was in Connecticut. So, I’m from New York and the 1 school I loved was in Connecticut. And when I went in to talk to the Dean, they so nicely said, “Well, you couldn’t get into to PT, so is there anything else you’re interested in.” And I said, “Well, psychology.” And they said, “Oh, well psychology and our OT program are very well connected. So, there’s a lot of psych involved with OT.” So, I reapplied for OT and I got in. And so that started that sort of thing. And I guess the next thing I could sort of touch on is there was a lot of psychology involved. So if you like psychology, I would say it’s
definitely a good area to go. As far as PT vs OT, that was one of the very
big differences. It was a lot of psychology and we did a lot of Pediatrics as well. So, if you like kids that was another thing. I’m trying to…So, like I said, it has been a long time. So, the career path now is a little different. When I went you could come out with a bachelor’s and you could get a job right away and it was easy. You didn’t have to have a masters and you
didn’t have to have an, what they call now, OTD or PTD. Now a lot of you guys are going to undergraduate school and then you have to reapply to a PT school or an OT school and have lots of debt. And fortunately it wasn’t like that for me. So some of this may not apply. I just want to put that out there. But, my school was called Quinnipiac College, that’s a Native American name, and like I said it was in Connecticut. And it was a 4 and a half year school. So, you did your two years undergraduate and then you did two years of your, they called it, pre-professional. And that was all your…They tried to weed you out. I’ll be honest, it’s a tough curriculum. They gave you in 1 semester, you know, neuroscience, physiology, kinesiology, anatomy, along with statistics, bio-statistics. Yeah, it was not easy, but worth it. So, I guess…And I don’t know how they do it now. So, it’s sort of one of those things, it’s almost like they sort of crammed it all in, in those 4 and a half years. But, it seems like you’re able to get a lot of that stuff over with in your undergrad. So, that’s kind of nice. You can get rid of, you know, if you take stuff in the summer, those things that you really don’t want to mess around with. If you’re not feeling the physiology part and the neuroscience and all that. And then the half part, which is 4 and a half years, the half is a 3 month practical. So you would…So, I did mine in San Jose,
which is kind of actually how I wound up out here. So, I did 3 months in San Jose and realizing it doesn’t snow here, I quickly decided I would move out to California eventually. But, I worked in the state of New York for a very long time after or at least it felt like a long time. I don’t know how you explain PT, OT difference, but when people ask me I tend to just sort of say, OT’s are the psych part of the patient and PT’ was always the muscle and strength part. So, and that was the best way I could explain it to people. I don’t know if you have a better way. Now there’s a ton of overlap. There is really a lot of overlap. And if you need to talk function, because I’m sure we’ll get into billing which is always fun. So, if your…As a therapist you need to justify why someone is in your office and you need to talk function. It’s not about pain anymore. It’s not, you know, my arm hurts. Medicare won’t pay for that. Medicare wants to know, can you eat? Dress? Drive? Can you go to work? Can you garden? And they put a cap on the amount of money they’re gonna pay for your care. So if somebody comes in to us after a knee replacement, then we’re going to give them an evaluation and we’re going to then give a plan of care to the doctor, for his signature or her signature, to sign off on that. And that plan of care will then give us X amount of visits based on the typical of what that particular knee surgery would require for rehab. If they don’t meet their goal then we can apply for an extension and get more. But typically there’s only so much they will pay for, for that time. They’ve already got it all calculated and figured out. Yeah, it’s 1700, up to 1900 and we’ve been pretty lucky to get extensions to double that, but it doesn’t always happen that way. But, I think OT is more activities of daily living to stay in the game of life So, psychologically you want people to be able to take a shower by themselves, be able to cook their meals again in the kitchen and have good balance, so when they reach over the stove they don’t fall into it. Whereas we’re thinking about basic function of body parts. Can they build the strength to extend the leg once again so that they can stand up and go work with Allison and learn how to mobilize around the kitchen again. So, they do overlap. And physical therapy you have to be like she said, very time, very organized. You only have so many billable units and you can’t waste time letting grandma walk down the hall and go to the bathroom. You have to figure out how can I bill for every step she’s going to take when she goes to the bathroom So you get real creative, real cost-effective, but that just comes with the territory and all of the experience, and just learning to live with the programming and what’s expected. But, it’s a lot of fun. Arts and crafts. The artsy fun recreational part of what we do with the Fitness and Aquatic Center is keeping people in the 6 dimensions. It’s easy for therapists to think of a patient as an arm or an elbow or I’ve done 4 knees today or I do backs. You know, well what’s connected to the back? They’re not… The patient isn’t going to really necessarily reach their goal if they don’t feel good about themselves. So, as important as it is to understand all of your origins, insertions, bones, muscles, all that stuff, it’s really important to know how it connects up here with their intellectual experience and then their heart, their emotion and their spiritual experience. Because if they don’t think they can get better, it doesn’t matter how many push-ups you do, it doesn’t matter what your gait training pattern is. If they don’t think they can do it they’re never going to do it. So, it’s psychological. Your psychological background will do nothing but help you. So know that you’ve got that BA and it’s in your toolkit and that’s great. Build on that and the rest will all come
together. We just need to keep remembering that people have upstairs as well as downstairs and it all needs to connect. And there’s cultural stuff too. Yeah, the cultural. What’s the six dimensions? The cultural is important. Yes, physical wellness, emotional wellness, social wellness, if people are in so much pain and they don’t have the ability, because of an injury, to get up and get out and get moving, they tend to become reclusive. They don’t join with their friends. They don’t take the walk on the beach with the gals and go have coffee afterwards. So that plays on their psyche. So, you’ve got your physical well-being that’s important. That’s where we all kind of come in. The physical. Because, if you can’t move and it hurts to move or you’re afraid you’re going to fall when you move, you pull back and you lessen your social abilities. So, social is another one. That connects with emotional and your spiritual and then your vocational. Find your focus. Why do you get up in the morning? There’s a reason to get well. There’s a reason to do what Susan has given us. You know, after I have, you know, strengthened my quads and got myself back on the court, the reason I’m there is because I love to play basketball or because I want to coach basketball and work with kids or those kind of things. So, we try to look at that whole person: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational and social. And athletic training it is changing over because we’re trying to stay in line with physical therapy. So, let me go back to little bit of the educational aspect. A lot of my students want to be a physical therapist and I tell them, “You need to decide what you want to be after 4 years.” Okay, that is huge because life can change and then you can’t go to grad school right away and if that’s the case, you don’t want to be making $10 an hour with a bachelor’s degree. So, you need to find a field that’s close to physical therapy or occupational. Somewhere where you’re trying to get into school. Like they said, it was hard then. It’s hard now to get into schools for graduate work. And so in the meantime let’s find a job that you can do and so I tell my athletes, I mean my students, athletic training is a great avenue right now, but within seven years you’re going to need a Masters, because in physical therapy you’re going to now need a PhD. So, those steps obviously are adding a lot of money to an education, but we’re finding that, that’s where people are really becoming really good at their job and not finding just the book knowledge. Book knowledge is one thing but you’ve got to be able to translate that to hand knowledge and being able to work with people. And so athletic training will be going to a Masters, but right now you guys are in the window that might actually pay-off, where you might go to a 4-year program that switches over and you only have to do an extra year. Instead of 2 or 3 in a Masters program because they’re in transition switching over. And that may really pay-off to the people
that are in school right now. Going that route. But, again with getting a PhD or even a masters right now in physical therapy, which is switching over to that PhD, you’ve got to get an undergrad mimicking it, in-a-sense, because you have so many prereqs that you have to take to get into school. And if you did… Let’s say you got a degree in athletic training and you took anatomy as a sophomore, it only lasts 6 years before you gotta take it again to get into your, you know, if it’s your doctorate or whatever it is. So, you really want to stay on track of taking your classes so you don’t have to retake them just to get into a program and I’m finding that with some of my students now. I have student on her 6-year plan and she’s having to retake. We do actually delve into amputations below the knee, above the knee amputations. The thing about occupational therapy is that it got its name back in 1917 when people were coming back from the war, lots of amputees and at first nurses were taking care of them and it was basically to get them back into their occupation, back into the workforce pretty much. So that’s where occupational comes from. Everyone always thinks that we help people get jobs. We don’t help you get your job, but we help you get back into your job or a new job where you have an injury like an amputation or any other injury. So, we would… I’ve never worked with anyone for any of the amputations below to be honest. I only know that with upper extremity. With lower it would be to get them to use the… If they have a device like a prosthetic. We work with prosthetics. We work with scar tissue. We work with edema, which is swelling around the area to get the prosthetic to fit onto the leg or the arm. There’s a lot of new things out there. A lot of technology now where things are attached to muscles and it can read the muscle, the myography and it causes the arm to move. It’s crazy now what’s out there. I kind of feel like I wish I could see all of that and be around it all. So, we would address: okay, well you have this prosthetic now let’s get you up and try and get you walking to, here’s the function, the kitchen and let’s make something, let’s get you to the bathroom and help you use the toilet, the shower, let’s help you take care of
your baby. You know, those are the things that really the occupational therapist would do. Whether it’s below or whether it’s here, it’s always about getting them to get back into their, whatever their occupation is. Whether it be a housewife, you know, a therapist. I could tell you, I had an experience when I was working on my Masters in sports medicine/sports injury, I was personal training because I needed to do something during the day because I went to school at night And a firefighter had been in a coma and when he woke up from his coma he was saying, “My leg is killing me. My leg is killing me.” And they ended up having to take his leg from that accident that he had. So, he came into the gym to workout and he says, “You know my goal is to figure out how
I’m gonna get a prosthetic on this leg and be strong enough to walk on it.” And I
said, “Okay. Well I’ve never worked on anyone that’s an amputee but we’re gonna figure it out.” And to learn just the muscles that he only had basically a nub from his hip socket, so a very short part of his femur and I had to learn how to use that, attach it to cables to strengthen the nub so that it could handle his prosthetic. And just to learn that was just step-by-step, I’ll figure it out and it was… You know, you can figure things out by just working with people and I was just as determined as he was. And the day he walked in on a prosthetic,
I was like he has no crutches. He’s walking. And it was such a reward to see something that I didn’t go to school for and just be able to be that person that was like… You know, he had all the arm strength in the world but he needed that to be able to support that prosthetic. So it’s a great experience to deal with all.You know and I’ve dealt with Special Olympics and dealing with their types of injuries. Just this weekend we had a softball tournament here. A girl got hit in the head in her helmet. I went to 1st base to see how she was doing and I’m just talking away and she looks at me, she goes I’m deaf. You know, she didn’t say it but she said I’m deaf and I’m like okay we’re going to start all over with the questions. So, I had to change all of that and really talk to her in a different way. And then when I left, she was fine, I left and her mom, I passed her mom, she goes, “She did tell you she was def, right?” And I’m like, “Yeah. We got all that straightened out after I was talking to her for a little too long.” You know, but it’s like those kind of things you just have to make the adjustment and being a people person and caring for people is so important compared to just opening a book and knowing that you can take a test. The other thing about volunteering and/or getting aid jobs, early on, is you make a lot of networking connections. And it’s really who you know. People can help you get indoors, get jobs, get into schools, meet the right people. So, it’s really very effective if you connect the dots as quickly as possible and I had a great story of PTA. In fact one of our best physical therapist has never gone beyond physical therapy assistant and probably makes close to what physical therapist make because she started early, she knew that was what she wanted to do. She got her pencil and her paper out. She says, if I spend this much more money to go to school and get a PhD and I have to do da-da-da-da-da and this is where I want to live. I’m going to do this and I’m going to get my job now and know the people and get in all the doors and she has done very well. So she didn’t go beyond. Do you know Joanne Slyvester? Yes. One of the best. It’s because these women are passionate, awesome and made their connections. And they’re doing very well without advanced degrees. So… In fact sometimes, I don’t know if you still can, but PTAs and I think assistants, you can challenge the test. You can challenge the test and, not only that, but many places don’t have the budget to hire the PhD’s as they come out of school because they want much more money. So, if you’ve got a clinic that’s struggling or a small business, you can get some pretty decent work if you don’t have to be paid that higher dollar. So it’s just another, the other side of, not
necessarily. You’re also not responsible for writing out all the paperwork. Oh my God. If you’re passionate about working with people the charting and what’s expected of you as a licensed physical therapist will eat up the majority of your day. It is. It’s tough sometimes. So my schedule, I come in at 8:30. I have an 8:30, a 9:00, a 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30. Then I go to lunch. So we work on 30-minute blocks and then evaluations are 60-minute and that goes pretty much the whole time. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten through my years. When I first started it was not a 9-5. Though it was supposed to be a 9-5. You stay late. You can’t get all of your paperwork done. Your time management skills are not all
there when you first start. So it seems discouraging in the beginning and you’re like, “Oh my god. I thought it was 9-5 and it’s not. I’m here until 6 or 7 o’clock.” We used to take charts home with us. So, we don’t do that anymore because we have all the computer stuff now. So you get better at time management which is very, very important. If you’re a good time manager, you’ll be fine. It’ll be good. So a typical day, as far as what I see, is 30 and 60 minutes. In my area, where I am, like I said I’m a certified hand therapist, so I see pretty much only shoulder to hand. I chose that route and I will say, I chose that route because I, like you, like to see people get better. So, I didn’t take the psychiatric route and I didn’t take the pediatric route because it just saddened me. It was just something I couldn’t really do so I stuck with orthopedics. And I love it. I still love it and it was very much, you know, you have your orthos, your shoulders, wrist fractures, carpal tunnel. I mean there’s so many different things and one more thing I should probably mention about OTs that was different from PTs, was we got to make splints. So as a hand therapist you get to make splints which was so much fun. So I can show you some. So you did work with your hands a lot and it wasn’t… it wasn’t very…You got to see an end, you know. Someone comes in they’re hurt, you get to see them get better. And that was really what I was really going for with the hand therapy. I can show you. So, we use plastics so it’s different from what you get when you go into, like, the hospital. They used to do the plaster of Paris. They don’t even do that anymore. So I get like big sheets of this plastic and you guys are more than welcome if you want to touch and play around. So they look like this when we get them and you can pass that around if you want. And then we get to make these kinds of things. Which I made this for a thumb arthroplasty patient. It’s a reconstructed thumb. So, they wear, this one they wear at night. What was that? You need one? So the cool thing, like I said, we get to make all these little splints. This patient had…This patient was interesting. This patient had surgery at his wrist and it was reconstruction of the entire wrist. He worked in a car place. An auto-body shop. So when I made it for him it looked like that. And then he went and taped it all off and he put auto-body paint on it so it looks like a Nissan Sentra. And then he put stickers on it and brought it back and I said you have to leave that with me when you’re gone. And then there’s the over the counter stuff that you could just order for people, but most of these I made. This is the stuff you learn in the field. So, when you do go to school, I remember we had a semester and it was, okay we’re going to make this splint and this splint and that was it. It was like you got to make 3 or 4 splints and then the semester’s over. Goodbye. Here’s your midterm. And then you’re kind of like, “Okay.” When you get out into the field as a student, actually, I learned a lot of this stuff. And then once you get out, after years and
years, you just sort of perfect the way you make them. So like I said, this is mostly stuff you get when you’re out there and just kind of working with patients. This is a finger splint that I made for someone who had a tendon repair So they had to keep the finger, actually they had to keep it this way to keep it up. So this was a tendon repair they had to keep it up. So I made that and then just some hand exercise stuff if you want to look around. This was another, this was like I said, another big thing about the difference PT and OT that I gravitated toward. I’m artsy. So, I’m like, “Oh, I get to make stuff.” And that was the other big thing about psych. You get to do a lot of arts and crafts. You’ll see that in some of the psych stuff. With OTs you get to make things. and that was fun too. Oh gosh. Everything from pick up towels to watch people fall and pick them up It’s quite a… Yeah. Jump in the pool at the last minute when the fitness instructor can’t show up because you’ve got a flat tire on the freeway. Just a jack of all trades, but I love what I do because I get to work with all facets of the health care profession. From occupational therapy, I work with the physical therapist, the OTs, the trainers who work very closely with City College. If you’re at all interested in working with older adults and athletic training or instruction group fitness or whatever. We’ve been very closely working with
Cathy O’Connor and Ellen. And you come over to our gym and we’re kind of a lab. So, that’s an opportunity. So I try to help schedule that. I organize stuff that people want to do
that they don’t think they could do. Like let’s go take a walk on the beach. Building that confidence. So we’ll organize fun wilderness stuff to do off campus. So, it’s just a bunch of different things from folding towels, like I said, to planning/programming. I was actually hired to help design, equip, and program the only fitness and aquatic center for older adults in the tri-counties. We are open to about 350-400 outside community members. So, could we say an age? Older. And guess what? You’re all going to be older tomorrow then you are today. So, that’s kind of it in a nutshell. All kinds of stuff. Typically, I’m here 12-15 hours a day. If I’m not teaching I have a full 8 hour day and then if there’s any event at night it’s on top of my normal 8 hour day, but I can’t complain because I take like 10 weeks off in the summer, but I am here during all holidays because sports go on. The campus is closed. Well, you know, the gym is open because our basketball team is practicing. So, really it’s year-round except we tend to try to close out a little bit in the summer. But, my typical week it’s about anywhere from 55-65 hours, but, you know, when you love what you do… Sometimes it’s, you know, you’re watching games. It’s not like I’m doing paperwork, I mean, yes, that’s part of it, but a lot of my time is…yesterday I had a double header softball and men’s tennis match. I was out in the Sun, hanging out, watching the game, getting paid to watch the game. Okay, I probably worked for about 10 minutes. I worked for about 10 minutes hands-on in about 7 hours. But, you’re working. No, my eyes are working. I’ll be there for 7 hours. So there are definite percs to that. I said, “I don’t want to work 9-5 inside.” So, I chose the school setting to be able to go out, do what I want to do, watch, you know, athletes. You know, they’re so excited to have people sitting there watching them and and then they’re like, ” Oh. How’d I’d do?” And I’ll be able to say, “You know what? The reason why you’re hurting is because now I can see why.” You know, if they come from practice I’m like, “I don’t have time to go out to your practice, because I’m covering something
else.” But, the minute I go out to a game and I say, “Well now it makes sense.” So being able to do that because I’ll have coaches that will come in and ask questions. You either have to send me film or you need to wait until I can get out to watch the event to find out why they’re hurting. Because a lot of things are repetitive, you know, it’s like why is that happening? So the hours, you know, I say that in my beginning class, you know, it is a field that you have to love, because you are going to put in a lot of hours. But, I really enjoy it and it pays off because you do get to go out and watch games and it’s a variety and there’s 2 of us
here on campus. 2 athletic trainers. So, we switch sports every 2 years. So, it’s a change of sports as well. So I’m not seeing the same sports. My first 10 years here, I was the only one here, so I was seeing everything and getting…that’s definite burnout. But, now it’s like changeup and we get to go to different events and so it’s nice that way. And the students that I have, I typically carry about 17-20 students that work with us. It’s a really rewarding program for them and I’m teaching them at all aspects of that time frame as well and whether they’re in the actual athletic training or they’re out at an event with me. So that they’re learning. So that they can go on and be that athletic trainer somewhere else or get hired here. You never know. I believe it’s the accreditation is important to get your license, I think it is. Well, in athletic training you have to go to an accredited school or you can’t sit for the national exam. And then you won’t be certified. An accredited school allows you to sit for your actual test that makes you what you just went to school for. So, I went to school for athletic training and I could say I have a degree in athletic training, but I can’t be an athletic trainer if I don’t sit for the national exam. Just like a nurse. You have to take the national test to become a nurse You can graduate and have a degree in nursing, but not be a nurse because you haven’t sat for your boards. Same with law school. Being a lawyer. You won’t be hired. Almost every area is going to have some type of national boards or exams. Yes? So some schools that offer the major may not be accredited? Yes. Athletic training. East Bay had athletic training but you could not sit for the exams after being there. I’ll have to tell you a real quick, emotionally cool story. One of my older adults that I worked with, she was using a walker and I’m really opposed to that unless it’s the
only way to keep them up and get them moving and get them connected with other people, but I I love to see people get on those walking sticks before because they really stabilize and help you keep your center of gravity over your base of support rather than leaning forward and training your body to be off-center. She’d been using a walker and her grandson wanted her to be in his wedding in the summer. And she was coming around 90, 90 years old, and the family says, “No. We really don’t want her in the wedding because we’re afraid she’s going to walk down the aisle with the walker and have a fall and we don’t want to have to hold her up and make it look ‘old person’ in the wedding.” And I felt terrible and she felt terrible. So I said, “May, you come over here. Let’s practice. You’re gonna learn to use those walking poles.” So, she put her mind to it because there was a goal. She wanted to be in her grandson’s wedding. She wanted to stand in that picture. She wanted to stand upright. So, she not only learned to use the walking poles, had excellent beautiful posture, but we took the crafty side. We took the walking poles, because they didn’t like the looks of them, we painted them the color of the dress she wore in the wedding. Put sequins on them and ribbons to match the outfit. And the second fun story is one of my other older adults who was a very renowned artist. She was using a walker and didn’t like what she looked like. As she was using her walker she saw herself in the window and said, “Oh Peggy, I’m so embarrassed. I look like an old woman.” Well she was 89. She was an old woman. But, she was an incredible water-colorist and acrylic painter. And I’d always wanted to learn to paint. So, I said, “Okay. I’m going to teach you to use these sticks and you’re gonna teach me to use these ones.” So we exchanged and it was really…So, that’s kind of a physical, mental, emotional. That’s exactly…My grandmother broke her hip at Christmas time and my sister announced she’s getting married. She goes, “I’m walking down that aisle. I’m not using a walker.” There you go. And she walked down the aisle. You know, she had that goal and that determination. So, that’s really rewarding, you know, when you can see an older person that has an injury or a drive that’s going to get them to the other side of it. Keep them in the game of life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *