Communicating at a Parent/Team Meeting
Posted August 14, 2018
By Elizabeth L. Augustine, MS, LAT, ATC
As the fall high school sports season begins, Athletic Trainers (ATs) across the country are preparing their athletic training facilities for the upcoming influx of athletes and injuries. An important event during preseason is the parent/team meeting. This meeting is a great opportunity for ATs to connect with parents and students.
As ATs, the parent/team meeting is a chance to introduce yourself and help educate parents and students on your role. Part of being an AT is creating relationships and this meeting is a first step in that process. Keep in mind, this may be their first introduction to an AT, so you should look professional. The parent/team meeting is a chance to create a positive impression and show ATs as an essential part of the team.
Our role as an AT is important, so be sure to educate parents on what they can expect from athletic training healthcare services. Explain specific expectations for how the athletic training program operates. Expectations should include athletic training facility hours and location, contact information, and when you accept calls (for example: will not accept calls after 9:00pm). Also consider providing a brief overview about injury protocols and state laws, as they pertain to the school and the athletic training program.
Setting a standard of care, as well as expectations, from the beginning, can help foster a positive parent/student/AT relationship. Although each AT will have his or her own expectations to share, below is a checklist of topics to discuss with parents and students.
- Athletic Trainer’s Role - Discuss the role ATs play within the sports medicine team. Let parents know about the team physician and other team members of the sports medicine team. Share how referrals to the team physician will occur and what the parents can expect from an office visit.
- Injury Protocol - Parents need to know the injury protocol: from initial injury, to calling them, to plan of care, to discharge. They need to know what the AT will be doing to care for their student athletes. Explain it all to them. With parents of high school and younger aged students, extra communication is necessary.
- Sports Medicine News or Research - Share any updated sports medicine news or research, as it pertains to the sport. Promote healthy choices, with nutrition or fluid replacement, and direct them to pertinent websites or resources.
- Paperwork and Handouts - Hand out important papers, forms and policies. If you utilize any specific testing (such as ImPACT® testing), include a handout explaining the program and what will be required of the student to participate. Include a contact info sheet to hand to parents, if they want. If the school has an athletic training webpage, direct parents to that as a resource.
- Student Athlete Expectations - The parent/team meeting is also a time to explain expectations for students in the Athletic Training Facility(ATF). ATF rules can be reviewed and shared and also what is expected from a student athlete.
In the end, the parent meeting is a chance to remind parents that an AT is a wonderful resource! Encourage questions and dialogues about injuries and sports medicine, during the parent/team meeting and beyond. Let the parents know you are there for them and their kids.
About the Author
Elizabeth L. Augustine, MS, LAT, ATC has been an Athletic Trainer since 2006 and lives in Claypool, Indiana. She graduated from Manchester College with degrees in Athletic Training and Exercise Science and a minor in Spanish in 2006. She received her Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Supervision for Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne in 2009. She currently works as an Athletic Trainer for a Sports Medicine doctor in Warsaw, Indiana. Her athletic training interests include concussions, creating policies and procedures, and injury rehabilitation. In her spare time, she enjoys running, playing tennis, doing puzzles, and spending time with her husband and two young daughters.