Healthcare at Its Best: That’s What Athletic Training Means to Me
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May 7, 2018
By Elizabeth L. Augustine, MS, LAT, ATC
Athletic training, for me, is healthcare at its best. It is a very special way to provide direct sports medicine services and to grow alongside your patients for many years. There are so many positives to practicing as an Athletic Trainer (AT). My favorites include the big thank you note from the team at the end of season and the small notes from individual players, stating, “You are the best Athletic Trainer EVER!” I also enjoy the camaraderie between coaches and staff and always feeling like you are part of a team – when your athletes win, you win. However, nothing beats the positive impact I feel that ATs have on our patients. I love the day to day interactions and the chance I have every day to impact their lives.
I recently transitioned out of the secondary school outreach setting into a sports medicine clinic. It was a hard decision to make, because I truly loved my job, but a fantastic opportunity. However, I missed having one on one interaction with my patients. I decided to do PRN or “as needed” work for my previous employer. I provided AT services to a boys/girls basketball game at a secondary school and this year’s seniors class reminded me why I love the athletic training profession so much.
Before I left the secondary school outreach setting, I spent a lot of time with one patient in particular, as she tore her ACL her sophomore year. We rehabbed; she had set backs; she worked hard; she cried; she met goals and she got back on the court.
I remember telling her, “You haven’t even tapped into your potential.” I meant it.
I could see the patient and person she could and would be. I remember our conversations working through her rehab. I remember the conversations on life in general and working hard. I remember the joy I felt when she met her short term and then long-term goals because I was with her every step of the way. Her gains were my gains!
I truly enjoyed those everyday interactions with my patient and those small impacts that I felt I made. And when I saw her play in that game I covered, I felt so much pride. She has clearly worked hard in the 2 years since her ACL surgery, and she is truly a force on the basketball court. Proud AT for sure!
Now, I know there are many things that help shape people, but what I love the most about our profession is we have a unique opportunity to make an impact on our patient’s lives. And not always just the physical part of them. I love the chance to help them grow and get better, while being active and competitive. What a blessing to serve in such a way, and it is something that truly makes our profession unique.
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.