In-Depth Look: An AT who worked for The Coca-Cola Company

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Name and title:

Deborah (Debbie) R. MacLean

Retired Manager, Health Management, The Coca-Cola Company

Describe your setting:

I worked in a corporate/industrial setting with a 28,000 square foot fitness center located at the world headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company. The facility included locker rooms, an athletic training/physical therapy facility, a weight training area, racquetball courts, a group fitness room and numerous cardiorespiratory machines (treadmills, ellipticals, stationary cycles, etc.). The facility and the programming were referred to as "HealthWorks" and were available to all 5,000 plus employees within the 5-building campus.

How long did you work in this setting?

I worked there for 29.5 years and have recently retired.

Describe a typical day on the job:

I don''t know if any day was typical. Like any other Athletic Trainer, you don''t know what might happen in any given day! However, here are several activities that might happen. I would either open our facility at 5:30am or close it at 8:30pm, Monday through Friday. I also assisted members with a workout plan including weight training, half marathon training, and/or improving their golf or tennis game. I was responsible for conducting biometric screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, etc.) on new members joining the facility. I also reviewed their results with them to help set or improve their lifestyle goals.

Occasionally, I would treat a cut over an eye of someone who was hit with a racquetball racquet on the court or an abrasion on the knee of a fallen runner from outside. I once treated a dislocated little finger after the patient was hit with a hand weight. In another instance, I immobilized a dislocated shoulder on the racquetball court for the EMTs. I was also the first responder for members experiencing heart attack or stroke symptoms. In addition, I visited employees’ offices to conduct ergonomic assessments to minimize the discomfort they experienced at their workstation.

I was in charge of leading a meeting of the inter-departmental wellness team. I also led my staff in planning wellness programming, including our annual health fair with more than 50 vendors and almost 1,800 attendees. I managed a team of 9 full- and part-time staff and participated in new employee selection. I took referrals to orthopaedists or other specialists as needed for follow-up to an injury evaluation. I also conducted ultrasound or e-stim on employees per request from our Medical Services department or their own physician. This is a small sample of daily activities.

What did you like about your position?

I really liked almost all the responsibilities of my position, so this is a difficult question. I have always liked challenges. I became an Athletic Trainer through the apprenticeship route after graduating from Emory University with degrees in biology and psychology. The challenges of evaluating, treating and rehabbing athletes at Georgia Tech were motivating for several years. Then, at The Coca-Cola Company, I faced challenges more administrative in nature.

My first big challenge involved our original aerobic dance class floor. I began to notice and document quite a few injuries to individuals taking and teaching classes, including injuries to the shins, knees, hips and back. After recording this data for about a year, I was able to convince our director we needed to replace the original rubber-type flooring with something more shock absorbing. So, even though we had only been open less than 2 years, we replaced the 2,000 square foot studio with a suspended wood floor, and the injury rate dropped immediately.

A favorite challenge I faced on numerous occasions was customer service focused. Anytime you deal with customer service, there are those who want to complain about something. I loved the challenge of interacting with those individuals and resolving their issue with a win-win solution. I made them think they had won, but know I didn''t give them everything they wanted. Athletic Trainers also face this type of challenge with players and coaches at times.

Another regular challenge was performing workstation ergonomic assessments, making recommendations and receiving feedback. Then, I evaluated whether the changes I made to their workstation had reduced or even eliminated their physical discomforts. Overall, I really liked the continuous variety I experienced in my position!

What did you dislike about your position?

I guess the least-liked part of my job was completing reports and administrative activities. I’m not the type of person who likes to sit still for long

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