In-Depth Look: Associate Head Athletic Trainer for UTSA Women’s Basketball
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Brenna Ellis, ATC is Associate Head Athletic Trainer for University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) for Women’s Basketball. She has worked in college athletics for 18 years.
Describe your setting:
I work in the collegiate setting and oversee our female athletes on the women’s basketball team. Our medical team consists of athletic training staff, physicians, a registered dietitian and mental health professional. I also oversee mental health and sports nutrition services, supervise 8 assistant Athletic Trainers and coordinate billing and insurance.
How long have your worked in this setting?
I have worked in the collegiate setting my entire career, starting as a graduate assistant at the University of Arkansas. I worked 1 year at Towson University as Assistant Athletic Trainer, followed by my current position at UTSA.
Describe your typical day:
My typical day varies from semester to semester. Currently, my mornings are spent doing administrative work and student athlete appointments with physicians, imaging and other groups. This includes working on billing and insurance, scheduling appointments for student athletes or accompanying student athletes to appointments. I also try to schedule any meetings in the morning with our staff, coaches and administration. In addition, we do regular performance team meetings for each sport that consists of the coaching staff, team Athletic Trainer, strength and conditioning coach, academic advisor and any other necessary athletic department staff.
Afternoons are typically filled with providing healthcare to student athletes, providing care at practice or preparing for a game. My team currently practices late afternoon, so treatments begin early afternoon and the day ends with post-practice treatments. My day ends around 7:00pm on a typical day.
What do you like about your position?
I love that I get to combine clinical athletic training and administrative responsibilities in one day. I enjoy working with women’s basketball. I get to serve a great group of student athletes and work with very supportive coaches. I have a wonderful support system in our team physicians, head Athletic Trainer and athletic training staff. I enjoy bringing all disciplines of sport performance together to collaborate and see our student athletes reap the benefit of team approach care. Lastly, I enjoy the science of our profession and being able to implement medicine and science into the sports and competition world. It provides for an indescribable, but enjoyable challenge.
What do you dislike about your position?
One of the challenges we have noticed at UTSA is the student athletes’ schedules are getting tougher to work around. Obviously, their academics are a priority so we cannot pull them out of class to do treatments. It can make scheduling off campus appointments difficult. I often joke we are close to having evening hours just to get everyone taken care of. That could be a reality soon. This can create work-life balance issues for our staff. We are very lucky that our administration has increased our staffing so that some of us can work a non-traditional work day when necessary to care for our student athletes, without working an 18 hour day.
What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young AT looking at this setting?
I love the setting I have chosen. I would gladly tell any young AT that if they are looking for a competitive environment with a diverse group of people who challenge your thinking and skills daily, college athletics is for them. No 2 days are alike and there is a lot of room to grow and expand your skill-set. It has been a very rewarding profession for me, and I would love the opportunity to share it with others.