In-Depth Look: Athletic Trainer for World Wrestling Entertainment
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Tara Halaby, DPT, ATC, FST 2 is a Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer (AT) for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Halaby has been practicing as an Athletic Trainer for over 12 years and has been with WWE for 6 years.
Describe your setting:
My practice is based out of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida where our WWE NXT brand is located. We have 92 patients who train full-time at our facility and about 75 who travel full-time on the road. We are a staff of 6 ATs where 4 are based in Orlando and 2 travel full-time on the road with our brands Raw and Smackdown. We stay busy!
My role as a dual-certified PT/AT is overseeing rehabilitation. At any given time, we have a half-dozen long post-surgical rehabs going on along with dozens of other shorter injury rehabs and preventative maintenance projects with our patients. We have implemented neck injury prevention programs, ACL prevention programs, individual corrective exercise programs based on functional movement screen results and other athletic training duties. I also have the duty of doing return-to-sport protocols specific for each patient based on their role in the ring as a sports entertainer.
Describe your typical day:
My typical day starts at 8:00am and ends at 4:00pm. During the day, we have our 92 patients separated into training classes. At some point, each class trains in the ring with their respective coach and in the weight room with our strength coach. According to class times, our patients come in for rehab and our longer rehabs, which require a lot of manual treatments or more attention, are spread out throughout the day.
Some days, I'm in the athletic training facility all day or I'm out by the wrestling rings doing return-to-play protocols. Other days, I'm in the gym with my patients who are in the plyometric or strengthening phases of rehab running them through exercises or putting them through a workout on the turf. Then, there are times I'm on the road covering a show for tour days. Tour days include daily travel since we perform in a different city every night. We set-up and take-down a pop-up athletic training facility at whatever venue we're occupying for the night. My role during show coverage consists of basic sideline coverage, first aid, assisting the physician and taping and stretching before showtime.
What do you like about your position?
I love the people who I work with and the lack of redundancy of my job. The traveling can be fun if I can meet up with friends or family along the way or travel to new places. Every day is different and you know what they say about show business!
For most of my patients, making it to WWE is a lifelong dream and wrestling is their livelihood. I love getting to know my patients as humans instead of WWE superstars. Each patient has been great and their families are amazing. I love my job!
What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young AT looking at this setting?
Well, go out and get experience. Take the internships, meet people, network, work hard, stand up for what you think is right, love your job and don't take the day-to-day challenges so seriously.