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What role has an athletic trainer played in your life?


Athletic trainers touch many lives. Student athletes and their families. Employers and their work force. Legislators and their communities.

Photo courtesty of NATA News

When a 16-year-old hockey player collided with an opposing player during a high school match, it would have been easy to dismiss it as just another hard hit that is so common to the game. The athletic trainer quickly noticed the player’s exposed and bleeding hand and realized a skater had severed a major artery. By applying pressure to the wound and stabilizing the victim until emergency responders arrived, the athletic trainer saved the young hockey player’s life from an injury that according to doctors would’ve been lethal in two minutes without such a quick response.

– “I’ve taken all the positives from it. I could be dead … The doctor said I had two minutes to live [if not for the quick action of an AT]” – Brady Barron (student athlete), Methuen, Massachusetts

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Athletic trainers Kevin Parker and Deb Springer raced to administer CPR and AED to a volleyball player on the court who had fallen unconscious and wasn’t breathing. After several rounds of AED and CPR, the victim started breathing again, but remained unconscious. Paramedics arrived soon after and took the victim to the hospital where doctors would determine that the player had an irregular heartbeat and without the aid of the athletic trainers had less than a ten percent chance of surviving the episode.

– “I’m still trying to wrap my head around the 8 percent [chance of his daughter to live after she collapsed of a heart issue] … We’re so thankful the AED machine was there and for the two individuals [ATs] who helped her… She had just the right people in the right spot at the right time” – Darin Wood (Parent), Grand Rapids, Michigan

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On and off the court athletic trainers are lifesavers. When athletic trainers Linda Bobo and Amanda Benson witnessed a car accident in which the driver showed signs of distress, they decided to stop and help out. Benson ran into the SUV where she saw the driver’s rolled back eyes and purple face. Upon hearing from the passenger that the driver may have suffered a heart attack, Benson and Bobo reclined the driver’s seat, providing CPR inside of the car. On the fifth cycle, the driver became conscious and an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital. When looking back, it is clear to Bobo that if they hadn’t done something to help him he would have been dead or brain dead by the time the ambulance arrived.

-“As people started telling me about these two amazing women who saved my life, it became clear that I was the luckiest man in the world … It was better than winning the lottery” –
Mark Paxton, Dallas, Texas

Photo by Vernon Bryant / Dallas Morning News, reprinted with permission in NATA News

An otherwise uneventful day was turned upside down when a baseball coach called to tell school athletic trainer Maria Rosanelli that one of his players had been hit by a car while fooling around with his teammates. Rosanelli arrived on the scene where the boy was foaming at the mouth and making snore-like noises. Recognizing that the noise was his airway being obstructed, she put him in a stable position and kept him calm until an ambulance arrived. One of the EMTs would go on to tell the victim’s mother that the boy was likely saved from brain damage by the athletic trainer’s quick action.

– “Words cannot even possibly tell you how grateful we are that [the athletic trainer] was there and trained in this type of emergency … She is a true angel, God’s gift to us and to Richardson High School.” –
Dolores Staffin (Parent), Richardson, Texas

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Stationed at the opposite end of the basketball court when one of his team’s players collapsed, athletic trainer Mike Williams ran over, arriving to the player’s side as he stopped breathing. Williams began CPR as coaching assistants called 911 and got the school’s AED. By the time an ambulance arrived to take the victim to a hospital, Williams had not only administered CPR, but also revived the youth athlete using an AED. After visiting several doctors, the victim would make a full recovery in part thanks to the athletic trainer’s timely efforts.

– “ [The student athlete] was completely intact like it [full cardiac arrest suffered during a basketball practice] had never occurred. I’ve been involved in cardiac arrest research for 14 years, and his resuscitation was one of the best or the best that I’ve seen. It’s a tribute to [the athletic trainer] and his preparation. [The student athlete’s] body never had a chance to become injured from the lack of blood flow because they did such a remarkable job … It’s truly amazing to me. Everything had to be in place … and utilized to perfection to get him to me and make my job really easy.” –
Jared Bunch, MD, Heart Rhythm Specialist at Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, UT

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When one of his players came off the court complaining of shortness of breath and chest discomfort, athletic trainer Brett Waldon tried to remedy the problem with two sternal rubs. After the patient started to slump, Waldon then performed five rounds of CPR and administered three shocks from the AED over the course of several minutes, stabilizing the player until he could see a doctor. Had an athletic trainer not been present that day to recognize the signs of cardiac arrest and properly use the AED, the athlete, now with an implanted defibrillator, may have died.

– “He controlled the whole situation as though he had done it a million times … [the student athlete] is alive because of our [athletic] trainer. He definitely saved his life.” – Doug Karleskint (Coach), Russellville, Arkansas


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