Often the world of athletic training, we hear the word “impact”. There can often be a common misconception of what the true word of “impact” means. Any athletic trainer will tell you that when they hear the word “impact”, they automatically think of ImPACT testing. An ImPACT test was developed by clinical experts who pioneered the field of helping treat concussions. ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the most-widely used and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT provides trained clinicians with neurocognitive assessment tools and services that have been medically accepted as state-of-the-art best practices -- as part of determining safe return to play decisions. Though this is appealing and VERY important in decision making regarding athlete’s return to play protocol, I prefer to think of impact as something that we ensure as health care professionals…something that we choose to do. Here is how we can make an ImPACT of our own in the profession of athletic training:
Get involved!! – How often do we see those people just “sitting” on a job? One thing comes to mind…supervisor. Yes, we all know that CEO’s and big Whigs of major corporations are apparently making the “big bucks”. But what is it that they really do? Sure, they might be a pencil pusher and big “high man on the totem pole” who calls the shots. BUT, are they actually teaching you anything? What is it that you are learning from your superior? Are you learning anything at all? If you commonly find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard sport regarding the “day in and day out” normal work grind of the run of the mill job, you are spinning your wheels. I challenge you all to broaden your knowledge base of sports medicine and to get involved in an organization in some way or another. Reach out and join a committee, or volunteer to help others. You’d be surprised how much this would make a difference. Even if you don’t learn anything new, there is always the chance you could educate someone else and become a teacher!
Vote!!- Every couple of years, there is always the opportunity to elect new board members into new organizations. Some of which you may have heard of: SWATA, NATA, GHATS, YPC…etc. The list is endless. How are we able to broaden our base of knowledge and implement knowledge construction in place of knowledge reproduction if we don’t elect new leaders or teachers of our own? Remember that old hag you had in grade school who was mean to everyone. 20 years later, you realize that she’s still around and now it’s not you dealing with her, only your children are. Sound familiar?! Need I say more? I rest my case!
Stay abreast on current research!!- Yes, yes, yes. I know. Last thing that we all want to hear are the words “statistically significant” or “the null hypothesis showed that p is less than 0.5….” blah blah blah. I myself hated statistics and am NOT a research person. But let me ask you this: The first time you ate some of grandma’s cookies that were dry and tasted like chocolate chip corn bread, did you ask for more? No!! You found a way to bake something better right?! Why? Because who wants to eat something that tastes atrocious? I sure don’t. So, does it make sense to keep “spinning” our wheels? I think you can answer that one.
There are new trends of research and medicine that are evolving every day. As health care professionals, how are we to treat the hurt and wounded if we aren’t up to speed on current research and medicine?
These are just a few of what I can think of off the top of my head. The list goes on and on. Like I said, athletic trainers are some of the most unnoticed and disregarded professionals in their line of work. However, we are called on to help those in times of dire need and emergencies. If we lose focus for just a second in this line of work, than we too start to spin our wheels. Only then do we make an impact on others, but in a negative way.