If you’ve been following our National Athletic Training Month spotlight, you’ll know that we’ve interviewed two AT’s so far, Greg and Aubrie. If you haven’t read those yet, head over to our blog to catch up—and to learn more about their industry expertise and background. Today, we’re highlighting athletic trainer, Jeff Jankowski.

How long have you been an athletic trainer and what’s your background in athletic training?

Jeff Jankowski: I have worked as an athletic trainer since I graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2003. After which, I moved to Arizona and I worked in physical therapy for about 9 months and then took a position as a teacher and athletic trainer at a local high school. In 2015, I transitioned to Shadow Ridge High School in Surprise, AZ. At that time, I also started working at the Surprise Foothills clinic providing athletic training services.

 

Why did you become an athletic trainer?

Jeff Jankowski: In high school I tore the meniscus in my knee playing football, and later my ACL my freshman year of college playing inter-mural football. I worked very closely with an athletic trainer as I rehabilitated from that injury and, for me, a passion for sports medicine began. I changed my major the next year and started my journey.

 

What role does an athletic trainer play for sports teams?

Jeff Jankowski: As an athletic trainer, we are the first line of defense for athletes. We are healthcare professionals, there on a daily basis to help with the acute care and treatment of emergency injuries and illnesses, as well as the prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of all athletic injuries.

 

Where do you see the profession of athletic training going in the next 5 years?

Jeff Jankowski: A goal of all athletic trainers and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association is to provide the best care for athletic populations. We see a need for an athletic trainer in every high school across the nation.

Unfortunately less than 50% of high schools have a full time athletic trainer on staff. In the next 5 years, I hope and expect to see that number increase, perhaps with more physical therapy clinics partnering with schools to provide athletic training services in schools. We will also be seeing all university athletic training programs nationwide moving to a Master’s Degree as a minimum requirement for certification in the next few years.

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue athletic training as a career?

Jeff Jankowski: To anyone thinking of pursuing a career in athletic training I would say, be ready to study hard and to work hard. It can be a lot of work, but also a very rewarding career. I love that every day is different and I never know what athlete or injury is going to walk through my athletic training room doors.

As you see, athletic trainers play a crucial role in the sports medicine field. If you’re looking for athletic training coverage in Arizona for upcoming sporting events, visit our On-Site athletic training coverage page to learn more.

We’re rounding out National Athletic Training Month by highlighting Raquel Wright, athletic trainer at our Litchfield Park location. She shares why she chose the athletic training industry, her experience and advice for those interested in becoming an athletic trainer.

Q: How long have you been an athletic trainer and what’s your background in athletic training?

Raquel Wright: I have been an athletic trainer for almost a year now. I graduated from Grand Canyon University with my Bachelor in Athletic Training back in December of 2015. I gained most of my experience through my clinical rotations which included GCU Men’s Volleyball and Men’s Soccer, MLB Spring Training Baseball and a variety of high school teams around the valley. Since becoming a certified athletic trainer, I have been working for Foothills Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy and Trivium Preparatory Academy. With the help of Foothills’ physical therapists and physical therapy assistants, I have gained an immense amount of knowledge, love and respect for this field. I truly enjoy being an athletic trainer.

Q: Why did you become an athletic trainer?

Raquel Wright: I played sports almost my entire life. Throughout my years as an athlete, I suffered countless amounts of sprains, strains, cuts, bruises and even concussions. The only people that have been there to patch me up and get me back up were the athletic trainers. Whether it was through rehabilitation of an injury or simply taping my ankle, they are the reason why I was able to continue doing what I loved. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to become the person that got an athlete back up and that is why I became an athletic trainer.

Q: What role does an athletic trainer play for sports teams?

Raquel Wright: Athletic training as a profession focuses on the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions as defined by the NATA. Athletic Trainers’ roles with sports teams are unparalleled. We are responsible for the athlete’s total care and wellbeing and have one common goal in mind; keep the athlete in the game. We are here to prevent injuries from happening and when they do happen, we are here to evaluate, diagnose and treat that injury. Athletic Trainers are what every team needs to succeed because in order to succeed, a team needs healthy athletes.

Q: Where do you see the profession of athletic training going in the next 5 years?

Raquel Wright: Athletic Training as a profession has grown so much already in the past 10 years. With more and more schools requiring an athletic trainer, I see the profession growing even more in the next 5 years. I believe the profession is being recognized more with the hot topic concerning concussions. Athletic Trainers are one of the few medical professionals trained to diagnose a concussion which makes it extremely important for schools participating in contact sports to have one available on staff.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue athletic training as a career?

Raquel Wright: One of the biggest suggestions I would make is make sure you truly have a passion for this career. It is an extremely rewarding career. Like many other careers, make sure you are not being motivated by money. The true motivation should be helping others and making a difference in people’s lives. Be ready to work outside in the hot sun, rain and even extreme cold. Be ready to make difficult decisions that can affect an athlete’s health or a team’s ability to win the game. Athletic training will sometimes push you to your limits but it’s a career that will bring joy and excitement into your life. I mean, who doesn’t love sports right?

We’re celebrating National Athletic Training month by highlighting a handful of athletic trainers within Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy. Today, Ethan Anderson, PT, DPT, ATC, dishes on his athletic training background, what role athletic trainers have within the industry and advice for future athletic trainers.

Q: How long have you been an athletic trainer and what’s your background in athletic training?

Ethan Anderson: I have been an Athletic Trainer since May of 2013. My background includes a B.S. in Athletic Training from Weber State University where I was privileged to work as a Student Athletic Trainer for multiple NCAA Division 1 sports programs as well as high schools and different outpatient physical therapist offices. I also worked as a high school Athletic Trainer in western Montana for 3 years while completing my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree which allowed me to interact with multiple schools and administrators providing much needed sports medicine coverage.

Q: Why did you become an athletic trainer?

Ethan Anderson: I became an Athletic Trainer due to my extensive competitive sports background as well as my passion for health care. I have endured many, sometimes season ending and quite serious, injuries during my competitive days which allows me to connect with athletes in a very personal way regarding their injuries and recovery. It is incredibly rewarding being able to care for an athlete when they are first injured and see them through the recovery process to return to competition. That feeling can’t be overstated.

Q: What role does an athletic trainer play for sports teams?

Ethan Anderson: An Athletic Trainer plays a crucial, and often understated, role in any sports team by allowing athletes to participate to their highest potential by keeping them healthy and safe while competing. In some high school settings, the only medical professional a student-athlete may be able to see is their Athletic Trainer, which allows that relationship to provide for referrals to other appropriate medical providers such as physicians and physical therapists to ensure proper care is taken of any ailments. Athletic Trainers also assist in the prevention of injuries by ensuring proper hydration, nutrition, and technique with exercises or preventative taping and bracing.

Q: Where do you see the profession of athletic training going in the next 5 years?

Ethan Anderson: I see the continued growth and involvement of ATC’s both in the school/athletic setting as well as the clinical setting as the public recognition of our unique skills and value as health care providers increases. Unfortunately, there isn’t much recognition of the high level of training and expertise we possess and still many in the general public confuse us for personal trainers. I feel that recent sentiment from the NATA to transition the Athletic Training profession to a master’s degree will work towards the betterment of all ATC’s. I would also like to see a full time Athletic Trainer in every high school in the state to ensure the health and wellness of student athletes

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue athletic training as a career?

Ethan Anderson: I would advise anyone considering Athletic Training as a profession to read the NATA position statements and vision statements to understand where the profession is headed over the next few years so they can position themselves to be the most successful and competitive as possible when looking for employment. Becoming an Athletic Trainer comes with the responsibility for not only the athletes and patients you care for, but also the responsibility to help lead the profession to new heights.

March is National Athletic Training Month. Athletic trainers are often thought of only helping schools and sports team with on-field injuries. Read our Q&A featuring Leah Harris, PT, MPT, ATC, as she shares her athletic training background, where the industry is headed and advice for those interested in pursuing a career as an athletic trainer.

 

Q: How long have you been an athletic trainer and what’s your background in athletic training?

Leah Harris:  I was licensed as an Athletic Trainer in 2003. I was a student Athletic Trainer for GCC and GCU working all sports.

 

Q: Why did you become an athletic trainer?

Leah Harris:  I enjoyed playing sports in high school and wanted to continue with a profession that would keep me involved in the sporting world. I lucked out and got a spot as a student athletic trainer at GCC and was able to work under an excellent Athletic Trainer.

 

Q: What role does an athletic trainer play for sports teams?

Leah Harris:  The Athletic Trainer is one of the most important aspects of sports. They are the first responder at practices and games and are able to assist with medical emergencies and ongoing treatment of all athletes.

 

Q: Where do you see the profession of athletic training going in the next 5 years?

Leah Harris: Within the next 7 years it will be required for all new Athletic Training students to obtain their Master’s degree. They are trying to be taken seriously in healthcare, where people believe they are not important, needed, or educated enough. Athletic trainers are changing the way people perceive them and putting away the mindset that they are nothing but “personal trainers.” You are also seeing more athletic trainers move away from the field and moving more clinically to work with a broader range of patients. Hopefully with a transition to Master’s program Athletic Trainers will be perceived as equals in the healthcare industry.

 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue athletic training as a career?

Leah Harris:  Be ready to work a lot of hours! Athletic training is a tough and time extensive progression. It is a lot of schooling and requires you to be on top of your game all the time. It is a rewarding job, but be ready to work.