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Athletic Trainer Spotlight: Paul Silvestri, ATC

March 24, 2016

When Paul Silvestri entered the University of Florida in the fall of 1996, his plan was to major in pre-med and become an orthopedic surgeon. He started on that path, confident of his career direction…until his older brother started looking into athletic training at the University of South Florida.

“My brother was helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on game days. I’ve always played sports and love sports, and he told me I might really like athletic training. He got me on the sidelines of a game against the Lions. I got to hang out with the athletic training staff and go behind the scenes, and that was it. I love sports and love medicine, and athletic training fell right into my wheelhouse. I was excited about being involved with medicine and sports on a daily basis, found out that the University of Florida had a program, and changed majors.”

After graduating in the spring of 2000, Paul did a summer internship with the Miami Dolphins, then a fall football internship with the University of Mississippi. In the summer of 2001, he entered graduate school at the University of Kentucky, working with the football team and serving as a graduate assistant.

Paul’s first job out of grad school was with Florida Atlantic University from 2003-2005. Then he returned to the University of Kentucky as the full-time assistant athletic trainer with the football team for three years, and in the spring of 2008 headed to the University of Utah where he was head athletic trainer for football for five seasons.

“I moved to Gainesville for my current job I 2013, and hopefully it’s my last stop,” Paul says. For the Gators, he serves as associate director of sports health, and head athletic trainer for the football team.

Paul says he feels very fortunate that he had the opportunity to work for some of the outstanding leaders in the profession, “great mentors to me who helped shape my career. These include Chris Patrick of the University of Florida who has been here 46 years and is in the Athletic Trainer Hall of Fame and Jim Madaleno at Kentucky. They’ve been instrumental in helping me get to where I am today, and I have learned so much by watching how they do things.”

One of the important things Paul has learned that he says he always tells student athletic trainers and his staff, is that the profession of athletic training is all about relationships and trust. “The only way to develop trust is through relationships,” he says, “not only with athletes but with administrators, coaches, and parents. The relationship piece is key. You never know on a daily basis when you’re interacting with someone that could help you down the road. It’s important to always be professional.”

Paul joined Cramer’s athletic trainer advisory board last year, and says he is enjoying that experience. “I’ve never been a part of anything like that,” he explains. “We talk about new products, hear about the challenges that others in our field are facing, and just the common problems and issues we come across on a daily basis. Athletic trainers by nature are think-outside-the-box people, so it’s great being a part of the conversation.”

Paul is married and has a daughter who is almost six, and a three-year-old son. He played baseball and basketball in high school, but says that these days he is focused on his golf game.

From The Archives: March - April, 1938

March 23, 2016

Teach Slow Motion Exercises

At the National Coaches meeting, one point was stressed which made quite an impression on a number of the members present: that was the benefit of slow motion pictures for teaching plays and exercises.

It was also pointed out that any coach could teach slow motion or have his athletes go through it, timing all of the exercises, or even plays, by slow motion in order to gain a thorough understanding and an exactness of detail of execution.

If you get the idea, we suggest that you try it at your next practice session. Put through a play on slow motion, then speed it up after the details have been memorized by each player.

National Association of College Trainers

We understand there is soon to be organized a national association of university and college trainers, whose purpose will be to inter-change information and new ideas on the care and treatment of athletes. We think this is a wonderful idea and will do everything we can to promote it, as we have always felt there is a vital need for better knowledge on the care and treatment of athletes in the schools.

We presume there will be an associate membership available to small college and high school coaches and trainers, who are interested in this line of work, and if you feel that you would be benefited by a membership, we urge you to write to either Bill Frey, trainer of the University of Iowa, or to Chuck Cramer in care of this company.

Of course, there would be no obligation on your part and your suggestions and inquiries will be promptly handled. We, therefore, repeat that if you are at all interested, please let it be known at once.

Drying Equipment

One of the most interesting parts of the new athletic plant at Louisiana State is their drying room.

Mike Chambers, trainer, explained to us that in this room every garment is put on a hanger every day. A large electric fan pulls the air out of this room; but no heat is used as, he points out, heat will harm much of the equipment, especially the leather of headgears, shoes and shoulder harness.

Equipment is often dried over radiators—sometimes being laid on the radiator to hurry this drying. In a majority of cases, excessive heat is used in the drying room and we are convinced from the experience at Louisiana State that much equipment is spoiled because of this improper handling.

Coaches who buy equipment realize that it is quite expensive, therefore, it is logical to have someone in charge of this equipment who thoroughly understands its care. A good equipment man can more than save his annual salary in the proper care and treatment of your athletic wearing apparel.

RACE - The Movie

March 23, 2016

It’s not unusual to see representatives of Cramer Products at sporting events, in training rooms, and at the annual NATA convention. Walking the red carpet before a movie premier in New York City though? That’s a bit out of the ordinary! But last month several Cramer employees had the opportunity to walk the red carpet and attend the premier of the new movie, RACE, the story of Gold Medal track and field champion Jesse Owens.

RACE depicts Owens as he prepares to compete in the 1936 Berlin Games. Facing a racially divided United States and Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy in Berlin, Owens succeeds in breaking records and winning four Gold medals in one of the greatest athletic performances of all time. The movie was released nationwide on Feb. 19.

“In September, we were approached by Spark Alliance, a company that develops movie launch partnerships for all of the major motion picture production houses,” explains Tim Dunphy, Senior Brand and Category Manager for Performance Health. “They reached out to us about a partnership for RACE, because they identified Performance Health as a caring company that helps people perform at their best.”

Tim continues, “We were interested in exploring the opportunity, and as our talks progressed we uncovered a nicer and deeper parallel between the Cramer brand and Jesse Owens. For example, the Cramer brothers were the first athletic trainers for the U.S.A. Track and Field team…not the 1936 Games in Berlin where Owens won four gold medals, but the previous 1932 Games in Los Angeles. From day one, Cramer has stood for dedication and commitment, and that is what Jesse Owens stood for as well.”

Spark Alliance and Focus Features (the company that produced and distributed the film) hadn’t been very familiar with the Cramer brand, Tim says, and they were thrilled to discover the remarkable history linking Cramer and the Games. “We even went into the archives and found an issue of The First Aider that came out during the 1936 Berlin Games,” Tim says. “There’s an article that tells what the weather in Berlin has been like, and a sketch of the badge worn by athletes, officials, and press representatives.”

After some negotiations, an agreement was reached and Cramer was named an Official Launch Partner for RACE. “As a partner, we used all of our advertising channels to get the word out about the movie starting at the beginning of February,” Tim says. “There’s even a Cramer RACE To The Finish sweepstakes, with a grand prize trip to Hollywood and other prizes including a Fitbit and Cramer-RACE co-branded t-shirts.” The contest runs through the end of April.

Performance Health and Cramer employees all received some nice perks from the partnership. Tim says, “We received the rights to one corporate screening of the movie—even before the official New York premier. We rented out a theatre in Akron and invited all employees and their guests. And we’re paying for our employees who work in other locations, including Gardner, Kan., to see the movie locally if they weren’t able to get to Akron. And of course, everyone got a t-shirt!”

Tim says there’s another commonality between Cramer and RACE that was surprising and wonderful to discover. He recounts, “When representatives of Spark Alliance saw the Cramer logo--the red circle and the iconic running man silhouette--they thought we had created a special logo just for our partnership with the Jesse Owens movie and told us we couldn’t do that! When we told them that this was the logo Cramer had used for decades, and not a specially designed logo, they were shocked. Then we saw the RACE logo, featuring a silhouette of Jesse Owens running that is almost identical to our running man, and we were shocked!”

Tim says the synergy in the partnership with RACE is exciting and has been a wonderful experience. “The movie is so uplifting and even though you know the ending before it starts, the story is so human and inspiring that you leave feeling energized and excited.

The movie is outstanding and we encourage everyone to see it!”

TheraBand™ Kinesiology Tape: You'll love the tape, the dispenser, the videos and more!

March 23, 2016

Is this the year you’re going to start using kinesiology tape? Or do you already use kinesiology tape, but want to improve your technique or switch up brands? Look no further than TheraBand’s Kinesiology Tape! It uses Cramer’s best-in-class adhesion, so you can be sure that the tape will provide durable support and stay stuck for up to five days. The tape is available in eight color combinations, from subtle to bold, so there’s something for everyone.

Theraband Kinesiology Tape features XactStretch™ Technology, ensuring you’ll get the right stretch every time. By following the XactStretch hexagonal guide indicators, you’ll know that the tape is being applied correctly. Whether your goal is to support muscles and joints or provide pain relief, you’ll get the results you want and won’t waste a lot of tape in the process.

Owen Stanley, ATC, head football athletic trainer at Texas A&M University, has been using Theraband Kinesiology Tape for a few years with excellent success. “We use it a lot with all types of tape jobs,” Owen says. “The support from the tape helps with the biomechanics of an injury and/or prevention. This allows athletes with minor injuries to stay on the field and practice.”

The Theraband tape helps make sure that muscles function appropriately, Owen says, "and prevents the overstretch reflex issue that can arise with tendinitis or minor muscle strain. We use it to help prevent overstretching of the muscle belly and give appropriate proprioceptive feedback as well as proper tracking of the muscle fibers.”

The tape’s XactStretch guide indicators are “extremely helpful to us,” he comments. “Regardless of how much or how little experience you have using kinesiology tape, every athlete’s anatomy is different, everyone’s usage is different, and everyone’s position on the field and day-to-day practice is different—and having the hexagons as a guide is very useful. Sometimes you might go to 25% stretch and see it’s not working, so we’ll stretch the tape to 50% next time. The hexagons also provide an image to look at so we are consistent when we redo a tape job."

Owen and his staff also use the Theraband Kinesiology Tape under other tape jobs for additional support. “Sometimes it’s for anatomical or proprioceptive support,” he says. “The Theraband tape adds a nice thin layer of support that’s preferable to a bulky tape job, and it stays adhered to our athletes through practices and games in the heat and humidity of Texas!"

The tape is latex-free, non-irritating, and allergy tested. And here’s another reason to love this kinesiology tape: no more runaway tape rolls! TheraBand’s hassle-free tape dispenser latches shut, provides an axle for unrolling and rerolling, and features a cut notch for precut rolls.

Visit TheraBandKTape.com, and view some of the 17 videos that demonstrate tape application and provide helpful tips. Also, TheraBand has conducted extensive kinesiology tape research, and you’ll almost surely find something of interest in the database of 246 kinesiology tape research studies found at thera-bandacademy.com.

With its easy dispensing, can’t-miss application, durability, and great colors/designs, Theraband Kinesiology Tape has a lot to offer. Add to that the in-depth research and video demonstrations you’ll find online, and you’re looking at the total package! And it’s all supported by TheraBand’s commitment to the science and research of its products. Give TheraBand Kinesiology Tape a try!

CHEERLEADING IS AMONG THE SAFEST HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS, BUT INJURIES CAN BE SEVERE

March 23, 2016

Despite popular perceptions, cheerleading is one of the safest high school sports, yet the relatively few injuries sustained are often some of the most severe, according to a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

“We found that cheerleading is actually relatively safe compared to the other high school sports we studied, ranking 18th out of the 22 sports we looked at in terms of overall injury rate,” said lead author Dustin Currie, a researcher and doctoral student at the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz.

The study, the first to examine the injury epidemiology of high school cheerleading compared to other sports, was published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The data was collected from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance System, High School RIO (Reporting Information Online), directed by Dawn Comstock, PhD, senior author of the study and associate professor of epidemiology at the Program for Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) at the Colorado School of Public Health.

According to researchers, a total of 752 female cheerleader injuries occurred in 1,090,705 “athletic exposures,” or one athlete participating in one practice, competition or performance. Most happened during practice.

“Cheerleading’s overall injury rate was significantly lower than that of all other sports combined and all other girls’ sports combined,” the study said, relying on information gathered from an average 107 high schools over 5 years.

The most common injuries were concussions at 31.1 percent, ligament sprains at 20.2 percent, muscle strains at 14.2 percent and fractures at 10.3 percent. Surgery was required for 4 percent of the injuries, mostly for fractures and sprains.

Male cheerleaders had significantly higher injury rates at 25 per 18,784 athletic exposures.

The majority of injuries occurred during stunts, often during dismounts. When injuries did occur, they were often serious. Dustin Currie, the lead author and a doctoral student at the Colorado School of Public Health, said that cheerleading had the second highest proportion of injuries resulting in time loss of at least three weeks of all 22 sports studied.

“These findings…demonstrate that although cheerleading is relatively safe overall, when injuries do occur, they may be more severe,” he said. “Prevention efforts should focus on activities placing cheerleaders at risk for severe injuries.”

For generations, cheerleading has been marginalized as a sideline activity, rather than a sport requiring actual athletic abilities. Yet as its popularity has grown with more than 400,000 students participating, cheerleader routines have become increasingly complex leading many to believe that it’s extremely dangerous.

While this study largely disproves that belief, the authors note that cheerleader injuries have increased and are often serious. They say one way to make the activity safer is to have states classify cheerleading as a sport.

Currently, it is up to each state high school athletic association to determine whether cheerleading is a sport or a club activity.

“It is time that every state high school athletic association recognizes the vast majority of today’s high school cheerleaders are athletes,” said Comstock, a national expert on athletic injuries. “So even if the state does not recognize cheerleading as a sport, at a minimum, they should ensure cheerleaders benefit from the same safety measures and risk minimization efforts afforded to all other high school athletes.”

California recently passed legislation designating cheerleading as a sport. Colorado also considers it a sport. Comstock said that likely means cheerleaders are safer in these states than in states where cheerleading is considered an after school activity like the chess or drama club.

“As athletes, cheerleaders should have access to the same safety standards as any other sport,” said Currie. “That means, for example, having a qualified coach present at every practice, a designated space in which to practice, and appropriate safety measures like mats and spotters when learning new skills.”

MEET TANDICE HAWKEY: SENIOR ATHLETIC TRAINER, UCLA

March 1, 2016

Growing up in the Denver suburb of Arvada, Tandice Hawkey was an outstanding student who focused on academics. After graduating from high school in 1997, she was off to the University of Illinois as a pre-med major. That career path, however, didn’t turn out to be the right one for Tandi. I got a little discouraged during the physician shadowing experiences,” Tandi explains, “because the interaction between physicians and patients was so limited. I felt I would get more satisfaction developing long-term patient relationships. I wanted to stay in healthcare, but didn’t know how. Then I shadowed a family friend who was an athletic trainer, and discovered it was a profession that combined healthcare and sports. This excited me, since I grew up playing sports and in a sports family.”

Tandi changed majors, and received an undergraduate degree in kinesiology in 2002. She then attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina. “I had a great experience there,” she says, “with fantastic mentors and classmates who helped me grow in this profession.” She graduated with a master’s degree in exercise science in 2004.

After working for a year at Northern Illinois University, Tandi accepted a position at UCLA and has been there for 11 years.

“When I started at UCLA, I worked with cross country and track and field athletes, “ Tandi says. “Then I switched to men’s soccer and men’s volleyball, then it was men’s soccer and tennis, and now I work with men’s soccer and women’s water polo. I’ve worked with the men’s soccer team for 9 years and really enjoy it. I played soccer growing up and I’m a fan of a game. I appreciate the athletes because you have to be a pretty tough to run for 90 minutes. Soccer players aren’t typically high maintenance and don’t usually have big egos—they’re a team of hard working kids who are easy to work with. They’re fun and kind of goofy, and they bring a lot of entertainment to my work day.”

Tandi continues, “This is my second year working with the women’s water polo team, so I’m still learning about it. Swimming in itself is a difficult athletic activity, then add a contact sport on top of it…I’m in awe of what the girls do during a game. I would drown! They are hard working, tough athletes, and also a lot of fun. Water polo is more of a west coast sport, and many team members are local so when they see players on the opposing team who were high school classmates it often seems like a reunion. It’s also kind of a niche sport, and I really like that aspect of it.”

Outside of her responsibilities at UCLA, Tandi is on the PAC-12 Student Athlete Health Conference planning committee. The conference is the last weekend of April, and Tandi says she is enjoying helping to plan and figure out the logistics of the event.

This is also Tandi’s second year on Cramer’s athletic trainer advisory board. “The meetings are interesting,” she says, “and it’s fascinating to hear the perspectives from other members of the advisory board who work in other kinds of jobs, and in other parts of the country. I’ve toured Cramer’s home office and enjoyed watching employees making products. Before joining the board, I didn’t know all of the company’s history and how supportive Cramer has always been of athletic trainers and especially young professionals, and hadn’t really considered what goes on behind the scenes to get products created and manufactured. I feel even more loyal and connected to the company now.”

Tandi offers some words of advise to athletic trainers new to the profession. “Remember that you can’t care more about an athlete’s problems than the athlete cares about him or herself. When I get frustrated with someone not doing everything they can do for themselves, I remind myself I can’t care more than they do, and can’t force anyone to participate.”

She continues, “Many kids coming through college now had helicopter parents, and it’s important to not enable anyone and to hold athletes accountable and set expectations high. This will help them develop an understanding of their responsibilities to others when they get out in the real world.”

It’s also important to have a life outside of athletic training, Tandi recommends. “I’m very goal-oriented, and really like running,” she says. “I usually do a couple of road races each year to have something to work toward and a goal to attain. Also, in the past few years I’ve done quite a bit of international travel, and I’m saving up my vacation time to take a few big trips a year.”

Tandi couldn’t be happier that her career path led her to athletic training. “I love working with high-level athletes and being a part of their collegiate experience,” she says. “A lot of growth takes place between the ages of 18 and 22, and I enjoy the opportunity to contribute to those experiences for the athletes I work with.”