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The First Aider

How to relieve arthritis pain

August 15, 2014


If you suffer from arthritis pain, you know how your pain can increase when the weather turns damp and cold. It’s not your imagination; the drop in barometric pressure affects your joints enough to leave you aching and in pain before most people even notice a change in the weather. As the leaves change and kids head back to school, you probably brace yourself for several months of increased arthritis pain. Don’t let the dread get you down. Enjoy your last few weeks of summer knowing you’re prepared to soothe the pain with THERA°PEARL products that are specially designed for the areas that hurt the most.

The THERA°PEARL Ankle/Wrist Wrap reaches completely around your wrist to envelop the achy joint in soothing heat or numbing cold. Since THERA°PEARL products conform to your body even when cold, you’ll never have to worry about how you’ll get the pain relief to your entire wrist. Lightweight and drip-free, the Ankle/Wrist Wrap is perfect for pain relief on-the-go.

The Knee Wrap is another THERA°PEARL product that tackles arthritis pain at the source. The convenient VELCRO® BRAND strap holds it in place so that you can move freely while the heat or cold therapy works its magic. Just like the Ankle/Wrist Wrap, the Knee Wrap conforms to your knee even when taken directly from your freezer, and its large size makes it easy to provide pain relief to your entire knee at once.

Choosing THERA°PEARL products as arthritis pain relief means you only need to purchase one product for both your heat therapy and cold therapy needs. Both types of therapy are crucial to minimizing arthritis pain, and need to be used correctly in order to be effective. Heat therapy can do more harm than good when used on joints that are hot and inflamed, but is great for stiff joints that need to be relaxed. Conversely, cold therapy can make joints stiffer but can also minimize inflammation when used on swollen joints.

Both heat therapy and cold therapy are important as you work to manage your arthritis pain, so choose THERA°PEARL and we can conveniently provide you with both. Happy healing! Read More

This month’s spotlight: Kenny Ishii, ATC Sporting Kansas City

August 9, 2014

Kentaro “Kenny” Ishii, ATC, is the head athletic trainer and rehabilitation coordinator for Sporting Kansas City. He joined the Major League Soccer team in 2008 as assistant athletic trainer. For two seasons, Kenny was the team’s rehabilitation coordinator. This is his first season in the dual role of head athletic trainer and rehabilitation coordinator.

Kenny grew up in Mishima, Japan, and at age 17 he decided to be an athletic trainer. “I played soccer as a high school student in Japan,” Kenny says, “and had a lot of injuries. We didn’t get that much guidance for our injuries. Therapists are more common than athletic trainers in Japan, and a therapist came to my school once a week at the most to work with injured players. Because of all my injuries, I spent quite a bit of time with therapists and from them I learned about the profession of athletic training in the United States. I was told it was a popular and well-established job, and that is what I wanted to study.”

Following high school graduation in 2004, Kenny came to this country and attended Texas Christian University, with a double major in athletic training and exercise science. When he graduated in 2008, Kenny had gained experience through internships with the Ben Hogan Sports Therapy Institute, the Forth Worth Flyers, Dallas Cowboys, and Kansas City Wizards. In 2009, the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the California University of Pennsylvania (CUP) named Kenny a Pursuit of Excellence in Health and Fitness award winner. The award came with a $15,000.00 grant toward a Master of Science degree in exercise science from CUP, and Kenny completed the masters program in 2010.

Kenny is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and through the National Academy of Sports Medicine has earned credentials as a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist. He is also certified as a Postural Restoration Trained athletic trainer from the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI), and has an intense interest in an integrating manual therapy and movement training for injury prevention and performance enhancement in soccer players.

Under Kenny’s direction, Sporting Kansas City athletes incorporate PRI exercises into their regular routine, and he says the exercises help prevent injury and aid in the rehab process. He explains, “The Postural Restoration Institute was founded by Ron Hruska. PRI is a physical medicine that approaches underlying biomechanics, which can often lead to symptoms of pain and dysfunction. It recognizes the structural and functional asymmetry in the human body and the common patterns associated with those asymmetries. The PRI techniques correct faulty movement strategies and orientation of body parts to restore the body’s optimal function.

“For example,” Kenny continues, “Left Anterior Interior Chain (L AIC) pattern is a common pattern we work on. There are two AICs in the human body—left and right. The AIC itself is a polyarticular muscle chain consisting of the diaphragm, psoas major, iliacus, tensor fasciae latae, biceps femoris, and the vastus lateralis muscle. It has significant influence on respiration, rotation of the trunk, ribcage, spine and lower extremities. During functional movement, such as walking and running, the right and left AIC should turn on and off in a reciprocal manner. However, due to structural and functional asymmetry, people tend to fall into the L AIC pattern, so the L AIC doesn’t turn off, and the R AIC doesn’t turn on. There are exercises that restore the right-left functional balance. It’s a very interesting technique that is being used in MLS and MLB, and some NFL teams are using it on an individual basis. Using the PRI technique, rehab will be slightly different for a left knee injury than it will be for a right knee injury, because the structure and function of the left side versus the right side are slightly different.”

It’s been 10 years since Kenny graduated from high school in Japan, and he says that resources for helping injured athletes in that country have improved, but are still not established like it is in the U.S. “Every year I visit Japan and talk to therapists, personal trainers, and athletic trainers about my job and methods that I use for my athletes. I’m where I am right now because of people who supported me when I was a student, and it’s important to give back. So at Sporting Kansas City we offer year-long and summer internship programs, and focus on helping athletic training students and young professionals, including Japanese students studying here in the United States.”

Kenny enjoyed the international attention on soccer during the World Cup games. “As a soccer guy, I enjoyed the World Cup. As an athletic trainer, I hope it helps to establish a better and safer game for the players, especially in how concussion and possible concussion are handled during the game. If concussion or possible concussion are managed properly, it will be a win-win for the players and for the governing body. The discussion is already there, and concussion is always one of top topic at the annual MLS medical symposium.“

Kenny is married and has a three-year-old son and a four-month-old daughter. “The soccer season is extremely long—10 months—so my family is my priority when I have time off,” he says. “And I still like to play soccer, so I try to find some time for that, too!” Read More

University of Montana’s ATEP Named Cramer’s 2014 Professional Development Award Recipient

August 8, 2014

Congratulations to the Athletic Training Education Program of the University of Montana--the 2014 winner of the Bill Cramer Professional Development Award. The annual $2,000.00 award was created following the death of Bill Cramer in 2007 to honor his passion and enthusiasm for athletic training education.

Valerie Moody, PhD, ATC, is director of UM’s undergraduate and graduate athletic training programs and is associate professor, Health and Human Performance. In her letter of application for the award, Val wrote that the school’s five-year average first time pass rate on the BOC exam is 91 percent, and for the past two years, UM students have had a 100 percent first time pass rate.

“Professionally,” Val said in her letter, “our students are devoted to promoting and serving the profession of athletic training. Each year, our program celebrates NATA month in March. The students continue to impact local, regional and national entities in promoting our profession. The past six years, we have been recognized nationally for our efforts, winning the NATA PR contest (Best Student Effort, Best Grassroots Effort, Honorable Mention, Greatest Impact, and the past two years Best Student Effort)!”

UM’s students consistently go above and beyond what is required of them in the program, Val noted. For example, for a classroom assignment to contact and interview a past NATA president, several students contacted Mark Smaha. The students stayed in communication with Mark, met him at a district meeting, and learned about his experiences with the Marshall tragedy (editor’s note: plane crash that killed most of the Marshall University football team, as well as the coach, athletic director, doctors, and 25 boosters) that occurred 40 years ago. Funds were raised to fly Mark to UM for a weekend to speak to the students. “His presentation was candid, humorous and inspiring,” said Val. “It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity as a direct result of our students going beyond what was asked on a simple assignment!”

This past summer and fall, UM athletic training students volunteered along with faculty and staff to provide medical coverage at the Missoula Marathon, Freezer Burn Road Race, and the Diploma Dash. “Our students raise funds to attend the District 10 meeting, are actively involved with the NWATA student senate, and provide volunteer help to the NATA Foundation,” Val noted. Last year, they helped raise more than $3,000.00 for the Mark Smaha Scholarship Endowment Fund.

The school’s athletic training student association is dedicated to mentoring younger athletic training students, promoting the profession of athletic training, and serving the community. The students participate in community service projects each semester, including serving food to the homeless, collecting food for the less fortunate, helping to raise money for and awareness about head injuries, and conducting in-services for first responders.

Concluding her letter, Val wrote, “Hopefully you can see just how proud I am of the work our students do each and every year. They are dedicated students, enthusiastic advocates, and aspiring leaders that will undoubtedly make an impact on the future of athletic training.”

Upon learning that UM’s program was selected to receive the $2,000.00 Bill Cramer award, Val said, “It is an honor to be this year's recipient of this award and we are humbled to be selected, as we know there are so many deserving schools doing amazing work. Our program is incredibly grateful to Cramer for their longstanding support of education and the athletic training profession. We intend to use the development award for our students to gain KT1 and KT2 certifications and we have already begun our planning to host a kinesio taping workshop in April. Our students are so excited to have this opportunity to enhance their education and further develop their clinical skills!”

“All of us at Cramer are so pleased that the University of Montana has been selected for the 2014 Bill Cramer award,” says Ed Christman, Cramer’s vice president of marketing. “Their outstanding program, remarkable students, and dedication to community service would make Bill very proud. Congratulations to Val and her colleagues and students!” Read More

Erin Arnas awarded the Jack Cramer Scholarship

August 7, 2014

Congratulations to Erin Arnas of New Berlin, Wis., the 2014 recipient of the Jack Cramer Scholarship. The $2,000.00 scholarship was established in 2006 by Cramer Products to honor the memory of Jack Cramer, who believed in mentoring high school students interested in the profession of athletic training. Jack, son of company co-founder Frank Cramer, died in 2004 at age of 86. The scholarship is awarded to a graduating high school senior planning to become an athletic trainer and work in a high school setting.

Erin is a 2014 graduate of New Berlin West High School, and will attend Winona State College in Minnesota this fall, majoring in athletic training. In an essay Erin wrote for the scholarship application, she said, “I knew I wanted to have a career in sports medicine since career day in eighth grade, and from there research led me to the rewarding career of athletic training. Ever since discovering this occupation, I have never considered doing anything different with my life. I am destined to be an athletic trainer because of a combination of my love for sports, the medical field, guiding teenagers, and giving back to others. There is no other profession in the world that fulfills all of those interests, and based on the amount of hours I have spent as a student athletic trainer over the past three years, I know there is not one boring trait about this profession.” Erin also says that her high school athletic trainer, Claudia Percifield, ATC, served as a role model and further inspired her career decision.

In her essay, Erin wrote, “I plan to help my athletes not only through injuries, but through tough points in high school. It is my hope that I can become a role model as well as an athletic trainer. Not only is it up to the athletic trainer to talk with the athlete, but also communicating to that athlete’s parents, coach, athletic director, and at times a doctor or school guidance counselor. In addition, having patience for athletes, coaches, and parents is a necessity in this profession. Patience is a skill I believe I have acquired, but it is something I will also continue to work on to make myself the best athletic trainer I can be.”

In recommending Erin for the scholarship, Claudia Percifield wrote, “I have had the pleasure of knowing Erin for four years through athletics and have worked closely with her, supervising her in the athletic training room where she served as a student athletic trainer. Erin displays all of the characteristics desired of an athletic trainer; she is intelligent, hard-working, and self-motivated. She manages her time well and contributes significantly to every organization she takes part in, realizing even at this level the value of contributing to professional organizations to ensure success of the organization.”

Claudia continues, “What sets Erin apart from her classmates are the skills you cannot teach. Erin has superior communication skills, whether she is talking to a classmate, coach or teacher, or a complete stranger. She is able to build a rapport with anyone she meets, creating an immediate bond of trust that’s palpable. In the athletic training room, she is intuitive, allowing us to work as a well-oiled machine. She has paid so much attention to my treatment style over the course of her four years with me that she can anticipate my next move and how to best help me be efficient. She is so passionate about her future career that she spends countless hours in the athletic training room, even on days when school is not in session.”

Erin says she is honored to win a scholarship from such a prestigious company. Over the summer, she’s been working in a clothing store, spending time with her family, and helping Claudia at the high school “every chance I get.” She’s excited about starting classes this fall at Winona State, saying, “The campus is impossible to not fall in love with. Everything is very centralized but is definitely not too small, population- wise. I am looking forward to meeting new friends and the challenges that are associated with living away from my hometown.”

Erin, everyone at Cramer wishes you the very best of luck at Winona State! You clearly have the traits and the drive to become a world-class athletic trainer, and we are very proud to be a part of your exciting career journey! Read More

The new Active Ankle 329: High compression, low profile

August 6, 2014

The new Active Ankle 329 Support Brace is the ideal solution for athletes looking for moderate, low-profile support with minimal presence in their shoes.

The 329 is latex-free, made of nylon and spandex. It has a high compression liner that provides substantial, comfortable compression to both the lateral and deltoid ligaments. Four-inch-wide medial and lateral straps help anchor the heel lock strap, assisting in stabilizing the tibia to the subtalar joint. The straps also create solid support that provides additional resistance and protection.

Cramer gave Trent Stratton, ATC, Director of Sports Medicine at Kent State University, an opportunity to test drive the AA 329 with some of his athletes. He said the support brace worked out so well that he purchased additional braces for the basketball team and some of his football players.

“Our basketball players really like a light tape job, or something not bulky on their ankles,” Trent says. “The Active Ankle 329 brace works well as a preventive measure instead of taping.”

Trent says the brace would also work well for soccer. “It’s easy to put on,” he notes, “and the athletes have been compliant about wearing it, so that’s a sign of success.”

The 329 support brace is right/left universal, available in black or white, and comes in sizes small, medium, large, and extra large.
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