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The First Aider

7 Uses for your THERA°PEARL Eye-ssential Mask

May 15, 2015
Therapearl Eye Mask

One for every day of the week!

1. Dry eye relief

Allergies, overuse of contact lenses, and a dry climate or season can all dry out your eyes. Use your eye mask either warm or cold to stimulate your meibomian glands, which provides your eyes with more moisturizing oils.

2. Reduce puffiness around your eyes

Frequently wake up with puffy eyes? Pull your eye mask out of the freezer first thing in the morning and give your eyes a relaxing and soothing wake up call.

3. Headache relief

Applying a cold eye mask to your forehead tightens the blood vessels and reduces the pain of a headache. If you suspect you’re suffering from a tension headache, applying a warm eye mask to the tight muscles in your neck can relax you and relieve the pain.

4. Relief from sinus congestion

Apply a warm eye mask to the bridge of your nose to loosen the mucus and relieve the pressure caused by sinus congestion.

5. After cosmetic surgery

Doctors recommend that patients use cold therapy on the affected area for at least the first three days after undergoing treatment. Using a cold eye mask on the treated area will reduce swelling and pain.

6. After waxing

Use a cold eye mask on your eyebrows or upper lip after waxing to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs and to soothe any pain and redness.

7. Hangover remedy

Overdid it last night? Our eye mask blocks out light and reduces headaches when used cold.

Get the THERA°PEARL’s Eye-ssential Eye Mask here. Read More


May 9, 2015

Benny Vaughn is a licensed massage therapist and ATC, and owner of Benny Vaughn Athletic Therapy Center in Fort Worth, TX. He grew up in Georgia, and attended the University of Florida on an athletic scholarship to run track. Benny became intrigued by the concept of massage therapy for athletes in 1972, after reading an article in Track and Field News that described the use of massage therapy in Europe to help runners with recovery and performance. He enrolled in a 10-month training program at the American Institute of Massage in Gainesville, Florida (now called the Florida School of Massage), and then completed a one-year apprenticeship.

After working as a massage therapist for 10 years, Benny earned a degree in health education, specializing in health promotion and wellness. At the same time, he completed the requirements to become an ATC. “I was especially interested in the orthopedic assessment skills and knowledge of injury conditions that athletic trainers see,” Benny explains. “It was important to me to learn this so I could recognize these conditions and know when to refer my clients to other sports medicine professionals.”


Massage therapy is a remarkable modality for preparing athletes for performance and competition, as well as an aid in recovery,” Benny says. “Used during performance preparation, massage helps athletes focus their bodies and minds prior to competition. Sometimes the touch is applied through the athlete’s warm-up clothing, and sometimes it’s directly on the skin. These are short sessions, maybe 5 or 10 minutes, using rhythmic massage. That rhythmic preparation is key to athletes being physically and mentally prepared to compete. For some athletes, these quick pre-performance massages become an important part of their sports ritual. During recovery, long massage strokes are used to reduce any edema that occurs from training. It also relaxes the athlete after the intensive stress on the body and mind from training and competition. It doesn’t matter what the sport is—recovery is always important.”

Benny’s sports massages focus on an athlete’s fascia, which envelops all skeletal muscle and muscle fibers. He explains, “Fascia is indigenous throughout the body, and it gives the body shape and form and it affects function as well. It’s important to consider fascial anatomy when assessing an athlete, to best determine what hands-on strategy will be most effective for the complaint the athlete presents. With this knowledge, you begin to look at the body very differently than when only the skeletal muscle function is considered. The tension and stress along kinetic lines of motion that the athlete has to facilitate for their given sport must be examined. So fascial anatomy is critical in my mind, especially when helping athletes perform at their very best.”


Athletic trainers who have learned massage techniques gain an increase in the sensitivity of their touch, thus improving their orthopedic assessment skills improve. Benny says he first learned this in the 1980s at the University of Florida. “I was on staff as an assistant athletic trainer and was responsible for massage therapy services for the Florida Athletic Association. We offered massage therapy classes and encouraged all of the athletic trainers and graduate assistants there to participate. It was the Director of Sports Medicine who first noticed that the orthopedic assessment skills improved in the athletic trainers with massage therapy training, because their touch sensitivity was much better. This is a byproduct we weren’t expecting or looking for. But once you start giving massages regularly, you feel things more acutely when touching a knee or hamstring, for example.”

Though massage is physical work, Benny says that with formal massage therapy training you learn to use your body weight and body mechanics to apply appropriate pressure to the client. “When done correctly,” he says, “ massage is not painful for the athletic trainer's body and it’s as easy to do as applying electrical stimulation or an ice pack. And touch is usually a more effective way to treat an athlete lying on a table.”

Athletic trainers interested in incorporating massage into program should consider enrolling in a massage therapy training program, Benny says, or hiring a massage therapy instructor who can work with you, your staff and your athletes for a number of weeks and months or enroll in advanced orthopedic sports massage courses. “All too often, athletic trainers think that massage therapy is a simplistic activity that anyone can do, and that is so far from the truth. Massage therapy operates from a physical plane, but also—and very importantly—from an energetic plane. Athletes will know and feel immediately if you know what you’re doing, or if you don’t. So asking a student athletic trainer with no massage training to massage an athlete, or give a rub down, is not massage. It is better to include a licensed and certified massage therapist on your staff.”

Benny has many clients who are professional athletes. “Professional athletes have figured out the difference that massage makes. Many of the professional teams find and check out good, licensed massage therapists in their area and provide those recommendations to their athletes. This is the model that most athletic trainers are using at the pro level. If you’re interested in finding good massage therapists for your athletes, look for those who identify themselves as doing orthopedic or sports massage, deep tissue massage, neuromuscular therapy, or myofascial release. These usually indicate that the person has had some advanced training. Also, those LMTs who are board certified and state licensed indicate high levels or proficiency.”


Since 2003, Benny has been involved with the U.S. Track and Field team, and frequently travels with the team. He recently returned from eight days with them at the World Relay Championships in Nassau, Bahamas. “There were 44 countries represented,” Benny says, “and the U.S. team won seven out of the ten relay events. They probably would have won two others that they were leading, but were disqualified because of baton drops. So we came very close to winning 9 of 10 relays. These athletes receive regular massages during training and competition, and as part of their recovery.” It’s also important to note that massage therapists were officially included into the U.S. Olympic program with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, thanks to Benny’s efforts while serving as manager of athlete medical services for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.


An entire article could be devoted to Benny’s many awards and achievements. They include the National Meritorious Award from the American Massage Therapy Association in 1989; the International Achievement Award from the Florida State Massage Therapy Association in 1996; and an Award of Excellence from the NATA in 1999 for his educational video, “Massage for Sports Health Care.” In the year 2000, Massage Magazine, an international publication, named Benny as one of the 50 most influential professionals of hands-on, soft-tissue therapy, in the world, over the past 100 years. And in 2012, Benny received the ONE Concept Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the massage therapy profession.

The recognition Benny has received is even more impressive when one considers the hurdles he faced when starting out as a male African American massage therapist in the early 1970s. “I was practicing in the Deep South,” he says, “and faced racial and homophobic challenges. For the first two years, I only took male clients that were willing to receive a massage from a male therapist, and it was several years before I considered taking women as clients. And once I did, for quite some time, I only accepted female clients who were referred to me by a male client.”

He persevered, though, always adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards. “I never wavered on this and never will,” says Benny, “and that—combined with excellent results—is how my reputation grew. By the early 80s my race started to be less of an issue.”

Benny estimates he’s given close to 300,000 massages since he started in the profession 41 years ago. “That’s a lot of touching peoples’ lives,” he says, “and there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that. I am still very curious about every client I see—curious to learn what might be creating pain, apprehension, or stress in their lives and how touch can help heal them and make a positive difference. Touch is a powerful vehicle for giving people hope.”
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NATA publishes guidelines for addressing high school athletes with psychological concerns

May 8, 2015

The NATA has published an inter-association task force consensus statement, “Recommendations for Developing a Plan to Recognize and Refer Student Athletes with Psychological Concerns at the Secondary School Level.” According to Tim Neal, ATC, chair of the task force that developed the recommendations, the purpose of this statement is to raise awareness and provide education for the high school athletic trainer, coach, administrator, guidance counselor and parent on the prevalence of mental health issues in secondary school athletes.

"We have created a road map on how to better recognize potential mental health issues and develop a referral system to provide the athlete with assistance," Neal said.

More than 7.7 million American high school students play organized school sports each year, according to the news release. Many student athletes define themselves and their identities as athletes, and when that identity is threatened the athlete may face psychological issues, according to Neal. Triggers can include a struggling performance, a chronic career-ending injury, relationship challenges, academic pressure, an eating disorder or bullying or hazing, among other concerns.

According to the statement, the types, severity and percentages of mental illnesses are growing in young adults aged 18-25. Given that mental illnesses are being reported in this age group, they may well start before or during adolescence. Recognizing the overall numbers of student athletes at the high school level, sports medicine professionals and mental health experts are certain to encounter athletes with these issues.

Possible triggers of mental health problems in high school athletes include poor sports performance, career-ending injury, academic pressure, an eating disorder, and bullying or hazing, the statement says.

Along with outlining ways to identify and get counseling or emergency assistance for student athletes with mental health issues, the statement also offers advice about confidentiality and legal issues.

The task force was spearheaded by NATA and supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics; American Medical Society for Sports Medicine; American Psychological Association, Division 47: Exercise and Sport Psychology; American School Counselor Association; Association of Applied Sports Psychiatry; and International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.

The consensus statement can be viewed here:

http://www.nata.org/NR03032015 Read More

Sports 4 Life: Increasing participation in youth sports by African-American and Hispanic girls

May 7, 2015

Last month, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), and national partner espnW--a media platform for women who love sports--announced the 2015 grantees for its Sports 4 Life initiative. Sports 4 Life is a national effort to increase the participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls in youth sports programs. WSF, the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports, has awarded $110,000 in funding to 22 grantees to serve more than 6,800 middle and high school girls across the nation.

The link between sports participation and the prevention of chronic diseases, like diabetes, obesity, depression and cardiovascular diseases, is well-established, especially for African-American and Hispanic females who display lower rates of participation than their peers. By making sports more accessible, Sports 4 Life gives young females the chance to learn the foundational benefits of sports, such as leadership, confidence, self-esteem, and perseverance.

“The Foundation believes in the transformative power of sports, be it learning how to live a healthy life, how to be a leader or how to work in a team, and is committed to expanding access to sports for girls in diverse communities,” said Angela Hucles, WSF president and two-time Olympic and World Cup medalist in soccer. “Alongside espnW, we take our mission to provide and connect young female athletes with these opportunities seriously – cost, safety or transportation will no longer be an obstacle for girls to get in the game.”

In its first year, the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW grant will help organizations representing 14 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to create or expand developmental youth sports programs serving predominately girls of color.

“We have seen the positive impact that playing sports has on the health and wellness of girls on a global and national level, as well as overall self-esteem and confidence that carries over into the classroom,” said Laura Gentile, vice president of espnW. “Through this collaboration with Women’s Sports Foundation, espnW has an opportunity to reach young girls who have yet to be introduced to the power of sports and show them how sports can be their toolkit for achieving success in all aspects of life.”

“At ESPN, we’re inspired everyday by the countless stories of women and girls whose lives have been impacted through sports,” added Christine Driessen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, ESPN, and WSF board member. “We’ve been proud to work hand-in-hand with the Women’s Sports Foundation for many years to help advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity.”

The 19 latest grantees will join three model programs, including PowerPlay NYC, Girls in the Game and Sporty Girls, Inc., to demonstrate how funding can be used to recruit and grow sports participation by girls in these communities.

The Foundation will begin accepting applications for 2016 this fall. For information and timelines about the 2016 grant cycle, visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org/Sports4Life.
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May 6, 2015

From the March 2, 1956 issue:

COMMENTS on the Training Program, by Frank Cramer

If I were employed as a trainer, I would keep a simple but “complete record” of the original physical examination of every player in every sport. The purpose of this “complete record” is to define, in detail, any injury, or deviation from normal which may have been found at the time the boys started participation in athletics. This record may never be needed or used, but it will be of immediate benefit as a guide toward corrective therapy.

In entirely too many cases this examination and record has been superficial and of no real benefit to the individual or the school.


During the past thirty years I have been in every state in the union, and have visited more than 700 college training rooms. I have visited with the trainers in an effort to learn more about training, what they do for a specific injury, how they go about the doing and what results are obtained.

We have these trainers to thank for creating more modern, up-to-date methods. They have made much progress in both defensive and corrective procedures.

In addition to their training duties they are now in the process of promoting “courtesy to visiting teams” – a much neglected part of the athletic program.


Your training room is used every day of every athletic season of the school year. For that reason, equipping it should be no casual matter.

In my humble opinion this athletic first aid station should come first in your plans and thoughts. It is the key to the three most important factors: emergency treatments, prevention and care!

For many years the training room has ben the step-child of the athletic program. It’s time we modernized our thinking and our training rooms. Let’s don’t wait for some severe injury to focus attention on injury care. You will be criticized, even if you are not guilty.

Ask, now, for a program of improvement. If you win—you gain in efficiency. If you lose—you establish an alibi and place the blame where it belongs.


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May 5, 2015

When it comes to hydration systems, we know your standards are high—after all, there’s nothing more important than keeping athletes hydrated. So when we set out to design a new hydration system, we set the bar high— very high. And now, we’re very pleased to introduce the Powerflo Pro—a hydration system that sets new standards in durability, mobility, and convenience.

This rugged, portable system is made for on-the-field use, and was designed you’re your safety, durability, mobility, and convenience needs in mind. If your athletic program means working in multiple locations or changing fields regularly, this is the hydration system for you!

The Powerflo Pro has everything you’re looking for in a hydration system:


• 20-gallon capacity

• Narrower design for storing and maneuvering through doorways with ease

• Rounded corners for speedy cleaning and maintenance.

• Large 6.5-inch tank opening, making it a snap to add ice

• Drain assembly allows emptying of the tank without removal

Interested in converting your own cooler to use with a hydration system so you’ll have a more thermal unit on the field? The Powerflo Pro is available as a tankless system as well!


• New interior manifold moves the most susceptible components inside the control box, protecting them from harmful UVA/UVB rays and damage from impact

• Six drinking stations

• Flexible hoses


• Made of a sophisticated, molded, durable nylon that is impact-resistant, freeze-resistant and has fully water potable parts

• Lighter weight and durable, made from the same material used in football helmets

• New mounting tabs add a replaceable “break away” function so the cabinet is less likely to be damaged

• Features a new, convenient battery charging system—no more removing or disconnecting wires--simply plug the charger directly into the cabinet (similar to a car charger), with other battery charging options available as well


• The Powerflo Pro’s tires are all but indestructible and require zero maintenance

• These solid (but pliable) foam-filled tires will never go flat, and have just the right amount of “give” to ensure a smooth ride

• All-terrain tires with a wider base and tread make the Powerflo Pro easy to push or pull—even off-road, on real turf, and going through mud!

• More mobile and easy to move around

• The ultra-durable cart is made of a light-weight, heavy-duty construction aluminum that won’t rust or corrode

You can’t afford to have a hydration system that doesn’t work when you need it, and waiting a few days to get a replacement part is usually not an option. You need a hydration system that works every time. That’s why you’ll love the Powerflo Pro.
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