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Athletic Trainer Spotlight: Collin Francis, ATC, Indiana University

August 19, 2016

Growing up in Laurel, Md., Collin Francis dreamed of going to med school and becoming a plastic surgeon. That was his plan when he enrolled at a science and technology magnet school--Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md. To complete the program’s internship requirement, Collin was connected with Darryl Conway at the University of Maryland. “I figured I’d check in monthly to show Darryl my progress on an anatomy project, and he’d sign my paper. Darryl didn’t see it that way, though. He said, ‘If you’re going to do an athletic training internship, you’re going to do it the right way.’ I had planned to coast through my internship, and instead I was put to work on the sidelines. I remember thinking, what did I get myself into?”

By the time Collin graduated from high school in 2006, he realized he loved athletic training…but hadn’t quite abandoned the idea of becoming a doctor. “It came to the wire, and I had to make a decision—and my decision was athletic training,” he says. I knew the University of Delaware had one of the best programs, but my sister was a student there and I didn’t want to follow my big sister to college. Fortunately, my common sense prevailed, and that’s where I went and I loved it.” While pursuing a B.S. in Athletic Training, Collin spent summers in San Diego, working as a summer camp intern for the San Diego Chargers.

After graduating from Delaware in 2010, Collin headed to Clemson University as a graduate assistant, working with swimming, diving, and football. He completed a Masters of Science in Youth Development Leadership at Clemson in 2012. From Clemson, Collin did a one-season internship with the Carolina Panthers, and then in 2013 he was named head football athletic trainer at Morgan State in Baltimore. He landed in the position of assistant football athletic trainer at Indiana University in February 2015, and was recently named interim head football athletic trainer.

“I’ve benefitted from amazing mentors every place I’ve been,” Collin says. “During my summer internship with the Chargers, James Collins and Damon Mitchell showed me that you’ve got to get your hands on the athletes every single day. You have to touch them to know the ins and outs of where it hurts. They taught me the importance of having a good time and having a staff that takes care of one another. My work ethic developed there, too. No matter how early I got to work or how late I stayed, James was already there when I arrived and still working when I left.

“At Clemson,” Collin continues, “Danny Poole provided a great atmosphere and an environment of learning, independence, and personal growth. Ryan Vermillion and his great staff at the Panthers showed me that every task is important, no matter how small it may seem. Ryan impressed on me the importance of always being a professional—in the airport, on an airplane, at the hotel, every moment. We had to be ready to act if the need was there. We couldn’t be out messing around. I learned that athletic trainers have to be the hardest working guys in the entire organization. I was taught by great people, and that has always made me believe that I need to be great and help my students be great.”

Those mentors are still there to help him, Collin says. “When times get tough, when there’s an injury I’ve never seen before, I can pick up the phone and call any of these guys. They’ll be honest. They’ll tell me to stop doing this and start doing that. Or they’ll give me the name of another athletic trainer who might know more. That’s one of the things I love about this profession. There are tens of thousands of us doing the same thing, sharing the same goals. You’re never ever alone in this job.”

Collin swam competitively growing up, and stays involved with the sport as an athletic trainer and medical consultant for the USA Swimming National Team. He was on the staff for the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia.

Athletic trainers get a front row seat to the best athletes, Collin notes. “Before every game I remind my staff that it might get really hard during the week, but we have a great job. People pay an insane amount of money to see what we get to see up close. Our athletes rely on us. We spend hours and hours with them. We go to sleep and wake up thinking about them. No one in this job does it to be thanked or to get a pat on the back, but when Jordan Howard gets drafted by the Chicago Bears, and I know I had a little part in that, that’s enough thanks for me. It’s the best feeling.”

Several years ago, Collin was invited to join Cramer’s Athletic Trainer Advisory Board. “I’ve learned so much from the other athletic trainers on the board,” he says. “In this profession we develop so many important relationships and friendships over the years, and I’m glad to include the advisory board members among my professional and personal VIPs.”

Outside of work, Collin focuses on friends, family, food and flicks. “I have the two cutest nieces—18-month-old twins! I recently took them to a minor league baseball game, their first athletic event. I’m a huge movie buff and try to see every new movie. I also love to eat, cook, and feed my family and friends. When I’m in a new city, I like to find the best donuts and the best burgers. And at home, I’m working on my skills with the grill and smoker.”

Reflecting on his decision a decade ago to become an athletic trainer, Collin says he absolutely made the right decision. “I have the coolest job. I’ve been all over the world for work, and have met wonderful people who are lifelong friends. It’s hard when an athlete gets hurt, and not everyone gets back to perfect health. Some may quit. But you’ve got to take the good with the bad. How can I complain? I love my profession and can’t imagine doing anything else.” Read More

Dustin McNeely: Recipient of the 2016 Jack Cramer Scholarship

August 19, 2016

Dustin McNeely - 2016 Jack Cramer Scholarship Award Winner

Congratulations to Dustin McNeely of York, S.C., the 2016 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.

Dustin graduated in May from York Comprehensive High School. He was a student athletic training aid all four years of high school, and is the school’s first student to have started in that role as a ninth grader. This month he’s heading for Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., where he will major in athletic training and minor in political science and Spanish.

In his scholarship application essay, Dustin explained how he first became interested in the profession of athletic training. He wrote, “ There I was, a young boy sitting on the sideline of my brother’s pee-wee football game, and suddenly one of the players on the field sustained a hit. The player was lying on the field, helpless, while coaches rushed to him. Time seemed to freeze as he had to be rushed to the emergency room. As the years have gone by, this memory has given me the desire to assist athletes in the medical field.”

In writing about his future career plans, Dustin said, “Athletic trainers have the tremendous responsibility of ensuring the safety and efficient care of athletes. I will be a vital part of the faculty and athletic programs at the secondary school where I am hired. I will bring many productive changes to the athletic training program. One innovative and essential change is to reduce the amount of paperwork by moving to electronic sign-ins. If funds are not available, fundraisers will be held to establish necessary funds and show that this technology is vital in caring for athletes. When an athlete comes into the athletic training room, they will scan their student ID cards as a check in process. They will then select their treatment from a list of modalities. This process will have a timing feature so I can log how long each athlete has been in the athletic training room and monitor any follow-up procedures that are needed.”

Dustin also wrote about the importance of being a mentor to student athletic training aids and athletes. “Being trustworthy, hardworking, and committed to the program, myself, and each other will be a requirement of my student aides. I will mentor these students as they assist in providing first aid of minor cuts and basics like water and taping. By offering morale building activities such as eating together or special trips that associate with the medical field, the students will establish a true learning community. Mentoring and encouraging students will allow them to see that the athletic training profession is an occupation that can bring joy to your life.”

He continues, “Every athlete needs a great mentor. The adolescent years are a very important stage in the course of human development. Athletes need to be taught the importance of health, nutrition, and sleep. I will be an excellent mentor and asset in the secondary school setting by encouraging and mentoring athletes to do their very best at everything even when faced with opposition.”

Sara Messer, ATC, assistant athletic trainer for York Comprehensive High School, sponsored Dustin’s scholarship application. In her recommendation letter, Sara wrote, “Much like Jack Cramer, Dustin has a passion for athletic training. He has a very strong desire to learn and grow as an athletic trainer. He is always asking questions and showing his leadership throughout his time here. Within the student aid staff he is looked upon for guidance in various matters. He is very skilled in taping techniques and is never afraid to ask questions when there is something he does not know. I can attest to his abilities in all of the various domains of athletic training.”

In addition to his exemplary work as a student athletic training aid, Dustin is an Internationally Licensed Lifeguard, a Certified Nursing Assistant in the state of North Carolina, and is recognized as a Certified Healthcare Provider by the American Heart Association. He is also a member of HOSA-Future Health Professionals, and attended numerous workshops and conferences throughout high school.

“Dustin exemplifies what the Jack Cramer Scholarship is all about,” says Rob Mogolov, general manager of Cramer Products. “We’re impressed with his dedication to athletic training throughout high school, and are certain his commitment and determination will grow through his college years along with his professional skills. Dustin’s future is bright, and all of us at Cramer wish him the very best on his journey to becoming an athletic trainer.” Read More

From The Archives: September 1955

August 19, 2016

Spoon Heel Cups…To Prevent “Stone Bruise”

By Art Dickinson, Trainer, Arizona State College, Tempe

One day I found one of our high jumpers, by the name of Roberts, making a “heel cup.” He had cut the handle off of a serving spoon and was shaping the oval bowl to fit his heel.

The idea has now spread to other members of our track squad and to several football players who complained about heel cleats pressing up against the bone and causing pain.

Since that time the idea has spread to several of the Phoenix high schools.

From our experience, we found that flattening the sides and front of the spoon was necessary. If the spoon was the correct size to fit the individual, the back part would fit the contour of the heel.

Some athletes tape them to the heel. Others just wear them in the shoe.

Stainless steel spoons are preferred because they will hold their shape after they are fitted to the individual heel. This shaping is easily done with a hammer.

Editor’s Note: At a later date, we will carry an article on the “Michigan Heel Cup.” It is of the type which is cast for the individual. The article will be prepared by Jim Hunt and Len Paddock of the University of Michigan.



It is the consensus of opinion of coaches and trainers the country over that nothing can excel the Cramergesic Pack for treating the conventional types of knee injury, i.e., those involving Lateral Ligament pulls or strains. The Cramergesic Pack has also been found to be of exceptional value in treating internal bruises and sprains which result in synovitis, or water on the knee. The swelling and pain of such injuries is reduced almost miraculously by early and continuous use of the Cramergesic Pack.

The advantages of the Cramergesic Pack are its simplicity of application, its economy of time and materials, and its efficiency as compared to other methods. It may be used concurrently with other types of heat or massaging methods such as the whirlpool, sunlamp, diathermy, etc. It should be applied as soon as possible and should be continued, with twice daily renewal, as long as need is indicated.


If one of your boys is stung by a bee or wasp, we suggest that an ice pack be used for an hour.


The Marine Corps has ordered 9,000 Featherbite mouthpieces and will require all Marines engaged in contact sports to wear them.


Jot it down…

Wayne Rudy, efficient trainer of S.M.U., has a clipboard, with tablet, hanging in his training room. He calls it his “want-list.” When some product is needed it is jotted down and ordered—not forgotten!

*** Read More

Cramer’s Tape Remover is more versatile than a triple threat back. In addition to its myriad training room uses, Mrs. Coach finds it an ideal spot remover.

The new Active Ankle Eclipse I and II: Rigid, multi-sport ankle braces that live up to their name

August 19, 2016

One definition of the word “eclipse” is to “outdo somebody or something.” With that in mind, it’s easy to see why Active Ankle chose the name Eclipse for the new line of multi-sport rigid ankle braces. The Eclipse I and Eclipse II braces were developed following extensive field research, and perfected through trials with athletes on both the court and the field. Eclipse braces offer best-in-class features that offer maximum support and protection, and improved mobility, comfort and durability. These braces outdo other braces in the category, giving athletes everything they need for optimal performance in a brace so they can outdo the competition.

The Eclipse I and Eclipse II share many of the same features. Both are compact, lightweight ankle braces custom-molded with EVA shock-absorbing padding. They feature integrated ventilation channels that conform to the shape of the ankle and prevent overheating.

Both Eclipse braces offer the rigid, optimized ankle support of Active Ankle’s innovative Multi-Point Strapping System that applies compression across the entire brace. And you can count on a great fit with a unique, contoured stirrup shape and an open heel that eliminates the pinching and discomfort often associated with closed-heel braces. The Eclipse I and II are designed to fit comfortably with all shoe styles.

The Eclipse I, with a single upright design that increases side-to-side mobility, is for athletes who need maximum forward/back, vertical, and side-to-side mobility, including those who participate in basketball, cheerleading, soccer, and football. The Eclipse II is for athletes requiring maximum forward/back and vertical mobility, including those who play volleyball, baseball, and football. Credit the unsurpassed hinges in these braces (a unilateral hinge in the Eclipse 1; bi-lateral hinges in the Eclipse II) for the remarkable, unencumbered forward/back and vertical mobility experienced by athletes wearing these braces. Read More

Eclipse rigid ankle braces offer the innovative, state-of-the-art engineering that your athletes want and will appreciate. Check them out today!

Congrats to the University of Delaware ATEP: Recipient of the 2016 Bill Cramer Award

August 19, 2016

Congratulations to the Athletic Training Education Program of the University of Delaware--the 2016 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.

Thomas Kaminski, ATC, is director of the University of Delaware’s CAATE-accredited Athletic Training Education Program, and Brian Winkler, president of the school’s Student Athletic Trainers’ Club, wrote the letter of application for the award.

Brian wrote, “The students at the University of Delaware are a one-of-a-kind group who continue to stay true to the core ideals of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in the classroom, in the athletic training room, and in the community. The University of Delaware provides the knowledge and experiences to our students to make them successful athletic trainers. Dating back to 2009, our students boast a 94.4% first try pass rate on the BOC examination--well above the national average. Although the national average pass rate has been on the rise since 2009, climbing from 43.3% to 86.28% in 2014, our students excel beyond that. While a first time pass rate of 94.4% is impressive, the University of Delaware’s students overall pass rate for the last 7 years is 100%.”

The University of Delaware’s ATEP students must complete 200 observation hours their freshman year, and from sophomore year through senior year must log a minimum of 200 clinical hours per semester under the supervision of a certified athletic trainer or other qualified healthcare professional. In addition to clinical opportunities in physician offices, physical therapy clinics, and providing care for the school’s NCAA Division-I athletes, students complete a required high school clinical rotation. Many students participate in summer internships with professional sports teams that in recent years have included the Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Union of the MLS, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers.

All ATEP students are active participants in the Student Athletic Trainers’ Club (SATC). “The club strives to promote and educate the community on skills we have learned and honed over our educational experiences,” Brian writes. “We have held events at the local YMCA teaching local coaches and parents important taping and bracing techniques, emergency management skills, and proper equipment fitting. Our students are involved in the annual Medial Aspects of Sports Symposium, helping to teach advanced taping techniques to local health care professionals. In addition to reaching out to collaborate with local health care professionals, parents and coaches, SATC is actively involved in UDance, the fifth largest dance marathon in the nation held to raise money in support of ending childhood cancer. In our first year of participation, SATC raised $10,824 and helped the University of Delaware raise $1,701,667.81 in the fight against childhood cancer. As allied health professionals, we are determined to be actively involved in the fight against cancer and other devastating diseases. Each student in our program is determined to make a difference and is willing to go the extra mile in providing quality health care to all.”

University of Delaware’s ATEP students demonstrate great commitment to athletic training and education. For example, of the 19 students who graduated from the program in 2015, 10 went on to study athletic training in graduate school, two went on to graduate school in other allied health professions, and six accepted positions in a setting related to athletic training.

The athletic training education program at the University of Delaware is committed to promoting the ideals of the NATA, and producing students who excel in the classroom, in the athletic training room, and in the community, Brian wrote in his letter. “The students rely on both regional and national conferences to accommodate for the rapidly evolving field of athletic training and sports medicine. This is one of many reasons our students would be honored and ecstatic to continue to develop this knowledge with the assistance of the Bill Cramer award.”

“The University of Delaware ATEP has an impressive track record, and we congratulate them on their tremendous success,” says Rob Mogolov, Cramer’s general manager. “Bill Cramer was passionate about athletic training education, and it is easy to see that the faculty and students at University of Delaware share that same kind of passion. Congratulations to all of you!” Read More