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William & Mary’s Summer Workshop Builds on the Cramer Tradition

May 6, 2016

Sixty years ago, the profession of athletic training was still in the formative stage, and there was little formal education for athletic trainers. The leaders at Cramer Products were eager to spread industry and professional knowledge, and move the profession forward—and they recognized that reaching out to high school students would be one very effective way to do this. So in 1957, the company introduced the Cramer Student Trainer Workshops—a summer program for high school students that is now considered legendary.

For years, the summer workshops were held at college campuses across the country, with all details handled by Cramer representatives. The College of William & Mary first became a Cramer workshop site in 1983, and continued to be a workshop location until the year 2000, when Cramer decided to discontinue the workshops.

When they received the news that Cramer would no longer be hosting summer workshops, William & Mary’s Division of Sports Medicine staff decided to keep the summer program going on their own, with support from Cramer. Their 16th annual Sports Medicine Workshop will take place this summer, July 9-12.

Renee Cork, ATC, William & Mary’s Director of Sports Medicine, and Andy Carter, ATC, the school’s Senior Associate Athletic Trainer, oversee the summer workshop. Since Andy became enthralled with athletic training during his two high school experiences at the camp, he cherishes the opportunity to continue this remarkable tradition for high school students interested in the profession.

According to Andy, 80-100 high school students typically attend. “We offer two tracks, basic and advanced, just as Cramer did all those years. The workshop is designed as an exploratory experience, so we introduce many concepts and ideas over the four days. We’re not trying to teach kids to be athletic trainers over a weekend! But after the workshop, these students understand more about what their high school’s athletic trainer is doing and are better able to learn from them.”

Certified athletic trainers from a variety of professional settings conduct the workshop lectures and laboratories, and CPR certification is a major focus. The basic track includes upper and lower extremity taping, injury prevention techniques, recognizing sports injuries, emergency care skills, and introduction to rehabilitation skills. The advanced track includes advanced taping and wrapping techniques, aquatic therapy, strength and conditioning, and a sports medicine career seminar with representatives from many area college and university athletic training programs.

All classes and laboratories take place in the Sports Medicine Facility on the William & Mary campus, and participants stay in the college dorms. “Everyone on the sports medicine staff helps supervise the students and we all stay in the dorms during the workshop,” Andy says. “It’s a fun experience and a way for the staff to bond for a few days during the summer. It’s one of the last things we do together before we get started in August and we all look forward to it.”

As workshop sponsor, Cramer Products give each student participant a Cramer ZipCut Tape Cutter and a Medco catalog to take back to school. High schools receive one free case of Cramer athletic tape for each student they send to the workshop, and schools sending three or more students receive a new Cramer Tuf-Tek Pro Soft-Sided Kit, valued at $200.00. Throughout the workshop, students participate in contests and games that provide opportunities to win additional Cramer merchandise.

Since there has been a summer athletic training workshop on the campus of William & Mary for so many years, Andy says that they once had a student participant whose parents had also attended many years before. “And then there are students who attended the camp in high school, graduated from college and became an athletic trainer, and have applied for an athletic training position at William & Mary.” Of course, that is a path that Andy can relate to since it’s the one that he took!

“The summer sports medicine workshop at William & Mary charted my career course,” Andy says, “and I know it continues to do that for many other high school students. Every summer, I tell the students, ‘I once sat where you are now.’ It’s an honor to be a part of this program that continues the tradition Cramer started so many years ago.”

For more information about William & Mary’s summer sports medicine workshop for high school students, visit http://www.wm.edu/offices/sportsmedicine/sports-medicine-workshop/