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Muhlenberg College

Thursday, March 26, 2009

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athletic trainers keep mules at their best

National Athletic Training MonthMarch is National Athletic Training Month. For more information, visit www.NATA.org or click on the banner at right. Below is a profile of the Muhlenberg athletic training staff written by Lisa Youngentob ’12.

Every sports team, whether professional, collegiate, amateur or recreational, has seen its share of injuries and its share of players return better than ever. It is all thanks to athletic trainers.

The athletic trainer’s role is different from a personal trainer at a gym because the athletic trainers are licensed by the state and work as part of a medical team. In order to be a certified athletic trainer, one must have at least a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, pass a very comprehensive exam, participate in continuing education programs, and adhere to the standards of practice set by a certifying agency.

A personal trainer, on the other hand, is someone who prescribes, monitors and changes an individual’s specific exercise program in a fitness or sports setting. Personal trainers are not required to be certified.

The daily responsibilities of athletic trainers range from physical and rehabilitation services, preventing, diagnosing, treating and rehabilitating acute and chronic injuries and coordinating with doctors.

Muhlenberg College has four certified Steve Nemes athletic trainers who are greatly appreciated by the student athletes and typically spend 60-65 hours in the training room per week in the fall and 50 hours per week in the spring. They go through 5,760 roles of white tape per year, tape approximately 60-70 ankles a day (the number doubles in the fall), and have already gone through 10,000 ice bags this year alone.

Even though it is a very time-consuming job, there are a lot of advantages and memorable experiences. When asked what he liked the most about his job, head athletic trainer Steve Nemes said, “I would have to say working with the different sports teams and the student athletes. I have always enjoyed sports and working with the athletes, especially the type of athletes we have at Muhlenberg. They keep me ‘young’ and on my toes. The whole Muhlenberg community is a great group to work with, and my staff is great and makes the job so much more enjoyable.”

He has also had some very memorable experiences while at Muhlenberg during the last 27 years. “The three that stand out the most are going to the 1995 men’s soccer ‘Final Four,’ receiving the 2001 Scotty Wood Community Service Award and being able to have my daughter go along with me this year with the women’s basketball team to the ‘Sweet Sixteen.’”

Another one of Muhlenberg’s athletic trainers, Lindsay Weiss, says, “I love the variety that my job brings. There can be Lindsay Weiss a different injury/person/sport/setting almost every day. What I LOVE about being an athletic trainer is those teaching moments when it just clicks inside the injured athlete’s head and they understand the meaning behind why their injury may have happened.”

The most memorable experience that sticks out in her mind was when she was working a men’s soccer game a few years ago. The other team’s goalie went to make a save and was not aware of his position and leaped right into the goal post. She said, “I didn’t even think, I just started running onto the field as fast as I could. I can still hear the ping his face made hitting it. His teeth left an impression in the post. He hit pretty hard.”

Muhlenberg students appreciate the athletic trainers a lot. Junior Yoni Farber of the men’s tennis team said, “I really appreciate their time commitment. They arrive very early and stay really late, yet they are still so happy to help all the athletes. They have gotten me ready to play matches that I could not have played without their help.”

Without the athletic trainers, Muhlenberg College athletics would be very different. The athletic trainers help keep the Mules at their best.

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