Surviving Fall Preseason: An athletic trainer’s point of view!

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By: Alison Kapuska
Assistant Athletic Trainer

August 12th was the last day of our summer as athletic trainers here at Washington and Lee. Football reported to campus, began practice and life as we know it changed. We go from daily office hours consisting of going through athlete’s paper work, inventory, and CPR/Spine board/helmet removal courses to mass chaos in a blink of an eye. This year was my fifth preseason as a certified athletic trainer and I’ve learned nothing can really prepare you for the 2+ weeks of mayhem. This year I attempted to come into preseason with a plan to manage my athletes. It’s still up in the air if it worked.  I had my teams water bottles labeled in their lockers, my list of missing paperwork typed up and highlighted, my kit stocked ready to go, and most importantly binder full of schedules and injury reports. I thankfully didn’t start field hockey practice till Aug 18th so I had an extra week of prepping for my team’s arrival on campus.

Once they arrived on campus my life was full of two a days, treatments, taping, and practice. You know you’re scatter brained when your evaluating an injury and the athlete tells you mid-eval that it was the wrong leg you were looking at. I honed my skills at directing athletes in the athletic training room, which resembled a grounds crew member at the airport.

Yes, that is standing water on the field!

I have learned that two a days can become a time warp. You aren’t too sure what day it is, which can lead to some problems. This is why I always have my schedule with me, I’d be lost without it. My biggest issue was wondering why athlete’s injuries weren’t resolving. It would feel like they had been out for weeks when it only happened the day before or even just that morning.

The worst part about preseason is the things you can’t control — for example the weather. Will it be a blazing hot with 100% humidity or will it rain nonstop? This year we had a mixture of the two and I detest rain. We had one sudden downpour it was horrible! This leads me to my Preseason Survival Guide

* Anticipate anything hunger, outfit change, and weather concerns: I keep my locker fully stocked with food, clothes, and shoes.

* Take care of your feet: different playing surfaces may need different footwear. The Turf field is a little less giving then grass so I plan my shoes accordingly. Nothing is worse than your feet hurting from standing!

* COFFEE: enough said!  (I’m on my 2nd cup while writing this)

* Sleep: I may be guilty of an 8:30 pm bedtime.

* Hydrate: We preach about drinking water to replenish what athletes have lost during activity. I have to remember to do the same.

My locker at Wilson Field

* Write everything down: nothing is worse than trying to remember what leg was injured during an evaluation when writing the injury note.

* Remember to close the cold/warm whirlpool drains … shocking it doesn’t fill if open.

* And last if there is lemon cookies at D-hall eat 5 of them they are an explosion of flavor in your mouth. If they are on the menu any time soon let me know!

Well now that my fall preseason has officially come to a close with Field Hockey’s first game vs. Sewanee, I can say that I survived another preseason. It may take me till next year to gear up for it again. But what gets me through is my fellow staff members and knowledge its only 2 weeks!

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One Response to “Surviving Fall Preseason: An athletic trainer’s point of view!”

  1. Jane Says:

    I agree about the coffee and lemon cookies!!

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