For those of you that don’t know, the month of March is National Athletic Training Month. So with March approaching the purpose of this article is to recognize our athletic trainers who take on a very challenging role in the the Wrestling Community. Wrestling is very demanding of both your time and effort, therefore the hours of hard work that our athletic trainers put in to keep our wrestlers healthy should not go unnoticed. These are just four of the many situations where wrestling makes the athletic trainer’s job a bit more challenging than other sports do.
1. Figuring out who can practice and who should see a doctor is not always a simple task
In my article 5 Things Every Wrestler Learns Freshman Year of College I mentioned that you need to know the difference between being hurt and being injured. Wrestling is a grind you are going to get banged up, but If you go to the doctor for every little thing, you’ll spend your entire season there. As a result,there are three types of wrestlers: Those who down play the severity of their pain to stay on the mat; those who have a habit of faking injuries so they can skip out on practice; and those rare few who are actually honest about the degree of pain they are in. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out which category a wrestler falls under; fortunately we have our athletic trainers to help determine which wrestlers are too banged up to wrestle, which ones can still practice, and which ones belong on broadway for their acting skills. If that isn’t stressful enough the athletic trainer then has to deliver the news to a coach who is often in denial when it comes to injuries, and is apparently unfamiliar with the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” when you say a kid can’t wrestle.
How to make his situation a little easier on our athletic trainers: Simple, when they ask questions about the pain you are in answer them HONESTLY! If you are legitimately injured it is probably in your best interest to take some time off. If you fake/exaggerate an injury the truth is going to come out when you see a doctor anyway and you are going to feel very embarresed when they say nothing is wrong you. Not to mention, nobody will believe you when you actually do get injured (that’s right, I just hit you with ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ there’s your life lesson for the day ).
2. Nobody works faster than an athletic trainer during injury time
In most sports, when a player goes down a replacement can fill in while the athletic trainer tends the injured player on the sidelines for as long as they need to before determining whether or not they can go back into the game. However, as you all know with wrestling this is not the case. As soon as a wrestler calls for injury time the clock starts ticking down and the athletic trainer has one minute and 30 seconds to examine the injured wrestler, tape them up, and determine whether they can continue wrestling or otherwise forfeit the match. So, while some of us have trouble deciding between soup or salad on a daily basis, we have athletic trainer’s out here making executive decisions with the crowd watching, the match on the line and no time to waste.
How to make this situation easier on athletic trainers: Just let them do their job. If a wrestler goes down and you are the head coach by all means go out there, but time is of the essance they don’t need nine coaches surrounding them asking whats wrong. Just let the athletic trainer examine the injury, let them ask the wrestler the questions they need to ask, let the wrestler answer for themselves, and then the three of you can talk it over before deciding if the wrestler can/should continue wrestling or not.
3. Athletic trainers know how to tend to injuries that don’t even exist.
When it comes to injury time athletic trainers don’t always have to deal with an actual injury. Sometimes that wrestler with a future on broadway suddenly collapses from a phantom leg cramp so they can catch a breather. Meanwhile, the athletic trainer has to improvise and make it look like they’re doing trainer like things to give their wrestler a longer break while being yelled at by the opposing fans for taking too long…and rightfully so; get in shape or get out of the sport.
How to make this situation easier on athletic trainers: Like I said, get in shape! If you don’t have the endurance to wrestle a full match, because you cut weight wrong or cut corners in practice that is on you, but do not put that burden on the athletic trainer. As a coach let the athletic trainer know that it is not their responsibility to just look busy so your wrestler can catch their breath. As a wrestler, If your opponent takes it to you cause you’re out of shape and the athletic trainer is not there to bail you out, maybe then ou’ll be motivated enough to work harder at practice so it doesn’t happen again.
4. If one person gets through skin check with funk it can lead to a wide spread skin disease outbreak
Before the athletic trainer gets to tape ankles, plug nostrils, and clean blood they first get to check every wrestler for some type of skin disease before every match. For the most part I think coaches and wrestlers are up front and honest when someone has a skin issue, but you can never be too sure. Therefore, athletic trainers always have to be on the lookout for the kid wearing a baggy pair of boxers to cover up skin funk on their leg or better yet the wrestler hiding ringworm on their forehead by combing their hair forward so they don’t have to use the sketchy doctor’s note they got from a second cousin that turns out to be a dentist.
How to make this situation easier on athletic trainers: Hopefully this situation is less common than the others, because covering up a skin disease is extremely unethical and can lead to major health issues for other wrestlers and teams as well. If we want to minimize the spread of skin funk in sports we need to make a collective effort in carrying out the necessary steps for skin disease prevention,and that includes following a certain code of ethics such as notifying the athletic trainer when you notice something unusual on your skin.
Again, wrestling is not an easy sport, which is why every wrestler needs a solid support system. When it comes time to compete it may just be two wrestlers under the spotlight, but make no mistake about it there is a group of dedicated individuals behind each of these wrestlers that help them in their preparation. With the high level of intensity that wrestling operates on, we have our athletic trainers to thank for being key members of these support systems as they always look out for our wrestlers’ best interest in efforts to keep them safe and healthy at all times. Show your appreciation for our athletic trainers by letting people know March is National Athletic Training Month.
Who is the athletic trainer that you are most thankful for?