Q: What was your path to becoming an Athletic Trainer, and why did you choose this career?
A: My path to athletic training was not typical in the sense that I wasn’t an athlete who sustained a career-ending injury and worked with an AT, but it was a common one; I loved the idea of medicine and sports, and it always intrigued me on what happened on the sidelines, dugout or court side – I wanted to be down in the action. It wasn’t until my senior year in High School that one of my mentors, now colleague, introduced me to the profession of athletic training. Two schools and 9 years later I received an undergrad degree in AT from the University of Tulsa and a Masters degree in Kinesiology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 1996 I became certified and have not looked back since.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being an Athletic Trainer?
A: The most rewarding part of being an AT is the ability to help change and make this profession not only myself, but for the entire athletic training community. The late Pat Forbis asked me what I was doing to make athletic training better and I couldn’t answer. It was at that point on not only would I give a full commitment to my job but my full commitment to my profession.
I believe my leadership role in the Oklahoma Athletic Trainers’ Association and now my work on the Secondary Schools Athletic Training Committee have be some of the most rewarding moments of my career. I have seen first-hand the power of involvement and its ability to change people and policy. I am not afraid to talk to people about who I am and what I do. We as ATs must be our biggest advocates.
Q: What is the most common injury you see in high school athletics, and how do you treat it and/or prevent it?
A: In the secondary school setting we see a lot of different injuries – of course we see our share of ankle and knee injuries but over the last couple of years we have been seeing a lot of overuse injuries in our student-athletes. Gone are the days of the 3-sport athlete and the 4-month season; as the saying goes “there is no off-season.” My biggest tool in this battle is education. We as athletic trainers must be able to educate not only our student-athletes about this, but parents and coaches alike. There must be a happy balance between work and rest and know when to scale back and when to push harder.
Q: What new technologies and/or products should Athletic Trainers be aware of?
A: I believe technology in and out of the athletic training facility can be a huge assets to an AT arsenal, but at the same time we must not forget about the basics. In our athletic training facility we have increased our manual therapies and scaled back some of our use of the traditional electric modalities. On the other hand technology has made the simple things that much better as in cold compression devices. Devices like PowerPlay have made the benefits of having cold/compression right at your finger tips; a device that is extremely affordable, easy to use and portable.
Q: How often do you use cold and compression therapy to treat your athletes, and what are the benefits?
A: We use cold therapy along with compression every day in our athletic training facility. It is vital in the treatment of acute injuries and chronic injuries alike. PowerPlay has really allowed us to have a dual threat of ice and compression right at our finger tips. I feel the compression alone is vital in battling acute swelling, and along with the cold will help reduce pain and swelling at the same time.
Dan Newman is the Head Athletic Trainer at Union HIgh School, a position he has held for the last 12 years. Dan oversees the Athletic Training staff and a student aide staff of 15, along with overseeing the day-to-day care of 23 sports and 1700 athletes. Dan is also the District 5 representative to the NATA Secondary School Athletic Training Committee, and a recipient of the NATA Athletic Training Service Award. Dan and his wife Becky have two daughters, Peyton, 12 and Addison, 8.