Athletic trainers see it all. We don’t need to read magazine articles or keep a close eye on professional sports to understand what the latest craze is among athletes. Popular products, training techniques, diets, miracle cures, and even hairstyles trickle down into every level and league imaginable. Some of the more aggravating aspects of sports culture seem to turn into annoying trends that spread from sport to sport and stick around for way too long. Listed below are a few that are slightly exasperating to me as an athletic trainer.
Every parent loves hearing their child’s name announced for the lineup but it’s time for the über intricate handshakes to stop. First of all, I would like to get the game underway and get home at a decent time. Secondly, shouldn't they be focusing on plays and game situations, not trying to remember which comes next – a fist bump or a snap? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting hyped up before a big match but when you’ve seen one extra-long, intricate handshake you’ve seen them all.
Getting Taped Because “Everyone Else Is” or Because “It Looks Cool”
Often, I have to turn an athlete away asking to get taped with no real reason. I have to explain that my budget is not to be used to enhance their look, especially when it comes to taping ankles as that method is three times more expensive than if they were to wear an ankle brace. For those with a history of ankle injuries or mild/moderate ankle instability, I direct them to wear a preventative ankle brace instead of routinely taping their ankle due to the increased support and range of motion that hinged-cuff ankle braces provide. Wearing the right ankle brace costs less than taping them all season, they get the “cool look” they’re going for, and I get the peace of mind that their ankles are being protected while they are still playing at their highest levels.
Demanding Certain Treatments
The next time an athlete asks me where they can find a cryochamber, a practitioner that does cupping, or *insert new craze here*, I can’t promise I’ll hide my eye roll. Sure, a select few of these practices eventually prove to have a place in injury treatment but, I’m talking about the recent fad your patients are seeking out simply because their favorite athlete swears by it. Most often they do so without any idea what it accomplishes, the long-term effects, or the cost effectiveness. It’s aggravating to see a patient spend so much time and money on often-unnecessary procedures simply to get out of the work essential to heal.
Treating the ATR Like a Lounge
Most likely, your athletes don’t have a lounge like the pro’s do. So naturally, they use your ATR like it’s the next best thing. Many times I’ve had to explain that my office is not a pre-game hangout (notice it’s lacking a couch), and the whirlpool is not a 4 person Jacuzzi.
Only Using the Lingo of Your Sport
Sure, I know what someone is trying to tell me when they say they “caught a twig to the face during a celly but [they] don’t want to wear a fishbowl,” but that’s only because I’ve worked with hockey for a few years. While it may sound cool at the time, it’d be easier for everyone involved if English were the primary language used for a few minutes so nothing critical is lost in translation.
Wearing Popular Shoes Even if They Don’t Fit Correctly
Mandatory team shoes make me cringe as a healthcare provider. It’s a well-known fact that not all feet are created equal; therefore, one shoe will not fit every athlete. Unlike the technology at Ultra Ankle that allows the material to use a player’s body heat to custom form to a specific foot/ankle, athletic shoes will not change their shape and will increase stress on the foot and ankle if there is not enough support for the individual.
Now that I’ve shared my top six team and athlete trends that I’d like to see come to an end I’d love to hear what you have to add to the list! What is something your athletes or team(s) do that can drive you a little crazy?
Written by Leann Thibo
Leann Thibo has been a secondary school athletic trainer since graduating with her master's degree in 2013. She is currently the full time athletic trainer at a private high school in Northeast Ohio. Leann has had a passion for athletic training since acting as a student aid in high school.