If you are a serious GK, you already know the importance of a good relationship with your Athletic Trainer. The reason? Because as a serious GK, you are going to get injured.
I have worked with a number of great Athletic Trainers over the years, but 2 are "special" to me. Mark Laursen was our trainer when I played in college. (A long, long time ago in a Galaxy far, far, away...). Mark is now the Head of Athletic Training and Sports Medicine at Boston University. Sara Melby was the Athletic Trainer that worked with us at Vanderbilt University when I coached there. Both knew not only how to take care of their athletes, but how to push their athletes back from injury.
As you know, GKs will suffer injuries from 'small'--bumps, bruises, scrapes--to 'large'--sprains, dislocations, fractures, ligament tears, concussions. A good Athletic Trainer will first, rehab you through those injuries, and second, make sure that you come out of the injury better than before. A good Athletic Trainer develops a relationship with the GK, and knows what buttons to push to insure a return to peak performance.
Mark and Sara were SUPERB at that, and, to me, are examples of what the ideal Athletic Trainer should be. Below are some key points to recovering with the help/direction of an Athletic Trainer:
> There's a difference between 'hurt' and 'injured'. Hurt means you can still play. Injured means that you need some time off to heal and rehab.
> Trainers train your team. Athletic Trainers heal your team.
> Be honest. If the AT asks you what is hurting, try to give them the whole story. Don't over-embellish, but don't hide anything either. The AT works with the knowledge that you provide.
> Recovery is WORK. Your AT is committed to getting you back on the field. You need to be committed to doing everything the AT says. I have often said that the worst part of being an athlete is dealing with injury. Your AT knows this and is there to help. Follow their instruction, and commit to getting better.
> Always thank your AT. Daily. They are on your side, and they put in long hours to make sure that their athletes are at their best. The least you can do is acknowledge and be thankful for their professional approach and skill.
Special Thanks to Mark Laursen (who also helped train me as he knew a bit about GKing) and Sara Melby for all of their selfless help through the years. Two TRUE professionals.
GKs...Love your Athletic Trainers!
May the ground beneath your dive be soft. May your goalposts be 3 feet wide. May the other team shoot everything right at you.
All the Best--EV
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