Death Cab for Woody

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

OSU Athletic Training. Oh, where does the time go?

As promised, I wanted to give the 6 people that read my blog a perspective on the athletic training major offered at The Ohio State University. As I have stated in my previous post, my wife recently graduated from this program with an undergraduate degree from SAMP (School of Allied Medical Professions). It is a standard program in that you are required to apply for the program with a list of pre-requisite courses within a certain GPA range for the applicant. However, it also differs from a standpoint that most of the applicants are required to interview with the athletic training faculty. All of successful applicants granted admission into the program (Spring Admission) are generally students finishing their freshman year and will start the program in the fall.

Here is what the next three years looks like for an athletic training student.

Year 1
Go to class for 5-6 hours. Spend rest of day in training room for clinical hours, which could be until 7 or 8PM (app. 6-8 hours). This will generally equate to 12 hours each day, during the week. On the weekends and depending on the team that the student is assigned, the student will be required to come in for 2-4 hours for treatments and the occaisional team practice. The only saving grace for a first year is that they are not required to travel with the team that they are assigned. However, the student is required to attend all home events for the team that they are assigned. The students are rotated to a different team each quarter to gain experience in standard eval techniques and injuries for focused areas of the body (ie. Impact Sports for Football and Hockey. Lower Body for Soccer, etc)

Fuzzy Math Committed Hours for Student(per week) = 72 hours
10 weeks of class * 72 hours/week

Total Committed Hours of 10 Week Quarter = 720 hours
Total Available Hours of 10 Week Quarter = 1680 hours
Total Percentage of 10 Week Quarter = 42.9%


Year 2
Go to class for 5-6 hours (maybe more). Spend rest of day in training room for clinical hours, which could be until 7 or 8PM(app. 6-8 hours). This will generally equate to 12 hours each day, during the week. On the weekends and depending on the team that the student is assigned, the student will be required to come in for 2-4 hours for treatments and the occaisional team practice. The only saving grace for a second year is that they are not required to travel with the team that they are assigned. Again, students are assigned to various teams, as mentioned above.

Fuzzy Math Committed Hours for Student(per week) = 72 hours

Total Committed Hours of 10 Week Quarter = 720 hours
Total Available Hours of 10 Week Quarter = 1680 hours
Total Percentage of 10 Week Quarter = 42.9%


Year 3 (Senior Year)
Go to class for 5-6 hours (maybe more). Spend rest of day in training room for clinical hours, which could be until 7 or 8PM(app. 6-8 hours). This will generally equate to 12 hours each day, during the week. On the weekends and depending on the team that the student is assigned, the student will be required to come in for 2-4 hours for treatments and the occaisional team practice. The student will generally be assigned with one sport for the entire academic year. The student will be required to travel with the team that they are assigned. I am sure that this is excellent for the students that are matched with Men's Ice Hockey and Track and Field. This student will basically have the same lifestyle as the student athlete for the academic year. However, there are some differences...major differences.

Fuzzy Math Committed Hours for Student(per week) including Travel Time with team = 96 hours

Total Committed Hours of 10 Week Quarter = 960 hours
Total Available Hours of 10 Week Quarter = 1680 hours
Total Percentage of 10 Week Quarter = 57.1%


OK.

I have laid out some general information about the curriculum. I want to put the time commitment into perspective and the final outcome. Let's add some other variables into the equation.


For those that have attended college, it is reasonable to say that
you should spend about 3 hours at a minimum for studying outside of class. This would equate to about 21 hours per week.

Year 1 & 2 will move from 42.9% to 55.4% of committed time per week or quarter.

Year 3 will move from 57.1% to 69.6% of committed time per week or quarter.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that this would be beyond the hours limit that is mandated by the NCAA for student athletes. Why should this be any different for the athletic training program, which requires students to be at a post for 6-8 hours a day? I'll tell you why. Because the OSU athletic department has no guidelines on the amount of hours it can put it's student trainers through on a weekly basis...Weird..huh?


This basically leaves about 9 hours of free time available for each weekday, which does not include sleep. I know when you are 19-23 sleep is overrated, but I think the picture I am painting is getting a little clearer.

To put this into perspective a little more....

For all of us in the real-world (myself included), we probably work between 40-50 hours a week on average.

This would equate to about 27% of committed time per week.

I am sure at this point many of you reading this post are asking "What's the big deal?..Donte Whitner was in the training room and watching film even longer than these trainers are at the WHAC."

The difference was that Donte (Fantastic Safety) was on full-scholarship with a monthly stipend for living expenses, as well as tutoring available at the Younkin Success Center"

I understand that no one will be willing to state that atheltic trainers are as important as the student athletes. However, in theory, the athletes are no more important student trainers in the eyes of the university, as they should be afforded the same amount of time as any other student for studying, etc. Atheletes are not afforded the time luxury that normal students are basically becuase of the nice $80,000 scholarship that they are handed on their first day of college.

The fact is that while most of the OSU faithful are worried about Alex Boone's and David Lighty's moments of stupidity and the outcome of these events, the support backbone of the athletic department is basically hung out to dry and is an afterthought. You can include the equipment management staff in this equation as well.

Dr. Mark Merrick is the director of athletic training at The Ohio State University. Dr. Laura Harris also helps direct the clinical facet of the atheltic training department. They both have many professional accomplishments on their resumes. However, there is one thing that I do not see on the resume. This would be the ability to manage people. I bring this up, because it is blatantly obvious that they know how to educate and manage resources, but do not know how to manage people. The rate of OSU athletic training students continuing on to work in the athletic training profession has decreased for each of the last 2 year's graduating classes. I would say that the fact there is an increasing amount of students who go through this program and basically build resent towards the program and Ohio State is reason enough to state the managing people is not a strength of the Athletic Training faculty. Now, I wont go on record and state Dr. Merrick's and Dr. Harris' mis-management is the root problem, as I am sure some of the certified athletic trainers responsible for the different teams and facility will need to shoulder some the blame. Some of them may feel that since they were forced to have no life during their days in the athletic training curriculum that their undergarduate student trainers will not be able to have one either. There is plenty of blame to go around for the anticipated demise of this program.

I actually feel a little resentment towards my alma mater on this one. For the OSU grads and attendees..Could you imagine going to to OSU for 4 years and not being able to enjoy the college experience at all? No Oval in the Spring...no road trips...

I know that this is path chosen by the students, but the fact remains that the longer the Athletic department is willing to operate with level of committment from its student trainers...the less undergrads will be willing to join the program. I am pretty sure that this is already in motion, as there are grumblings on the horizon that the undergrad Athletic Training program may be "going the way of the dodo." This would not be surprising to say the least, yet OSU would still have a graduate-level program available for atheltic training students.

If the undergard program folds, there remains one question for the athletic department...

Where will the faculty and atheltic training staff be able to find people that will be able to put in 60-70 hours per week for free, while providing atheltic training support services....errr...providing bandages and throat lozenges to entitled athletes?

The OSU Athletic Department motto is "You win with people"

Maybe it should be adjusted to "You win with people that are willing to not question why they are working as free labor for a department that doesnt care about about its students, who will eventually be carrying the flag and message of professionalism for the athletic department in the future."

A bit long-winded, but if you think that I am the only person that may feel this way check out the speaker list at NATA’s 57th Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposia.

Speaker: Dan Clapper
Topic: Trainer Burnout

Where do you think he performed his grad assistantship?

On the banks of the Olentangy...

Bottom line...Student Trainers are free labor to the university athletic department, which they will utilize without any regard for the well-being of the student, as long as nobody is willing call them out for it....

I am more than willing...things need to change down there. Either get a few certified athletic trainers with the ability to manage people and not treat them like total peices of shit, or get the certified athletic trainers lacking in these skills the rudimentary training they need to become managers. This would be a unique concept of having managers leading the student trainers, instead of certified trainers with the knowledge of how to evaluate injuries that do not have the maturity to manage experienced people...let alone 19-year old students that they are setting an example (I am not calling out all of the certified athletic trainers working for OSU, as there are probably some that have enough respect for their student trainers to not treat them like a piece of meat.)

Peace and Ranting

Herringbone out...

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2 Comments:

  • A reality check. The outside job market is pretty much as you have described what you are doing now. It is imperative the programs prepare for the job market. The job market is in high school athletic training opportunities, if you have a teaching credential in something other than PE.

    Another reality is that there are three seasons, with three groups of excited coaches to start each season … after we as athletic trainer have just finished one and every coach wants what is due to them,

    We are also having two situations come up. One the number of ATCs coming out has decreased by about a third because the internship route is gone and that the females are getting out of the profession once they start their families. Not my opinion just facts.

    So to get back to the hours. In college you are there to have the opportunity to learn. The only way I know how is to be there once something occurs, so you can learn what to do. Injuries are not orchestrated they just occur and you as a student need to be there for these learning opportunities. I wish there was an easier way.

    Use your time wisely there is so much to learn and much of it may be self-started. Meaning you will have to say, I’m going to learn these three things that I didn’t know this week then challenge your ATC around you to the new information you have picked up.

    Being at Ohio State you have a great opportunity. Best of luck and knowledge.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • anon...

    I would prefer to let you know that I am not an ATC or a past ATC student, but had the unique perspective as a spouse of an Athletic Training student at tOSU. I understand the realities of the major and the time commitment necessary to become a high-school trainer, but the fact that the clinical hours are nothing like that of a resident medical student...I fail to see your point. No...you cannot orchestrate injuries, but keeping people at the facilities to refill water and gatorade coolers is not exactly a learning experience either...they are committed to becoming a athletic department lackey.

    These numbers are going down for a number of reasons. There are those females that are starting families and I cannot argue that point, but there are also other scenarios of trainer burnout that seems to be more of the norm rather than the exception. This is a big problem.

    Bigger than a percentage of females that want to start a family that would affect any occupational (not just ATCs) survey to a negative degree.

    OSU used to pay its ATC students for the hours served, but stopped this practice in order to gain accreditation for the undergarduate major. The problem with this move is that it took a huge time-committment major and made it even less-accessible for the standard college student to consider, as holding a job with this major is not possible.


    There are many points that we could go back and forth about. I would suggest emailing me to discuss this further. My perspective is as an outsider to the program, but a unique perspective from a resource management standpoint (since...well...let's be honest here...most major athletic departments dont treat its AT students as humans...just non-paid resources) against one of the largest athletic departments in the country.

    By Blogger Herringbone, at 1:30 PM, October 02, 2006  

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