Certified Athletic Trainer | Educator | Motivator
Sandy Krum


Sandy Krum Feature Cover Sandy Krum Feature Sandy Krum Feature Article

Sandy sits down the Chris Lenker /ATC @ATPodcast  to discuss his journey and the future of Athletic Training!


For additional podcasts please visit:  ATPodcast

NATM - Chicago with Mayor Emanuel & Ald. Tunney

NATA Month

“We’ve got your back!” is the theme for this year’s National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) Athletic Training month, proclaiming March as “NATA MONTH”.  I like it, but the statement could also read ‘we’ve had your back and will always have your back!’

The profession of Athletic Training is so much closer to conquering the due recognition the field deserves but as close as it is, that’s how far off it just may be. To remedy this, my message today includes a few tips about what you yourself can do to help promote the profession.

The 45,000 members of the NATA all strive to increase recognition for the profession and ethically represent their profession at the highest regard. The message, sooner or later, has to get out. Right? That message?

NATA Coverage for ALL

NATM 2014

The mandatory presence of a Certified Athletic Trainer at every high school sporting event Nationwide is paramount. This is the only way to prevent the mounting injuries and unnecessary deaths that occur each and every year due to the lack of qualified medical attention present, ready, and prepared to care for our athletes. Having the information in hand on how to treat concussions is one thing. Having top notch ATC medical care at the ready is another. It is our job as ATHLETIC TRAINERS and members of the NATA to effortlessly promote the profession and educate the public on the roles we assume each and every day. Athletic training has changed so much through the years and has advanced to such wonderful levels. Folks, we can go higher and achieve greater. The mission of teaching has to take place daily by each and every one of us. Spread the word, inform others, engage in dialogue, and reach out to your local legislators. Similarly, continue to let people know the difference between an Athletic Trainer and a personal trainer.  Be proud to be a member of the NATA.

Respect the Path of the Profession

As advanced as we think we are today, we could only have ‘achieved’ our present position through the hard work and desires of our predecessors. Be it Pinky Newell or any one of the innovators, the NATA has become what it has through the tireless efforts of so many. Have you thanked and or shared the message of your predecessors? Personally, I thank the endless number of mentors I had as a child growing up wanting to be an athletic trainer. “Thank You” Larry Starr, Kent Biggerstaff, Larry Mayol, Jeff Cooper, Bill Buhler, Gene Gieselmann, Tony Garofalo, Dave Pursley, and many more! Your influences on the profession deserve kudos in many regards and I personally want to thank each of you for sharing your guidance and wisdom with me and so many.

The NATA first met with about two hundred members.  Some 64 years later the profession has grown leaps and bounds.

My other question to you: Have you done all you can do to help promote our profession? This is National Athletic Training Month. This, of all months, is your opportunity to reach out and become involved. Many of you are saying you have no time and you already do enough to help promote the profession. Au contraire!

I offer several possible scenarios with each involving little to very little effort!

*   Pick up the phone and reach out to a media outlet in your hometown and offer to draft a PSA recognizing March as NATA month. Call the sports department of your local newspaper or the beat writer of your high schools sports team. Have them write about the profession calling special attention to members in the local community, thus further helping us educate the public.

*    Write a blog post similar to this writing for your local newspaper or media outlet.

*    Write and post social media entries promoting the month of March and our profession.

*    Call local legislators, town committee members, mayors, and government officials. Show up at a city council meeting and offer a resolution proclaiming March as Athletic Training Month.

The onus is on us to further educate and our jobs are not done until each and every person knows who and what Athletic Trainers are! Just as we challenge our athletes and ever-growing patient populations to be the best they can be, this month (and every month for that matter) the challenge is ours. The challenge is about each and every athletic trainer promoting the NATA and advancing our profession.

Assorted Rolls Of Tape…

Chicago City Council - NATM Resolution

The above photo is from the March 5, 2014 City of Chicago Council meeting held at City Hall. I simply reached out to a local alderman and asked that a resolution on behalf of the NATA be introduced into City Record.  Athletico  accompanied us to City Council that morning as Alderman Tom Tunney presented the resolution for record to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the rest of the Aldermanic body. Congratulations are in order to the NATA and its members.


Time to make the Change!

With a time change happening for many of us, how are you going to adjust with an extra hour of sunshine? I always love this time of year as it sends a message to get outdoors and become active. As active as we are, it’s also important to ensure we don’t lose track of our current sleep patterns. Are you currently getting enough rest? Just checking…

Enjoy March everyone. No need to worry, “we’ve got your back!”


Reference: NATA.ORG

Photo from the left: Todd Nettelhorst, Mallory Mihalov/ATC, Sandy Krum/ATC, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Lindsey Otte/ATC, Tony Garofalo/ATC, Payten Gerjerts/ATC, Alderman Tom Tunney

Olympic Torch

Every four years…

We sit in awe and watch amazing athleticism, choreography, movements with precision, and the skill of Champions shining as bright as the oil lit Olympic Light. Yes the Olympic spectacle is grand but what is even grander is the opening ceremony watching the torch enter the stadium for the final lap. Waiting with heartbeats so high, athletes and fans from all over the World sit and wait in excitement as the torch makes its way onto the track. Lights darkened, flashbulbs zinging, and the latest GoPro models being put to the test. C’mon baby, don’t fail me now.

Two torch bearers, faces lit with honor and glory for their countries, have the Torch raised at all times as they swagger around the stadium and up to the Cauldron. Yes, indeed a Final Lap to signify the games are about to be declared OPEN. Anticipation and excitement abounds!

Usually the final carrier of the Torch is a sports celebrity of the host country. The person often is unannounced until just prior to the ceremony as this also adds to the exuberance. From Ali to Gretzky, only the greatest of their respected countries are afforded this opportunity.

To become the greatest, these athletes have dedicated their lives to their conditioning, stringent if not backwards training regimes, injuries and the treatment of the same, nutritional changes, practice and more practice, rest, and finally honing their skills to a place so refined, only the best of the best can reach these levels.

My message today is simple: you too can reach these levels…. Perhaps not as an Olympian headed for Rio, but as an Olympian to you, your family and friends, and all those you encounter on a daily basis!


Olympian’s train endless hours and are guided by a strong support TEAM network, if not overcrowded. They are provided medical support with top physicians, the finest certified athletic trainers (NATABOC.ORG), exercise physiologists, nutritional support and receive counsel by some of the finest RDs (Registered Dietitians) around, psychological support, and personal training and Coaching from the finest in their chosen sport.

This same TEAM approach is what I believe helps make these athletes stand out, especially when put up against near equals in their chosen sports. The TEAM can and does make a difference, especially with such finite movements, landings, aim, skill, and precision.

To make it happen for you, I recommend beginning to develop your TEAM, the support team that you will put in place to aid you on your journey to your individual Torch Lighting Ceremony. This involves regular visits to your physician for blood and urine lab values and further testing as indicated. This means continuing to break down the walls via discussion, either amongst family members or with a psychologist. Secrets cause illness and the best place to start letting secrets out is with a psychologist or trained, qualified therapist.

Your Nutrition needs to be on point and this means not only eating the right amount of calories but also keeping track of the same via simple pen and paper journaling or via any one of the available apps available to track nutrition and exercise.

The Olympic Athlete is guided by top RDs in the profession and all preach the same thing: JOURNALING IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS. For those of you who have not kept track of what you are taking in on a day-to-day basis, now is a good time to do a five-day food journal. Simply write down what you eat and drink, the portion size or quantity, and the time. Everything! Do this for five consecutive days. If it’s one Iced tea, write it down and the approximate number of ounces. If it’s a cheeseburger and grilled veggies, write it down. Also note the time. Just be honest with your recordings. Remember, this practice event is to help no one but YOU. Once complete, you can share the journal with your RD and the rest of the TEAM. Proper guidance and dialogue will come from this and then and only then can a complete plan of attack start to take shape. The MD and RD will then use this information as well as other test results (RMR, DEXA), determine the best caloric range for you and the number of calories you need to be taking in daily (and of equal importance what types of calories).

Notice a pattern here? Everyone works together and communication has to be crystal clear and on point. This communication starts with YOU!

The other components of your Olympic Team include the Certified Athletic Trainer and your personal trainer/coach. The athletic trainer will ensure you stay healthy on a day-to- day basis, monitor and treat your injuries, implement a PREHAB program, and ensure proper levels of nutrition and hydration accompany your workouts and daily living activities. The athletic trainer will keep you on point when it comes to your overall well-being. Additionally, The athletic trainer will act as a liaison between yourself and the rest of the team members as you will continue to focus on following the protocols the team has laid out for you.

Your personal trainer or coach is one of the largest cogs in the wheels and often, too much or all emphasis is placed here, neglecting the rest of the team. I propose for you to change the approach and ensure the rest of the team is playing an equal and active role, allowing each of your team members the ability to work in unison and to their limits, not overstepping their respective positions. Placing all your eggs in one basket is a recipe for disaster.

Putting all these components together, all working harmoniously, this is what makes up an Olympic Athlete. Sometimes the Olympians hands are placed in one direction while other times another. Sometimes the Olympic athlete looks lean and fit while others are buff. Sometimes an ankle is taped to prevent, while others go barefoot.  And sometimes you’ll see or hear a coach or two in each ear. The Olympics are about more than the awe-inspiring performances and representation of the 80 plus countries displaying their talents. It’s about The TEAM and all the components that go into accomplishing the greatness. You too can achieve greatness by employing this TEAM concept. Become your own Olympian and Light your own Torch!





New Year, Better You!

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2014 Checklist

Happy New Year!

The New Year is fast approaching and the energy and excitement is grand. Shall I say we’re all walking around with a swagger this week, excited, as we know the possibilities a New Year can bring. Most everyone I encounter these days is upbeat, outgoing and genuinely excited the New Year is upon us. There is a true excitement ringing in the air, almost as each of us is self- reflecting and discriminately planning our attacks as 01/01 approaches. Some are saying it’s a time to wipe the slate clean and start a fresh while others are simply to looking to REFINE themselves. Can we even dare to say NEW YEAR, NEW YOU? Right? Whatever the case, lets take a closer look.

“In with the new, out with the old. “New Year, New You.”

Often, I’ll hear these phrases or phrases similar. Does this make one healthy or just the opposite? Are we setting ourselves up for failure with these mundane exercises and thought processes?

The answer lies within you. ONLY YOU CAN MAKE THE CONCERTED EFFORTS TO MAKE THE CHANGE LONG LASTING. Research from the various studies I’ve read show that only about 8% of us will achieve our new goals, or should I say ‘desires’.  Let’s make a resolution to do better with this and in so doing, continue to climb the ladder towards Self Actualization.

Research has shown that new exercise programs brought on to make a change are unsuccessful for various reasons. The first and foremost reason has to be the change is only directed at one or two entities of the old you and not the numerous changes you need to address. A half ass approach will only bring half ass results. So in turn, I suggest we enter the New Year with a mindset that says, “ Enough is enough! I am not going to make any more subtle changes, I am going to make real change.”

Want to stay on your current course and in trouble? NOT having the proper plan in place and supporting TEAM is a recipe for failure. Are we after the quick fix, with a guns drawn type mentality or are we making the change for the long haul? Some of us just jump right in and have no plan of attack, just filled with angst and excitement. We realize we need to exercise, but this may be the only component we address. We fail to address the nutritional aspect or psychological components as well. This is the bank customer trying to make a deposit without taking the time to fill out a deposit slip. We all want the instant gratification without stopping and addressing the BIG PICTURE. The crash is coming, but we can’t see the road ahead.

What does all this mean? It means planning out your course of action and implementing an ACTION PLAN in advance, a plan consisting of your TEAM of supporters, . This is where your Primary Care Physician, your family members, a Registered Dietician/ Nutritionist, a Certified Athletic Trainer, and a Psychologist will all come together with YOU and formulate the best for you! Without, you’ll be leading yourself to failure. Often, what hasn’t changed is the foundation. Without addressing what’s wrong with the foundation prevents us from making the REAL CHANGE. In retrospect, it’s not a “New You” that you will be getting; rather it’s a BETTER YOU with a BETTER plan and approach!

So this is the time to resolve to formulate the WHOLE TEAM instead of implementing wholesale changes. It’s the time to address the upcoming year as a whole instead of going gangbusters 01/01 then to only come crashing back to our old selves. Take the right time to ensure your support team is in place and detailed PLANS are written out versus just talked about superficially. For those of you that are having problems completing a task, a goal, or devoting enough time, I recommend reaching outside the box and “creating” more time to accomplish the goals. Are your time management skills hurting and off base? Here’s a perfect opportunity to address and right the ship. We all want to achieve “X “ but do we all have a plan how to go get it? How many of you have heard this phrase, “Proper Practice Prevents Poor Performance?” Now is the time to execute, revise, review, continue and discontinue. Whatever the case, it starts with proper planning and practice.


Before we get on with the 2014, let’s ensure we have checked our checklist.

*I’m journaling both exercise and nutrition -CHECK

*I’m within the Caloric Limits and Budget as set by myself and my TEAM, – CHECK

*Daily exercise routine planned and executed , CHECK

*All my team members are in place and working as a whole, CHECK

*All my medical lab values are “Within Normal Limits”, CHECK

* My Sleep is on point and I’m getting quality rest, CHECK

* I am treating my injuries, not ignoring them, CHECK

*I’m generally Happy and Energetic, CHECK

*I have new Goals to achieve, CHECK

*I have allotted ample Time to achieve my Goals, CHECK

*My time management is on point, CHECK


If you are in a routine that is working, heck yes, continue what you are doing but always have one rhetorical question on the burner: “What can I do to make my routine BETTER?  If your routine needs retooling, then make those corrections. Mix it up and once again don’t be afraid to reach outside the box. Keep learning! Keep challenging yourself and know that investing in others is an investment in you. If your routine is simply not working, now is the time to rewire the protocols.

As we move ahead, clean out your TOOLBELTS. Are you carrying excess useless “equipment and supplies?”  If something is working for you, embrace it and protect it. If there is stuff you’re retaining or trying to implement and it’s just not working or applicable, get rid of it! No more being blogged down with minutia. There are too many more quality tools that can fill that space! Go find them!


We may or may not have conquered each and every goal and challenge we set out for this year ending. Regardless of your level of success, I want to take this opportunity to wish each of you all the BEST in the coming year. Staying on point and ON THE HIGHWAY takes commitment, desire, and a well thought out plan. The Route is wide open and the possibilities endless. Here’s to the “BETTER YOU!”


Reference: http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/

Walter Hall, Ohio University Oct 11 2013

Sandy Krum speaks with the Athletic Training Students of Ohio University during Homecoming weekend about his journey, the future of ATC’s, and the profession of Athletic Training.



A Holiday Message…

thank youWith the winter months and Thanksgiving fast approaching, I want to extend my best wishes to each of you for a happy and healthy Holiday Season. Similarly, I want to share some thoughts that come to mind as the festivities are about to begin.

The holidays are mostly happy times spent with families and friends, attending of social gatherings, and the ubiquitous running from here to there with hustle and bustle. Many of you will be sprinting to stores for Door Buster deals that await while others will be running to their “caves” to catch every moment of the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day edition.

ABUNDANT food and drink await and the assortments and platters are mostly overflowing. Our friends join us with sweets and wines, all the while sharing in the festive occasion of the Holidays. Challenges indeed!

Of great concern to me is the many around the world who are not as fortunate and those not able to enjoy the festive occasion with grandiose pomp and celebration. We need to take time and ensure we have done all possible; to make sure we have done our parts to ensure ALL others have the opportunity to enjoy the season just as we do.

We hustle to the market for the healthiest turkeys, the perfect floral arrangements, the festive tablecloths and all the components that fill our holiday with family, friends, and cheer. With all the hustle and bustle to take care of “ourselves”, I offer the following premise: What can we do this HOLIDAY SEASON to help the less fortunate?


volunteerThere still is plenty of time to think of others at this time of year and I offer the following suggestion: Call a local charity, food bank, or shelter and arrange to volunteer part of the day or weekend.  It may mean clearing tables at a senior center or park district meal, serving the homeless, or delivering meals and visiting with the homebound. Whatever the case, dedicate part of your day to someone in need. (Remember- This good deed doesn’t need to be exhibited solely on Thanksgiving!)

The characteristics of Health and Wellness include not only what you can do to better yourselves, but also what you can do for others. It’s a balance! This is the time of year to give back and send thanks, a time to reflect on what others are doing and sacrificing on our behalves.


Many of us will be traveling to spend time with family and friends. We also are questioning our workout routines and whether or not they are going to be compromised. Au contraire! The only thing that may change is the location! If you are a runner, find a new trail or turkey trot. If you are a spinner, attend a new class. If you are a hoopster, find a new court with new mates. If you’ve never walked the neighborhood, do so. Venture outdoors and over to the local park for a game of soccer or tag football. The key is NOT to take the day off because of the holiday, rather reach outside your comfort boxes and try something NEW from hikes in the mountains to biking the beaches… Regardless of the environment, the mission has to and can be accomplished! Remember, Holiday workouts should be fun filled and whenever able, should incorporate the whole family!


Control and Discipline often are thrown out the window this time of year. I challenge you to enjoy the holiday season even more so by exhibiting your inner controls and putting them into play, just like the quarterback about to hand off the ball in a well-practiced play or a goaltender using his or her reflexes to stop a blistering shot. You have practiced and practiced well being and discipline throughout the year and I’m certain that implementing these controls and plans during the holidays can continue. Persist in implementing portion control. Make a plan and understand the temptations that may present. Discuss your plan of ‘Healthy Eating’ with your husbands and wives, children, boyfriends and girlfriends. Whatever the case, having and executing a plan to stay within caloric budgets is going to be one of your keys to success for the Season.


pilgrim_hatIf you are attending a potluck type meal, prepare a healthy dish that compliments the season. Plenty of nutritious, colorful foods are available this time of the year and now is a great opportunity to be creative, yet smart in preparation. Similarly, the holidays and festive occasions are great opportunities to share new food ideas with one another. Embrace healthy preparations. But people, let’s be real! This is truly going to test you and Temptation.Trust me, you aren’t going to offend anyone if you don’t try a “full entree” portion of everyones preparations. A little taste may be all you really want anyways? Right? This is where your same discipline and control come into play.This is your chance to ‘Master’ them!

Additionally, do you have a recipe to share or are you looking for one? You can search and or post these online. Often, local community newspapers have a section devoted solely to holiday recipes. Where needed, make the appropriate substitutions with ingredients. This is also a great place to get a ‘taste’ of what others are doing.

On a personal note, this year I’m even more grateful and thankful to my supportive family and friends! I’m also grateful for something we often take for granted and seldom take time to acknowledge and recognize: the wonderful foods each of us has been afforded. If this is you as well, I challenge you to make someone else’s Holiday season as cheerful as yours. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving and how can you have a positive impact on others less fortunate?

I wish you and yours all the best during this festive time of the year. Happy Holidays.




Extreme Sweating

“A little bit of sweat” ….or

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” How many times have we heard these phrases while growing up and throughout the years? Too many to count. Better, how about the Major League Baseball pitcher working out of a jam, with sweat running down his face profusely in 90 degree + temperatures at Busch Stadium? To think it had more than one meaning and application. A meaning that would be more appropriate to me years later. SWEAT! What is it? What are its components? What is a sweat rate? How do I keep my body cool?

Unlike worrying about the little things, I’m looking at sweat as the body’s physiological response to temperature control. Who would have ever known our bodies are made up of 2.6 million sweat glands? These glands and ducts cover every inch of the human body and act as thermoregulators! They are our bodies thermostats.

SWEAT- What is it?


Sweat is simply evaporated moisture (water) that is exuded through the skin. It is made up of Sodium, Chloride, and Potassium and can either come in droves or in little amounts.

True, we don’t always sweat just with physical activity. Sweat occurs after a tense meeting or heated discussion, it comes about after a stressful encounter, it comes as we ward off infection with fever, and it comes when we are faced with difficult and fearful encounters.

Remember the taste on your forearm after a long run, or the taste of the moisture as it runs down your face while on the treadmill. Pretty salty, huh? That’s the Sodium as it comes through our pores and adheres to our skin. Almost like putting salt on a pasta dish or eating a cracker. The body’s release of this salty liquid through our sweat glands is its way of COOLING us, our bodies AIR CONDITIONING. This lost sodium will be replaced via our diets and or electrolyte drinks.



Humans have two types of sweat glands: Eccrine and Apocrine. The eccrine glands are found all over our bodies producing sweat. Apocrine glands are found only in specific areas such as the armpits, external genitalia, our scalps and hair, and in our ears canals. Basically, an eccrine gland will open up to the skins surface and an apocrine gland opens up into a hair follicle.

What is a SWEAT RATE?

Often I hear athletes tell me they are working out so hard but yet they never sweat. The body’s normal response to this normal increase in tissue temperature almost always means these glands are going to work and are going to cool us and regulate our thermoregulatory system. (Anhidrosis or hypohidrosis is the inability to sweat normally, and hyperhydrosis is continual profuse sweating. These two extremes need to be considered when looking at sweat rates. )

How much sweat each gland releases is determined by many factors including gender, environmental conditions, age and physical fitness levels. The key contributors to sweat rates are the individual’s fitness level and weight. People who are carrying around the extra weight tend to have a higher sweat rate because the body has to work that much harder to function and there is much more body mass to cool.
Fit athletes tend to sweat earlier and with greater efficiency and ease. The more fit you are the more efficiently you’ll be able to regulate body temperature. Likewise, these sweat glands will work more cohesively with our body’s other regulatory systems!

If indeed your work output and intensity are great and you continue not to perspire, calling this to your physicians attention is indicated.

How do I keep my body COOL?

Glass of WaterIn order to sweat our bodies need Water! Most of us should consume at minimum 64 oz of water per day, greater if we indeed are subject to intense physical labor or extreme conditions. When participating in athletic activity or working outdoors on a hot humid day, we’ll need a greater intake and regulating the loss / intake balance becomes a little more tedious. The key is staying well enough hydrated and “BALANCED” to avoid Dehydration. (Symptoms may include but are not limited to fatigue, nausea, and muscle cramping)
Not having enough water to allow the cooling system to work effectively can lead to heat exhaustion and possibly heat stroke.

Drinking plenty of water two to three hours prior to activity will help you avoid this dehydration. Similarly, water needs to be sipped during activity to continue this cooling. Our thermoregulatory controls will stay fully operational and the chance of breakdown is lessened.

Do I need to take in additional sodium because of what I’m losing in my sweat? Our bodies will get the needed replacement sodium by way of our normal diets and through the foods we take in. The days of taking salt pills and salt replacements are no longer. Our bodies will call upon us to add salt during meals if indeed we are low, or we can get the the key lost electrolytes via rehydrating with an electrolyte replacement such as Gatorade.

ATHLETES AND SWEAT- I’ll Drink to that!

Gatorade LogoOne of my main responsibilities as an athletic trainer is to ensure my athletes are staying well hydrated during activity. Playing through the heat and elements of a summer day while playing baseball, for example, can lead to heat illness that more often than not can be prevented. Prevention is key. Athletes need not only drink water during activity, they look for the additional electrolytes a “Gatorade” can provide. Gatorade contains 110 mg of sodium per 8 oz while water has none. This alone is a reason extreme athletes and athletic trainers turn to such an electrolyte solution. Likewise, athletes participating in high intense sport look for the carbohydrate benefits of Gatorade to replenish the glycogen (sugar) stores lost while performing at these intense levels.

What Causes the ODOR?

Sweat is not the cause of that stinky smell. Rather, it is the bacteria on our skins surfaces meeting up with sweat. We often associate profuse sweating with foul body smells and aromas. Most often, the odor comes from the apocrine (fatty type) glands secretions AND bacterial breakdown. Once the sweat reaches the surface of the skin, bacteria takes over and start to break it down. This combination equals PHEW!

Thermoregulatory control is our body’s way of staying cooled and functional, allowing organs and systems to work in unison and to the fullest of their capabilities. Remember, about 2.6 to 4 MILLION glands work in harmony to control our body’s temperature. Don’t sweat the small stuff.




Sweating And Body Odor; The Mayo Clinic Report, December 2010.

How Much Sodium is in Gatorade? Wasserman: Livestrong.com. August 2013.

GSSI: SPORTS NUTRITION; GSSI.web.org SSE #92: Dietary Water and Sodium Requirements For Active Adults
W. Larry Kenney, Ph.D., FACSM


Jerry & Estella Hayes_BL

Team Diana Nyad – Goal Achieved

Diana Nyad’s recent achievement  is stunning in so many ways, but now that she has accomplished her latest GOAL, what’s next for the 64-year old aquatic wonder? The lessons learned by her feat are too numerous to cover in writing, but here is a start to this dialogue.

Nyad, accompanied by a support team of 35, departed Havana Cuba on a recent Saturday morning en route to Key West, Florida. She wouldn’t catch a flight or a boat, rather she would attempt for the fifth time to cross the 103 mile track by swimming the entire distance cage free and without fins! When we’re talking the ocean swim, that’s a big enough feat onto itself. Warding off jellyfish , sharks, the elements of weather, and the potential hyper/hypothermia: that’s simply another beast.

A long distance swimmer with years of experience and determination beyond belief, Nyad and her team would attempt the crossing after four previous failed attempts. Illness, weather, and jellyfish stings would hamper previous crossings.

The author of three motivational books and world renowned speaker continued to test her limits, reaching outside the box for the answers that would fulfill her determination.

We can talk about her age, the difficulties she had to endure, her discipline, her focus, her GOAL, and her TEAM.

Jerry & Estella Hayes - Biggest Loser Season 7Age is no barrier!  I call attention to seniors Jerry and Estella Hayes, recent contestants on the reality show NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Not only were they both lost in years of protective wall building and hiding, the Hayes realized their extended family would not have the chance to see their parents and grandparents much longer if indeed they both did not change their physical and mental well being. Jerry and Estelle made the commitment and learned how to prepare and eat smart foods, and exercise to the fullest of  their potentials. Each challenged themselves daily to change and better themselves. Each had their struggles but eloquently followed the course outlined for them by the BL TEAM.

The Hayes recaptured their health and well-being and now continue to spread the message of their successes with encouragement for others to achieve what once was only a dream.

Her lips blue and swollen as she swam through the night, Nyad was unable to hold down foods at called feeding times. Profuse vomiting and dehydration would ensue. To keep her core body temperature warm, the TEAM decided to have Nyad swim through the night until daybreak, extending her feeding time a bit so to maintain a solid core temperature. This way she could maximize her “running engine” vs. trying to stop and start like the breezy, thunderous night air. Kudos to her medical team for their efforts and guarded care!

A team of divers would advance the way to clear pockets of jellyfish and ward off any potential shark sightings. Remember she is not in a cage as in others’ previous crossings.

Basically her team and divers were saying: “Follow the path we set out for you and you’ll get to your destination!” How often have we had this done for us in our own endeavors and not accomplished the task? WHY?

Traveling at an average of 2.2 miles an hour, the trip would land Nyad and her team on the shores of Key West mid day, ironically 53 or so hours later, Nyad would accomplish her GOAL. There, so many sat and watched, content lying on the sand and cheering. Here comes Nyad and her dolphin esque skills, swimming to shore! No, not your average spin class, crossfit WOD, or treadmill workout. This lady was swimming from damn Cuba to Florida!

There was no quit, even from a cautious medical TEAM of doctors noticing slurred speech, nausea, swollen tongue, and vomiting from the sea water. Her core temperatures must have been crazy, and by all accounts she really may have been too sick to continue. No, not this time. The jellyfish would not get the best of her as she wore a specially made face mask to ward off such stingers. This too would cause another obstacle as the mask would cause severe bruising inside her mouth from the repetitive facial movements while turning her head to the side and breathing. Still, seawater would be swallowed.  WOW, how did Diana stay focused on her GOAL, how did she navigate, and stay desired?

There are no better examples of what the word TEAM means after watching this accomplishment. And to Nyad’s credit , she trusted her TEAM to help her achieve. Changes were made based on previous failures. Nyad afterword would praise the facial mask she wore as the tipping point to her successes. A silicone mask was indeed the savior of her two plus day escapade through dangerous channels. Doctors, drivers, divers, navigators, nutritionists, coaches and the like worked tirelessly to put Nyad in a position to succeed.  Nyad’s individual accomplishment would only be attainable if indeed all the Team’s components played in unison!

The takeaway messages from Nyad’s triumph will continue to develop over the days, weeks, and months ahead. Her powerful message and inspiration directed to so many, almost begging us all to take note. “Find the obstacles that may present and be prepared for anything to the best of your ability!” This foresight prevented  the unexpected to take place.

Here are some of the messages I took from watching this incredible accomplishment:

AGE- Never a factor!

DESIRE- Never in question!

DISCIPLINE- Never questioned!

TEAM- The overwhelming winner here!


What’s next for Nyad? I would only hope she continues to spread the all important messages she so beautifully exhibited. This, my friends, is a powerful message that was delivered to our laps so eloquently. Now, the better question is how can we incorporate her powerful display into our own protocols and ventures? Will we listen to the trumpet she played for us? Do I have a support TEAM in place and am I following the lead they are displaying?


Don’t let this superb accomplishment go unnoticed. Take the will and desire from Diana Nyad and play your own trumpet.





“The Way A Team Plays As A Whole Determines Its Success. You May Have The Greatest Bunch Of Individual Stars In The World; But If They Don’t Play Together, The Club Won’t Be Worth A Dime. ” –  BABE RUTH


Having spent many years of my career as a Certified Athletic Trainer in professional baseball, at the Minor League and Major League level, I understand the importance of the TEAM concept and what it takes for a TEAM to be successful. For example, a baseball team is comprised of 25 players, the manager, coaches, and a Certified Athletic Trainer ( NATA / BOC ). For today’s game, the major league level has a greater auxiliary and coaching staff.

Typically in the United States, a season lasts from Spring Training reporting in February and runs until late September or early October (if you’re fortunate). Most teams play the requisite 30 or so spring

 training games and then march right into the 162 game regular Season. The drills of spring training would only be played out in the ensuing months, although no two games were ever the same or would you know when that muscle memory would have to “kick into gear” to successfully throw the runner out from various positions in the infield or outfield. Training meant the endless bullpen “sidelines” with the pitching coach correcting mechanics or saying nothing. It also meant endless time in the batting cage with the hitting instructor doing soft toss drills. Yes, the players were all trying to hone their skills, fighting to become the best they could become to progress to the level above and ultimately the Major Leagues.

The same 25 players and staff  had to come together day in and day out and perform as TEAMMATES. No successes would come from the individual stellar pitching performance, if indeed an offensive catalyst or

two were absent. Conversely, a great offensive night by 8, combined with poor pitching by several, spelled trouble and bellyache for the Manager.

What really makes up a great TEAM?

For the purpose of this writing I turn to Wikipedia to give us the textbook definition of TEAM: A team comprises a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose.

Teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.

A group in itself does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort, which allows each member to maximize his/her strengths and minimize his/her weaknesses. Team members need to learn how to help one another, help other team members realize their true potential, and create an environment that allows everyone to go beyond their limitations.[1] A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.


Taking the definition alone back to our baseball team, a pitcher couldn’t perform if indeed he/she didn’t have the catcher guiding them or having the position players playing in unison. The synergy generated by this coordinated approach allows just what the definition states: maximizing the strengths and minimizing the weakness. Going beyond one’s true potential can only happen when the team performs together on the same platform, thus allowing the individuals to compliment one another and reach this ultimate level of competition. The combined synergistic energies are what makes a team just that. The classic definition says that the mutual sum of these combined efforts are much greater than the individual accolades.

Success was not a given and true commitment to helping the team was paramount. Incredibly, I came across many players with the “I-I-ME-ME” mentality. Everything was about them! When talking of the team they would often emit “I did this or I did that” VERSUS “we did this and we did that.” This meant they were truly more impressed with their individual successes and the team concept never entered their equations.

It is the greatest feeling when a team comes together and becomes so good together, almost great. Many in the game term this as a “Push Button” club. The manager’s role becomes limited to showing up to the park and pushing a button, if you will, and the TEAM goes out and performs, day in and day out without fail. No change in chemistry is needed as all systems are go! The team is winning games, Players are in the positions they’re supposed to be in, the correct pitch is thrown in the most crucial of situations, timely hitting occurs daily, and the manager sits and watches the fruits of success ripen from the intense daily instruction and practice.

This is a great time for me to introduce you to an article I read on playing together as a TEAM. From my perspective, and as one that has witnessed thousands of games from the dugout perspective, this writing is pretty on point! It comes to us from a blog post entitled THIS OLE GAME: http://www.theoleballgame.com/baseball-teamwork.html. THIS post stands out for me because it reminds me of the Championship Teams I had the honor of working with! All eight components were ever present with those clubs, the philosophies were the same if you will. Thats why I believe they’re applicable! Here they are:

8 Concepts For Teamwork, Or Playing Together As A Team

  1. We can all count on each other.
  2. Accept your role on the team.
  3. Finding a way to win.
  4. Be willing to make some personal sacrifices.
  5. Help each other out.
  6. Understand what we can control and what we cannot.
  7. Anyone ~ Anytime.
  8. Walk the talk.

Unfortunately, the TEAM didn’t always come together. The individuals continued to star, albeit not in unison. One player shines one day, another the next, and the result more often than not is not enough to beat the opponent. This group, for whatever reason, just doesn’t seem to work in harmony. This is when It was tough to come to the park every day! Defeated attitudes filled with negativity. Even “one’ could spoil the whole bunch. This is what player development was about. It was survival of the fittest in the baseball world, with the cream rising to the top. Work approaches were either so finely tuned or so off. More often than not, “The successful” had their routines and went about their business quietly, unnoticeable but oh so productive. Those who struggled, struggled! On and off the Field! “Poor work ethic. Not focused. Negative attitude. Not having the ability to complement their teammates.”

Athletic teams are driven to the ultimate, the championship of that given sport! The NFL’s Super Bowl, MLB’s World Series, NHL’s Stanley Cup, . You get the point. These are the ultimate, the pinnacles! These are the Goals all good teams strive to achieve. From the family perspective, are all the necessary components in place to achieve a similar goal?

What’s in it for Us?

My message here is presented and revealed in the form of several self questions:

  • Are you doing your best to be a team player?
  • Are the players around you complimenting you and your play, day in and day out or are they hindering your progress?
  • Are you all on the same mission?
  • Do your “teammates” all have the same goals in mind or are they playing for themselves?
  • Is your Support Team of Coaches, Physicians, Certified Athletic Trainers and Personal Trainers “on point”?
  • Are family members on board and if not, why not?
  • What can you do to better this situation?
  • Am I too much “I-I-ME-ME” versus “US-US-WE-WE”?

Remember, constant re-evaluation of your “team’s roster” is paramount to achieve continued success for yourself and the franchise.