Certified Athletic Trainer | Educator | Motivator
Sandy Krum

All posts tagged athletic trainer

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!”

SAK

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!

HOW IS IT GOING TO HAPPEN?

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!

SAK

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_flame

 


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.

 


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Teamwork

“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

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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.

Application

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:

  • WHO IS ON YOUR TEAM?
  • 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.

SAK

References:

http://www.nata.org/

http://www.bocatc.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team

http://www.theoleballgame.com/baseball-teamwork.html


Maslows_Hierarchy

Often I reflect on whom I am accountable to and what steps and procedures I need to accomplish successfully to stay on point. Am I going to be on time for a meeting or appointment? How am I communicating with my peers? What are my exercise habits? Often we rely on others to assist us with this accountability. Today, I propose another format. Lets take a look at what I believe is the groundwork needed to succeed in any model or plan.

 What Is Accountability?

Accountability is viewed as being responsible or giving an explanation of your actions.  But this is only ONE form. I want to turn the focus to you. When you hold yourself 100% responsible for holding YOURSELF accountable: YOUR relationships will flourish, your personal market value will soar, people will respect you more, you’ll be a greater example for others to follow, and your self esteem will grow. Notice here the common word is YOU and now the focus turns inward versus outward or towards others.

I’ve found a great read on accountability and want to share the same with you. The book is titled Little Things Matter Book | 100 Ways To Improve Your Life Today and is written By Todd Smith (littlethingsmatterbook.com) In it, Smith speaks of accountability and breaks the broader definition into 3 forms.

Smith’s Three Forms of Accountability

1.     Your Actions and Choices- These include how you communicate with others, how you spend your time, the consideration you show others, and your exercise and eating habits.

2.    Your Responsibilities-These include returning calls and emails, being on time for your appointments, and doing things you agree to do when you agree to do them.

3.    Your Goals-This could include financial desires, your fitness and health, or your personal family objectives. Accountability is nothing more than the follow through of YOUR Commitments and Responsibilities.

The How To

How are YOU going to change the focus of your Accountability and directly take responsibilities? Here are some of Smiths’ tips: 1.Use a Website to track Food and Exercise 2. Use a paper journal 3. Hire a personal trainer 4.Workout with a friend or partner 5. Sign up for classes 6. Rules need to be established beforehand 7. BE FLEXIBLE TO ALLOW COMPLIANCE.

I love introducing Abraham Maslow’s Philosophy on reaching Self Actualization and this is a good place to refer to Abe. Remember the Pyramid? Take a look at this link and it may shed a new light on where I want you to go with this thought process. I’ve attached a couple quick links for you here :

http://brainblogger.com/2013/01/08/maslows-theory-of-self-actualization-more-or-less-actualized/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs

I propose small steps on your behalf to start to take the onus of accountability off others and direct them on to yourself. Achieving small steps in this transitional phase will enhance your overall well-being.   SAK


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CATA

California Assembly Bill 864

I have enjoyed an over 25 year career in athletic training and throughout my practice I have run into well-intentioned questions from clients and others about the distinctions between my job and other professions with similar titles or practice arenas.

With important legislation related to the athletic training profession pending in Sacramento that would finally bring California in line with 48 other states, I thought this was a great opportunity to share a bit about the profession, how it is regulated, the role athletic trainers (ATs) play in the lives of Californians (see CATA) and why this legislation is so important to me personally.

Often confused with fitness/personal trainers, physical therapists and other health and wellness professionals, the role of an athletic trainer is set apart through distinctions including education, training and responsibilities.  I could not be prouder to be an athletic trainer, nor more pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with other professionals, like personal trainers, physical therapists, doctors and nurses, who share my profound commitment to the health and wellbeing of others.  As an AT, I am part of a continuum of care whose structure promotes the best performance and quality of life for clients. That said, it is important to note that each of us in this continuum has a different role and purpose, and vital that each are regulated.

For instance personal trainers primarily help people become and stay physically fit. They work in gyms and health clubs, resorts, universities, workplaces, clients’ homes and, as I know well, some even work on television.  Physical therapists, on the other hand, have their role in helping injured or sick people improve their movement and manage their pain.  Both of these are great roles, but certainly different from the work of an AT.

In basic terms, ATs are allied health professionals who work with physically active individuals of all types to prevent harm, evaluate and recognize injury and stress, provide first aid/emergency care, work in rehabilitation and conditioning of injured individuals and supply guidance and education on issues related to injury and other conditions. We work in a myriad of settings, including secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports, sports medicine clinics, hospitals, the military, industrial and commercial entities. In essence, ATs are uniquely qualified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists who provide acute injury treatment, a continuum of care from injury and illness prevention and return-to-activity clearance for athletes and other physically active individuals.  With more than 50 percent of ATs working outside of sports fields, it is  likely that your life is, or will be  touched by the work of an athletic trainer on a regular basis, whether you are an athlete or not.

Despite the critical role Certified Athletic Trainers play in the safety of athletes and physically active people, California is one of only two states in the country that does not regulate Athletic Trainers. Having significant experience working with unlicensed trainers in a career spanning professional sports to TV, I know firsthand many of the ways that this has serious consequences to our safety.

The bottom line is that athletic training is a profession that is regulated by 48 states, recognized by multiple governmental and healthcare agencies as a specific healthcare profession and which has a single nationally accredited education and certification process. Right now in California, the practice of athletic training is completely unregulated, so anyone is free to call themselves an athletic trainer, regardless of education or training.

What makes the matter even worse is that the public has no ability to register complaints nor can the state investigate and sanction unsafe or unethical providers. AB 864 will provide assurance of minimum standards of competence of practitioners and will allow those that are practicing illegally, unsafely or unethically to be sanctioned.  Who in their right mind would expect any less oversight of a healthcare professional?

That is why I am so disillusioned by opponents of this bill who mischaracterize or outright lie about the bill, its purpose and its content.

Let’s separate the AB 864 facts from the unfair lies.

The first falsehood I have heard from detractors is that the bill is an attempt to expand an Athletic Trainer’s scope of practice, create a new profession or mandate insurance carriers and Medicare for reimbursement. I have done research, asked those in the know and verified with total certainty that this is not true.  Nothing in this bill allows for billing or reimbursement. Insurance companies – not state laws – decide who gets reimbursed. Furthermore, Medicare does not allow for reimbursing rehabilitation services of Athletic Trainers while they work in a physician’s office. AB 864 will not change this, nor is it even trying to do so.

Moreover, the idea that a new profession would be created or that Athletic Trainers would be in a legal position to diagnose or practice medicine is totally, completely and 100 percent false. Oversight of cases and patient referrals will always be the job of doctors – they are the most qualified to undertake those decisions.

Others claim that efforts are underway to replace physical therapists with Athletic Trainers in clinics, essentially stealing the physical therapists’ long-accepted roles. This idea is completely ridiculous. Athletic trainers can never replace physical therapists or their expertise.  We can, however, augment the care to specific populations alongside physical therapists, so there would be no reason or motivation to attempt to take jobs from other providers.

Let me tell you in the simplest terms what this bill does.  It addresses the licensing of Athletic Trainers by regulating a healthcare profession that is currently practicing but still unregulated in this state. Passage of AB 864 would ensure that those who serve as athletic trainers have the proper education and certification. AB 864 simply seeks to prevent unqualified healthcare professionals from practicing and protect Californians through regulations of practicing healthcare professionals. I have heard many other ATs with the same message as mine: athletic training professionals firmly believe in the continuity and integrity of care; we understand that this often means a variety of providers are required to give these services. The playing field is big enough for all professionals to play a role in offering athletes and other active individuals the best care, education and quality of life possible.

As if the regulation of health care providers to assure the highest standards were not enough, another feature of AB 864 is that the bill is cost neutral, meaning it will cost taxpayers nothing. Athletic Trainers will pay for their own licensure. Additionally, it is worth noting that Athletic Trainers who work in industry, military and with police and firemen save their employers or city government’s workman’s compensation costs.

With so much to gain and so much at stake, I really don’t see how the detractors have gotten any traction.  But the fact is that they have.  Won’t you join me in setting the record straight on the important role athletic trainers play in our state and remind those opposed that assuring the competency of ATs matters as much as the assurances presented by any other professional currently regulated in the state?

My past has aptly demonstrated the profound need for this legislation and my future prospects, and those of all active individuals in the state, depends on the genuine understanding of what the bill does and does not do and the subsequent affirmation that safety, health and common sense demands passage of AB 864.

- Sandy Krum ATC/L

 


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The Masters: Augusta, Ga.

I’m thrilled to just have had the opportunity to watch a practice round @ Augusta in preparation for this week’s Masters tournament. Actually, Corporate and I just attended one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. We made the Southerly jaunt along with hundreds of thousands. The old saying is practice makes perfect, hence my desire to see a practice round. Throughout my years in athletic training rooms and clubhouses around the world, one message has never changed:  Practice like you play and you’ll play like you practice!

FOCUS

Focus is the intensity expected every minute you are on that piece of cardio equipment or running trail attacking your workout. When at the gym, there may be several televisions mounted from the ceiling in front of you, one usually with sports and the other showing mindless news from a distant land. Yes, there’s a clicker available, but only for those who are not focused and are there for the wrong reasons. You DID NOT come here to watch TV! For me, it’s hard enough to stay focused on my breathing, my GAIT, my stride length, my posture, and everything else I need to concentrate on to make this the best workout without these distractions.

This morning’s LA TIMES was so hard to read without my glasses. I usually read the local paper first thing and then further attack anything that sparks my interest via the web and other media outlets. I know the newsprint and format are of legit quality and the lighting in my apartment is cool. The problem I may be having you ask? Auspiciously, perhaps with a little more FOCUS, I can fix this with a quick visit to either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. This is an opportune time to introduce you to Dr. Michael Peters of Raleigh, North Carolina. Mike and I worked together while in baseball at AA Zebulon. He was instrumental in making our championship team click, especially when it came to the players we had wearing contact lenses. We really were fortunate to have Mike available, especially with his interest in sports vision and ability to translate that passion into helping our hitters see the ball to the BEST of their ability, day and night! Easier said than done, but perfected by Peters. He currently oversees care of the NHL’s Carolina Panthers.

To give you an idea, in his latest book, ‘See to Play’, eminent optometrist Michael Peters, addresses every aspect of this vital component of elite athletics. Included in his writing are in-depth discussions of all facets of vision accompanied by myriad of exercises to help athletes hone and condition peripheral vision, acuity, speed of focus, eye-hand-body coordination, and more. His techniques also help the older veteran athlete play young and the weekend warrior gain the edge! Constructed for athletes of all ages, this essential book will truly enhance you or your child athlete’s ability to see to play! I really enjoyed the read and think there’s something for everyone here!

EXERCISE AND INTENSITY

For me, workouts are planned out by writing an exercise journal daily. With this method, goals are easily attainable. It’s knowing exactly what to accomplish and wanting to be as FOCUSED on the activity as possible, not distracted by something that may inhibit or slow my progress. For those using headphones for the encouraging music, rock on dudes! For those watching those monitors, WRONG! ASK yourself if these media sources are having a positive or negative influence on your training and ability to reach the goal you set out to conquer!

Your focus should be on getting your workout in, perhaps getting to the gym, working out with the utmost intensity for the 90 minutes, and getting out! Are you putting 110% into your training? Is your intensity as great as you want it to be? Are there any distractions in front of you or in your ear that are not allowing you to stay focused?  Stop the distractions, get into the zone, and get the most out of today’s session!

BACK TO AUGUSTA

Focus is just as important on the golf course as the best golfers in the world compete. Each of these athletes is focused, not only on their conditioning and workouts, but also in their approach to their initial tee shot, fairway play, and green play. After all, is the goal not to wear the famed Green Jacket? Do you have the same desire for that jacket?

Earlier this week I spoke with John Adam, an ATC and strength/conditioning coach for the PGA Tour and currently at The 2013 Masters. We were introduced many years ago. He comes from the same baseball class as Garafolo, Starr, Monohan, Gieselman,  Buhler, Pursley, Letendre , Spicuza, Mayol and the rest of the athletic training All Stars. The old school gang, if I may. John was another of the fine mentors that played an integral part on my journey as an apprentice and up and comer. “Pristine, well-manicured hedging, and something like ‘Disneyland’ Special!” These are the descriptors Adam’s used to describe the location all ‘GOLF EYES’ will be on for the weekend to come. I have to agree and also throw compliments to the fine staff @ Augusta. What a first class operation! John worked many seasons in MLB, most notably with the Milwaukee Brewers alongside Bob Euker, Robin Yount, Dale Sveum, and who could forget Ben Ogilvie. Euker would often say, “It’s a wonderful day for GOLF!”

John Adam: you taught me so much along the way and I am grateful to you for treating me with the upmost respect from the minute I was introduced to you as a young minor league Athletic Trainer. For this, I say Thank You! Best wishes to you and Biggie (Kent Biggerstaff – same position with the Seniors Champions Tour) as you both continue to keep the finest golfers in the world focused on both the PGA TOUR and SENIORS CHAMPIONS TOUR. Enjoy Augusta and all the best my friends!

For now, I sign off by saying stay FOCUSED on your workout intensity, FOCUS on your eye exercises, and remain focused on that Green Jacket!

Until next time, Best! Sandy

PS: Stay tuned…your introduction to “The Highway” is coming soon and it’s something very special.


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Opening Day…

Garages and attics are busy places this time of the year.  Seems everyone is doing some sort of spring cleaning, whether it be in the garage, inside the house, or even at the office.  First and foremost has to be the search for the mitt and league ball.  Opening Day is just arriving and parents and children from coast to coast will be on the search for their BASEBALL GLOVES. I know mine is on the desk at the office, always on the ready.

I really haven’t had the need to condition my Rawlings Special.  It still has great shape and is full of life.  It also still has that baseball glove smell.

Remember the days of old when mom and dad bought you your first glove?  You rushed home with a couple baseballs and started breaking in the darn thing.  Seems it took forever to get any sense of a pocket.  It took longer to get the ends on the fingertips to ‘curve in’ as we know and wanted them to do ever so badly.  I even remember tying my glove with a sanni sock ever so tight, baseballs in place in the pocket, and buried the whole contraption under the water in our filled wash sink in the laundry room.  I would let it soak overnight, only to take it outside to dry in the mild spring air and then start mashing it over and over again with the end of a bat.

As a kid, I always took my glove with me to opening day.  It was some sort of ritual and simply was the cool thing to do.  I would never know if a foul ball would come my way as I was walking the concourses at Wrigley, always trying to find the one unoccupied seat and the section where there were no Andy Frain Ushers to give you THAT evil look.  Sometimes, the flying balls would make their way down the steps onto the concourse after several people made a failed attempt.  Oh, Wrigley.

I always prepped Mom and Dad as the weeks and days approached, just so I could have them on the ready to write that note to my teachers: “Dear Ms. Opening Day Teacher, Sandy was absent yesterday as he developed (fill in the blank) that just wouldn’t go away.  We felt it best to monitor this from home.  Please provide Sandy with any missed homework or needed materials so he may catch up on his work. Sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. Krum.”  I wonder how many parents will be writing that same kind of note this week.  Ya know …wink!

Opening Day meant smelling the concession stands getting readied, the Smokie Links grilling on the grill, the soda and beer guys filling their trays and making quick change from the dispenser on their belts, the pizza man walking around hawking an empty box he was waving.  It meant I could hear the organ and watch the scoreboard operators change the numbers every time a run was scored.  It meant I could just be among people who loved the game of baseball as much as I did.  It meant I could sing twice for sure with an anthem and take me out to the ball game.  It meant I could tune to 720am on my transistor radio and listen to some fine play by play.  I just had to save enough change to take the EL home, along with a transfer of course.

I know I’m looking forward to the Opening Day.  Why, you ask?  Cause its root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win it’s a shame.  For its one, two, three strikes you’re out at the ol ball game!

Finally, The Show…

My most incredible experience at Wrigley happened on Opening Day back in 2001…

Ahhh, that Opening Day at Wrigley Field…I could smell the fresh cut grass, still those same Smokie Links cooking, popcorn popping, and the electricity was buzzing, like when you rub a balloon on your hair.  The gates open for the start of the 2001 home season and fans flocked to assume their position in the bleachers.  Finally, after grabbing their hotdog and beverage, they picked that spot to watch the pre-game.  All set with their gloves ready, they waited eagerly for that crack of the bat in hopes of catching the BP home run ball.  There I was, first game as a Chicago Cub Athletic Trainer, taped into an old rusty grocery cart that migrated down from the local Jewel.  Hockey mask strapped on, feet dangling and placed ever so perfectly in left-center field for batting practice.  Even my college roommate was amongst them. “Krummie, is that you?”…he shouted.  The only thing I could think of was, “Please ball, don’t come my way!”  Crack after crack, balls launched from the pine bats like missiles.  One after another just missing.  For the player at the plate, it was like when you’re hitting golf balls at the driving range and the cart is out there picking up balls – aim…fire…“DAMN, missed again!”  Players couldn’t wait to get their turn…”come on, let me in there!”  It felt like a whole game had passed, when finally I was rescued by the grounds crew as they began to ready the field with fresh chalk.  “Welcome to the Show, Kid!”

All the Best – Athletic Trainers

Looking back, it was an incredible run with the Chicago Cubs and professional baseball.  As ballparks open across this great land, I can’t help but think of the Athletic Trainers and Medical Teams for each of the 30 clubs.  Long, exhausting days ahead for these folks. What tremendous care each and every one of these individuals provide on a daily basis.  The bottom line is these ATC’s keep your favorite players healthy and functional from Opening Day until the final out of the World Series.  Many of these folks have years of education and practice honing their skills. They are the best of the best and personally take themselves out of the equation for the 162 game campaign. Incredible! Kudos to my fellow PBATS members and wishing each of them the best for the season!

Enjoy the season everyone! I know I will!

“Let’s play two!” – Ernie Banks


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     As the lights just dimmed on Season 14, I can’t give enough credit to all of the great transformations I just witnessed.  It was really a special evening to see all of you walking with that air of confidence and strutting with your chests out proud (AND RIGHTFULLY SO).  You all remember that sense of accomplishment, just hoping someone you hadn’t seen in a while noticed the new you!  Realizing the work you just put in paid off!  Realizing this is the happiest you’ve been in a long, long time!  Realizing your dreams!  Those of you who returned to welcome your new family members looked just as proud and full of love.  What a healthy environment, right?

     The questions I pose today to all of you to ask yourselves: “ How am I going to keep that battery charged and walk with that GAIT Sandy spoke of often on the ranch? “  Take a moment today to reflect momentarily on the past and ask “what is on my agenda to keep my light bulb lit and shining at its optimal wattage?”  True, some of you need to replace a bulb but once the bulb is in the fixture, know that you all have the tools and knowledge to keep that bulb burning for a long time…with full glare!!!

     “How do I know if my bulb is functioning at its peek level?” “Am I journaling?” “Am I counting calories?” “Am I weighing my foods?” “Am I planning meals for the week for myself and loved ones?” “Am I eating with a plan as proposed by H and Forberg?” “Am I snacking correctly?” “Am I incorporating the prescribed workout time to stay at maintenance?” “AM and PM?” “What am I doing at work to help keep myself functional and active?” “Can I be doing more?” “Am I treating my injuries and am I working to tolerance with the same?” “Am I making excuses ?”

     If you are on point, tremendous!!!! If your bulb needs replacing or if there is a short in the wire, well its time to change the darn thing!!!  Today is the day to do just that!  And if you’re not sure where the closest hardware store is or what wattage you need, please reach out to me and know that I will do my best to lead you.  Wishing you all continued success and love.

sak


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Well, I feel like an ass…

I’ll never forget the time in AA Carolina when umpire Tony Randazzo (one of the best young upcoming men in blue…with great character and make up) asked me to help him. He needed his paycheck cashed and gave it to me while I was in uniform.  I said, “Sure Tony, no problem.”

After the game, I went to the locker room.  Quickly changed into training shorts and continued with post game treatments.  The check btw was still in my game pants pocket, which was whisked away by one of the well trained clubhouse attendants.  Before I knew it, the damn pants were in the spin cycle.

Here comes Tony showered, fully dressed, and ready to hit the town after a long night behind the plate on a hot steamy night.

“Oh shit!  I really screwed up Tony!” …as I frantically found the shreds in my pocket.  Randazzo’s check would be lost that night, but I replaced it, (along with some help from the front office) and awaited the fed ex trucks arrival two days thereafter with his replacement from the league.

Phew…..