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10/12/2015

The Khaki Kronicles: Tales from the Athletic Training Room - Episode 7

Bryant Pasho ATC
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Bryant Pasho ATC

Head Athletic Trainer, Omaha Central High School in Omaha, Nebraska



CSMI: WHEN DID YOU START YOU’RE ATHLETIC TRAINING CAREER?

BP: August of 2005.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO PURSUE A CAREER AS AN ATHLETIC TRAINER?

Growing up in a small town, we never had an Athletic Trainer on our sidelines. My first exposure to Athletic Training was when my Dad took me to see the ATC for the Omaha Royals (AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals) when I injured my thumb playing catcher. I was allowed to go into the clubhouse and he fitted me with an Orthoplast splint to wear while I was catching. I was intrigued by the possibility of always being able to be around sports and helping people when they were injured. It seemed like a pretty good fit for me since I love sports and love helping people. But it wasn't until I graduated and was given full autonomy as an intern with the volleyball team at Coastal Carolina University that I thought it might be something that I could pursue as a career. This was the first time I was allowed to make real decisions and I really enjoyed being able to be an advocate for those athletes and I still enjoy it today.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS THE JOB CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED?

When I first started there were a lot of things that we did because "That's just the way we've always done it." The biggest change that I have seen is the switch to more of an evidence-based approach to the way we do our jobs with the patient (the athlete) at the center. It seems like we also have more people listening to us when we are pushing for better care for athletes (especially the younger athletes) as well as safer playing and practicing conditions.

WHAT ABOUT THE ATHLETIC TRAINER’S JOB IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU ASSUMED IT WOULD BE WHEN YOU WERE A STUDENT?

When I was a student, I was always in the ATR so I thought that this job would completely consume me when I graduated. My experience as an ATC has been very different. Sure, there are last minute schedule changes, lightning delays, and every other variable that comes with athletics but my work-life balance is way better than it was when I was a student.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE THINKING ABOUT A CAREER IN ATHLETIC TRAINING?

This profession is very hands-on and it is not for everyone. You will only find out if you really enjoy it by trying it out for yourself. Get as much time as you can in the Athletic Training Room and try to expose yourself to as much as you can. If it's not for you, be honest with yourself, move on and find something you are passionate about.

IF YOU COULD SHARE ONE TRICK-OF-THE-TRADE WITH A PEER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Keep it simple. In the High School setting there can be hundreds of athletes that I am responsible for at any given time. There is no time for long, drawn out speeches filled with anatomical terms that the athlete has ever heard of. These kids care less about how much you know, and more about how much you care. They want to know that you have their best interest in mind with everything you do and every decision you make.

HOW IS THE ROLE OF THE ATHLETIC TRAINER CHANGING, PARTICULARLY IN THE AREA OF CONCUSSIONS? HOW DO YOU CONVINCE AN ATHLETE TO STAY ON THE SIDELINES UNTIL HE’S READY TO RETURN?

I am really excited about the direction the Athletic Training field is heading, especially in the area of concussions. When I was a student (this was about 11 years ago now), I witnessed a high school kid suffer a concussion in practice early in the week and play in the game that Friday. He was on the kickoff team and the first hit he took gave him another concussion. This one, of course, was way worse than the first. He suffered from double vision (as a direct result of those concussions) for most of the rest of that school year (his Senior year) and almost didn't get in to the Air Force Academy because of his vision problems. We all knew back then that this was a huge problem but people weren't listening to us. Now we are met with many more open ears and have a lot more say in how concussions are being treated. At my school, I am the point person for the Athletic side of our Concussion Management Team and the School Nurse is the point person for the Academic side. If a kid spends most of the day in the Nurse's office then comes to me saying he has felt fine all day and is ready to take the ImPACT test and start his progression, I know he is lying because I already knew the truth before he came into my office. Athletes sometimes attempt to get back sooner than they should or try to play through it but the lines of communication are so much more open now that it is much more difficult for them to slip through the cracks. My coaches and administration are amazing! They don't try to push me to get kids back sooner than I think they should be and they even bring kids to me that they have questions about, even the starting Quarterback was brought to me in the middle of a very important game late in the season by our Head Coach because he couldn't remember how to run the next play that was called. There was no hesitation. He brought him right to me. These guys don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk as well.

HOW DO YOU NAVIGATE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, WHEN YOU’RE CAUGHT BETWEEN WHAT A COACH WANTS AND WHAT’S BEST FOR AN ATHLETE?

It is our job to always look out for what is best for the athlete. The best job description I've ever heard for Athletic Training is, "We are here to keep athletes out of the hospital and coaches out of jail." Now it may seem overly simplistic but it cuts to the heart of why we do what we do. We want what is best for these kids and the Coaches should too. If their priorities are out of order then it is our job to make sure they know it. Go to the coach first and let them know that what they want is not in the athlete's best interest. If that doesn't work, make sure their bosses know about it. Everyone has a boss. I have a few of them (being in a large school district). Document everything and go as high up the ladder as you need to make sure your kids are kept safe. The worst thing you can do is say nothing at all to anybody.

DESCRIBE A MOMENT THAT YOU LOOK BACK ON AS THE MOST IMPORTANT EXPERIENCE IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR.

I would have to say the moment that my supervisor at Coastal told me that this was my team. That it was my call from here on out. He also said that I could ask him as many questions as I wanted and that I probably wasn't going to kill anybody but him actually saying that I was on my own (and all the successes and failures that have come since then) was the most important experience of my career so far.

DO YOU USE ANY INJURY TRACKING OR EMR SOFTWARE IN YOUR JOB? IF SO, HOW DOES IT IMPACT WHAT YOU DO?

We use SportsWare and ImPACT. We use the online versions of both. With SportsWare, I can start an injury report on my phone or iPad right after the injury happens which is nice because I am never in my office when people are getting injured. I used to keep a little notepad and pen and jot notes down when an injury happened and would try to update them when I got back to my office at the end of practice or a game. Now I can input information in real time and not have to remember minute details that I would have forgotten by the time I got back to my computer.


Are you an Athletic Trainer with a story to tell? Drop us a line!



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