The Athletic Training Students for Brain Safety

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski; photo by Stacy Nemeth

Winterstein

From left: Emily Campbell, Erin McQuillan, Bailey Lanser, Andrew Winterstein and Club President Ellsworth Brown

Dr. Andrew Winterstein, director of the UW Athletic Training Education program and clinical professor of Kinesiology at UW-Madison, brought three student leaders to speak to Rotary about their work to raise awareness about brain injuries.

The Athletic Training Program prepares students for careers in athletic training. According to Winterstein, these students go on to work not only for athletic teams, but also health providers, industrial workplaces, schools and other settings. He showed a video in which students and faculty of this well-rated program lauded its small class sizes, high quality of instructors, practical clinical learning opportunities, top notch professors and strong science foundation.

Winterstein called injury “the unwelcome houseguest of physical activity.” Injury is inevitable, and it is a public health issue. It is important to consider the true cost of injury, he said. For example, what are the consequences at age 50 of having sustained an ankle injury at age 20? Ankle sprains are the most common musculoskeletal injury, and they are linked with an increased risk of osteoarthritis, a decreased level of physical activity and a lower overall quality of life. Winterstein noted that one million adolescent athletes suffer ankle injuries annually in basketball alone, with an estimated $2 billion in total costs.

Winterstein stressed that ankle injuries are preventable with exercises and the use of braces, yet many Wisconsin high school coaches are not aware of how to apply these resources. It is critical to get information to high school coaches and others.

Sports-related concussions have been a hot topic in the news recently because of some high-profile NFL cases and a link with traumatic encephalopathy. Winterstein notes there are an estimated 300,000 sports-related concussions in high school boys and girls annually in the United States. The majority are in football, but they also occur in other sports. Winterstein called for more research to better understand the causes and impact of concussions.

Winterstein then introduced three students who are active in Athletic Training Students for Brain Safety (ATSBS), a campus group that educates the UW campus and Madison communities on the short-term and long-term consequences of brain injuries including concussions. Formed in 2012 the group focuses on prevention, recognition and management of brain injuries.   Emily Campbell, Bailey Lanser and Erin McQuillan described recent accomplishments of the ATSBS group:

  • Applied for and received a Baldwin Grant to promote a statewide network of campus-based chapters;
  • Created and installed Renny’s Corner, an informational station at Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery;
  • Made presentations to high school anatomy and health science classes to inform students about brain injuries and promote Athletic Training as a career;
  • Held Children’s Safety Night at Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery to inform children and parents about the signs and symptoms of head injury and concussion, as well as how to prevent them.
  • Held a Brain Safety Symposium which featured distinguished speakers – some of them alumni of the program – from Madison and beyond.

The group is talking to campus groups interested in creating chapters at Concordia University, Marquette University and the UW campuses in Eau Claire, La Crosse and Stevens Point. They hope eventually to make ATSBS a regional presence at campuses around the Midwest.

Did you miss our meeting this week?  CLICK to watch the video.

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