During Membership Appreciation Week, Nov. 16-20, NATA wants to celebrate members who make the association what it is: home to all athletic trainers. Members have been chosen at random and will be featured throughout the week in our Member Spotlight blog series. For more information on what’s happening during the week, visit the Member Appreciation Week webpage.
Krystal Gomez MS, LAT, ATC
Athletic trainer/durable medical equipment technician at University Orthopedics Center
District 2 – Pennsylvania
Job Setting: Orthopedic clinic
Years of Membership: 9 Years
What was your “ah-ha” moment when you knew the athletic training profession was for you?
While in undergrad, I was covering a women’s rugby match alone for the first time. Two athletes collided heads and both went down at the same time. My first thought when they both went down was, “Let’s get to work.” I assessed the scene, ran on the field while still visually assessing the athletes and was able to determine who needed my attention first. Here I am 10 years later, and I still remember the feeling I had, this is the right profession for me.
What was the best advice you’ve received as an AT?
Take time for yourself. We are always busy trying to fix others and get our athletes back on the field, but it is OK to take time for yourself. Set a cut-off time for text messages and phone calls that are not emergencies. A text at midnight asking, “What time do I have to be in for rehab tomorrow?” can wait to be answered until the morning.
How have you impacted your community as an athletic trainer?
I have worked mainly in the collegiate setting and being able to work with student athletic trainers has been very enjoyable. I loved teaching students all the knowledge I have gained over the years. I felt working with them kept me sharp as well. They would ask me questions and I didn’t always have an answer so we would learn together. It is also reassuring when you keep in contact with those past students and they reach out sharing their appreciation of you.
What is your favorite part of being an athletic trainer?
The process. We are unlike any other medical professional. We are there to prevent the injury, we are there at the moment of injury, we are there through the recovery process and we are there when the athlete is 100 percent back on the field. We see their pain, fears, smiles and strength like no one else.
Which NATA benefit do you value most?
Continuing education. I feel like the on-demand courses get better and better each year. One of the many reasons I love athletic training/sports medicine is that the field is always changing and there is always some new development to learn. It seems like whatever I have a specific interest in learning more about I can easily find an on-demand course about it.
Why are you a member of NATA?
The community. If you have never been to the national convention, then you are missing out on a good time and so much information from your peers. I use the NATA website as my first source of information when I am trying to research anything. Whether it is a journal article or just one of their many information pages, it is literally all there.
Do you have an AT hack you can share?
While working high-collision sports like rugby, wrestling, football, etc., keep nose plugs tucked into a hair tie on your wrist. Fanny packs are great but utilizing pockets and quickly accessible spots you didn’t even know you had will get your athlete back into the match quicker.