By David A. Middlemas, EdD. ATC. CCISM
Chair, ATs Care Commission, National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
ATs Care acknowledges the large-scale cancellations and postponements of meetings and gatherings affects all aspects of our lives. Our daily routines are affected by the fluidly changing situation surrounding the coronavirus. These changes directly impact both an athletic trainer’s personal and professional life, often with minimal or no input into the planning. As a result, we are thrust into a period of uncertainty that has the potential to negatively impact one’s daily life. Everything from protecting and caring for one’s own family and dealing with changes in one’s income and financial situation to managing changing work conditions affects us all.
As ATs process the ever-changing information and circumstances, ATs Care wants to remind you to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically. Along with hand-washing, social distancing and universal precautions, learn to recognize the signs of emotional and mental stress in yourself and in those around you. Significant, ongoing psychological stress can have negative impact on one’s cognitive, emotional, behavioral, physical and spiritual well-being.1,2
It is important to remember the suppression of one’s immune system is common with stress and fatigue, potentially increasing one’s vulnerability to infection. Common changes seen in response to critical incident stress include disruption of one’s ability to process information, feel or express emotions, sleep and interaction with others. Abnormalities in physical signs and symptoms should be taken seriously and referred to an appropriate medical provider.
Please look at our infographic, titled Self Care Following a Critical Incident.3 It provides information about what to look for, some self-help strategies and some things to avoid during a critical incident.
Sometimes ATs need to talk to another AT to “dump their emotional bucket.” The members of the ATs Care teams across the country are not going to solve the complex issues arising from COVID-19, but they can give you someone with whom to have a confidential conversation about your emotional response to the situation. If you want to talk with a member of the ATs Care peer-support team, you can use any of the following methods to reach out:
- Go to the ATs Care contact form on the NATA website.
- Email ATs Care at email@example.com.
- Call our ATs Care hotline at 972-532-8821.
1. ATs Care Commission. Critical Incident Stress Management 101: Building Resiliency. In. Carrollton, Tx: National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc.; 2017.
2. George S. Everly J. Assisting Individuals in Crisis. 5 ed. Ellicott City, MD: International Critical Incident Stress Foundation; 2017.
3. ATs Care Commission. Self Care Following a Critical Incident. National Athletic Trainers' Association. https://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/self-post-care.pdf. Published 2018. Accessed March 11, 2020.