Throughout the history of athletic training, the college/university, higher education, professional sports, secondary school and various emerging settings have become home to athletic trainers wanting to care for all active populations. The impact of these ATs has helped their patients remain active and healthy in work, life and sport.
In honor of National Athletic Training Month this year, the March NATA News featured nine athletic trainers who are providing care to a variety of patient populations. They shared what drew them to the athletic training profession and their particular setting. They also shared how the AT’s essential skill set showcases this year’s NATM theme, “There’s an AT for That.”
Continue reading to learn more about NATA COPA Occupational Committee Chair Keith Webster, MA, LAT, ATC, and his athletic training journey in the industrial setting.
Why are you passionate about your patient population/setting?
The industrial athlete is actually a professional athlete in that they get paid for their work so they can provide for their families. The skill, strength, flexibility and overall conditioning is similar to the qualities of the competitive athlete. I’ve come to appreciate the dedication of the workers wanting to work and provide for their families without injuries or limitations. I’ve been very impressed with the work ethic displayed by the team members under my care. The reward and gratification I receive from them is remarkable. The relationships we foster is somewhat unique in that you get to really know these people, their families, hobbies, favorite sports teams, etc. These athletes don’t graduate in four to six years; rather, they work for 25 to 30 years!
Tell us about your most memorable day on the job.
One memorable day on the job was when I saw a worker who had discomfort in his arm. He didn’t report it until 10 days after the incident. When I evaluated his condition, it was clear that he had ruptured his biceps, but continued to work! This was severe enough that he needed surgery. Pretty tough athlete for sure!
How have you advocated for your position and the athletic training profession throughout your career?
Since joining the ranks of ATs in this work setting, I’ve joined the COPA Occupational Committee and currently serve as chair. I’ve been on a “soap box” extolling the virtues of working in the occupational health setting at the national, district, and state levels. I really enjoy speaking to students and young professionals about this option for employment. Career transition talks that include the occupational setting option have also been well received. In addition, I was involved in developing and teaching a course for a doctoral program about all aspects of occupational health for athletic trainers.
Moreover, I been able to advocate for our profession through my tenures as state association president in Kentucky and Georgia. Working with members, legislators, regulatory boards and the public to advance our profession has been a wonderful experience!
Reflecting this year’s theme of “There’s an AT for That,” if you had to pick one essential skill ATs bring to all settings, what would it be?
Our skill set is appreciated and valued in the occupational health setting for sure. We all possess these skills. The one essential application of our skills is to show compassion for our patient population. I first heard the saying, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care,” when I had the amazing opportunity to work for Otho Davis many years ago. I still try to live up to these words of wisdom. I believe that as a profession, we deliver compassionate care to those we treat.
How are you celebrating National Athletic Training Month this year?
I really appreciate the theme for this year. I promote NATM by displaying our posters which invariably prompts discussion with workers who see them. I work with a great staff who also promote our profession. Furthermore, there are announcements made by our company in honor and recognition of NATM.