Going Beyond the Stage: Learn More about the ATs in our February Cover Story

January 27, 2016 by Beth Sitzler
Athletic trainers Larry Heck, ATC, with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., Kori Kirschner, MS, ATC, with Marvel Universe Live! and Megan Richardson, MS, ATC, clinical specialist with the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, shared what it’s like to work in the emerging setting, caring for performers on the stage and in the ring, in the February NATA News.
“Most performers are in every single show, so eight shows a week,” Richardson said of the Broadway stars she cares for. “Even though a volleyball player does the same thing over again, [Broadway is] a little bit of a different repetitive stress where it’s predictable. There isn’t an opponent there to change things up.”
Each shared the challenges and joys that come from serving their unique settings, as well as what brought them to the performing arts and sports entertainment world. Learn more about these three athletic trainers below.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Larry Heck: In 2006, I was asked to accompany WWE as we went to Baghdad, Iraq, for our annual Tribute to the Troops event. To be in Baghdad during the war, and to see firsthand how grateful the troops were to have us there, will be a memory I will proudly carry with me forever.
Kori Kirschner: The most memorable moment of my career was during my first volunteer rotation as an athletic trainer at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. Looking back, when I first walked into the athletic training room when I was a student athletic trainer, I looked up on the wall of my head athletic trainer’s office and saw all of her accomplishments, certifications and teams she had traveled with. It was that moment that sparked my love for empowering and assisting athletes at the professional level.
I went home that day and said to myself that one day I would help athletes at the elite and Olympic level and ultimately provide coverage for an Olympic Games. In the spring of 2012, through hard work, persistence and determination, my dream became a reality. I walked onto the Chula Vista campus where Olympic dreams are built. The staff, athletes and Olympic torch and rings are instrumental in fulfilling that 11-year-old dream. My most memorable moment of my career is the two-week Olympic Training Center adventure that gave me the opportunity to work alongside some of the most inspiring and incredible athletes and health professionals I will ever encounter.
Megan Richardson: I’m finding this to be a very difficult question to answer. I guess I don’t see my career as individual moments, but a cumulative experience. I have been fortunate enough to work with high-level dancers and performers including some big names. I am proud that my original research was published in an athletic training edition of the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science. I have presented at international conferences that have given me the opportunity to travel to amazing places and to create a network of peers that span the globe. I admire the mutual respect and collegiality that my AT and PT colleagues at HCDI show for each other and I’m fortunate enough to have never felt the competitiveness between our professions that so many ATs report.

What goals do you have for the future?
LH: Being an AT employed in sports entertainment, I see how far we have come but look forward to seeing how much further we can go. I want to help promote performance arts athletic training in any way I can.
KK: My ultimate goal is to provide athletic training coverage for an Olympic Games. I would also love to work with Team USA year-round in some capacity, whether it’s at an Olympic Training Center or with a National Governing Body.
MR: In addition to being an AT, I am also an acupuncturist, thus my goal for the future is to continue to integrate all of my skills to provide a holistic and inclusive approach to caring for dancers.
Posted by Beth Sitzler, NATA News Managing Editor (beths@nata.org)