Supporting One Another

May 24, 2022 by Beth Sitzler

By Kelsey Bains, MA, ATC, NATA ATs Care Commission


As we discussed in the previous blog, the way in which we, our colleagues, patients, friends or family metabolize a critical incident may differ not only from incident to incident, but from day to day.

There are many concepts that come into play when supporting someone in need. The key approach is to let go of preconceived ideas and provide space, in your support efforts, without judgment.

When providing support for those in need, we must remember that it’s not about ourselves; we are not there for the individual, but with them as reinforcement. It’s clear we can’t take away the hurt and pain, but we can be intentional with the tools we can offer to strengthen their resolve.

As professionals, it is our job to ask, be present and actively listen. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”

The fact is, we do not have to know the perfect thing to say, or how to express it. As a caregiver, we simply need to be present and in the moment for the other person. This transition of care is challenging because our own human emotions are triggered and responsive. We must focus on our main goal, which is to help regulate the nervous system and aid in facilitating care, making sure basic needs are met. 

With any critical incident, we move the patient from cognitive into emotional status in order to access, then bring them back to the cognitive state in order to empower them. With their newfound empowerment, they are able to take care and understand their own basic needs.

Understanding one’s basic need may seem elementary to the critical incident trauma; however, the most beneficial aid we can offer as medical professionals is as simple as the personal care elements: Is the patient eating, sleeping and hydrating? Are they aware of their food and water consumption?  Are they actively moving their body or exercising? All of these are critical elements.

Recovery is crucial and the success of our patient relies on our ability to guide them in understanding their own process and personal needs. It’s a challenging but rewarding journey when we witness true progress.


Reach Out to ATs Care

The mission of the ATs Care is to aid ATs and athletic training students who have been through a critical incident by utilizing a peer-to peer-system to assist, monitor and encourage these individuals to seek initial support through state or regional ATs Care teams.

If you or a colleague are in need of assistance navigating a challenging situation, whether it be personal or professionally related, we ask that you seek assistance and consider contacting ATs Care.

  • Email ATs Care 
  • Fill out the online contact form
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800.273.8255
  • Text "HOME" to 741741 anytime in the U.S. and connect to a crisis counselor