There’s a Michael Goldenberg for That

February 28, 2023 by Lydia Hicks

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 Hall of Fame member and former District Two Director Michael Goldenberg, MS, ATC, CES, and his athletic training journey in the secondary school setting. 

Why are you passionate about your patient population/setting?
I love working with this age group. They are inquisitive, fun to be around and love to have long conversations. Being an athlete is not a job for them. They also seem very interested in learning about you and your life experiences. I’ve found that you can also help shape and guide their future, because their path is not set in stone yet.

Tell us about your most memorable day on the job.
There was a new student to the school who was presented with a chronic condition that I was able to help correct. After two and a half weeks of rehab, he told me that this was the first time in years he was able to play soccer without pain. In his first game back, he scored the winning goal in overtime, ran off the field, jumped me on the sideline (knocking me to the ground) and gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, “That goal was for you.”

How have you advocated for your position and the athletic training profession throughout your career?
At my current employment, I was the first certified AT to be hired. Our school doctor knew the value of an AT, but there was much education that needed to be done with administrators, parents, athletes and coaches about what we do, and the proper way injuries should be handled. We have 61 interscholastic teams and more than 30 intramural teams that we need to provide care for. Over the years, through my actions and education, as well as the support of our school’s physician, I was able to first secure a full-time assistant and now, 34 years later, we have one part-time and three full-time ATs on staff. Outside of my school, I have attended numerous Hit the Hill days, exhibited at local legislative sessions, along with a variety of other activities. I’ve written letters, met with federal legislators and talked to other administrators outside of Lawrenceville in support of their hiring a full-time AT. I was also on the NATA Political Action Committee board and helped raise money for legislative activities.

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?
Versatility. Our skill set is so large and adaptable that the sky’s the limit on what we can do in different settings. ATs need to think outside the box and expand on their education and what is in front of them to create the best environment possible to get the job done!

How are you celebrating National Athletic Training Month this year?
During NATM, when I am not away, I will be presenting to athletic training students at a variety of colleges and universities in District Two. Before the pandemic, I would also go to New York City and join the other athletic training students and ATs standing outside for the takeover at the ABC and NBC morning shows. March mornings in New York City can get very cold. On one occasion I was able to get tickets to bring a good number of ATs into the studio audience. We had special t-shirts made about NATM that were shown on TV.