March is an important month for a select group at Goucher College. Though they are usually behind the scenes, National Athletic Training Month brings their hard work and dedication to the spotlight. The three athletic trainers, Ryan Price, Rachel Robbins, and Conor Trainer, are an integral part of every sports team here at Goucher.
Ryan Price started as an athletic training graduate assistant at Goucher College in fall 2019. He first found his calling when he was in high school, volunteering with his school's athletic training department.
"I knew during that time I wanted to become an athletic trainer and dedicate my time to caring for young athletes," recalled Price.
After his undergraduate work at James Madison University, he began interviewing and looking for jobs. In the course of his search, Price decided to become a college athletic trainer because of the environment.
"During one of my interviews, I walked into the office at the high school and it was complete chaos," said Price. "I hadn't been in a high school for four years and it shocked me a bit. I decided then that I was not ready to be an athletic trainer for a high school and preferred the college setting better."
Some may think that being an athletic trainer is the same no matter where the location. However, Price would disagree. All levels from high school sports to Division I athletics are different.
"The level of competitiveness, size of the school, alumni, donations, and budgets have an effect on athletic training services," explained Price. "While athletic trainers provide the same level of care and are held to the same professional standards, the resources and equipment at our disposal vary from setting to setting and even within the same division/level of sport."
Some of his favorite parts about being an athletic trainer are being outside and traveling. Price also likes the continuous patient care.
"I like that athletic trainers get to see their patients regularly, sometimes daily, which allows us to follow-up with patient care much easier than other providers," remarked Price.
This on-going care is what leaves an influence on all the student-athletes. Price believes that each day he can impact the athletes that he sees.
"It may not be a huge impact, or a significant impact, but I strongly believe that the relationship and concern I show for each of my athletes creates a positive experience for them," said Price.
Though Price works with many athletes during his time at Goucher College, his favorite sport has been the women's soccer team.
"They are a fun team and they have been patient with me as I transition into my first year as an athletic trainer," Price expressed.
In addition to the soccer team, he enjoys caring for men's lacrosse teams.
"It's fun watching men's lacrosse games and being part of the atmosphere created by the team," said Price.
He enjoys the quickness, knowledge and physical skills associated with the sport. He worked with the men's lacrosse team during his last semester in his clinical at James Madison. Price's favorite memory was working with his preceptor and other students.
"We were a close team and we developed a great relationship with one another," Price recalled. "I felt so welcome in their clinic and was able to work closely with the other students, which really brought us together."
Despite all the good times that Price has had during his athletic training tenure, the profession is not always a bed of roses. Coaches and student-athletes continually challenge Price and other athletic trainers. Other times, schools do not give athletic training programs all the resources that are needed to easily succeed.
"You can have the best athletes and a great staff of athletic trainers, but that doesn't always mean the philosophy of the athletic department is conducive to your work as an athletic trainer," explained Price. "Unfortunately, many schools are still struggling to implement policies and procedures that give athletic trainers/the sports medicine team complete autonomy in making medical decisions. To know that not every school gives that authority over the athletic trainers makes our job difficult."
Another downside of the profession is that many people do not fully understand what athletic trainers do. With National Athletic Training Month, the hope is that outsiders can gain understanding of the job.
"A lot of people and professionals don't understand your line of work and they sometimes don't display the respect that is earned by athletic trainers, for example calling us 'trainers' and not 'athletic trainers,'" stated Price.
He hopes that people learn that athletic trainers are health care providers.
"We provide health care services for our patients, not fitness and training," said Price. "I think too often are lines blurred between athletic trainers and personal trainers, or managers. We all have responsibilities within sports and athletic trainers are the health care provider."