A Look Back at the Off-Season in Athletic Training

A Look Back at the Off-Season in Athletic Training

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By: Nate Brooks, ATC | Medical Coordinator (Oakland A’s)

For a majority of us in this profession, the off-season brings a period of extended down time. A chance to briefly remove ourselves from working tirelessly, during a long baseball season. For many there may be opportunities for leisure travel, acquiring an off-season job within the profession to stay on top of our skills…or simply just relaxing and spending quality time with family and friends. Whatever route you respectively take, we all know that the off-season if often too short. I spent the first 8 years as a part of the majority group in this profession (speaking to those Minor League ATC’s).

During that time, my off-season schedule allowed me to take on a number of different professional opportunities (AFL, Winter Ball, WBC, Clinical/Outreach work) and of course, some down time to travel and spend with family.  Recently however, I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to take on different roles within our organization and subsequently, my off-season schedule has changed drastically.

We all know that change and transition does not come easy, at first. We get accustomed to our daily “routine,” and there’s a comfort level factor that is hard to let go of. Change not only can affect us individually, but also affect those who we are closest with (family, friends, etc.). Four years ago, I had to make a transition from being a minor league ATC to the organization’s Rehab Coordinator. It was a decision that did not come without thorough consideration, as I knew this would become more than just professional change, but also a lifestyle change. Requiring a permanent relocation to Phoenix, AZ, changing my practice approach and philosophies to gear towards the Rehabilitation realm, as well as, giving up my aforementioned off-season opportunities. Needless to say, four years later I don’t regret my decision, in the least bit.

By taking on this new role, it’s opened many doors to areas of exposure that aren’t always available as a minor league ATC. Establishing new relationships and developing communication lines within the organization, physicians, physical therapists, coordinators and athletic trainers from other organizations….just to name a few. It’s also allowed me to be part of the Winter Meetings and gain exposure to our profession and witness firsthand the dialogue and decisions that have brought our group to the forefront of the profession.

With regards to the current off-season, I find myself in another transitional phase. Again, I could not be more grateful for every opportunity that has come my way, despite the challenges that each bring. My new role as the Minor League Medical Coordinator will no doubt present its share of challenges. Many of you who are reading this, are well aware. However, with each new role that we face, comes the opportunity to gain invaluable experience and make a positive impact in many ways.

I have spent this off-season continuing to oversee our rehab players and transitioning our new Rehab Coordinator into that role. As well as, gradually taking on my new Medical Coordinator responsibilities. This again will require a substantial change to my daily “routine,” as I switch gears to more of an administrative/supervisor position and take a step back, from being in a largely hands on/rehab program development role, the past four years. I will now be relied on 24/7 throughout the year, to address any questions, issues or decisions that arise.

I’m only months into my new role and it has already exposed me to issues and situations, I haven’t been faced with before. New avenues and communication lines have been opened into our organization and profession. Undoubtedly, I know this is going to be a process and a learning curve will be involved. I have received nothing but positive support and will continue to work tirelessly (as we all do), to better our respective organizations and profession.