Welcome to the Inside Athletic Training series with the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society
As part of this series, both Major and Minor League Baseball athletic trainers, and PBATS alumni, will be sharing both personal and professional information about themselves, in order to help younger athletic trainers understand the life of a professional baseball athletic trainer, the variety of roads traveled within this profession, recommendations across a wide variety of topics, as well as some information about how these pros worked their way into professional baseball.
For this week’s Q&A, we sat down with Seattle Mariners Minor League athletic trainer Stephanie McLain.
What is a typical in-season day like for you as an athletic trainer in baseball?
Since we play at night I get the chance to have the morning to myself before going into work in the afternoon. From there it’s go go go, anything from pregame treatments to get the team ready to field prep for the game. Then it’s game time, personally one of my favorite times is the game. After the game is post game treatments to prepare for the next game.
What is your favorite aspect of athletic training in general?
Creating protocols for rehabilitation and player progressions. I get to be creative and add my own spin to the goals and outline the mariners set forward.
What is your best advice for young athletic trainers looking to get into baseball?
Get involved, diverse your resume to bring forward your own specialties. Be ready to go anywhere, just because you don’t start in double A or triple A doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable to the team, being willing to go anywhere will go along way.
How did you get your start as an athletic trainer in baseball?
I started updating my resume while I was working the college ball circuit because I was wanting to move to the next step and I just started applying anywhere and everywhere, anything to get my foot in the door. I was able to get the opportunity to be a season in the Dominican Republic with the Baltimore Orioles and I took my past experience plus the season in the DR and applied to other teams during the off-season and was able to get an interview with the Mariners and shared my passion for this job and was lucky enough to be offered my current position.
How important is learning at different levels of baseball (intern, A, AA, AAA) to becoming a successful athletic trainer at the highest level?
So important, everyone learns different things because no ATC program is alike, so being able to collaborate and learn from others around me has given me new skills and provided me the opportunity to share what I learned as well. I think that no one ATC knows everything and there’s always room to grow and learn so being able to go through the levels just makes you more prepared for the most elite of MLB.
What is your favorite moment as a baseball athletic trainer?
Building those interpersonal relations with my coworkers and athletes and being the person the athletes come to when they need something, that tells me that they trust me and my process and want to work with me. To me that is such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
What are your main hobbies outside of work?
I enjoy hiking, watching movies, and exploring new shops and restaurants.
What is a book (or two) that you’d recommend to upcoming athletic trainers and students?
Leaders eat last, I read it in grad school and it highlighted some best practices of what it takes to be a leader in your profession.
A huge thanks to Stephanie for contributing this information to the series. And please check back next week for another edition of the Inside Athletic Training series. If you’re interested in more content related to athletic training, please check out the Inside Athletic Training podcast on Apple Podcasts here.