Life Transitions as an Athletic Trainer

Life Transitions as an Athletic Trainer

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By Travis Tims | Oakland Athletics

Throughout the past nine years I have served as an affiliate Athletic Trainer with the Oakland Athletics. I have served as the team ATC (Certified Athletic Trainer) in Vancouver, BC; Burlington, VT; Burlington, IA; and Stockton, CA. I have been very fortune to have met my wife while in Stockton and been able to call Ceres, CA my home base for the last 3 years. This offseason, the week before our wedding, I was told that the A’s would like to promote me to the role of Minor League Rehabilitation Coordinator.

I was very pleased and honored that the organization felt that I was the right person for the job. This change in title also means a change in lifestyle. As the Athletic Trainer in Stockton I would work from the beginning of spring training in March, until our season was over in the middle of September. This also gave me 5 months off from work to spend at home.

With the new role, we will be relocating to Mesa, AZ, so I can work year round at our Spring Training complex. This means my wife and I have to find someone to rent our house in California, find a place to move to in Mesa, and the biggest change of all is that she has to leave her job and find something new.

She has agreed to make a massive lifestyle change, so that I can pursue my professional dreams. It has really driven home the point that I have an incredible woman by my side. We have had to deal lots of time apart in the past and have found ways to make it work, but to have her turn her life upside down for me truly is an amazing thing.

There is also the major professional change I will have to make for my new role. Working as an Athletic Trainer for a city, I’ve had the opportunity to have “my group” of 25 players to get to know and work with on a daily basis to keep them healthy and try to avoid injury. When the inevitable injuries happened, I viewed it as a challenge to safely get them back pain free and playing as quickly as possible.

In my new role, I will no longer be working with a specific team, but instead taking on the players with long-term (more than 4 weeks typically) injuries from the entire organization. Some of these players will be having surgery and will have a 10-15 month rehab process ahead of them. This will constitute a major change in philosophy for me.

I will have to map out rehabs over a very long time and be sure to bring the players along slowly to give them the best chance of long term health. My day will no longer be filled with the highs and lows of being in season with travel, practice, games and other daily happenings.

The rehab process is one that will require a steady, consistent energy and mentality on my part. Guiding the players through the most difficult time of their professional career will require that I am a “rock” for them. I am extremely excited for my new role and to grow as a professional, but most of all I am excited for the new life that I will be starting with my wife.