March is National Athletic Training Month

Dr. Alma Mattocks, Program Director for Master of Science in Athletic Training, discusses the importance of awareness of injuries in athletics, the value of athletic trainers in the healthcare field, and what Spalding’s MSAT program is doing for National Athletic Training Month.



Can you tell us about the recent injuries that are taking over social media in the athletic training world?

Dr. Alma Mattocks: Recently in social media, we have seen a lot of people talk about   the importance and the value of athletic trainers, and it’s been a really good thing for our profession. If you follow football, people have seen the Damar Hamlin case and what that really did for our profession is to show that as athletic trainers, we are valued parts of the healthcare profession and we can help prevent injuries. We also are trained to treat and take care of these sometimes catastrophic injuries.

In Damar Hamlin’s case, do you know specifically how athletic trainers were involved in that specific incident? Why are athletic trainers important?

Dr. Alma Mattocks: Denny Kellington, the assistant athletic trainer, was the person who really initiated it. He got on the field and he saw that there was an emergency. So athletic trainers, in many cases, we’re the first people usually to be there on the field when an injury occurs, and we are the one who kind of has to say, “Hey, is this something that the person is gonna be okay and we can treat here?” Or, “Hey, is this something that we need to call 9- 1-1 and initiate our emergency action plan?”

Recently, Chelsea Football Club, English Premier League soccer team, had 11 world class athletes out. How would an athletic trainer work in that system or help with that problem that the club is facing?

Dr. Alma Mattocks: If you are working in a situation such as the Chelsea Football Club where you have 11 world-class starters out with an injury, that could be very difficult and challenging for an athletic trainer or any healthcare professional. You have to kind of evaluate, is there something going on? Are these injuries something that we could prevent? And in some cases they may be, sometimes it could be changes in training or sometimes that they are doing something different with their workouts that could be creating those injuries. But sometimes it also could be something that is a fluke injury or just the nature of the sport. Because when you’re at that high level there’s just that high intensity of this sport.

With the Chelsea Football case, do you think fatigue could play a factor in their injuries? The players were in the World Cup, came back, and were injured– can you explain that?

Dr. Alma Mattocks: In sports like the NBA, NFL or especially Major League Baseball, because it is a very long season fatigue is a huge factor in injury risk. And so you can see that, the longer someone is active and doing activities without recovery, the more at risk they may be for injury. And so we’re starting to see that actually because of that, a lot of people are focusing on that recovery portion, to help them, to be able to get into activities fresh so that they are less fatigued and less likely to create injury. When we think about our body, if we are fatigued, we’re not gonna be able to have as great of control over our muscles and where we’re at in space and when we’re doing these high level things.

What are the trends in the athletic training field?

Dr. Alma Mattocks: Some of the current trends that we’re seeing in athletic training right now such as dry needling, cupping therapy, those are some big things, but a really big one is active recovery and focusing on the recovery portion and how do we get our athletes to recover or our patients to recover after, you know, their activities. So you’re seeing a lot of things like Normatec, where it’s kind of like a compression device, and people will use these different technologies and things that they can use to help them recover and to get better. So, as athletic trainers and as healthcare professionals, we have to constantly be aware of the different things that are out there. I think in the world in general, definitely in healthcare, there’s a lot of growth and change, and we have to constantly just be educating ourselves and be willing to learn every day about new things and the new trends that are coming up.

March is National Training Month! Why is it timely to be aware of the athletic training industry now?

Dr. Alma Mattocks: March is National Athletic Training Association Month, and it is a great time to be an athletic trainer! We are at a point right now where there are more athletic training jobs than there are athletic trainers. We’re  starting to see salaries go up. We’re starting to see people focus more on work-life balance and making sure that people are happy where they’re working and happy with what they’re doing. I think recent cases have really shown people that athletic trainers are such an integral part of, not just sports teams traditionally, we work with sports and athletics, but we also have athletic trainers who work in physician practices.

We have athletic trainers working with, performing arts, you know, ballet and Cirque du Soleil. We have athletic trainers who work in the industrial setting. And so I think that highlighting National Athletic Training is very important for our profession because people are starting to realize what athletic trainers are and what we do. They see all these different things on social media about Denny Kellington saving Damar Hamlin’s life. And they say, “You know what? I wanna do that. I wanna be an athletic trainer for the NFL. I wanna be an athletic trainer for Major League Baseball.” And by having a month where we can really recognize athletic trainers, it gives us an opportunity to share what we are and what we do with the general population.

National Athletic Training Month Panel
National Athletic Training Month Panel Speakers

Date: March 28, 2023
Topic: Athletic Trainer Panel with Matt Summers, Jimmy Mattocks, and Tara Condon
Time: 11:30 am- 1:00 pm
Location: Columbia Gym Auditorium (824 S. 4th Street)

In honor of National Athletic Month, Spalding’s Master of Science in Athletic Training program is hosting an Athletic Trainer Panel for those interested in learning more about becoming an athletic trainer in professional sports and to gain insight into recent trends in the athletic training field.


Contact Dr. Alma Mattocks ([email protected]) or Lauren Schneidtmiller ([email protected]) for any questions.