March 5, 2009
Hello again Tiger Fans! I got some more great emails and have answered the best below. Make sure to keep sending in all your questions and I will answer them as soon as possible.
Jon, What do you find most rewarding about being an athletic trainer at Auburn? War Eagle!
Jess, Chattanooga, TN
Hi Jess and War Eagle! That is a great question. I am very passionate about athletic training and our profession. Although we rarely get recognition or attention, we are a major part of any athletic team. For me, the most rewarding part of my job is interacting with some of the best athletes in the country and helping them become the best athlete they can be. When we have athletes go down with an injury that is when I work my best. Once we decide on a protocol, we do all the treatment, rehab and set goals for that student-athlete to come back stronger than before. It is very rewarding to help an athlete return to game activity. Thanks for the question!
About a week ago my 10th grade son strained/pulled (with minor tearing )a quad muscle running to 1st base after a hit. The local rehab has been doing therapy consisting of stretching, bike and ice. He had 5 days off and restarted today and slightly pulled it again. What suggestions do you have going forward. They are supposed to start the season on Friday.
Bill, Tifton, GA
Bill, no two muscle strains are alike. To start, it sounds like the therapy your son is receiving is right on target. At the early onset of an injury to the quad, ice and stretching is critical to repair. I would also suggest some form of compression to reduce swelling and keep the muscle tight. Active walking or biking is a good way to increase blood flow and painlessly keep your son active. Make sure it does not hurt while doing any of this activity. Research shows that swelling leaves an area quicker with compression and pain-free muscle activity. Your son will also want to elevate his leg above his heart whenever he is not active. This will prevent gravity from doing its job and keep swelling out of his leg. Now 5 days of rest and rehab may not be enough for a minor quad tear. I would not let your son start any increased activity until he is completely pain-free, has full range of motion and full strength back in his quad. He will also need to do some rehab and strengthening of his quad. Exercises such as straight leg raises, wall squats, leg press, and knee extension are great examples of ways to strengthen the quad. Start with little or no weight and progress according to his symptoms. Just resting an injury is not enough. You must also strengthen the muscle to return to full activity and prevent future strains. Most muscle strains can take 2 - 4 weeks before they are fully healed.
Jon, thanks for taking my question. Does the NCAA require catchers on the collegiate level baseball team to use only NOCSAE approved face masks? If so, where can I find the two piece mask/skull cap or hard-hat combo which has the NOCSAE seal on it? I am aware that many of the collegiate catchers do not use the hockey style mask. My son, freshman catcher at AHS, would rather not wear the more popular hockey style mask, but the umpires are saying his two piece equipment lacks the NOCSAE seal of approval and therefore not permitted. Thanks again.
Rick, Auburn, AL
Rick, this may have been the best question we have gotten yet! I had to do a little research for this one. NOCSAE approved helmets and masks are only approved if they include a form of covering or protection over the ears. The skull cap that you are talking about is not and will never be NOCSAE approved for this reason. We contacted both NOCSAE and Louisville Slugger for this information. As far as the NCAA and game approval, there is an understood and inherited assumption of risk for all athletics. Thus, a NOCSAE approved helmet is not required. It is highly recommended, but not required. This was actually a highly debated topic with the new rule requiring base coaches to wear helmets in the field during games. These skull caps are the same as the catchers and do not have any NOCSAE approval. So, unfortunately, your son is stuck wearing the full mask while in high school. There are several different variations for comfort that I have found online, so you may want to research different masks and maybe find one that your son prefers. Thanks for the great question.
Do you think we have a shot of winning the SEC West this year in baseball?
Dillon, Jacksonville, AL
Dillon, I certainly do think we have a shot at winning the SEC West. We are in one of the most competitive college baseball conferences in the country and I think any team can win it any given year. We certainly have the talent and coaching staff to compete in the west. It may just come down to how healthy I can keep this team.