Q&A: Oregon athletic trainer Stephen Creamer
Stephen Creamer is a graduate student at the University of Oregon who is in his first year with a program in the human physiology department. The program is designed to provide a curriculum for future athletic trainers, providing him with experience in the field as well as time in the classroom. He is currently working with the club sports on campus.
Do you work with just club sports or all sports here at Oregon?
Two of us are club sports and teaching, so half of our time is with clubs and the other half is in the classroom. I am the GTF anatomy lab instructor, so I work in the human cadaver lab. I help out with lectures as well. All the other people in the program are just athletics, so they don’t have teaching responsibilities. Every year it changes, so next year I will have a different position.
Are there specific club sports you work with?
We are responsible for splitting up our clinic days, which is when we see patients. There are some kids who I see every day, and there are others who I rarely see. Then we also cover all the home, high-risk sports.
During the events what are your duties?
We are there for pregame treatments, which would happen based on how well I know the team and athletes. Then there is in-game management of any injuries. So if someone gets hurt on the field we will go out and do a quick evaluation, figure out if we feel it’s reasonable for them to return or maybe remove them from competition. We make those final decisions. It can range from really insignificant to significant, based on the situation.
What are the common injuries you have to deal with?
Depends on the sport. We will typically see knees and ankles; those are the most common injuries. But yeah, it really depends. Concussions are always there, so head injury evaluations in rugby, lacrosse and soccer are important, especially now when it is in the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Sounds like the variety of things you do keeps it interesting.
That is one of the cool things about the profession in general. I worked at a high school for two years before I came here, so that is one of the things I did. You get into the flow of the seasons, but each one is different. It’s always changing; there are always different injuries to deal with. I think it forces you to stay on your toes and be constantly questioning what you are doing.
Are there ever battles with athletes, where you are trying to keep them out of the game and they just want to keep playing?
It really does help when you have some sort of history with the athlete. The more they know you the more they tend to respect your opinion. Sometimes you just have to be the ultimatum and say ‘Look, you aren’t going back in.’ It can be helpful to show them why they can’t go back in. Make them try to do a couple of things and they quickly realize they can’t. Sometimes they need to see it for themselves.
What are your future plans?
It’s tough because you never know in two years what opportunities will be available. There are always residencies and programs that are cyclical, so you know they are always available. In my case I have a lot of experience having worked in the profession for five years, so I will start to look for various positions at the college level.
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur
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