Seeking your Doctorate Degree? Which one should you choose: DAT, Ph.D., or Ed.D.?
Dr. Matthew Drescher earned his DAT and is enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Indiana State University. Dr. Nikki Harris earned her DAT and is enrolled in a Ph.D. program. Scott Mullet just enrolled in a Ed.D program.
Join the conversation to see why they chose their doctorate degree. After listening to the podcast reach out to them and ask your specific questions.
We recently recorded a podcast on the DAT where Mat discussed the ins and outs of that program.
Is the DAT the right choice for your advanced degree? Should you pursue your Ph.D. or maybe an Ed.D.?
Dr. Matthew Drescher, a PhD candidate, already earned his DAT from ISU and joins me to answer some of my questions. In the next two podcast we will discuss the Ph.D. and Ed.D. and compare them.
What is the DAT
The DAT is a post professional degree program. It's a clinical doctorate stands for Doctorate of Athletic Training.
Most of the programs that are currently across the country are focused on clinical education, advanced clinical education and clinical leadership, but I kind of looked at in a different light so I tend to look at it as a metaphysical idea
It's a mindset to meet the gap is a commitment to the profession to be the leader and push forward.
Promote advanced practice leadership
Promote us as a profession as healthcare providers
Helping lead the profession forward
We understand that's a hard thing to do, but we can do hard things and the DAT is a commitment to that mindset to continue doing what's right for the profession and moving it forward.
– Dr. Matthew Drescher
What would I expect out of my DAT education?
The beauty of the post professional degree, is that it can be marketed to the market. So, all of the programs, hit on the same central tenets, but they all do them in a different way.
When you're thinking about going into this level of education, it's really about aligning that with your values.
Part what I learned in the ISU DAT was really how to be a clinical leader, what it looks like to be that person, the person who does hard things, the person who asks the hard questions.
Promoting yourself as a lifelong learner, that's something that I value immensely. Some other programs focus on different aspects.
At ISU we focus a lot on manual therapy and advanced manual therapy skills, some programs focus on more of the leadership aspect. Or they focus on what we call practice-based research, but each program has a little bit of a nuance.
What you would expect from a DAT program is that mindset of thinking differently.
The DAT should help make changes at the system level. How do you think that that helps me get Athletic Trainers into the intermediate setting?
I think you make a really good point. I guess you could call it the clout, having that title of Dr. Jackson would bring.
But part of that mindset of the DAT is that it's not really about the degree to the outside world.
It's, an easier concept to understand that you're a doctor versus You're not a doctor but when you're with,
The concept is not necessarily the clout, but it's the skill and the knowledge to be able to make the changes to know the steps to how those changes have to be made. You can't just run in and say, put an athletic trainer here, please. It's knowing how to line up all of the blocks to work with you and that's what I mean more about a systems level change.
Because at that level, the systems are dynamic, and they're complex, so being able to know how to speak that language to align the blocks to prove that value and worth. That's something, those are skills that the DAT degree can give you.
On top of the confidence and credibility that the degree itself carries, I would argue that your experience carries a lot, but you are also going to have to explain what that means to someone who's not familiar with athletic training, whereas the degree on top of your experience and then on top of that, those skills are going to help you carry that effort.
I look at it more of like a medium to carry the skill versus a be all end all.
Check out the podcast or video for more questions and answers about the ISU DAT program.
Dr. Julia Hines has connected her passions and works with Auto Racing Medicine because her dad took her to races growing up. She joins us to discuss her story of becoming and AT and PT as well as how she is helping make racing safer.
Julia, What is your favorite race event and why?
Going to Monaco would be a bucket list item
What is your experience in driving racecars?
I have done some courses
Dr. Hines’s husband is a racer
I get in the racing go-karts now and then.
How did you get into Athletic Training and Physical Therapy?
Dad is an amateur racer and started going to the track at 3 or 4 years old.
He got a concussion in her senior year of high school.
They basically did not treat him at all
He drove the pacecar the next day
He had symptoms for about a year including BBPV
I grew up close to Limerock park and love all those events
Went for PT school but ended up doing the combined AT PT program.
I got injured a lot as a dancer growing up
There are ATs with racing, but they are few and far between.
Showed up at races and talked to everyone I could
My doctoral thesis was on returning the motorsports PT.
Talk about the evolution of concussions in Auto Racing Medicine.
This is not a team sport. If the drivers are not driving, they are not earning their money and they are potentially out of the industry.
The big teams, NASCAR, INDY, F1 they have traveling medical teams
The “arrive and drive” guys do not have any sort of consistent medical care.
Julia is currently working with more of the endurance events where they are driving for 24 hours.
NASCAR has been focusing on improving the health of the pit crews and a lot of ATs
Back in the 90s they would grab the guy from the local oil shop to be part of your pit crew.
Do you have experience treating Pit Crews with random injuries?
They have medical personnel in the pit..and everywhere.
If there was an emergency we would work as a team, allowing the emergency medical crew to lead and then being the primary on the follow-up or continuation of care.
Talk about the marathon races…how do you prepare them?
Anytime a driver exits the car after 2 hours…something is going to be sore. Low back, foot, hand.
Rule out red flags.
What can I do in this instant to help them get back in the car in a few hours?
As a PT I avoid passive therapies
As a MotorsportsPT we utilize a lot of the passive therapies because they are not really done with their event.
If it is the night time you are trying to allow them to get treatment and get rest.
Letting them know you have a plan in case treatment one does not work
Do you ever have to “talk” them back into the car?
I had a driver with a torn ACL who was concerned about driver changes. We had to work through the process of what causes pain and what does not.
But never really had to convince anyone to get back onto the track
What is the least understood aspect of a motorsports athlete?
These are extremely high performing athletes.
Heart rate, respiratory rate and effort have been shown to be very high during the duration of the event.
Going back to the concussion in motorsports…it was hard to recreate the situation.
Tons of visual stimulus
What is the RTP for motorsports?
Every racing environment is different
Use multiple monitors to simulate the environment
Get as close as you can without putting them at danger
What lessons stand out the most that you took into motorsports?
Reaching out to your network – Sarah Brown at BU had multiple brainstorming sessions with Julia
Professor worked with her to create higher value questions and prepare answers.
If you do not try then you always wonder “what if”
For 4 years I showed up at racetracks and talked to people…4 years I worked on building the network.
What is an adaptation you have used for race teams? (creative ways you used theraband to for support, brace you had molded…)
Things are too bulky usually for them.
So almost everything has to be minimalist.
The ACL patient had a brace that he could not wear so they had to try several options to make it work for him. Ace wrap ended up too bulky, so they went to KT tape for the proprioceptive feedback.
What types of injuries do you see in auto racing medicine?
Mostly chronic issues
The driver was getting in the car and was struggling with forearm stiffness. They came to the pits for treatment and she was almost on the interview with him.
A neuroma in his foot from driving for 20 years.
The first AT in racing was a rodeo AT back in the 70s or 80s
Most of the rescue crews are fireman and EMTs
ATs can and do belong in those positions with proper training.
Call to action: Network but do not give your services away for free
Rick Cox has used the Sports Medicine Broadcast on his path to leadership. Through John's Leadership series Rick has been able to strengthen and improve as a leader in Athletic Training and at home.
An interesting fact: Rick was wearing his Sports Medicine Broadcast shirt when he dislocated his elbow rock climbing.
“The world is always full of the sound of waves. The little fishes, abandoning themselves to the waves, dance and sing and play, but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows the depth?”
Why did you choose that line from Musashi?
Well it illustrates a person's path to their given occupation or specialty. (Musashi)
We may see the outside but do we ever really know the true path that person took to get where they are now and more importantly, where they are going in the future?
Who is Rick?
Year 3 at Suffolk Head AT
was satisfied for a while as an assistant
Realized that just being part of the staff was not going to be good enough, but he knew he needed to learn.
I am constantly questioning “what could I be doing better”
What started Rick on his path to leadership?
Had no experience
Did a lot of reflection and questioning himself
Makes small changes
How did he do it?
A lot of reading, but not focusing on a single person
Military tends to lend itself to leadership
“Football (soccer) is life sped up”
Life / Athletics and war are not the same thing but lessons can be learned
You realize people have gone through some tough situations and you are not alone.
What have been some of the leadership lessons you have realized?
There are examples everywhere
The election is an example
What are some of the universal truths you have learned?
Not placing blame
“Take the blame and give out credit” – Rick Cox
In my path to leadership, building relationships has been one of my strengths and it has grown our influence with our athletes and coaches.
Honesty with harshness
When have you had to relearn the lessons?
Year on we had a baseball player in the clinic and our Ortho wanted the athlete to go to the ER.
We were busy and did not communicate with each other and the coach.
The following day the baseball coach was pretty upset.
Rick’s first instinct was to place blame, but before he spoke he remembered the lessons…”You are right, we messed this up”
Have you seen improved relationships on your Path To Leadership?
Not to the point of being “buds” but there have been improvements
John busted his butt to build relationships, made progress but then for some reason it reset once the season was over
It is like building a garden. You have to replant each year
What have been other benefits to your Path to Leadership?
I am still struggling with this at home and have not been able to transition this to home
At Dublin City University they normally run an injury and rehab clinic for athletes and students. The AT students participate in the clinic as part of their rotations as well as sports team affiliation.
Bolton University in England looks similar to the program run by Aoife Burke in Ireland. They have a clinic for students and athletes and sports rotations. They use the term Sport Rehabilitation instead of Athletic Trainer.
Valerie Pelleck feels the majority of her programs students were done with their practical portions and have been able to transition to online easy enough. In Canada they go by Athletic Therapist instead of Athletic Trainer.
Luzita Vela at UVA us the clinical coordinator for what most Americans know as a 2-year master's degree.
What are the benefits to transitioning to online learning?
Adam Naylor thinks we have to re-assess efficiency.
the switch has likely helped students focus on their knowledge and understanding as well as the utilization of literature.
We can be more directive in the online learning process
In Ireland, Aoife Burke feels it has increased the availability of health care as their system is not as robust or developed.
Some of the other issued discussed:
How are students being encouraged and enabled to be hands-on?
What have been the chief concerns expressed by your students?
Discuss options are your programs considering to make up for lost contact-hours?
What is your national organization doing to accommodate for certification exams given the anticipated delay in graduation?
How is your institution managing to assess practical competencies if face to face opportunities are no longer available?
We have been testing the units and now Brandon Hearn – Product Guru for Compex – joins the Sports Medicine Broadcast to discuss Compex live. We have lots of questions and he has lots of answers.
“The Compex is not Complex” – Brandon Hearn
Do you have a Compex Unit?
We plan to have another discussion down the road but what tips, tricks, or uses have you found for helping athletes (yourself included) to recover and heal using NMES units like Compex?
What questions do you need answers to?
Want a sweet deal?
During our Compex live podcast, Brandon extends a pretty sweet deal towards the end of the show for podcast listeners. You can get one of the upper-level units for a base unit price.
Buying through an approved vendor?
MioTech has great prices and great customer service.
Current prices for the units discussed:
Fix Massage Gun – $165
Theragun G3Pro – $599
Marc Pro – $655
Compex Edge 2.0 – $140
Best use ideas to get started?
If you are brand new to (or taken an extended break from) exercise then START SLOW…
John, Sofia, myself and Coach Caballero all went way too heavy to start.
We were struggling to walk, tie shoes or do most things normally. SO BE WARNED!!!
Using squats as an example:
Hook the pads up as shown on the Compex website for the area you are trying to target.
Turn the device on
Select the muscle group
leave the radiator image on
The top 2 uses for the devices:
Clearing of lactic acid in 7 minutes or less on the blood flow or warmup setting.
Increase muscle recruitment to improve training sessions.
Another great use for the device is pre and post-surgery. hooking the device up quad and hamstring simultaneously. This way they are all firing at the same time without movement. Decreasing muscle atrophy and improving long term outcomes.
Compex pads are expensive…
DON'T buy cheap ones on amazon. Brandon says the pads are more expensive to provide a better product and provide more safety. The cheap pads can actually cause burns to the skin if the adhesive is missing.
I bought some and we are going to test it out on ourselves…not on patients.
Two other safety features we learned about during the Compex Live session:
Biphasic current means the electricity goes into and out of the body through the pads.
You can not charge the device while operating it.
John, Sofia, Coach Caballero and I really tested these things out.
See the demo on Facebook
These people LOVE ATs and help the SMB pay the bills: