Dr. Mercedes Himmons believes the Diversity and Inclusion committees of her state organization are doing a really good job. She has worked hard to set the example and is now leading in the PATS organization
Dr. Himmons, if I walked down the hall of your parents’ house what would the pictures tell me about you?
I am sassy, always wore dresses and I am family-oriented.
What levels of education do your family members have?
I am a first-generation college graduate.
You have been traveling the world and Cairo on a camel at sunset was one of your highlights. Tell me more.
Paris and Rome
Turks and Caicos
What is your favorite thing about athletic training and sports medicine?
What is our working definition of diversity?
Having multiple people regardless of background all in the same place.
Make sure all of those people are heard and seen and their perspective is taken into account.
How about inclusion?
The word belonging is a good fit instead of inclusion.
What would you like to see from the local, district, and national levels within the profession?
PATS is doing a good job of trying to close the gap.
Racism is a public health issue
Be good humans to each other
The majority of our patient population as ATs is nonwhite but the majority of the ATs are white, so there is some disconnect.
Show that you are willing to learn and understand.
You are the NATA president. What would your platform be on diversity and inclusion for the profession? What about for NATA as an association?
First I would like to take the temperature of the room.
Everyone matters and should have a voice.
Keep the patient at the center of our focus.
Listening to understand and not just to reply.
What is some advice you would give companies looking to diversify? What about MSAT programs?
It would depend on the demographic
Retention is very important, what are you doing to keep the diversity?
Anything you would like to say to listeners that want to be an ally. What would you like to see or hear?
People need to know that they are going to step in and do the right thing to help eradicate the negative behavior.
A fun song from the musical Hamilton, “What Comes Next” is the line we are focused on for the start of the 2021 leadership in AT podcast series.
Thanks Patrick Ohaver for putting it all together.
What comes next??
You have wanted to move up to a leadership position in the company, the school, or even a professional organization.
Just as a young America made the leap into independence, now you are given the opportunity to lead.
That is the question on this episode..
Do you know how hard it is to lead?
Patrick– As Former supervisor for a hospital Outreach based program I was given the task of leading approximately 25 athletic trainers. Some of these athletic trainers were my peers and that in itself is a difficult part to lead your own peers.I really resonated with this song in Hamilton as I knew it would be difficult to lead however I did not realize the full extent until I was in that situation. It is difficult to lead and not just your peers but to lead a cohesive group of athletic trainers.
I was fortunate enough to have mentors that were in leadership positions and I observe them through my career taking mental notes on what I would do in certain situations how I would overreact how I would respond however I learned so much during my tenure as the supervisor of Athletic Training Services and dealt with a lot of specific leadership challenges.
Patrick — Another point in King George's song what comes next really struck me was when your people say they hate you don't come crawling back to me. Now as a recovering people pleaser, I strive to make everyone feel Equitable and try to look for the win-win. However, during my time I discovered win-win just doesn't work out sometimes. When you have to lead a large group you are not going to please everyone now. I would not say that my employees “hated me “ however some decisions that were made did not meet with high favor.
I can recall a time when we sent out an employee satisfaction survey. It was a sort of 360-degree look at our leadership team.
Through the eyes of the employees and I was expecting an overall positive response however, the amount of negative response was shocking and really caused a point of reflection and revaluation of my leadership style and our leadership team’s style.
I was fortunate enough to work with two other athletic trainers in the leadership team. We assisted each other and each had our own strengths and weaknesses in the leadership team. However, that employee survey was a watershed moment for me and my leadership style.
Have you had an employee survey or an evaluation done on you that was not what you expected and did it change your outlook?
George Washington states – “Winning was easy, leading is harder”-
This point in the musical also echoes a similar thought that getting to the top may be easy however leading is harder.
Leading your peers is very difficult. We can look back at a recent Facebook post in the Secondary School group where an employee was ranting to her “friend” who was in an administrative position about the organization. I am not sure what was said or how it was said however the other party deemed it necessary to inform her superiors and her subordinate was reprimanded.
There's a good book called “From buds to boss” by Guy Harris and Kevin Eikenberry. It's a good book and help me get some perspective in my early supervisory times.
Being the boss isn't all Fame and Glory. Some people want that prestige and that title however, if you're not prepared, then it may be more of a detriment than an aid.
Call to action:
Were you ever on your own? I recently heard from a long-time listener Caleb who was out in China as an AT and he was on his own for a while. Share your story with us.
Deaf Athletes speak a different language, they are not disabled. They maybe Hard of Hearing but not any less capable. We have to learn how to provide healthcare for them the same as the hearing athletes.
Jennifer Warren learned signed language as a kid to communicate with one of her teammates and has continued learning and using the skills through her career.
Josh Woodall and John Ciecko have first hand experience working with deaf and hard-of-hearing athletes and share some ways we can provide more equitable care.
Jennifer, what is the best tip you have for working with hard of hearing or deaf athletes?
I would suggest that the hearing community speak naturally to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Many can read lips, but when we accentuate our words, it distorts our mouths, which can make it more difficult to read lips.
Second tip, most people who are deaf and hard of hearing appreciate any sign language you may know. Spelling out words or signing slowly is welcomed and appreciated.
John: Communicate eye to eye, never tell the interpreter “tell them this…”, people of various abilities should never be excluded from sports.
Only 30% of the English language can be read on lips, and that’s with perfect lighting and a couple of strong cups of coffee. Helmets, low hats, or any kind of obstruction to see someone's face and mouth hinders this ability to catch what’s being said on the lips. This is why it’s so important for Athletic trainers to learn the basics of ASL.
Josh, give us an example of how you have used this or other tips from Jennifer?
The first week in Bryan ISD I had an athlete with a broken radius/ulna so had to learn real quick how to communicate with an interpreter.
Jennifer, what should we know about working with deaf and hard of hearing athletes?
Not all disabilities are cognitive disabilities. In fact, the deaf community does not see hearing loss as a disability. The deaf and hard of hearing community prefer to be seen as a community that uses a different mode of communication, rather than a group with a disability.
American Sign Language is considered a foreign language, which is simply a different mode of communication. The need to use sign language is comparable to the need to use Spanish when a student’s primary language is Spanish. This means that deaf or hard of hearing students are very capable or able to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities.
Also, the words ‘deaf or hard of hearing’ can seem like a harsh way to describe a people group, but it is actually what is accepted and preferred by the deaf community.
And, Deaf and hard of hearing students may not hear the starter’s gun or whistles blowing. Adjustments may need to be made to allow for access to the audible elements of the sport.
Discuss some of the hearing devices and how we can protect those for participation.
Most students self-care for their devices by the time they make it to the secondary sports level. But, AT’s (Athletic Trainer/Assistive Technology) may find it helpful to know how to support these athletes:
FM systems – wireless assistive hearing devices that enhance the use of hearing aids. The coach or AT may wear a mic that is bluetoothed to the student’s hearing aid or cochlear implant. This allows the student to hear direct voice from the coach or AT.
Hearing aids -small device that fits on or in the hear to amplify sound
Cochlear implants – small device that consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin. The device has several parts that help reproduce the effects of sound.
It may be helpful for the AT to offer a secure place to store the devices.
John: actual sound or noise that comes through the auditory devices can vary from what you and I hear as hearing individuals, which is why it’s not always enough for effective communication especially in a loud setting such as an athletic field – to keep in mind for ATs
What is something about this population that is probably misunderstood?
Language (foreign language)
Disability vs Mode of Communication-little to no modifications to be able to participate in sports
John: Actual athletic ability is affected or that someone who is deaf or hard of hearing “don’t understand”
Section 504 and the ADA require that “reasonable accommodations” must be provided for an individual who can establish that he has a “disability” and that he is “otherwise qualified” to participate in the sport or activity in question. An accommodation can be an interpreter, lights or whatever is dictated by the student’s 504 plan.
Talking slower or louder does not help! However, facing the athlete and speaking directly to them does.
Deaf individuals also rely on facial expressions (the picture of me proposing to Jenny with my eyebrows raised indicates a question!)
What are some “PC” or non-PC things to say or talk about regarding our hearing-impaired athletes?
Auditory Impairment or Hearing Impaired is now replaced with Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Watching people have a conversation in sign language is the same as eavesdropping a verbal conversation.
Josh-example of working with interpreters (interpreters translate what is being said exactly the way it is said).
Signs we want you to know
Help Thanks Yes No Pain Water Name
Podcasts or Youtube channels you like for learning more?
Lifeprint.com for learning sign and about deaf culture and history
Signingonline.com – For full lessons (fully online) based on a two-year curriculum. Used by high schools, colleges, and universities for their 2-year world language credits. Also used to obtain CEs (WHICH I'M PUSHING THE BOC TO ADOPT)
John and Jeremy have no connections 4 years ago. Just social media friends.
We have grown to be trusted friends. I would let John stay at my house for a week if he was in Houston.
I have begun texting a group of guys each week so that I am being intentional about building relationships. I schedule that text early in the week so that I know it is going out.
“Look for beauty wherever you are, and keep the memory of it with you.”
For John, this page of Only One You reminds me to keep the memory of the good moments or wins or championships for when times are tough (tough teams, injuries, coaches, etc.)
This line speaks to me to not take pictures of everything, but be in the moment and take a picture in my head. create the moment instead of focusing on the perfect shot
“Blend in when you need to. Stand out when you have the chance.”
John: Leadership Capital – Know when to speak up but know when you sit back and listen. For me, those that stand out have egos. This never helps with relationship building.
“Let others speak your praise” – Kevin Parker
“Find your own way. You don’t have to follow the crowd.”
Jeremy: When I started in 2012 there was maybe one other sports medicine podcast focused on Athletic Trainers. I did not sit back and wait for someone else to start one. From October 2013 through October 2019 there have been over 524,00 downloads of the Sports Medicine Broadcast.
Blaze a path as an athletic trainer. Get unique certifications, specialize and set yourself apart.
“Personal development as professional development.” – Kent Games
“Know when to speak; know when to listen.”
This goes back to “blending in” Speaking is important but only after you have all the information. Listening is the most important aspect of leadership.
Mark Knoblauch told me: “The ATs who get angry and get into arguments are the ones who are usually inexperienced and have a need to prove themselves.”
Or there is the Fight Club quote: “Most people do not really listen they only wait for their turn to speak.”
“No matter how you look at it, there is so much to discover.”
Both John and Jeremy agree “One of the things I’ve learned doing this podcast is that; there is always more to learn. Every time I think I've figured things out, I realize there’s something else I need to know.
“If you make a wrong turn, circle back.”
John likes this quote from Only One You. He knows mistakes happen in our daily and professional life. Leat's learn from them and “circle back.”
Repeat podcast guest Brandy Currie says reflection is key and she does it daily.
Then there was the time my son dropped a googly eye into his ear…our circling back was to buy an otoscope.
“If something gets in your way, move around it.”
Jeremy: Usually when I am given a rule my first thought is how can I get around this… not always the best way of thinking, but I tend to look for other options.
John: Realize things change, schedules change, obstacles will occur but relax, detach, adapt and overcome.
This is another opportunity to reflect and circle back on how things can change and listen to all of the details before speaking.
“Set aside some quiet time to relax and reflect every day.”
John: This is one of the most important things to me in that every day I get time to myself. Most of the time I have to make it whether that’s getting up at 4am to work out or scheduling time on my calendar to actually sit and read. We also covered this with “Learn to Say No” and Prioritize and Execute.
John LOVES to read, so sometimes he wakes up early, goes to the gym and rides the bike so he can sit and read
“Appreciate art. It’s all around you!”
Have fun during games, enjoy the small things and enjoy when your athletes achieve their goals.
“Make wishes on the stars in the nighttime sky.”
John: Have a vision, set goals create your value.
Jeremy: Take time to look up and see the stars. The small things that are always there. Do not look past what is in front of you.
My wife does this with our youngest…just sits back and watches.
I often ask my family to not say I can not wait until “_______” is over. there is way too much to miss.
Closing out Only One You
“‘Thanks for listening,” mama said.
“We hope you will remember.” Papa winked and whispered, “We know this is a lot for you to think about.”
Adri did a backward somersault and smile. He was excited to go out into the world with what he had just learned. “‘Wait for me!” he shouted to his friends.
Before he swam away, he turned back to his parents and said, “I will remember.”
Mama kissed Adri on the top of his head. “There is only one you in this great big world,” she said. “Make it a better place.”
I do not know a whole lot about Cramping Science, but luckily Mike McKenney and Dr. Kevin Miller are here to share tons of knowledge.
Who is Kevin Miller?
Dr. Kevin Miller is a Full Professor in the Athletic Training Program at Central Michigan University. His research interests include the causes, treatments, and prevention of exertional heat illness with a specific emphasis on exercise-associated muscle cramping.
He has published over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts in medical journals and presented over 90 international, national, or regional presentations on topics related to heat illness.
He has co-authored several national and international position statements including the NATA Position Statement on Exertional Heat Illness; the Statement of the Third International Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia Consensus Development Conference; and the NATA round table on Malignant Hyperthermia in Physically-Active Populations.
Dr. Miller is a member of the Korey Stringer Institute’s Medical and Science Advisory Board; a member of the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Athletic Training; Exercise Physiology; Sport and Exercise Nutrition; and Athletic Training and Sports Health Care.
He is Chair of the Michigan Athletic Trainers Society Research Assistance Committee; NATA liaison to the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association; and member of the NATA’s International Committee.
Did you get lost in all of those titles?
Like I said, I do not know a whole lot of TRUTH about cramping. So I am here to keep it simple and not too nerdy.
What to do when you are cramping:
The fastest way to “fix” a cramp is static stretching. If we prevent the muscle from shortening then we are preventing it from cramping.
Anything ingested is going to take about 10 minutes to provide relief…
Except small volumes of pickle juice seem to make them relax after about 90 seconds. So stretch and give pickle juice right away.
When a cramp starts, will it go away?
For about an hour after a cramp the threshold for cramping is decreased even if the muscle is no longer cramping, it is still standing on the edge.
Recommendations for preventing a cramp?
ask good questions
know that each patient and cramp is unique
look for trends
have them keep a cramp journal
start early in the day with fluid and sodium replacements
drink through out the day when thirsty
Want to see the rest of our cramping science podcasts?
Brian Zeller has taken over for Mark Gibson on the NATA International Committee. There are lots of great things happening in Athletic Training around the world. Check out our conversation to help understand how the NATA is advocating for the AT from all different angles.
We are broadcasting live from the 2018 NATA expo in New Orleans.
We used Facebook live, YouTube Live and Instagram Live to stream as many of the NATA 2018 Expo Interviews as possible.