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Dan Newman (Athletic Trainer): His Favorite Calls From Athletes Are About Nothing

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In recognition of April as National Youth Sports Safety Month, MomsTeam asked 30 experts in 2012 to write a blog answering two questions: first, how or why did they get into their field, and second, how have they made a difference in the life of a youth athlete in the past year.

Today, we hear again from Dan Newman, head athletic trainer at Union High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

By Dan Newman, MS, ATC, LAT

How did I get into my field?

Why did I get into athletic training? It's a pretty simple: I loved sports and liked medicine.   It wasn't the play on the field that intrigued me; it was what was happening on the sidelines and in the dugout. During my 16-plus years in the profession, I have worked in a variety of settings including collegiate, professional, high school and clinical, each one shaping my career as an athletic trainer.

I have learned that being an athletic trainer is more than evaluating injuries and taping ankles; I have learned that athletic training has allowed me to make a lasting impact on the athletes and patients that I treat.  I have worked with thousands of athletes, but the athletes who come back after graduation to say hi, or give me a call asking for advice, is what really makes my job worthwhile.  I pride myself on my communication skills, whether it's with coaches, administrators, parents, or, especially, athletes. No matter what the injury, communication is paramount.  Dan Newman, ATC

How have I made a difference in an athlete's life?

This year, our team physician and I treated an athlete with post-concussion syndrome.  What made this case special was that we ended up treating and educating, not only the athlete, but his family as well. Throughout the entire process I let the athlete know that I was here for him for anything, and all he had to do was call.  And he did call. I was glad, since he went through a lot of emotional changes over the course of his recovery, and talked to me about a lot of things he had not shared with his family or anyone else.  We talked about the importance of talking things out during the recovery process with the right people.  Thankfully, the athlete recovered and is on his way back to a normal high school life. 

What stands out the most about this case is that I get a call or text from him at least once a week, not about injuries, but about nothing, which is the best call to get. This is why I am an athletic trainer.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my career as an athletic trainer, it has provided me with many opportunities and I have been a part of many GREAT teams. I never hesitate to talk to a student about my profession and how they can be a part of it.

Dan Newman is beginning his 12th year as the Head Athletic Trainer with the Union Redskins. He oversees a staff of fifteen student athletic training aides and is currently an ACI with the University of Tulsa Athletic Training Education Program.  Dan graduated from the University of Tulsa with a Bachelors of Science in Athletic Training and received his Masters of Kinesiology (with an emphasis in Sports Injury Management) from the University of Nevada - Las Vegas.  His 16-year professional career has included stints at the NCAA Division I and small college level, as well as in clinical, high school and professional sports settings.  Before joining the staff at Union, Dan oversaw the Sports Medicine Department at Friends University.   Dan has served on the medical staff for the Oklahoma Special Olympic Games, and is currently the President of the Oklahoma Athletic Trainers' Association.  He can be reached by email at newman.dan@unionps.org.