Athletic Trainers Storm Buffalo: NYS Athletic Trainers’ Association Proud as Host State for the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Annual Conference

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The New York State Athletic Trainers' Association (NYSATA) boasts the honor of being the host-state for the 2013 Eastern Athletic Trainers Association (EATA) Conference, held in Buffalo this past weekend, which included the Blue Cross-Blue Shield (BCBS) of WNY/ EATA Head Injury Seminar. Nearly 1,000 attendees at the four-day event listened to presentations on the latest information and cutting-edge research related to health, wellness, and medical topics in athletics and the physically active population – and in the process helped raise money to support victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC and a panel of five other leading concussion experts educated the 300+ crowd on the prevention and management of sport-related concussions.

The BCBS of WNY Head Injury Seminar provided an opportunity for the EATA to promote concussion awareness and the role of certified ATs as healthcare providers.

For the first time in fifteen years, the EATA Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposium was held in western New York. Running from January 4th through January 7th, 2013, the conference took place at the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center and Buffalo Hyatt Regency Hotel. “Buffalo was very accommodating to the EATA. The facilities were excellent for our needs and the staff was very cooperative,” states John Davis, ATC, EATA President and Conference organizer. He continues, “Though Buffalo sits on the periphery of the EATA region, the conference attracted nearly 500 certified athletic trainers (ATs) and over 250 athletic training students, as well as other healthcare providers.” There was also a strong collaboration with the Canadian Athletic Therapists’ Association (CATA) this year, with CATA providing at least four of the conference speakers.

Presentations, given by ATs and other medical experts, ranged from emerging topics in emergency care, such as the latest on head and spine injuries and the prevention and management of acute cardiac conditions, to evaluation and rehabilitation of various musculoskeletal injuries, to nutritional and psychological aspects of sports injury. The expertise shared on each of these leading topics provided quality continuing education for the ATs in attendance.

In addition to the regular conference activities, the BCBS of WNY/ EATA Head Injury Seminar was held on Friday, January 4th for ATs and members of the local community. The four-hour event was attended by over 300 people, with nearly half being ATs and the remainder comprised of coaches, administrators, parents, athletes, school nurses, physicians, Physical Therapists, and other healthcare professionals. The Seminar featured six leading concussion experts, including Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC and was provided at no cost thanks to additional sponsorship from NYSATA, ImPACT, Dent Neurologic Institute, Balance Engineering, UB Sports Medicine, First Niagara, and Excelsior Orthopaedics.

Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz (UNC-Chapel Hill) is a world-renown expert in and recipient of numerous honors and awards related to his sport-related concussion research, and is currently measuring the location, intensity, frequency, and volume of blows to the head, specifically in football players, with comparison to the incidence of concussions. The other presenters, all local to western New York, included Karl Kozlowski, PhD, ATC, from Canisius College, John Leddy, MD, from the University at Buffalo Sports Medicine, Jason Matuszak, MD, from the Excelsior Center for Sports Concussions, Jennifer McVige, MD, MA, from the Dent Neurologic Institute, and James Swenson, MD, from the University of Rochester.

Seminar presentations provided the latest on sport-related concussions, including the importance of immediate removal from activity and a comprehensive process for return to academic and athletic participation, stressing the importance of communication among all involved parties – student-athletes, parents, coaches, administrators, teachers, school nurses, physicians, and ATs. The imperative role that education can play in the reporting and proper management of concussions was also emphasized, including holding coaches responsible for teaching proper tackling techniques and officials accountable for enforcing rules to protect athletes, as well as encouraging student-athletes to honestly report symptoms. Relative to this event, Davis comments, “The Head Injury Seminar garnered several local media spots and allowed the EATA to promote concussion awareness and the role of certified ATs as healthcare providers.” NYSATA president Deanna Errico and presenter Dr. Jason Matuszak were interviewed on “The Healthy Zone” (WGRZ Channel 2, Buffalo) on Friday to help promote the seminar.

In addition to the educational activities over the weekend, NYSATA joined forces with Collins Sports Medicine to raise money for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Raffle ticket sales at the Collins-sponsored reception raised nearly $2,000, which will be split evenly with the Athletic Training Society of New Jersey (ATSNJ) for donation to the Sandy-related charity of choice. The raffle was made possible by generous donations from various western NY colleges and universities, NY professional teams, and NYSATA members.

NYSATA, founded in 1976, stands to advance, encourage and improve the profession of athletic training by developing the common interests of its membership for the purpose of enhancing the quality of healthcare for the physically active in NYS. Comprised of over 1,200 certified and practicing ATs, NYSATA is the state-wide affiliate of the EATA and District Two of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).

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Deanna Errico, PT, DPT, ATC, President
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