An NFL Athletic Trainer’s Life During the Off-Season

It’s been 184 days or 6 months since the very first NFL pre-season game when the Chargers hosted the Seahawks on August 11, 2011.  Every week for the past 6 months we’ve had football every weekend ending with one of the most exciting Super Bowl games every played last weekend.

“….Are you ready to miss some football?”

You have to admit it: Coming off a very volatile off-season with “the lockout”, the NFL season proved to be exciting and considered to be a huge success on many levels.  Unfortunately, my Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t have the kind of season we hoped for.  Wait ’til you see us next year….

“What do you do for the next 6 months?”

It’s a common question NFL athletic trainers are asked after the conclusion of every NFL season.  The off-season is a busy time of the year with lots of professional projects on our To Do List.  The end of the season medical issues and the planning for the upcoming season makes for plenty to do during the winter and spring seasons around the country.  As we say in the NFL:  “We have two seasons in the NFL:  One with games and one without.”

Off-Season Projects for an NFL Athletic Training Staff

1.  Finalize end of the season documentation, reports, special tests & medical files.

2.  Complete the rehab of all injured players from the season and end of season surgeries.

3.  Prepare for the NFL Combine for screening potential new NFL players.

4.  Prepare for NFL Free Agency.

5.  Inventory and projected upgrades of medical supplies and equipment to improve all levels of medical care for your organizations.

6.  Medical screening and grading of all new players with team physicians.

7.  Attend multiple sports medicine seminars to maintain state and national medical licenses.

8.  Prepare for and cover all team Mini Camps, team practices, workouts and team functions to help prevent and treat all injuries.

9.  Educate medical staffs, players, football staffs, community youth athletes and anyone who will listen in an effort to help reduce injures and to enhance the health of others.

10.  TBD

Time to Recover

As an NFL athletic trainer and physical therapist, I’ve made a career of taking care of other people’s medical problems.  I love that about my profession and it’s very rewarding to me personally.  This time of the year is also a time for my staff and me to recover from working 7 days per week for over 6 months straight.  My 2 great assistant, Rod Scott & Justin Bland, and I have each had a grand total of two (2) days off since mid-July.

Needless to say, the off-season is an important time for all athletic trainers, team football staffs and players in the NFL to reunite with our devoted wives and children.  Our families deserve this break in the schedule for the loyal sacrifice they’ve made to us and our profession.

A Time of Change in Jacksonville

There is so much excitement in Jacksonville with the many changes within the Jaguars’ organization.  A new owner, a new head coach, about 15 new assistant coaches, a new attitude within the organization and a passionate community that deserves a winning football team at EverBank Field.

I’m thrilled to continue to be a member of the Jaguars’ family as I start my 25th season in the NFL.  I can tell you this:  It won’t take long to prove that these new changes will be making the Jags’ 2012 season something special!