Why Professional Gaming Teams Need An Athletic Trainer
by, 10-28-2012 at 05:10 PM (6490 Views)
Now that I have your attention, hey, my name is Sean 'vGEroSennin' Gough and I'm a Certified Athletic Trainer. Now your first question may be, "Okay, I saw the video, and that's great you work with athletes and stuff, but why would a professional gaming team need an athletic trainer?" Well Bob that's a horrible question never ask it again. Kidding.
Let me paint you a scenario. You're a large team that has good talent, and there's a big tournament coming up. Maybe it's MLG, maybe it's IPL, Dreamhack, or maybe you have your team out in Korea. While it's great to win team leagues and tournaments online, what gets the most amount of eyes on you are usually how well you do at high-profile offline events, such as, again, the MLGs of the world.
Let's say you fly a couple people from Europe, and 2-4 Koreans out to MLG to compete. Now let's say right before the tournament beings, or maybe after the first game played, they turn to you and say, "My wrist is really killing me, I can't play the rest of the tournament." Well, that's airfare, hotel, food, competition passes, all down the drain. If you had an Athletic Trainer there to evaluate and treat, it's possible to try a few different things to get them back to competition level to play, so the reddit post is, "[Insert name here] fights through injury with the help of an athletic trainer to finish top 4 at MLG!" And not, "[Insert name here] drops out after two games at MLG due to injury."
Your casters work really hard, and sometimes casting for as long as they do, they get muscles spasms in their back, they'll have neck pain, or some other issues that make them uncomfortable and not able to do their job as best they can. A Certified Athletic Trainer can work on them to get them as good as new again, or as best to new as possible so that they can do the job you're paying them to do.
The players that are there work very hard as well, both professional and those trying to make a name coming through your open bracket. It would be advisable to have someone on staff that can treat these aches and pains, as well as handle the more serious things that come up, like a seizure, heart attack, be able to perform CPR, and things of that nature. I'm sure tournaments are required to have some sort of medical staff near by (I don't know this for sure but I assume), but a Certified Athletic Trainer can perform many duties that a tournament may want. What happens if one of your players on a championship Sunday hurts himself and is thinking about dropping out of the tournament? Now, many players would play through it regardless but it would be nice if you could send them to an ATC as we're called and we can work on them a little bit and see if we can get them back to playing again.
"Okay, that's all well and good," one may say, "but I can't see why you would need one all the time. It just seems they'd be needed for tournaments and not much else." Allow me to retort. As an athletic trainer, our main goal is to prevent and treat orthopedic injuries, but we're also trained to deal with pathological conditions such as cancer, appendicitis, Crohn's disease, hemmorhoids, upper respiratory infection, diabetes, whether they have a bacterial infection or a viral one. We're also trained in nutrition and in planning workouts. We're not nutritionists or certified strength and conditioning specialists, but if someone were to come up to me and say, "I'm working out doing x y and z, is there anything else I can be doing to strength this, or to lose weight?" I'd be able to help them.
"Wow, neat-o, but again, that doesn't answer the question. Why do teams need you outside of tournament play." My answer to that is because teams need their players at their absolute best, both mentally, physically, and emotionally, before they go into tournament play.
Let's paint another scenario. Let's take a look at a player who's in a team house who is slowly losing motivation to practice. They've been having this feeling for awhile, their appetite isn't what it use to be, and they've been having trouble sleeping lately. Combine that with some poor showings recently in tournaments, and the fact that their hand has been going numb a bit and their wrist has been starting to give them trouble, they're really don't feel like playing much.
You could shell out a bunch of money to have him go to multiple doctors, then go out and spend even more money for rehab, and all that lost time where he or she won't be able to play their game (which is what they're getting paid to do), and you can see where this can get quite annoying, for both the player and management.
With an Athletic Trainer present they can look and see that the player, who goes to the gym regularly, hasn't been seeing gains in his weights like he has previously. Not abnormal, but he's also struggling much more to complete his program. It's also taking him longer to recovery from his workouts than usual. He may have Overtraining Syndrome.
How bad can Overtraining Syndrome be? It can affect physiological and psychological functions such as: HR, BP, muscular tension, muscle irritability, pain threshold, brain rhythms, breathing pattern, sleep pattern, body temp, concentration and alertness, digestion, endocrine secretion, immune response, fine motor control, reaction time, posture, pupil size, general irritability, mood, tissue repair and growth, secretion of endogenous opiates.
Just look at some of these, brain rhythms, fine motor control and reaction time. Think you might need those to be optimal during a tournament? How about concentration and alertness?
Starting to get it yet? Instead of waiting until after your athlete gets injured, a health care professional - ala Certified Athletic Trainer - can recognize the symptoms and treat the athlete, so instead of missing, let's say... 2-3 months, they're back to practicing lightly by the second or third week. We also deal with rehabilitation, so again, instead of having to drive somewhere and go through rehab, they'd be able to do it with me at the house.
As for the numb hand and painful wrist, I know many people probably read that and said, "Oh, well that's carpal tunnel." And yes, carpal tunnel could be secondary to overtraining that this athlete has, or it could be due to the fact that they due a lot of upper body workouts and they have poor posture and they have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Wrist pain could be from a variety of things that are related to both of these or none at all. The fact of the matter is that these things can be prevented or their recovery time can be sped up quickly if you have the correct person watching over them.
Thank you for reading, feedback would be appreciated!