Give Your All: For The Student-Athletes – EKU Sports Medicine

The function of an athletic coach is multi-faceted. One might consider an athletic coach aiding an injured student-athlete on the court docket throughout a basketball sport, however the function extends far deeper than simply assessing accidents.

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This is the fourth in a sequence of options displaying the impression your philanthropic presents have on EKU student-athletes! Eastern Kentucky University’s Giving Day 2021 will happen on Wednesday, April 14. This 24-hour on-line problem is designed to extend giving participation among the many total EKU group. Also referred to as #GiveBigE, the occasion’s aim is to obtain help from 1,000 donors in 24 hours. Please think about a present to the Colonel Club or sports activities program of your selection on EKU Giving Day.

On a fall Friday evening within the early Nineties, a younger Jeff Carrico and his Eastern Kentucky University athletic coaching classmates had been driving down the Western Kentucky Parkway headed to assist legendary athletic coach Dr. Bobby Barton in his care of the Colonels’ soccer group in a street sport at Murray State.


It was no completely different than every other fall Friday evening throughout Carrico’s undergraduate days.


“It’s great to learn on the computer and pass your tests,” Carrico mentioned. “But until you get that real hands-on experience, you’re sort of at a loss. That’s what I got to do. Building those relationships is so important with the student-athletes. A lot of it is just building the relationship and letting that student-athlete or that coach know that you care about them. It’s a huge thing with us because you have to be able to talk to them in good times and in bad times. If you can get that done, you’re going to go a long way.”


Carrico has spent his total profession constructing relationships and caring for student-athletes. They’re traits he realized from Barton, a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and a two-time NATA president. Things have come full circle for Carrico who, on July 12, 2019, was chosen to steer the division as EKU’s Assistant Athletics Director for Sports Medicine.


“I remember I was a high school student and had done some athletic training in high school,” Carrico mentioned. “I keep in mind coming down and simply desirous to see the campus at some point. And Doc B organized for one of many senior student-athletic trainers to take my mother and pop and I on a campus tour. I used to be hook, line and sinker that I used to be going right here. I used to be bought on the primary day that I met Doc B simply due to who he’s and the way he builds relationships.


“I know I’m making him proud coming back here,” he continued. “From a personal standpoint, that really drives me to be successful because I want to make him proud. He’s been like a second father to me throughout my athletic training career.”


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The function of an athletic coach is multi-faceted. One might consider an athletic coach aiding an injured student-athlete on the court docket throughout a basketball sport, however the function extends far deeper than simply assessing accidents.


“If you use the analogy of a wheel, we’re like the middle part of that wheel and we are able to branch out to the different spokes of nutrition, sports performance, mental health, orthopedic injuries, all of those things,” Carrico mentioned. “We are that centerpiece of the whole healthcare of the student-athlete.”


Within the Eastern Kentucky athletic coaching room, Carrico has created a tradition that embodies Barton’s rules. He and his employees are targeted on being a useful resource for the student-athletes they serve in all elements of their lives.


“The athletic trainer is around every day,” Carrico mentioned. “We are a listening ear. We are invested in them and show we care about them. We care about them not only as the athlete, but as a student-athlete and a person. That goes such a long way with the majority of people.”


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The COVID-19 pandemic maybe altered the athletic coaching space greater than every other. Carrico and his employees took a lead function each in athletics and on campus in response to the pandemic and ensuring student-athletes had been staying secure.


As the pandemic shut down faculty athletics in mid-March of 2020, student-athletes went again to their houses at areas all throughout the nation. The EKU athletic coaching employees needed to adapt to a digital surroundings and serving to the student-athletes they serve in unconventional methods.


“We did a lot of virtual things,” Carrico mentioned. “We did digital rehabs with our student-athletes. We had been sending out questionnaires on a month-to-month foundation throughout these occasions. We had been checking in, particularly with the student-athletes who had been coming off of surgical rehabs. We had been writing up applications and checked on them, not solely bodily however mentally.


“We had to become creative. Not everybody had their own home gym to do things. We were writing up plans and saying ‘You tell us – what’s at your house? Do you have dumbbells? Do you have a driveway that you can walk up and down the hill to work your hamstrings and your quads? Do you have somebody in your family you can play catch with?’ We had to get to know what each individual person’s situation was for them and us to be successful in continuing to get them healthy so when they did arrive back on campus, they hadn’t missed too many steps.”


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Returning EKU’s student-athletes again to campus this summer time throughout the midst of the pandemic and dealing to create a plan for return to competitors was an unprecedented problem. Carrico, who served on EKU’s COVID-19 Task Force, and his employees needed to implement well being protocols, symptom screenings and a COVID-19 testing program.


“It took a lot of planning,” he mentioned. “There was a lot of discussion with doctors and our colleagues at other schools. A lot of organization with our testing companies that we worked with – and we worked with three different testing companies. Working with our student health services. We were planning for the unknown because we didn’t know what was going to happen. We didn’t have any blueprint from the last time this happened because it’s never happened before.”


For a career that already consists of a number of hours and a myriad of various duties, the COVID-19 pandemic added quite a lot of change and one other set of duties to the plate of the EKU athletic coaching employees.


“It’s added a lot more work to us,” Carrico mentioned. “Even just the simple thing of daily temperature checks and symptom screening. It took a lot of buy-in because people may not have realized the importance of why we were doing that. We had somebody stationed at the front door. We didn’t want people walking through the building before they had their temperature checked and their symptoms scored and making sure they had their masks on. Being adaptable was huge and that’s how we were able to be successful. Athletic trainers are one of the most adaptable, flexible groups you’ll ever come across.”


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It’s been greater than 30 years since Carrico first set foot on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. And whereas a lot has modified, the guiding rules have remained the identical.


“Our big mission is providing the best healthcare possible,” he mentioned. “When I say healthcare, that’s not only physically, but that’s also mentally and emotionally.”


Not solely is Carrico answerable for the care of every of EKU’s student-athlete, however he additionally serves as a mentor to his youthful employees and college students within the University’s athletic coaching grasp’s diploma program.


“I want to be a very good educator and role model and mentor for our young student athletic training students and our young athletic training staff,” he mentioned. “That was one of many causes I took this job. We work lengthy hours. Our pay in all probability is not what it ought to be, however you need to be in it for different causes.


“You have to be in it because you’re a caring person. You have to be in it because you want to do good – because you’re interested in the growth and development of student-athletes. I’m very passionate about that and I get fired up about it.”


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Eastern Kentucky University’s Giving Day 2021 will happen on Wednesday, April 14. The 24-hour on-line problem is designed to extend giving participation among the many total EKU group.


Supporting Eastern Kentucky Athletics means offering alternatives for student-athletes to compete within the sport they love and earn their bachelor’s diploma – one thing they won’t have in any other case had the chance to do. It means serving to them pursue their desires in life.


“The world of medicine is constantly changing,” Carrico mentioned. “We, as certified athletic trainers have to have continuing education hours every year. The big reason hopefully people will want to donate to us is that we are continuing to further educate ourselves in the field of medicine for the betterment of the student-athlete.”


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