2018 NATA Recap
By Dave Norris July 24, 2018
This is our second year attending NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association) and find it to be among the best events we go to. It certainly helped that this year’s conference was in the Big Easy; we had a great time after hours eating jambalaya and listening to local tunes! A long day’s work should always end with great food and live music, agreed?
With over 10,000 attendees from all disciplines across sports medicine, this event has lots of thought leadership from the attendees and break out groups. If you are involved in sports in general, this is certainly a great show to attend. This year, we were impressed with the variety of speakers and topics. There were traditional sessions such as diagnosing an ACL injury yet also there were loads of discussions about problems you can’t touch.
Mental health of our athletes. Negative emotional stimuli. Sleep recommendations for competitive athletes. New developments in pediatric concussions. These topic areas are interesting to us, as well as shows our industry — as a whole — is thinking outside the box and taking a whole-athlete approach to safety and recovery after an injury.
One session was around allowing kids to play football, and I can’t say it enough: The game is the safest its ever been yet we need to keep working to create better protection. Taking this whole body approach is important, ensuring the players are doing everything on and off the field to play their best game. Balancing this responsibility with parents, coaches, trainers, and players is what ensures we can keep moving forward.
In spite of the great energy around a holistic approach we still see a lack of conversations around equipment that focuses on gaps in protective gear: Mostly, it’s focused on helmets and pads. Yes, these are important pieces of gear. But slowing down the head after impact is important, too. We continue to connect the training and gear together with creative solutions, such as our collar.
We listened to conversations around innovative approaches to concussion management, such as with NCAA swim programs and the academic effects of concussions in high school and college athletes, and proud of the work that’s being done to advance our understanding of how to treat concussions. These conversations reinforced our belief in how to also prevent them from happening, and how we have more work to do to get more teams adopting our collar.
If we had a chance to talk at NATA, thanks for the time! If you’d like to continue our conversation or learn more, sign up for our weekly webinar. And let us know what you thought of NATA this year, too!