A Day in the Life of a Certified Athletic Trainer… Professional Athletics Corporate Setting © 2009 National Athletic Trainers’ Association
I am an Athletic Trainer Working asDirector of Medical Operations • NAME:Thomas Probst • CREDENTIALS:ATC, PT • TITLE:Director of Medical Operations • EMPLOYER:Colorado Rockies Baseball Club • LOCATION:Denver, Colorado
Colorado Rockies Baseball Club:An Overview • The Colorado Rockies Baseball Club is an expansion Major League Baseball team. • The Colorado Rockies Baseball Club started in 1992 with two minor league clubs. • The first Major League season in franchise history was 1993.
Colorado Rockies Baseball Club: Products/Services SPECIALIZE IN: • Development of Major League Baseball team and organization • With the goal of becoming World Series Champions
Colorado Rockies: Staff • # OF EMPLOYEES650 • Employees are from a variety of backgrounds including: ticketing, marketing and sales, promotions, finance, legal, human resources, baseball operations (includes scouting, player development, front office personnel, managers, coaches and athletic trainers) and stadium operations. • # OF CERTIFIED ATHLETIC TRAINERS10 including myself Chris Dovey Heath Townsend Tom Probst Keith Dugger- Head Athletic Trainer Scott Gehret- Asst. Athletic Trainer Andy Stovey Scott Murayama Austin O’Shea Chris Stickland
Colorado Rockies Baseball Club:Patient Population THE PEOPLE I TREAT ARE: • Professional athletes for Major and Minor League Baseball • Age range: 18-42 • Common Ailments • Tendonitis of shoulder, elbow • Contusions • Concussions • Sprains • Strains • Fractures • Overuse injuries
A Day in the Life of a Director of Medical Operations A TYPICAL SCHEDULE FOR MY JOB IS: • 40 hours a week • 5 days a week • 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. unless traveling to minor league cities • When traveling the hours increase • I sometimes work weekends
A Day in the Life of a Director of Medical Operations MY ATHLETIC TRAINING EXPERIENCE LEVEL IS EXPERIENCED: • BS Degree in physical education/teaching with a minor in athletic training from Mankato State University (now Minnesota State) in Mankato, MN • Later, I received my BS degree in physical therapy from Florida International University in Miami, FL
My Career Path… • Upon graduation from Mankato State University, I moved directly into minor league baseball from 1981-1985. • Began work with the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club in the summer of 1992 in the first minor league team fielded by the Rockies-short Season A ball team in Bend, OR. • I started work with the Colorado Rockies in 1993 as an assistant athletic trainer. • From then on I moved up the ranks.
Moving Up The Ranks • Assistant Athletic Trainer from 1993-1998 at the Major League level • Head Athletic Trainer 1999-2004 at the Major League level • Director of Medical Operations January 2005- present in the front office of baseball operations
Director of Medical Operations SALARY • SALARY RANGE:$80,000- $100,000 • MY EMPLOYEE BENEFITS • Pension • 401(k) plan • Employer pays dental and health insurance • 4 weeks vacation (Acquired through 15 years with the club) • 6 personal/sick days
My daily duties include: Management of the worker’s compensation program Budget development Management for the major and minor league medical program Injury discussions for major and minor league Management of the physician coverage Management of physician relations for major and minor league Daily Duties: Due to the nature of my job, daily duties are different and never the same. Job duties depend on the time of year.
Duties Continued: • Player medical chart review for new draft choice begins in March or April and continues through the June Draft period. • I then must arrange physicals for the top draft choices to come to Denver. • Manage issues that arise during physicals of the remaining draft choices in the other minor league cities. • Gather past medical condition information of players drafted and that the Rockies have interest in signing. The bulk of information is from the MLB data base and the internet.
Duties Continued: • Anything dealing with medical issues is forwarded to my desk. It is amazing the number of issues that will come up in a given week, let alone over the course of a year. • I spend ample time responding to individuals involved in sales and promotion of medical or sport-related products and services. I conduct meetings with vendors to establish an interest in new products which may be introduced to our organization. “People are always trying to sell us something or promote the latest and greatest thing on the market, and they always come across my desk.”
Daily Duties Continued: • Other meetings involve issues of cost reduction. • These meetings are held locally or in various minor league cities. • I strike deals with a host of companies and providers for medical services.
Other Duties As Assigned • I travel to our team’s Spring Training site meeting with our physicians and other groups or offices providing service to our organization. • Assist with Spring Training physicals. • Meet with the team physicians to discuss our medical program and the improvements that can be made. We discuss medical issues of players within our organizations, injury trends and resolution strategies. • I will meet with local physicians and medical service providers in the Spring Training site area to build our medical program. • Medical Program includes specialty staff providers such as physicians, hospital staff, clinical staff, etc. • NETWORKING IS KEY! I take the physicians to lunch to discuss further improvements in coverage keeping in mind this is a two way street. • SHOWING APPRECIATION IS KEY. A simple thank you for the physicians or facilities goes a long way.
Other Duties As Assigned Continued • I travel to our minor league cities and meet with our athletic trainers and physicians providing medical care for our minor league players. • When I travel I am for building cohesiveness between the medical staff in the major and minor leagues. • Meeting with staff builds this cohesiveness and provides an opportunity relationship building. This process has been a tremendous help in the continued development of our medical program. • I get to travel to New York City and other parts of the country to attend meetings with Major League Baseball regarding the league-wide Worker’s Compensation program and sit on committees for this program. • Other meetings consist of meetings with Dr. Elliot Pellman, medical director for MLB as well as MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
Essential Skill Sets • Complete knowledge of athletic trainingresponsibilities - inclusive of evaluation and treatment of athletic injuries and illnesses • Organizational skills – managing time and people in the appropriate manner • Internal drive / self motivation - to succeed (regardless of the position in which you are placed) • Willingness to learn - being able to ask the correct questions and /or implement the proper course of action • Ability to think outside the traditional box - Willingness to move out of comfort zone
Other Skills: • Business classes would be beneficial • Nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit • A solid understanding of the game of baseball (IMPORTANT) • Knowledge of workers’ compensation insurance • Administrative and organizational skills- a lot of travel records to keep organized
Other Useful Credentialing/Knowledge: Degree in Business Administration Can help you while transitioning from your position on the field to you new position in the front office.
Major Issue Facing Me: Trust • A major issues facing me is TRUST. Developing the trust of the individuals within my department on the baseball operations side as well as maintaining the trust of our athletic trainers and physicians is key. • Athletic trainers possess a vast knowledge related to the injuries within our sports. When attempting to manage a worker's compensation program, we need not sign players who will potentially become a worker’s compensation liability.
Quality of Life/ Cost of Living Issues: • As head athletic trainer, my quality of life was sub par. The long hours and regular travel put a strain on me and my family. It takes a special person like my wife to deal with it and make the best of a situation. • With my new position, my quality of life has greatly improved. I have more time to spend with my family and do more of the things I want to do. “ BOTTOM LINE IS NOW I HAVE TIME TO BE A GOOD HUSBAND AND FATHER.”
Key Resources to Learn More! • COMMON WEBSITES I VISIT : • No specific web site. I will search the internet daily for the answers I need. • ASSOCIATIONS/ORGANIZATIONS I AM INVOLVED WITH • Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers’ Society • CONFERENCES AND SYMPOSIUMS RELATING TO MY JOB • Worker’s compensation symposiums (local & national) • PBATS Conferences during MLB Winter Meetings • PBATS January Baseball Seminar • NATA National Symposia • District 7 NATA Meeting • NATA Colorado State Meeting
Key Resources to Learn More! • BOOKS I HAVE FOUND HELPFUL : • Athletic Training and Sports Medicine by Robert C. Schenck, Jr, MD • Shoulder Injuries in the Athlete by Richard J. Hawkins, MD and Gary W. Misamore • The Shoulder and the Overhead Athlete by Sumant G. Krishnan, MD, Richard J. Hawkins, MD and Russell F. Warren, MD • OTHER REFERENCES I USE INCLUDE: • AMA CPT Coding Software reference database • Wide use of the internet for research
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Still need more information about Athletic Trainers in the Corporate Setting? • Contact the NATA National Office Staff:Kathryn Ayres, PR and Marketing Coordinator KathrynA@nata.org | 800-879-6282 ext. 112 • Write to Tom Probst: ProbstT@coloradorockies.com
Looking for a JOB? Want to hire an athletic trainer? www.nata.org/careercenter Visit the NATA Career Center today and find resources to help you find a job or hire an athletic trainer. www.nata.org (800)TRY-NATA © 2008 National Athletic Trainers’ Association