New athletic trainer digs right in

One year into a partnership with Bon Secours and Norfolk Collegiate’s athletic program is seeing benefits daily from having an athletic trainer in house and at competitions, as well as a doctor on hand to provide weekly consultations with student-athletes and their families. The new school year also came with a new face as former athletic trainer Kelley Farewell relocated to Maryland, and Justin Seligman joined the Collegiate family. Seligman is Collegiate’s newest athletic trainer and while only having been here for two months, he has quickly gotten into the swing of the demands of the school’s athletic program.

Before joining Collegiate, Seligman worked as the head athletic trainer at Salem High School and more recently at Smithfield High School, where he provided athletic training services for its athletic teams, as well as pre-season conditioning sessions. He earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Cedarville University in Ohio and received a master’s degree in athletic training from Old Dominion University. Seligman has also obtained additional training as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and as a personal trainer. 

The Oak Connection sat down with Seligman to talk athletics, student-athletics and what the program means to Collegiate. 

Before joining Collegiate, you worked as an athletic trainer for Salem High School and Smithfield High School. Was that your first experience working in a school setting?
I was a clinical trainer at Salem for two years, meaning I shadowed their athletic trainer since I was still getting my masters at Old Dominion University and it’s part of the program. It was nice to have someone else there to work with. It also made it an easy transition from working with someone at Salem to being the athletic trainer at Smithfield, where I was for a year.  

What were some of the things that you learned from the other schools that helped prepare you for coming to Collegiate? 
I always identified with the kids pretty well, but learning how to talk to students or parents about their injuries was the biggest thing that I learned. At some of the other schools, the parents were not as involved, but here, the parents are involved. It’s really nice. 

Last year, we were equipped with some state-of-the-art equipment thanks to the Annual Fund. Are there any things you hope to implement while here?
This is definitely the most stocked facility that I have worked at and it’s great. It would be great if we could have a cold whirlpool, but we do have a Game Ready Cold Therapy Compression System that is great, too. (Editor’s note: A cold whirlpool is used to treat injuries by submerging the injured area in a whirlpool with cold water. The Game Ready system uses wraps designed for different parts of the body to compress the injured area while also circulating cold water simultaneously to treat injuries and reduce swelling.) I really enjoy the education aspect. I would love to get some student aids. This would be Norfolk Collegiate students who are interested in athletic training. They would shadow me a couple times a week and learn some of the basics, such as taping and stretching. 

What is your goal while here at Collegiate?
I really enjoy the educational aspect of athletic training and would really love doing something with the anatomy class in the future. 

What is the toughest part of being an athletic trainer at a school?
Learning to organize my time with the triage of injuries that come in. It’s great though. I really enjoy it. When students come in, they have to sign in, and then I evaluate them to see what their injury is. We keep track of the injuries with an injury log. It allows us to track the injuries, see what treatments are working and more. 

What are the most common injuries that you see as a trainer? What should our student-athletes do to avoid these injuries?
Ankle sprains are the most common, followed by knee injuries and lower back pain. If you have weak hips, which is the case for most girls at this age, it can lead to a range of injuries. The best advice is to work on glute and hip strengthening, as well as one’s balance.  

Is there anything that parents or athletics can do to support you in your role here at Collegiate?
It’s really important that the parents communicate with me when a student is out with an injury. And, please bring in a doctor’s note. Students will come in even if they don’t play a sport, so it’s important that I know what’s going on when I treat them. 

What do you like best about your job?
I love the interaction I get with people, with the kids and with the coaches on a daily basis. I’ve only been here for two months, but I have great relationships with the coaches already. 

Why did you decide to become an athletic trainer?
I was originally planning on being an electronic media major, but I wasn’t sure. So one day when I was getting ready to go to school, I was searching the college’s website about majors and saw athletic training and thought it sounded interesting. Athletic training was the door that opened my eyes into healthcare. I learned medical information and how to treat people. As an undergrad, I got my EMT training, which has been great because we use it, too. I also became a personal trainer in college. I used to be a sports nut, but now the sports part doesn’t matter as much, it’s the prevention and treatment and relationships that I enjoy.

Stay in the loop with Seligman’s athletic training tips. Every other Monday, he’ll be sharing tips and dispelling myths. Read more.