Dan Schultz is forward-thinking.
The athletic trainer for Edison and New London has ideas on the future of injury prevention, on nutrition, and on how technology makes his job easier.
Originally from Brunswick, Schultz is one of three athletic trainers at Fisher-Titus, which serves seven schools in its immediate area -- Norwalk, St. Paul, Edison, Monroeville, Western Reserve, New London and South Central. Each trainer is assigned to two schools, and the level of services varies because each school selects its level of coverage.
No two days for him are the same, especially since he works to develop the sports performance and personal training programs at the hospital.
"Balancing my schedule [is] interesting," Schultz said. "Coverage-wise you could have [a quiet] day and the next day evaluate 10 kids and call 911 for a serious injury. You never know what will happen outside of the basic coverage schedule. A day is usually filled with all stages of injuries: prevention, evaluation, first aid and rehabilitation."
The field of athletic training improves as technology improves, allowing trainers to better treat concussions, deal with weight loss, or even stay connected in an up-to-the-minute world.
"There are more mandates on things like concussions, but the technology gets better with things like smartphones and reference apps," Schultz said. Fisher-Titus' three trainers all have Blackberry smartphones, allowing them to communicate via e-mail or messaging, and access the internet. "Communication is more up-to-date. If a kid comes back from the doctor with medication, we can check conflicts with other medications. For two-a-day practices, we can use weather apps for heat and humidity as we monitor hydration and safety (of athletes)."
For area's like nutrition, Schultz said to "eat like a caveman' and choose foods from the middle of the glycemic index.
"You want to eat in the middle of the glycemic range," Schultz said. The glycemic index is a chart of measuring the effects on carbohydrates on blood-sugar levels. Avoiding foods high in sugar raises the body's blood-sugar level before it drops suddenly, which creates a feeling of hunger.
Eating foods high in protein, raw fruits and vegetables, and carbs from whole grains, allows the blood-sugar levels to rise slowly, then drop slowly.
"We need to have kids educated and understand (the importance of nutrition)," Schultz said. "It's them knowing their own metabolic system, and adjusting and responding."
Diets like the Adkins diet come and go -- and the Adkins diet caught on because people only did the first part of the diet (reducing their intake of carbohydrates), lost weight, and never moved on to the later phases of the diet to bring carbs back into the diet.
With injury prevention, Schultz think the functional movement screen, developed by Gary Cook, will trickle to high school from the professional and college ranks.
FMS allows evaluators to find areas where athletes need to improve their physical strength as they begin a fitness plan. Instead of jumping right into training, correcting the deficiencies and building a strong foundation makes athletes more resistent to injury.
"Many coaches and athletes want to rush to lift big weight and do fancy exercises before being able to perform a proper pushup or a single leg squat," said Schultz, who sees lots of injuries to the lower back, knees and shoulders from overuse or chronic injuries from poor movement patterns and core conditioning.
Schultz is certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association. To receive that certification, a trainer must complete the following criteria:
n Earn a bachelor of science from an NATA accredited school
n A six-hour certification exam
n A state licensing exam
He is also certified by the OHSAA for weight assessment, a program that certifies wrestlers to compete in the proper weight class for their body type.
The reward of his work is seeing people advance their health or return to the field after injury.
"It's seeing people progress, whether it' training a client or an athletes, and getting them to feel good. Or a freshman who comes in with an injury progress to becoming a senior starter," Schultz said.