Not sure what you want to do after you hang up your cleats, board, glove, sneaks, shin guards, or stick? This Saturday the sporty spotlight shines bright on Trish Bare Grounds, an athletic trainer from Bare Essential Sports Medicine. Check out Trish’s insightful interview below where she shares her amazing career and fave sporty moments.
Sport(s): Dance, Equestrian, Track, Cheerleading, Soccer, Marital Arts -- Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) for just about every sport there is at some point during my career but I focus now mainly on action/extreme sports, martial arts, cheer & dance
Hometown: (Just since January) Rebersburg, PA
High School/Middle School/College: Linton Stockton High School, Linton, IN; BA from DePauw University, MS from University of Miami; Yet to finish 2nd MS & PhD at University of Florida
Position: Nowadays Certified Athletic Trainer & Owner of Bare Essentials Sports Medicine Co LLC
What’s your fave sport?
Everything! My favorite sports to cover as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) for the past decade and more have been BMX (freestyle & Racing), Skateboard, Motocross (FMX & Racing), Snowboard, Skiing (Freestyle), Taekwondo, MMA, & Cheerleading ...you know very similar sports! I tend to drift towards the non-traditional sports with more adrenaline these days although I have worked and loved everything from football, basketball, baseball, soccer, & track among many other of the more traditional sports.
How many years have you been playing your fave sport?
I have been an ATC for over 20 years and see no signs of slowing down yet; in fact I thinking I am working more now than I did even 10 years ago.
My favorite moments come after I have helped an athlete return from an injury, especially injuries that could have been detrimental to their sporting careers (or that thought were career ending), climb up on the podium. Just seeing them reach their dreams are the best moments of all, and I have many from pee wees to high school, to college to Olympic to Pro, and they all mean a lot to me! It is especially cool when that athlete steps down off of the podium and hands me their flowers in thanks for helping them get there, or after their sporting career they return to school to become an ATC themselves!
What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned from playing your sport?
Patience and persistence no matter how frustrating things gets...and always look ahead with a glass half-full mentality no matter what!
What lessons have you learned about work ethic from your sport?
Same...patience & persistence win the game even when people try to knock you out, and always have a glass half-full...and always, always, always respect everyone no matter who they are.
What have you learned about teamwork?
Teamwork is amazing! Things get done so much better and quicker when you work together and let others help you...everyone can contribute to make it all happen. When someone thinks they are all that is needed that is when things go terribly wrong.
How do you balance school and sports?
For me it is balancing motherhood and sport coverage, and as a single mom that can be rough, but my daughter travels with me to whatever sporting event I am working and she gets to meet some really incredible people...some day I will tell her how famous the athletes she hangs out with were! I have to keep things in perspective, family is always first for me, although I have many sons and daughters out there, just come to an event and you will hear them scream MOM!! Love it! But I have learned over the years that I have to make time for me as well as for family, friends and my athletes, otherwise I go crazy. Since I love my work this is very often a hard concept for me to remember. School, research, and writing take a back seat but somehow seem to get done.
List some awards or accolades you’ve received.
NATA Service Award given to a select few ATC's each year who have volunteered and given back to sport and community over a period of 15 years or more; NCA Trainer of the year for the past 12 years; I have been priviledged to have worked some really cool events from World Cups, to World Championships to Olympics, to Dew Tour & Winter Dew, to local and state events in just about every sport, but the greatest award/reward I have received are the thank-you's I get from my highly appreciative athletes every day.
Who’s your fave athlete, both male and female?
Hmmm, rough question there are so many! I think Donna Vano (snow & skate) would have to be one of my all-time favorite females, but so is Diana Lopez & Kay Poe (TKD) and so many more that I have worked with over the years...as for the guys wow I work with so many incredible people who are also amazing athletes, including Daniel Dhers, Chad Kagy, James Foster, Drew Bezanson, Brandon Dosch, Anthony Napolitan (BMX), Austen Seaholm, Ryan Sheckler, Christian Sereika (SKB), Steven Lopez, Jason Neville, Josh Coleman (TKD).....I could go on for days!
Tell us about your profession.
Athletic Training for me is a way to still be a part of sports I love, especially action & extreme sports, where what I do can mean the difference between being able to compete or not. I can honestly say I love what I do. I get to go to work everyday and simply watch some tremendously talented athletes play the sports they love, and in the process meet some pretty awesome individuals. I give them the added support for development and care of their mind and body that often helps them reach their highest dreams
Why did you choose this profession?
I knew I wanted to be in the medical field, originally thought I wanted to be a surgeon but also wanted to be there when the injury happened all the way until the athlete returned to full participation in the sport they loved, so it had to be Sports Medicine, and I kind of fell into Athletic Training as a means to be there, and not just the office, but actually working on-stie with athletes. When I first joined this profession I was told girls would never do well and to make sure I had a "back-up" profession, which only made me want to prove them wrong, so I set on a path to work to the highest level of sport and hopefully make a difference in athlete's lives, as well as hopefully open the door for other girls who wanted to do the same. If it were up to me I would work for free for all the sports and athletes who appreciate the care I provide if only I had no bills or at least more sponsors that reduced that burden since so many athletes I work with do not have health insurance, so they often go without care unless it is free.
What kind of schooling did you have to complete?
You only have to have a bachelor's degree in Athletic Training/Sports Medicine but I went onto get my Master's and trying to finish up a PhD so that there are never any excuses from my education not being high enough to be hired. When I sat for my Board Exams you also had to have completed 1800 hours of practical work with athletes, after working with over 50,000 athletes during my career I have lost track of how many hours I have put in to this point!
What’s your day like?
Depending on if I am at an event or just checking on the athletes while they are training, I have to be prepared to handle any kind of injury that can happen at anytime, and of course I tend to work those sports which have a greater chance of serious injury even in training. Event coverage usually is anywhere from 10-14 hours/day, while training is generally less than 6 hours of work. I also have to spend time on the computer and phone trying to get events to work, staff to cover the events, supplies for the events, and sponsors and/or donations to cover the cost of traveling to and covering events as most of the sports I cover have little to know budget for medical care among athletes who probably need it the most. I work anything from charity events to help support a local skatepark all the way up to highly televised events, and love caring for all the athletes no matter what age or ability level, they all have their own place in the sporting world.
What’s the girliest thing you like to do? (Pretty Tough signature question)
I loooooove pedicures! And since I wear flip-flops or sandals anytime I am not working the toes have to look good!
Do you or someone you know want to be spotlighted? Send an email to Keri Mikulski at kerimikulski(at)gmail(dot)com.