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    July 22, 2022 Philadelphia, Pa. RSS |

    Liberty University Club Sports Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Angie Witt attended an “ATs Care” seminar at the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) Convention, held June 27-July 1 in Philadelphia. She is in the process of becoming certified to become a state-wide resource to offer athletic trainers at Liberty and other colleges and universities crisis management training in the aftermath of dealing with traumatic incidents in their line of duty.

    “ATs Care” is a peer-to-peer support program designed to assist, monitor, and encourage those in the medical field to seek support through state or regional outlets.

    Witt, who completed her master’s degree in Christian ministry with a focus in leadership in May, has sensed “God calling me to broaden my scope and learn more about counseling other athletic trainers through anxiety and trauma.”

    “The key to peer-to-peer support is knowing that there’s someone out there that just wants to listen to them and wants to help them through the (debriefing and recovery) process in whatever way we can,” Witt said.

    She also participated in a session led by the nonprofit organization “Sidelined USA,” which helps student-athletes who have had to walk away from their sport for medical reasons, including concussions or other injuries, as well as mental or emotional troubles.

    “They talked about some of the strategies that you can use with athletes to gear them to a different focus,” Witt said. “Here at Liberty, no matter what sport they play, we would try to gear them toward their faith and remind them that their identity is found in Christ.”

    Witt said the convention was valuable opportunity for she and Club Sports Assistant Director of Sports Medicine Tiffany Campbell to build relationships with other professionals in the field.

    “Part of athletic training and part of being a professional is just networking and creating relationships with people and just being appreciative for what they bring to the table and then letting them know what we can do for them in return,” Witt said. “It’s just continuously learning and continuously honing our skills and making sure that we’re doing what’s best for our athletes in all realms — mental, physical and spiritual.”

    She said the relationships developed with the student-athletes are key to developing successful treatment strategies.

    “Not everybody understands what an athletic trainer does, and how much we do really care about our athletes,” Witt said. “We have a tight relationship with a lot of our athletes and when one goes down, it’s almost like a kid of ours goes down.”

    Her staff takes a more faith-based tact to crisis situations than say the military does in its emergency response procedures.

    “I’m trying to incorporate Jesus in everything I do as far as an athletic trainer with my athletes and with my staff, and I always have,” Witt said. “He is who I want to emulate. The reason why I am here on Earth is to proclaim the Gospel, and if I can proclaim the Gospel in these situations, that’s my job. It’s also about building that relationship so others can see Jesus in how I react and then proceed that way.”

    As she has advanced in her position through Club Sports, Witt’s clinical role has become less hands-on, as she devotes more time to administration and providing a holistic approach to sports medicine.

    “When it comes to those situations where we have to deal with not just the physical side, but the emotional and the spiritual and the mental side of things, I want to step in and take that role more now than I did before,” said Witt, who has counseling as well as athletic training experience. “It’s always been a part of the job, but I think as we oversee that and then train other athletic trainers to do so as well, that is kind of where I’ve put my focus the past year or two.”

    She said it is important for her athletic trainers, while they are treating injuries and doing baseline tests, to look for red flags that could alert them to deeper issues.

    “It requires a sports medicine team, and having a mental health person on that side of it is important,” Witt said. “Our first step is to see our team physician and our physicians on campus and those physicians can then refer outside if needed. Then of course, there’s counseling options on campus and we also use the Shepherd’s Office. Just having a few resources out there for them, spiritual counseling as well as mental, is important, especially if there’s a tragedy or there’s a crisis or there’s something that they’re dealing with.”

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

    Witt and Liberty Club Sports Assistant Director of Sports Medicine Tiffany Campbell both participated in the convention.