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Alumni Spotlights

Gabe Amponsah, MS, ATC, LAT
Head Football Athletic Trainer
University of Kentucky

Tony Hill, MS, ATC, PES
Associate Director of Sports Medicine/Head Football Athletic Trainer
Fresno State University

Paul Silvestri, MS, ATC
Associate Director of Sports Health/Head Athletic Trainer for Football
University of Florida

Owen Stanley M.S., ATC, CSCS, NREMT
Head Football Athletic Trainer
Texas A&M University

Eric Yochem, MS, ATC-L
Head Football Athletic Trainer
University of Utah

What would you say is your number one career advantage you received by completing your AT education at CHS?

Gabe Amponsah: The number one career advantage I received by completing my athletic training education at CHS is the extensive academic course load and clinical training I received while completing my master’s degree. Through our athletic training curriculum I was challenged to find evidence in research to validate treatment practices. At the same time I was immersed in a clinical setting that gave me a realistic clinical experience that was very similar to what I would encounter as a full time staff member in an NCAA Division I athletics program.

Tony Hill: The available research opportunities and the mentoring I received while at UK provided me with the tools to be prepared to handle the demanding tasks in athletic training.

Paul Silvestri: The biggest advantage that I gained from completing my AT education at CHS is the family that I joined after graduation. AT grads from CHS are leaders around the country, it is a large network. We are all proud of the program that we graduated from.

Owen Stanley: I would say that my number one career advantage is the fact that I was able to learn from the best on both the academic and clinical side of our profession. I received invaluable experience in both the education/research and clinical setting – making for an easy transition and me a more well-rounded professional. as Another advantage was the connections/mentors developed during my time in CHS.

Eric Yochem: This is a tough question. I had so many great experiences and learned so much completing my Master’s degree at UK. However, all of this is due to the athletic training and academic staff that I learned from while I was there. They taught me that providing quality healthcare requires being an informed consumer of current research and implementing the information into your current clinical practice. Participating in and learning how to interpret research improved my daily clinical practice.

What advice would you give to current CHS students that would help them position themselves in competitive career roles?

Gabe Amponsah: The advice I would give to current CHS students is to take advantage of the resources afforded you at Kentucky; try to learn as much as you can from your advisors/ clinical preceptors because before you know it you will be out practicing on your own.

Tony Hill: Understand that everyone involved in CHS are there to help you succeed. Take instruction and trust they want the very best for your future.

Paul Silvestri: I think the best advice I can give is to: 1. Stay humble 2. Build relationships with all those you come in contact with 3. Plan and make choices that you are proud of.

Owen Stanley: I would tell them to absorb as much information as they can and put themselves into positions/situations/duties that they might not know whether they will succeed – so as to challenge themselves to excel in tough scenarios.

Eric Yochem: Keep an open mind and never stop trying to improve as a health care professional. Continue to grow your network of colleagues in your profession. You will continue to rely on this group whether it’s for clinical questions or help getting a job.

What are some inter-professional experiences you had at CHS that helped give you that competitive edge?

Gabe Amponsah: I can’t really speak whether inter-professional experiences at CHS gave me a competitive edge. I had a little inter-professional experiences with the Physical Therapist but not much while I was in the CHS.

Tony Hill: The biomechanics research laboratory, observing surgeries, and presenting case studies for a CHS Grand Rounds are just a few unique experiences highlighted during my time at UK. The most important inter-professional experience definitely was the interactions I had with all the professors in the CHS. Everyone was so welcoming and accommodating I was able to further enhance my experience once I understood how much help was out there.

Paul Silvestri: At CHS I was able to develop relationships with physicians, physical therapists, administrators, etc. Doors were always open and these relationships have proven to be invaluable.

Owen Stanley: I would say the completion of my thesis and hands-on research experience is an aspect that gave me a competitive edge and taught me how to critically understand/evaluate new research coming out in our profession as well as continue to stay current with my practices. I would also say the experience within the athletic training room and tutelage of Jim Madaleno was instrumental to my continued growth within our profession.

Eric Yochem: I learned a tremendous amount bouncing ideas off of the other athletic training staff as well as the team physicians. I still draw on those experiences now.

What types of collaborations do you look for in your current position?

Gabe Amponsah: Most of my collaborations are with Physical Therapist’s on certain rehab cases. Physical Therapists help supplement some of the rehabilitation (programs) of our patient’s especially in regards to early post-operative cases.

Tony Hill: Currently, I work on a regular basis with Dr. Stephanie Moore-Reed, alumnus of the UK CHS, with our AT undergraduate students and provide them an environment to succeed. I also work with other professors in our AT department on creating an environment to study methods and outcomes of our student-athletes; in order to, provide a safer environment so they can perform at the highest level. Lastly, interacting with our graduate program coordinator and Dr. Moore-Reed on the recruitment and hiring of AT graduate students so we have equally competent, young athletic trainers both clinically and academically.

Paul Silvestri: As a program at University of Florida, we always seek to be on the cutting edge of healthcare. With that being said we are constantly reaching out to campus leaders to collaborate on various ideas and/or questions.

Owen Stanley: Collaboration is key in any position and many times you need to put multiple groups together to get the best for any particular scenario. Personally, I collaborate with the following entities: Staff physicians, community physicians, community ancillary services, campus administration, campus health, campus research dept.(not just athletic training), strength and conditioning staff, sports science staff, nutrition staff, athletic administration, peers in the profession, mental health providers, and product developers, just to name a few.

Eric Yochem: I support the research projects that our graduate students are involved in through our master’s program. We also work with the other health care disciplines that are a part of our hospital system. Currently we are a part of two different concussion research projects with other departments on campus.

Where do you see AT fitting in the future landscape for healthcare?

Gabe Amponsah: In the future landscape for healthcare I see athletic training fitting into a variety of healthcare areas. One of the benefits of Athletic Training is the flexibility to fit into different areas. In addition, to the traditional Athletics healthcare setting, athletic trainers can be found working with PA’s and physicians in physician’s clinics as brace technicians, Operating rooms as surgical technicians in industrial settings teaching “pre-habilitation” exercises at the same time promoting wellness for factory employees, and also working alongside PT’s in rehabilitation clinics. That being said, the future holds endless opportunities for Athletic Training to fit into healthcare.

Tony Hill: I see them working more within the corporate and industrial setting. I think employers are beginning to understand the value of ATs in the work place, and how they can prevent injuries causing employees to miss valuable work time. Also, I see both the secondary and collegiate school setting continuing to grow their AT staff. It has been the standard that high schools employ an athletic trainer, but hopefully these schools understand the need to grow that staff to multiple athletic trainers. Paul Silvestri: I personally feel like the AT profession is at a crossroads. As exciting as it is that we as a group are growing, I also feel that it is important to never forget our roots and tradition.

Owen Stanley: Our profession, as a whole, is growing into many more sectors than it was ten years ago and I only see that progress continuing. There will definitely be continued clinical settings at the university/college/professional setting and hopefully continued progress at the high school level. Academia and research will be a staple in our profession as we continue to advance our contributions to the medical field with best practices, evidence-based practice, and outcome based practices. I feel as though there will be a greater niche developed with preventative evidence based medicine for the physically active/athletic population as well.

Eric Yochem: I think it will be similar to what it is currently like. Mostly providing coverage in a sports related setting. We provide a specific service and skill set that I do not think will change much.

How are changes in healthcare today effecting AT?

Gabe Amponsah: I can’t personally speak on this subject as a whole because a lot of the changes in healthcare today are not directly affecting Athletic Training in the traditional Athletics setting.

Tony Hill: The need and expectation of preventative medicine will positively affect AT.

Paul Silvestri: I think the current landscape of healthcare is not as patient driven as much as it has in the past. The AT profession is a patient driven business, and should focus on patient driven outcomes.

Owen Stanley: Due to the continued changes in healthcare; an athletic trainer must be very flexible in what they offer and how they go about offering it. The biggest concern is that there are so many unanswered questions and volatility in healthcare at this time; it makes it difficult to be consistent in primary areas of importance. Changes have also dictated the growth and conversion of our education paradigm to a graduate degree model for entry level positions.

Eric Yochem: Hopefully improving it. State reimbursement continues to grow new opportunities for ATCs in different demographic settings. I hope that healthcare continues to understand the role that certified athletic trainers can play in providing quality of care.

The UK SSRI is a state of the art, multidisciplinary research center focused on injury prevention and performance optimization, musculoskeletal health and rehabilitation, metabolism and neuro-cognition. SSRI is dedicated to excellence in research, community outreach and collaboration—all leading to one outcome: optimal health. The SSI has three main areas of focus: tactical, youth & active and student athletics. Please elaborate about the role of AT in these different areas in relation to optimal health.

Gabe Amponsah: In relation to optimal health, Athletic Training plays a similar role as the SSRI in its every day mission. Some of the domains of athletic training include “Injury/Illness Prevention and Wellness Protection,” “Treatment and Rehabilitation,” and “Organizational and Professional Health and Well-being.” These Domains are aligned with the SSRI’s mission of optimal health as Athletic Trainers work with active youth and adults to prevent, evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate injuries. Also, Athletic Trainers try to promote a healthy lifestyle for their patients by providing patients with information backed by research.

Tony Hill: Athletic training can be extremely integral in these different areas. ATs have a desire to work with tactical, youth and high school athletics. It should hopefully foster an environment that ATs can further influence preventative medicine, thus continuing to the growth of the profession of athletic training and the amount of research that comes with it.

Paul Silvestri: ATs have always been leaders in prevention and performance optimization. Again, in order to truly push performance and prevent injury, relationships between the clinician and patient have to be the foundation. ATs know their athletes often better than they know themselves. Once you understand each individual, you can develop plans for performance, prevention, etc.

Owen Stanley: First I would not say there is just one role for the AT in these three main focus areas and that many A.T.’s would be able to take on many tasks and roles to accomplish these goals. In the area of tactical optimal health, I believe AT’s would provide actual administration of and hands-on aspects of health on the ground level. AT’s have a very distinct personal viewpoint of how that would work as well as direct application. In the area of youth and active individuals; there is an ever growing need for both clinicians with hands-on methods of implementing prevention and care as well as research regarding safety concerns for youth programs and student athletics. There is also an ever growing need for athletic trainer’s involvement with the general athletic population due to larger t venue activities like mud runner, crossfit…etc. . Athletic trainers can be a very integral part of both prevention and continued optimal health to all these areas and populations.

Eric Yochem: I am not sure what the tactical area includes. Athletic trainers can provide information related to the recognition, prevention, evaluation, and rehabilitation of sports related injuries.

Special Notes

Tony Hill: I thank you, Dr. Uhl and Jim for including me to be a part of a UK CHS Alumni spotlight. Those above including Dr. Mattacola, have meant so much to my wife, Mandy Hill (another UK CHS Athletic Training alum; class of 2006) and myself. We reflect on our time at UK as being the biggest two years we had both personally and professionally. We grew in so many ways, and we always want to thank the people who meant so much to us. Go Cats!!!!