Athletic Training Month Spotlight: Rachel Butler
Rachel Butler is in her seventh year on the athletic training staff at Alaska Anchorage and her first as the head athletic trainer.
Rachel Butler is in her seventh year on the athletic training staff at Alaska Anchorage and her first as the head athletic trainer.
Rachel Butler
Rachel Butler

Thursday, March 1, 2018

In celebration of National Athletic Training Month, the GNAC is profiling athletic trainers throughout the conference. These trained medical professionals at every school work to keep the student-athletes of the GNAC healthy, active and safe.

National Athletic Training Month is an initiative of the National Athletic Trainers Association. To learn more about the month and role athletic trainers provide to the college athletics community, Click Here.

Name: Rachel Butler
Institution: University of Alaska Anchorage
Years at Institution: 7
Hometown: Pleasant Grove, Utah

Colleges Attended & Degrees: Southern Utah University (Undergraduate, Athletic Training), Western Michigan University (Graduate, Athletic Training).

Sports In Which You Have Served As A Primary Athletic Trainer: At one point or another, almost all! Basketball (men and women’s), track and field, cross country, skiing, women’s soccer and 13 sports while at Comstock High School.

What Prompted Your Interest In A Career In Athletic Training: A general interest in the body prompted my interest. Looking into various career fields narrowed my interest and taking a few courses solidified my interest in the career.

Who Has Been The Biggest Influence On Your Career: I've had three main mentors over the years: Rikki Mendini, Clay Wilson and Christine Volk. All are wonderful athletic trainers who have taught me so much and guided me in my career. They all have helped me hone my clinical skills, provided me with valuable experiences, assisted me in developing a working athletic training philosophy and gave me so much support.

For You Personally, What Are The Most Satisfying Aspects Of Being An Athletic Trainer: The relationships that I have the opportunity to build with student-athletes.

What Are The Most Challenging Aspects Of The Job: The schedule! The long hours and the time away from family and friends, as well as the short notice to schedule changes.

What Is The Most Misunderstood Aspect Of The Athletic Training Profession: That we, as athletic trainers, love our jobs so much that we don't care about poor compensation.

What Is One Key Element Of Your Job That Most People Would Not Realize: One key part of my job that friends are often most surprised by is when I take student-athletes to doctor’s appointments, to surgery or sit in the emergency room with them for hours while they are getting more advanced medical care. I think it is important for these injured athletes to have someone else there listen and sometimes ask the questions beyond the initial "can I play" or "when can I play." I am there to help facilitate direct care or help coordinate care from other providers; to be a support when needed for surgery is big, especially if a student-athlete doesn't have family nearby.

What Has Been The Biggest Change In Athletic Training During Your Career: Athletic tape. Just kidding. That hasn't changed much at all. I think the biggest change in athletic training is how much bigger and more detailed our athletic training toolboxes can be. Not only are we preventing, evaluating, treating, and rehabilitating injuries we can do so many things within these main categories. So many best practices and standards of care, evidence-based medicine, so many types of therapy and treatments, so many courses in continuing education that can be extremely specific.

What Do You See As Primary Health Concerns Currently In College Athletics:  Long-term health. Not just being a successful student-athlete for four or five years. Learning proper ways to take care of one’s whole self: physical, mental, and social health. Engaging in and taking an ownership in health and healthcare both in the short and long term.

What Advice Would You Give To A High School Or College Student Interested In Pursuing A Career In Athletic Training: Learn. Ask questions. Be realistic. Shadow people. It's a tough but rewarding job. Approach it with eyes open and see what you think!