One thing I know about the Athletic Trainer (ATC) community is that you are one tough bunch of people. You will fight to the death for what you believe in or to keep out what you don’t believe in. Being married to an ATC, and having been an athlete for 16 years tells me that a lot of athletic trainers will not like what we are building here at Kho Health.
I am a big believer in always addressing the elephant in the room, so I am going to address each objection I have heard. For those who do not know: Kho connects injured athletes with other healthcare providers in their community. Athletes can anonymously ask any injury question they have and get the help they are looking for.
The app is not replacing health care or the need to see someone in person; it is using technology to encourage that and to educate athletes about their bodies.
How Did We Get Here:
I went to Iowa State or college which is in the Big 12 and does not lack resources. Spending an insane amount of time doing anything I could to research hamstring injuries and how to prevent them. I had a dreadful pull that just kept happening, and I was getting nowhere with this injury. It was at this moment in 2009 that I first had the idea for the app. I laid it to rest though and never acted on it.
Once I retired from sports, I started an Instagram where I posted some of what I learned on staying healthy and taking care of myself. Before I know, it questions started flowing in from athletes. I am not a therapist’s, so I was kind of confused, so I started going online and trying to find simple answers for them. The answers go crazier, so I got my wife to help me since she is an ATC. Then we started getting MRI’s sent to us, and I realized I had to make this much more sophisticated by making an app. Here are some of the gripes I have heard from the ATC community.
Athletes Don’t Need This App Because They Already Have Athletic Trainers
Well considering that I never had Athletic Trainers in high school I know this is 100% incorrect. I got a message from an ATC a while back, and he was so mad about the fact that we were building this. I asked him why and he went on to tell me that athletes will never use this because they have ATCs.
Now here is the thing. I may not be an ATC but I played sports from Age 7 all the way to make the Olympics in 2012. Athletes at all levels will use this app. I know that for a fact and if you can’t understand why then you have not taken the time to understand athletes.
The other problem I have noticed is that even for the students who do have ATCs at their school, there are rarely enough for the number of athletes. Some schools have 1 ATC, and at most schools will have two. I’ll put it like this; my wife once worked at an NAIA school where she was responsible for about 140 kids herself. Did kids slip through the cracks HELL YES THEY DID?
That is a huge problem. For an Athletic Trainer that is overworked, you are doing your best not to drive yourself mad. But each kid that slips through the cracks still needs help in some way. If you were in their shoes, you would search for help any way possible.
An App Like This Will Destroy The Communication Schools Are Looking to Build Between Athlete and Athletic Trainer
I hear this excuse more commonly with college programs. There has always been issues and a power struggle between many S and C coaches, ATC’s and coaches at the collegiate level. These lead to communication breakdowns.
I know from my time in college that this breakdown can be awful and no one wins. None of the three parties I mentioned above liked each other. I like them all though so I would get advice from all three and it ended up working out for the best.
The reason things worked is that two heads are always better than one head. Just because we are creating an app that allows athletes to get help does not mean they are not already on WebMD and asking friends for help. I have seen athlete beg on Facebook for someone to help them.
The world where health care providers come together to help injuries is one where athletes win. Now maybe egos don’t win this way but is it about feeding ego or getting results?
If it is about results, then there will be no communication break down because the athlete will get closer to being healthy. That is all that matters at the end of the day.
Athletes Will Always Second Guess Their Athletic Trainers
A lot of athletic trainers have worried that their athletes will not listen to anything they say because the app may tell them something different. Here is the truth though, you don’t own the athletes they work with. They have bodies, and they have to take responsibility for those bodies. Meaning if they get hurt it is their duty to do what needs to be done to be healthy again.
Think about this for a second. If you have a child that is sick and you go to your family doctor, and you don’t see any improvement after what will you do? Some will go back to that doctor again, while others will find someone else.
What is the reason that Netflix is so popular? It is because it gives people CHOICE! We as humans LIKE CHOICE and when you are talking about something as important as your body, choice matters. The problem with going to an individual school is that you have no control over who the ATC is, in a world that demands choice more than ever.
When you consider having a sick child, or Netflix, it is much easier to see why kids being able to guess second your choices is for their good. The goal of an athletic trainer should be to keep athletes healthy regardless of who gets the credit.
I thought about not even having athletic trainers on the app. We went against that because we love you guys and many athletes do. I am not saying that no problems will be created as a result of the app. They won’t be problems that an open mind cannot adjust to.
I will end saying this. I remember when social media first started to get big back in 2004 – 2009. So many high schools and colleges did everything they could to fight it. They kept telling athletes don’t do this, and that. Many thought it was just a fad that would go away just like Crocs and Snuggies but that never happened. Social media is here to stay, and now everyone is pretty much on social media.
Here at Kho, we are 100% prepared for a similar fight. Many will try and deny us, but I will fight. I know what it is like to slip through the cracks and cry at night because of an injury. Staying healthy has become way too complicated, and we need to make it easy again.