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Summertime Blues


Hi ATs! It’s been over a month since I’ve updated this blog and I apologize for that. Since I’ve returned from my vacation in early July, I’ve been busy balancing Precision AT work, seeing private clients for manual therapy and strength and conditioning and trying to enjoy this last summer before our baby arrives. I don’t have too much news to report business-wise and camps have been pretty slow this summer. I’m happy that we still have extremely high quality camps, but sad to see that so many outside camps are being filled at less than appropriate AT salaries. Some of the rates that I’ve been hearing about are truly shocking. $600 for a 5 day/4 night overnight camp with triple sessions and $300 for a 5 day day-camp is really discouraging for our profession. I know that everyone needs to make money to survive and it’s not up me to or our professional organizations to tell people not to take work when they need to make ends meet, but if we want our profession to be taken seriously and compensated accordingly, it’s up to all of us to continue to educate our students and camp directors about appropriate salaries.

Here are my attempts at education for today:

1. Here is the latest letter from Athletic Trainers of MA regarding salaries.

2. Here are some questions to ask which may help you make a decision about whether you are being properly compensated:

• How many hours each day is the AT expected to perform athletic training work?

• How many campers? What are their ages? (This can help determine supplies needed)

• Who is providing or paying for the supplies?

• How many fields is the AT covering at once? Is there a golf cart? Who is filling ice and water?

• If the AT is expected to stay overnight, are the allowed to leave campus? Are there night duties?

• Is there a nurse present? Who is responsible for distributing medications?

• Is the AT expected to stay during lunch or is lunch provided?

3. Here’s how you do math to figure out if salaries are appropriate. (yeah… I hate math too, but it’s important)

example of the $300 day camp: The hours were 8:30a-4:00p Mon-Fri…. The AT was not required to stay for lunch so the total hours is 6.5 hours/day, 32.5 hours / week at $300 = $9.23/hour. Also, they required the AT to bring their own supplies. Let’s say that it was an easy camp the AT only used $15 worth of supplies and on top of this they had to drive 15 miles round trip to get there. That brings your salary down to about $8.53/hour. That’s about starting salary at Starbucks, but there if you work 20 hours/ week, they give you FULL BENEFITS! You’re not going to find that at camp… Whole Foods starts their employees at $10/hour, with benefits and 20% store discounts. I could go on and on about jobs that you could take that would pay you similarly to the majority of the camps that happened this summer; jobs that do not require you to have a professional license, certification, college degree, or know how to save someone’s life.

Like I said, I’m not here to tell people who are desperate for money not to take jobs, however I will say this: If ATs continue to take these low paying jobs each summer, the salaries will continue to get worse and good summer athletic training work will become even scarcer as more ATs graduate into the field. I’m interested in hearing people’s thoughts on this, and if anyone has any ideas on how we can help break this cycle.

Feeling depressed now? Sorry. Here’s a silly story from my camp this week: A huge flock of Canadian geese who were hanging out by camp decided to up and fly away. But on their way 2 of the geese flew right smack into the netting behind the football goal posts! They were fine and landed on their feet, but very very confused and walked around in circles on the track for a bit. Pretty hilarious if you ask me. The rest of the geese continued on their journey, but these 2 just walked confusedly back to the grass they were hanging out on previously. Can geese get concussions from nets? Their brains are clearly very small…I wonder if they ever found their friends again! That’s all, I thought I’d share.

Please feel free to comment on the camp situation and/or share your experiences.

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