Pleasant training

Certified athletic trainer brings profession to youth

It's a training tool he has used for years.

Craig born Jeff Pleasant brings kids interested in learning his craft, that of a certified athletic trainer, for a three to four day camp.

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There, they get a glimpse of the profession.

"A lot of people think that a trainer is like a personal trainer at the gym," Pleasant said. "Our background is sports related injuries. It is very specific to the athletic field."

While the camp often takes place in the summer, March is designated National Athletic Trainer month; a field Pleasant has been in for 21 years.

It is a profession different than some might think.

According to Pleasant, if an on-the-field injury occurs at an athletic event, the main difference between a certified athletic trainer and a paramedic is that a paramedic would brace the athlete or splint them before taking him or her to a doctor, whereas a certified athletic trainer would evaluate what the injury is.

"Once we have evaluated the injury, we would see whether or not they can return to action," said Pleasant, who co-owns Rehab Services of Craig with wife Valerie. "Sometimes, that has to be consulted by a doctor."

As the lone certified athletic trainer in Moffat County, Pleasant has plenty of practice. For 14 years, he has contracted with Moffat County High School, where he takes care of home football and wrestling events. Pleasant is on call for the remainder of MCHS sporting events.

Even while working for the Bulldogs, he's looking to get people interested in the field.

"I try to have at least one student assist me as part of the volunteer program," Pleasant said. "We charge $10 for sports physicals, and we use that money to fund a scholarship. If they are going to pursue something in the medical field, they become eligible to receive a scholarship."

After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona, Pleasant earned his master's degree from New Mexico State.

Getting a master's degree from an approved college, of which there are a limited amount of schools around, is a task Pleasant recommends for those seeking to become a certified trainer.

One thing that could change how Pleasant and certified athletic trainers throughout Colorado conduct their business is Senate Bill 07-024, which would mean full licensure in the state.

SB 07-024, officially titled "concerning the regulation of athletic trainers," would make drastic changes in what those in the field can and cannot do, Pleasant said.

"One of the main changes is from a clinic standpoint I would be able to see someone, evaluate them and treat them," he said. "Right now, a physical therapist has to evaluate the patient. Under the new law, I could set up rehab injury. Colorado is one of only a handful of states that have not passed this law."

Change or not, he greatly enjoys being a certified athletic trainer.

"Working with the kids," Pleasant said of why he likes his job. "It's just a good cliental. They're motivated, and they're healthy. It keeps me young, too."

For further information about athletic trainers, access www.nata.org.

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