Tag: Corina Salinas

NIU Athletic Training students practice at Chicago Marathon

marathon-1When runners finally cross the finish line and enter “the chute” at the end of the annual Chicago Marathon, their races aren’t quite over.

Chances are good that they might need medical assistance.

“Your body responds in a variety of ways after you run 26.2 miles,” says Kelly Potteiger, associate professor of Athletic Training in the NIU Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education.

One of the most common reasons for needing medical attention after the race is postural hypotension.

After so much high-level activity over a long period of time, Potteiger says, blood vessels dilate to supply ample amounts of energy to muscles. When those muscles suddenly stop, it can cause a runner’s blood pressure to crash. And, when this happens, runners can become dizzy and even lose consciousness.

Other reasons runners might collapse include their bodies shutting down from the heat; stress on their hearts; a lack of preparation; or other complications.

Triage is necessary along the quarter-mile passageway to swiftly gauge the current fitness and needs of all 45,000 runners – upright or not – to make sure these mostly amateur athletes are in possession of their mental and physical condition.

Kelly Potteiger

Kelly Potteiger

Enter “the sweep team,” which on this Sunday included several students from NIU’s Athletic Trainers Student Association.

“We help to escort people who are in trouble through the chute and assess their capabilities,” Potteiger says. “If they’re losing cognitive function, or no longer have the ability to support themselves, we have to make a decision. Do we need to call a crash team? Can we get them to the medical tent? Or can they exit the chute on their own?”

Potteiger joined the 13 students in what has become an every-October excursion to Balbo Drive and Columbus Avenue near Grant Park. Their bus left the NIU campus at 4 a.m.

“It’s a great learning experience for our students to see how the medical response for a large event is organized,” Potteiger says. “That’s part of what athletic training is. If we’re working a football game, and a football player goes down, the athletic trainers run out there to do a quick evaluation and determine how we can safely get this player off the field to the sidelines for further evaluation.”

Students prepared by watching a training video and through mock simulations in the classroom.

The first-year students who made the trip were excited, if not a little nervous. “They practiced taking a history. They gained an understanding of how to take vitals and assess cognitive awareness,” she says. “It brings to light the different steps, and they take it more seriously when they know that they’re going to need to do all of this.”

Some of the students were Chicago Marathon veterans.

Corina Salinas, an athletic training major who volunteered for the first time in 2016, worked on a triage team. She and five others – one EMT, one nurse, two certified athletic trainers and another student – were on call when spotters situated in towers overlooking the course saw runners go down.

Corina Salinas

Corina Salinas

“They didn’t need to be walked or stretched. They needed immediate attention,” Salinas says. “We went to evaluate. It was either, one, that they were fine and just needed to rest, or two, they needed intervention.”

Although “nothing catastrophic” happened Sunday, the autumn warmth did cause heat exhaustion and fainting in some runners. Salinas and her teammates quickly grabbed ice bags and cold towels to place directly on main arteries “to cool them down from the inside out.”

She enjoyed her 2017 trip more than the one that preceded it. “This year, I was more mentally prepared, and I felt more comfortable doing what I did,” she says. “I feel like I got more hands-on experience practicing the clinical skills that I’m learning at NIU.”

However, Salinas calls herself grateful for both years of experience.

Multitasking and collaboration provided good lessons in what is expected and required of athletic trainers, she says, whether they’re working with sports teams or with NASA. She also appreciated the glimpse at how the triage team worked together – and how the others relied on the athletic trainers for their specialized expertise.

“I really like putting myself in various stressful situations and seeing how I react to them, if I’m able to keep my calm but still experience the rush of caring for a stressful medical situation,” Salinas says. “I have to act and react, and I have to do it effectively and efficiently. It makes me feel good knowing that I can.”

During the in-class debriefing Monday, the students scrutinized Sunday’s activities and discussed how they can apply those experiences to future clinical experiences, both as a student, and eventually as a professional, athletic trainer.

marathon-2

Many will find jobs at high schools and colleges, where they will need to prepare for events such as cross country or track meets with only a few gallons of drinking water and one aid station. Working the marathon exposed them to grand-scale productions, however.

“It’s mindboggling to see the different resources behind the scenes, and our students get to see that,” Potteiger says. “Did you know that they run a 911 system out of a trailer at the marathon? It’s hooked right into 911! It’s really impressive.”

Sunday also offered a test in terms of endurance. Chicago Marathon runners in need of help come “in waves,” Potteiger says.

A majority of early finishers are “the pros” who know exactly how to prepare for, and run, marathons. Members of the triage team typically have little to do.

Many runners in the next wave, however, are pushing their bodies past their limits to notch good times – and the chute quickly gets busy for medical providers. The third phase brings those runners who have trained well, she says, and the medical traffic slows.

As the event nears its end, those who have been running for several hours begin to trickle in and tend to fill the medical tents.

marathon-3Weather also plays a role in the medical response.

Potteiger was there in 2007, when the oppressive, 88-degree heat forced organizers to shut down the marathon in progress. She was there in 2006 – just the year before – when the cold and icy conditions caused one runner to slip and hit his head hard on the pavement.

She was also there in 2011 when a pregnant runner went into labor.

“You interact with so many patients throughout the day that you get really good and really fast at being able to tell who’s in danger and who’s going to be fine. You have people all along that spectrum,” she says.

“Our students can spend 10 minutes with someone. They could spend 30 minutes. It could be as short as five minutes. It’s as long as it takes,” she adds. “The year we had to shut it down, we had students sitting outside the medical tent just making conversation with runners to keep an eye on them and make sure they were lucid. Our students become very vested in their patients as they spend more time with them. They want to know that they’re OK, and they want to see them reunited with their families.”



KNPE scholarships impact lives

Corina Salinas

Corina Salinas

Corina Salinas played sports in high school and college, including track and water polo.

“With any athlete, you’re always going to be in some sort of pain. It just depends on your perception of that pain,” says Salinas, a fifth-year senior from the South Side of Chicago. “That always intrigued me. Every human being has a different perception of pain, and a different level of pain. I wanted to learn more.”

Katherine Kendall had her eyes on a career in nursing. She took all the right courses at Illinois Valley College and worked as a CNA in a local nursing home and hospital, but soon discovered “something missing.”

“It didn’t fit me,” says Kendall, a senior from Mendota, Ill. “I shadowed everyone in the physical therapy department, and I instantly connected with the athletic trainers and the goals they set for their profession. I completely fell in love with athletic training from then on.”

Katherine Kendall

Katherine Kendall

Salinas and Kendall both followed their passions to the NIU Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, where they are recipients this year of Lela Trager Scholarships worth $5,000 each.

Other Lela Trager recipients this year are Hillary Allton, Katie Dyke, Samantha Galicia, Karlie Grove, Brianna Kraft, Ariel Russell, Laura Tuma and Mary Welch. Total scholarship dollars awarded to KNPE students this year exceed $75,000.

“We are blessed to have many donors to KNPE who are so generous with their financial support,” department chair Chad McEvoy says. “These gifts are truly impactful in assisting our high-quality students and their families in their ability to pay for school.”

For Salinas, the Lela Trager has allowed her to quit half of her part-time jobs.

“I used to have four on-campus jobs, working day and night. I woke up early to open the pool, and I worked late at night to close the front desk,” Salinas says.

“Now I have only two jobs, which has opened up time for studying and made a difference in my homework and exams. I also have more time for myself to stay physically active, and I’m actually staying sane because I’m getting more sleep.”

The native Spanish speaker, who transferred to NIU from Monmouth College, hopes to work on the athletic training team at NASA.

Corina Salinas

Corina Salinas

“I’m really reaching for the stars,” she says. “It’s just fascinating to me how astronauts come back inches taller, and can’t go on with their daily activities because of the gravitational pull. For them to live their lives without any struggles, it’s very important for us to understand how outer space modifies their bodies.”

She believes the program is preparing her well.

“There’s just a lot thrown at you as a student. No matter what, I’m always learning something – in clinicals, in class, in labs. Everywhere I turn, there’s always an opportunity to learn something new, and that’s the beauty of it all,” she says.

“Professionalism is a huge part of athletic training, and they’re really good at portraying that to us,” she adds. “We’re representing ourselves as professionals in the field. We’re representing NIU, the program we’re in and athletic trainers all over the world. We don’t train people on exercise. We help people therapeutically and rehabilitate them.”

Meanwhile, she’s found confidence to step out of her comfort zone.

“A go-getter is what people call me nowadays,” Salinas says. “I’m going after what I love, and being passionate about what I want.”

For Kendall, who also received $1,000 from the college-awarded EXCEL (Extending College of Education Learning) Fund, simply talking about the impact of scholarships stirs raw emotions.

“Honestly, these are the first scholarships I’ve ever won, and I even cried a little bit. I was absolutely ecstatic to see those acceptance letters,” she says.

“I was able to take less of a workload – last semester, I was working four jobs and going to school full time. It was a very hard struggle for me,” she adds. “With the scholarships, I’m really able to make my last semester of academic classes go by so much smoother.”

Katherine Kendall

Katherine Kendall

Kendall’s recent clinical site – the NIU Huskies football team – was an exciting one.

“I absolutely love the atmosphere,” she says. “I definitely can see myself doing that in the future, maybe at a Division I college. I don’t want to limit myself to football, but I do enjoy the high volume of work.”

She’s also considering graduate school and even a civilian career in athletic training for the U.S. military. An internship at a U.S. Naval base in North Carolina this semester is offering her a glimpse at that career, which is an emerging field away from the sports field.

No matter what direction she chooses, she is confident in the preparation the NIU College of Education is providing.

“One of the top qualities in not just the athletic training program, but in the KNPE department in general, is that you can go to any professor or instructor and say, ‘Hey, I really need help with this,’ and they’re always happy to help you,” she says. “They’re really motivated to get you on the path you want to go.”

Daily lessons turn quickly into applied knowledge, she adds.

After the first semester of observing athletic trainers at work, she says, “the great thing about the AT program is that, with all the classes you take, you’re also set into a clinical rotation.”

“Everything you’re learning in the classroom you’re able to experience hands-on at your clinical site, whether it’s lower extremity that second semester, applying those special tests or performing those evals,” she says, “or fourth semester, taking general medicine, looking at different medications and listening to heart and lung sounds.”

Preceptors at clinical sites offer more perspective.

“You can take what you’re learning in your lectures and say, ‘Hey, we learned this. How does this work? How do you use this in your day-to-day life?’ I’m seeing that everything applicable to my future as a certified athletic trainer, and literally everything that I learn is applied into my daily work at the clinical setting.”

Chad McEvoy, Abigail Omerza and Yoshi Takei

Chad McEvoy, Abigail Omerza and Yoshi Takei

KNPE Scholarship Recipients

Lela Trager Scholarship ($5,000)
2016-17: Hillary Allton, Katie Dyke, Samantha Galicia, Karlie Grove, Katherine Kendall, Brianna Kraft, Ariel Russell, Corina Salinas, Laura Tuma, Mary Welch
2017-18: Kaitlin Allen, Hillary Allton, Jazmyn Anderson, Carissa Atiles, Mary Bailey, Jade Gray, Grace Harris, Ashley Horn, Kelsey Knake, Brianna Kraft, Sarah Llort, Christina Pitts, Maria Reyes, Ariel Russell, Corina Salinas, Emily Siekiersi, Kristina Wenk

Tim Gullikson Education Memorial Scholarship ($3,510, awarded by the college)
2016-17: Richard Snedeker
2017-18: Craig Kelly, Annie Malecki

Miriam Anderson Scholarship ($2,250)
2016-17: Aaron Essex, Craig Kelly, Amber Mysliwiec
2017-18: Ashley Horn, Craig Kelly, Annie Malecki, Kristina Wenk

Margaret May Duncan Scholarship ($2,200)
2016-17: Kristina Wenk
2017-18: Sarah Llort

Lou Jean Moyer Scholarship ($1,500)
2016-17: Donovan Benson, Jeffrey Nicholls
2017-18: Christian Cores, Josh Henley, Annie Malecki

Physical Education Scholarship ($1,500)
2016-17: Anna Ostrander
2017-18: Sarah Paver

Stroup-Dunn Scholarship ($1,300)
2016-17: Abigail Omerza
2017-18: Luis Hernandez

Dr. Joan Popp Scholarship ($1,200)
2016-17: Anna Ostrander
2017-18: Emily Siekierski

Nikita Lopez and Paul Wright

Nikita Lopez and Paul Wright

Linda Kay Barnes Scholarship ($1,100)
2016-17: Sharon Moskowitz
2017-18: Sarah Paver

EXCEL (Extending College of Education Learning) Fund ($1,000, awarded by the college)
2016-17: Mackenzie Baird, Katherine Kendall, Chris Orange

Elizabeth Patterson Scholarship ($1,000)
2016-17: John Neal
2017-18: Chris Orange

SHAPE Major of the Year ($1,000)
2016-17: Anna Ostrander
2017-18: TBA

Al Kranz Scholarship ($900)
2016-17: Max Finley
2017-18: Grant Panzella, Dong Park

Circle of Gold – classes of 1949-1953 ($900, awarded by the college)
2016-17: Anna Ostrander

Samuel and Adelaide Rockwood Scholarship ($800, awarded by the college)
2016-17: Ariel Russell
2017-18: Vashae Easley, Jade Gray

Judith Bischoff Scholarship ($600)
2016-17: Nicholas Minogue, Grant Panzella
2017-18: Nicholas Maruyama, Ross William

Huskie Award ($150)
2016-17: Nikita Lopez
2017-18: TBA

Outstanding Student Awards ($100)
2016-17: Davoncie Granderson (B.S. Kinesiology), Kayla Hierholzer (M.S.Ed.), Nikita Lopez (Physical Education), Samantha Lucente (Athletic Training), Connor Schomig (Sport Management)
2017-18: TBA