A Day in the Life of an Augsburg Sports Medicine Student Assistant

Angie Leno, staff writer

Photo of Augsburg Sports Medicine Team picture in the training room of the Kennedy Center taken on Aug. 9 obtained from Augsburg Athletics

The often forgotten and unsung heroes behind the scenes of this year’s high performing Auggie Athletic Teams is the Augsburg Sports Medicine staff. The 2023-24 staff consists of Director of Sports Medicine and Athletic Healthcare Administrator Missy Strauch, Assistant Athletic Trainer Kenzie Kraus, Assistant Athletic Trainer Mac Ideson, Assistant Athletic Trainer Abby Ingalls, Assistant Athletic Trainer Jess Brestel, Associate Athletic Trainer Marissa Lindback and 12 Student Medical Assistants (SMAs). 

The typical work day for an SMA starts roughly an hour before the first sports team practice. They begin by preparing water and the necessary equipment for practices such as ice, a wheelchair, crutches, an AED and a splint bag. SMAs assist in taping athletes whose joints need extra stability and support. SMAs then split up and attend the practice of their designated team. Alexa Hoffman, a second year SMA, mentioned in an interview with the Echo that being at the practices was her favorite part of her day.

“The best part of the day is being at the practices. A lot of the athletes are super nice and fun to be around,” Hoffman said. “Me being an athlete makes it a lot easier because I’m around athletes all the time so I know them as both an SMA and fellow athlete which is fun.”

SMAs are trained in basic first aid services, providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated electronic defibrillator (AED). They also learn the emergency action plans for when an athlete experiences heat exhaustion and when to call the Department of Public Safety for emergency medical services. During practices, this training translates to watching for injuries and making sure athletes are staying hydrated. If an athlete is injured, they can provide the proper bandaging to stop blood flow. SMAs can also assist athletes off the field, court or mat in the event of an injury. After practices, they help with injury treatments such as ice bags or electrical stimulation (e-stim) therapy. SMAs also make sure the Sports Medicine Center is a clean, organized and safe environment for those who use it. 

Each SMA is able to pick one or more teams to work with for the season. Hoffman explained that she picked her specific sports teams to work with for the educational experiences they provided.

“I chose football because there’s a lot of athletes so you have a lot of learning opportunities. This is good for me because I want to be an athletic trainer so it’s a great hands-on experience for me whether that be taping an ankle, putting on KT tape [kinesiology tape], doing treatments or learning new evaluations. Football is a great opportunity to learn a great amount of things in a short amount of time,” Hoffman said. “I also work Womens hockey. The girls are great, the coaches are great. I never really watched hockey until I came to Augsburg but now it’s one of my favorite sports to watch.”  

You can find a few SMAs on the sidelines of any Auggie sporting event making sure athletes are well hydrated and able to perform their best. Check them out at the upcoming Womens Soccer match against UW-River Falls on Oct. 18 or Mens Soccer match against UW-Eau Claire Oct. 24 at Edor Nelson Field.