This past weekend (4/6-4/8) we helped Mike Larkin cover the annual AAU wrestling tournament at Dobyns Bennett High School. It was the second time I had helped with the tournament, however this year I was there for the entire weekend. The experience ended up being about 27 hours over the course of the three days. When we initially began to discuss the tournament this semester, I will admit that I was a little worried. This worry did not come from the tournament itself, but rather the time frame that it fell on as I was not sure exactly when the BOC exam was going to fall. This turned out to not be an issue though as I had it one week prior. I was excited to help Mike out again as he is honestly one of my favorite preceptors I have been around. He has very unique and inciteful perspectives on many of the issues we face and it is always very informational to be alongside him.
My experiences were overall very positive this past weekend. Helping with this young population is a very difference experience from the college population I am used to. Working with the children themselves is very enjoyable and fulfilling, but dealing with the parents is not a lot of the time. For example, this past weekend I had two patient encounters with both an 11-year-old boy and 12-year-old boy. I performed evaluations on both and ruled one to be ineligible due to concussion and one to be ineligible due to a foot fracture. In both cases, I discussed the injuries thoroughly with the parents and they agreed to listen to my advice. I told the parent of the child with the foot fracture that it was not emergent, but due to his son’s pain level and inability to weight bear, he should not wrestle and should get an X-ray when he returned home. The father of the child with the concussion sent the coach in with the child while I was doing his evaluation and I informed the coach just as I would have his parent, he also agreed to listen to my advice. I found out later on Sunday that both children had ended up wrestling. I was very frustrated that the parents had put the wrestling results ahead of their children’s wellbeing. This, unfortunately, is a common thing in these big organizational sports.
This tournament helped exponentially in preparing me for my future practice. I am still considering pediatric physical therapy as a possible career choice, so working with children in a setting that is hands on with evaluations and treatment is very valuable. Even if I do not do pediatric physical therapy, I will at some point have a young patient and this experience will be very helpful. I also hope to have the opportunity to work some weekend tournaments such as this while in graduate school and once I am in my career as a physical therapist, so the large-scale nature of this experience will be very beneficial.