Behind The Scenes
Meet BSU's Head Athletic Trainer
By Tonya Walton
The Head Athletic Trainer isn't just about helping an injured athlete get rehabilitated for their sport. There is much more to know about the job of a head athletic trainer.
Gerard Burley is the head athletic trainer for the Bowie State University Sports Medicine Department, which is in charge of 13 intercollegiate sports. Burley works in conjunction with physicians Dr. Alex Kor, D.P.M., M.S., podiatrist, and Dr. Stephen Webber, M.D., orthopedist.
Burley is a certified and educated professional who specializes in the best possible fitness for athletes. A certified athletic trainer is an important member who works in cooperation with other allied health care professionals in professional sports teams, collegiate teams, sports medicine clinics, secondary school teams and other health care settings.
What the athletic trainer provides is to help the injured athletes which contains rehabilitation and treatment methods such as moist heat pad, ice bags, electrical stimulation, ultrasounds, hot and cold baths, just to name a few.
Burley has been working at Bowie State University for four years now. He took the athletic trainer job because his father is an alumnus of Bowie State and is familiar with the campus. Also getting a great opportunity to be in a head position coming straight out of college.
On a normal day, Burley comes in and waits for an athlete to get their daily treatment. He makes sure that all water bottles are filled for the sporting practices throughout the day. Also he makes sure that all tubs and tables are sterilized before usage.
But that is not all that needs to be done. Burley is in charge of all aspects of sports medicine, coverage for all sports, prevention and rehabilitation for all athletes. Burley is in charge of all billings that deal with sports, such as going to get an x-ray or a MRI done.
Also the duty of managing drug testing, dealing with 12 student trainers, two interns and one full time staff member.
The part of being an athletic trainer is being able to work outside with the athletes and to enjoy the whole sporting environment. Burley enjoys that he doesn't have to sit behind a desk and having not to wear suits everyday. Burley also cares about working with athletes, and being able to travel to different sporting events.
But there is always a down side in being a head athletic trainer; there is no set schedule, meaning that there is a limited amount of free weekends for himself. Also tracking down and making sure that all the medical bills for the athletes are taking care of so that there will not be any conflicts.
When first starting the job Burley was the only person on staff. Time management was difficult, when athletes came in for their daily treatment; Burley had to make sure that the athletes were taking care of. The shift changes of volunteer trainers. And the lack of resources such as much needed facility improvement has been the biggest challenges for this job.
Burley‘s proudest moment as being the head athletic trainer is the love of working with students and interns; he accepts many good things out of his interns. He hopes that his interns will continue in the directions of being a good trainer or the head athletic trainer at a school. Also being able to see the rehabilitation in work on the athlete's injury and being able to educate the athlete about there injury.
Burley graduated from the University of Chapel Hill. While attending the university Burley had many internships dealing with the high school sports such as football, track and field, and fencing.
Burley plans on working and staying at the collegiate level. He wants to be the coach for the strengthening and conditioning for all sports and being a part of the administration side of the athletics.
Burley is 25-years old from Baltimore, Md. He got the head athletic job when he was 21-years old, and some of the athletes that he was working with were older than him. Because of his age he can relate to all of his athletes dealing with any issues that they have, or if the athlete just needs someone to talk to.