September 23, 2014

Preseason In-Services

            Every year the students and staff of the LSU Athletic Training Program participate in an extensive review of all the skills necessary for the year ahead.  This year was no different.  Preseason is always a busy time in the program because in-services are an essential part of the student's learning experience and helps the new students to get their "feet wet" before working hands-on with the athletes. 
            This year, much was accomplished at in-services.  Staff and GA expectations were openly discussed with the athletic training student. Such topics as professionalism, respectfulness, and responsibility were laid out for the younger students and served as a reminder for the older ones.  Like in year's past, in order to get to know everyone, we all had to share a fun fact.  Some interesting fun facts included a fear of sneezing! Allergy season in South Louisiana will be a challenge for this student!  One student experiences goose bumps every time she sneezes, and another student simply believes it is gross.  It was also discovered that Andy Barker is not alone is having a “toe thumb”.  Another student revealed that she too had a toe thumb.  Those who have known Andy for some time know how random that find was! Sharing a fun fact and listening to other students is always one of the highlights of in-services. 
            Along with expectations and fun facts, the students received a modalities in-service, which taught them the basics of modalities and which ones are most effective.  The students also learned about the HIPPA and FERPA policies, as well as bloodborne pathogens and OSHA training.  With  training from former LSU Athletic Training Student Phil Page, the athletic training students learned how to use Therabands correctly and efficiently for stretching and strengthening different parts of the body.  As you can probably tell, in-services are a time when a lot of information is shared and learning is done, and this is only a small portion of all the information covered. 
            Lastly, the students at football were treated to a special in-service with Head Athletic Trainer Jack Marucci in which the focus was becoming more hands-on with their athletes this year.  During this in-service, Jack reviewed the proper techniques in using ASTYM, which is a form of soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to simulate the remodeling and regenerating of tissue. (Therapeutic Associates, n.d.)  He also taught the students the proper technique in using Graston Tools, which is also a form of soft tissue mobilization that allows the clinician to break down scar tissue and restricted fascia. (Graston Technique, n.d.) The students learned how to use the traction table, a form of manual traction that aims at alleviating pressure on the spine.   Also reviewed was the Fascial Distortion Model, which is a model that aims to uncover an injury and use one of six different manual techniques (depending on the injury) involving manipulation of fascia (connective tissue) to treat it. Additional training was done on the proper use of the Hivamat, which stimulates the lymphatic system to reduce pain and inflammation. Lastly, the Class 4 Laser, which is a laser that stimulates photoreceptors in the cells to stimulate and boost the healing response, was revistied.  The students believed this to be a very beneficial learning experience.  Senior football athletic training student Laura McKowen told us, “our in-services with Jack really made a difference in how I think about treating on our athletes.  I am now more inclined to use manual therapy, and FDM because of the results that were seen from it.  It works like magic!” Junior football athletic training student Macy Simoneaux also said that, “Because of the in-service we did with Jack, we have been more hands-on in terms of treatment choice.  We’re a lot more comfortable performing manual therapy and most of us now prefer it over any other treatment options.”

            It had been a very busy pre-season for the LSU Athletic Training Program.  It will only get busier from here but the preparation the students received have made them more than ready for any challenges that lie ahead. 

Therapeutic Associates.  n.d. retrieved from

Graston Technique. n.d. retrieved from

The Evolution of Manual Therapy

Over the summer, the LSU GA’s and staff members attended an in-service about a unique manual therapy called Fascial Distortion Model or FDM.  Casey Hummel, who trained us in FDM described 6 different model types: Trigger Bands, Continuum Distortions, Cylinder Distortions, Herniated Trigger Points, Folding Distortions, and Tectonic Distortions.  These models are used to treat almost every musculoskeletal injury.  After an athletic trainer performs a detailed evaluation and determines the underlying issue for the patient, the athletic trainer can then choose which model will provide the optimal outcome for recovery. They  attended a 2-day seminar on FDM and receive a certification upon completion.  The 2 days were divided into upper and lower regions.  They spent some of that time in lectures but majority of the seminar was hands-on and very interactive.  Coaches and student-athletes that have been struggling with both chronic and acute injuries that they felt would benefit from FDM served as models.  Mallory Mickus, assistant athletic trainer for gymnastics said, “This seminar deepened my knowledge of myofascial techniques and provided specific reasoning behind why these techniques are used.  It was that missing puzzle piece to tie manual therapy and myofascial techniques together.” 

A Warm Welcome to the New Fellows!

Every year the LSU Athletic Training Program not only adds new students and staff, it also adds new Sports Medicine Fellows.  This year, we are happy to announce that Dr. Jacques Courseault and Dr. Marisa Formica will be our new fellows!   As with any new additions to our program, we wanted to get to know a little bit more about them. 
Dr. Courseault is from Atlanta, Georgia; however, he calls New Orleans home.  He completed his undergraduate studies and medical school at Tulane University, and then went on to complete his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at LSU- New Orleans.  Dr. Courseault currently holds his BS in Psychology and an advanced degree as a MD.  When asked way he chose to specialize in Family Practice/Sports Medicine he replied, “The Sports Medicine physician has a unique skill set in being able to identify and treat certain medical and physical conditions that are unique to the athletic population.  I decided to continue my education in the Baton Rouge General Sports Medicine Fellowship because I want to base my practice on helping my patients be at their optimal level of health and physical function whether just beginning a workout program or competing at an elite level.”  An interesting fact about Dr. Courseault is that he loves designing workouts and posting them at his website, Exercise Menu, which can be found at
  Dr. Marisa Formica is originally from New York.  She completed her undergraduate studies at Pennsylvania State University and graduated with a BS in Biology and a minor in Italian.  She then continued on to Ross University for medical school and graduated with her MD.  Dr. Formic was the Chief Resident at Northshore LIJ- Glen Gove Hospital as well.  “I wanted to specialize in Sports Medicine because I have always been fascinated by how the specialty manages the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise, as well as unique medical and physical conditions.  The LSU Sports Medicine Program is uniquely designed to provide us with state-of-the-art training and research while allowing us to treat a diverse group of athletes.  We are privileged to work with one of the top Sports Medicine Athletic Training Departments in the country.”  A fun fact about Dr. Marisa Formica is that she was a member of the Figure Skating team at Penn State and was a gold medalist while competing at the intercollegiate level.  
 It is easy to tell that we have an interesting and passionate pair of Fellows with us this year.  We are excited to work with them both and get to know them better as the year continues!

Student Bonding Night

With school starting and the athletic training room starting to get busy, the athletic training students still find a way to have fun and connect with each other with the first annual bonding night.  Alpha Tau Sigma officers held a laser tag event at Quarters in Baton Rouge. Students who participated were split into 2 randomly selected teams, Green Team and Red Team.  First, Second and Third years of each team had to collaborate ideas together on how to attack the other team without running, rolling or diving.  After two fifteen-minute halves of meticulous strategizing, the Red Team walked away victorious over the Green Team.  I’m sure after this event the Green Team will go back and plot their attack for the next time they face the Big Red.