Friday, September 30, 2011

Tale of the Tape: Inspired to do great things

Tale of the Tape

by Alyson Gramley

September 30, 2011

From my window to the world in the Athletic Training Room I can see many things this morning. Directly out the window of my office I can see a post-operative baseball athlete engaging in early rehab following shoulder surgery, being guided by the baseball ATC, Sean Boland and one of the Student Athletic Trainers assigned to baseball. There are a group of football Student Athletic Trainers discussing the plan for game preparations - when to bag the fruit, when to meet up in the morning to set up the field - when is the Pharmacology teacher going to post the rest of the midterm grades (that would be ME), and assisting the Football Graduate Assistant, Michael "the Boss" Welch in rehab of the guys in here this morning. And it's only 9:30 Friday morning.

I'm just happy I can actually SEE out the's basketball workout sessions have begun. And when do great basketball teams practice, you might ask? All great basketball teams practice at 6:30 in the morning. Which means one Athletic Trainer and her students arrive at approximately 5:45 AM. Which means, ipso facto, if I want to look halfway presentable for the remainder of the day, I have to hit the alarm at 4:45AM! Needless to say, with all the practices and rehab and planning and craziness we call life going on at the Gramley house these days, my head has not spent nearly enough time with my pillow...but I solved that dilemma last night with a 10 hour conversation with the down comforter. It was lovely and I am having a great hair day because of it.

Before I ramble on too much and forget, I must share with you the most recent Athletic Training Room Players of the Week (unofficially sponsored by PowerAde). Criteria for this award is a little different than the typical Player of the Week awards because it isn't based on statistics racked up on the field. This one rewards athletes who have rehab-ed and injury during the week prior to the game (doing all that was asked of them with a pleasant attitude and not having any NO SHOWs on the record) and subsequently made it in the game on Saturday. They could have had a stellar performance or only got in for one little victory formation snap...doesn't matter. Then we all put our heads together in the field house Athletic Training Room and pick somebody through super secret voting techniques not to be revealed in this medium. The athletes know about this award and have actually been known to bring bribes to the voting staff...but we will not be persuaded.

For the week of the Arkansas, the dubious award goes to Eric Thomas. He is a pleasant young man who had overcome a nasty hand injury in weeks prior. Hand injuries aren't all that bad for some positions, but as a receiver, you kinda' need your hands to work and hold on to the ball! Congrats to's a picture of him with his reward. An ice-cold PowerAde after a long, hot day of practice!

Last week's PPOW award goes to a defensive guy, Brynden Trawick. Brynden had a bummed up knee (we use very specific terms like that around here) and worked really hard to get better during the week. He's a guy that has come around lately and is slowly moving up our "like-o-meter" in the Athletic Training room. Look for good things out of him...#10. You might even see a TROY jersey in the bookstore with that number one day.

Honorable Mention goes to Jamie Hampton. This is the first Honorable Mention we've had, but since I'm the administrator of the program I can make up the rules as we go. Jamie needs no description of his injury, sustained a year ago at MTSU. He took the victory snap in the Bowl Game, but I wasn't there to see it...and was on a blogging hiatus. This was Jamie's first appearance in live game action where he had to do more than fall on a knee. I'm a big fan of Jamie, especially after sharing some thought-provoking moments in a sparkly new hospital in Murfreesboro last year. I wrote a blog about it last year if you'd like to read more.

All of these things inspire me to do great things, day in and day out: the students trying to learn their place in the Athletic Training profession, the athletes trying to get better so they can showcase their talents to the world, and the scarce occasion of 10 hours of sleeping bliss.

I love my job! I love TROY! Being an Athletic Trainer is a trying profession, but in my journey to find something that is enjoyable to do while satisfiying my desire to help people I found the best profession in the world. Of course, it's not for everybody. I often explain it like this: one of my sisters is a flight attendant and the other is an accountant...they are sympathetic vomitters and I don't like to give people drinks and pretzels at 40,000 feet nor do I like to balance my checkbook, but yet vomit doesn't bother me. Problem SOLVED!

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a little game at the Larry Blakeney field Saturday at 6:30 you might want to attend. Nothing like an in-state rival to bring out the fans! Here's to hoping I stay off the field and the players stay on it!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Last Minute...

Tale of the Tape
September 17, 2011
Alyson Gramley, ATC
Athletic Trainer Extraordinaire

Sitting in the floor of the Magnolia conference room at the Doubletree in Bentonville, Arkansas, I am overcome with the urge to blog. My superstitious side would say I don't need to blog pre-game this time because we lost last weekend....but then I remember we didn't LOSE last weekend because we didn't even play!

I can honestly say it seems like we've been doing this football stuff for just a little less than FOREVER. Upon further consultation of the calendar, however, we've only been doing this a few weeks. Camp started August 3, a mere 45 days ago. Furthermore, this is only our second game of the season! Unbelievable!!

Clemson was a long time ago. And gladly so. We played a great thirty minutes. Unfortunately it takes a spectacular 60 minutes to beat great teams...with that said, I liken the BIG opponents to toads. Stick with me on this one.

All our lives, us women-folk have had a fairly tale dangled in front of our beautiful faces with the expectation of happily ever after. And that "happily ever after" is contingent upon kissing a toad! He will then turn into our Prince Charming and we'll be destined to a life in a castle until the end of time. That analogy is similar to the likelihood of beating a "big time" opponent and living happily ever after in a bigger conference, with bigger, more lucrative bowl game appearances, or the prospects of football fairy tale-dom.

Now don't go twisting my words into thinking we can't or won't be an out of conference foe. I've been on the field when we've carried the goal posts out of the stadium after TROY kissed a toad. And for a week or so, we were living the life. Where nobody is injured and everybody smiles.

But then, we returned to the hard-nosed team that wins some and loses some, but churns out conference championships over and over and over again. We didn't change in the process, we just did what it took for 60 minutes to beat a great team. We're still TROY. And we're still capable of beating a team that some may consider to be 'out of our league.'

And David, a small boy, did kill that giant with a few small rocks....

Maybe today is the day...and maybe I have been sniffing too much QDA...

I'd be remiss if I didn't announce the initial 2011 Powerade Player of the Week for the Clemson game, Barry Valcin. Barry sustained a grotesque and potentially career-ending injury during a ho-hum Thursday practice about a year ago. Come to find out, he'd already sustained a similar injury to his other leg a few years prior. He is a champion! He made his return in the Clemson game in a big way!

The criteria of Powerade Player of the Week doesn't hinge on stats on the field. It is bestowed upon an athlete who has had an injury and has done everything in their power to get better, faster, stronger, as the Athletic Training Staff has directed them. We are super proud of Barry for his determination in his recovery...and hope he never gets the award again! taping begins, I'll sign off. Hoping we can do what it takes to be 'happily ever after' at least for a day or two!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Que hora es??

Translated into American, that means "What time is it?"

Now say it in your exclamatory voice...What time IS IT???

Not only is is 11:15PM as I sit in the lobby of the Greenville Marriott-where the interwebs are free...IT'S FOOTBALL TIME!!! (I don't know how to say that in Spanish...)

I couldn't resist starting off the first blog of the season with that title for all of my new family members. You see, my baby sister got married last weekend (because nobody in their right mind gets married during football season) and I told her I'd dedicate the first blog of the season to her! And...she's in Spain right now, so she'll really appreciate it. Miss you, love you, mean it! She's a big fan and alumna of TROY, by the way. As all of my family is...

They say confession is good for the soul, so I must confess why you haven't heard from me since New Year's Eve...I've been really, really, reaaaalllly busy. Plain and simple. I've baked over 220 dozen cupcakes, spent two weeks in Italy on a mission trip, and filled my "free" time with lots of fun crafting projects, on top of all the normal mom, laundry, housekeeping, and life stuff. I'll share some of them as we go along this season, maybe.

I am glad to say I'm back! I've missed this therapeutic writing thing that I do. Hopefully I can share some insight with you that you can't get anywhere else. There are some things that are just too good to write down, so you may have to stop me on the sidewalk one day and get me to tell you some of the "good" stories.

I will start by saying, hands down, I have the best job in the world! TROY is the best place to do what I do. I have grown up here in the halls of Eldridge and Sartain and now in the beautiful Stadium Towers. This is where I belong, doing a job I absolutely love. I am a Certified Athletic Trainer and this is my platform to tell you what we do.

We were reminded at our faculty pep rally for the year that we should be grateful to be engulfed in an atmosphere that spends so much effort supporting a GAME! I do agree to that statement on many levels. It's a wonderful beginning to my work day to walk through the weight room where potential professional athletes are honing their muscular physiques. My conflicts with those words however reflect the dedication I have to my profession, that of recognizing injuries, educating about nutrition, concussions, hydration and such, holding the hands of injured or ill athletes. These are my babies, all 450 of them!

But this is more than a game...Scrabble and solitaire are games. When people die because of things that happen during a 60-minute session at your work, it's more than just a game. Every day, every practice, every game, the Athletic Training Staff is ready to save someone's life. We know how to spineboard an athlete with potential damage to their spine, how to recognize numerous life-threatening conditions, and work seamlessly, side by side with orthopedic and general practice physicians to deliver top-notch healthcare to these young men and women who have dedicated their lives to a sport. Luckily I've never had to call on those "big" skills, but colleagues all over the nation have had to do just that. THAT is why it's more than a game.

[stepping off soap box] I can't express to you my excitement for the upcoming event tomorrow at Clemson. It will be soooo hot at game time. That is my only complaint. Other than that, I live for the excitement - from room check earlier tonight, to pre-game taping, to the locker room in preparation, through half time rally speaches, and singing the fight song after a victory. Sprinkle a leisure jog across the field and to the locker room and back and it'll be a good day at the office. I do have a license to run with scissors, but don't tell my mom!

For a little peek into the game tomorrow...we're in good shape. Physically, we've made it through camp with minimal issues. Nobody has been injured in the air scrimmage (Jared Flemming) and other than a few bumps and bruises, we're looking pretty scrappy!

I never know how to feel about a game. Surely there are games on the schedule supposed to win. I don't think this is one of those. They have a bigger stadium than we do, more fans at the games, and more money in their bank accounts most likely...but we've seen those teams fall before to TMTDM!!

We'll give it a good Trojan try and see how the ball bounces. I remember a comment by Coach Blakeney that went something like this "We don't have to be better than them all the time, just better than for 60 minutes."

I'll be the one with the pink bow in my hair, screaming and coercing best as I can. But you can guarantee that I'll be counting to 11 every time the whistle blows to end the play. And if I don't see 11 get up, you may just see me smoke Chuck Ash as I run past him to the rescue of a player in need.

There are many things to share, but I've got to get my beauty rest. A little game day jog to get things going early tomorrow morning and then we'll be off to "Death Valley." Again, not a name given to a place where you play a game...