MURRAY — Andrew Thomas joined the athletic training staff at Murray State in July of 2019 after earning his bachelor’s degree in athletic training from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. A Lincoln, Nebraska native, Thomas has experience in a variety of sports, including ice hockey, both at his alma mater and with the Omaha Lancers. At MSU he has assisted with football, and serves as the primary contact for Racer volleyball. A graduate student in addition to his role in athletic training, he is pursuing his master’s degree in human development and leadership.
Thomas talks about the individual approach that athletic trainers utilize when treating student-athletes, and the importance of keeping up with the latest technology in sports medicine on this week’s MSU Athletic Training Spotlight.
As we look at injury treatment and prevention strategies, we see that they are always changing. How do ATs stay on top of the newest technology and trends to best diagnose athletes?
“Staying on top of the research and knowing what’s current, but it also helps to have staff that is from a lot of different places. You get ideas that you’ve learned along the way, and you can pass it along to others. I think that helps keep everybody sharp, and it really benefits everyone.”
Every athlete is different, and ATs can’t always use a “one size fits all” approach to treat athletes. How do you guys really break down issues and treat athletes on an individual basis to fit their specific needs?
“I think that’s something where athletic training is really interesting and different compared to all other medicine - you really get to know your athletes. As you know your athletes, you understand how they move, how they work, how their position works, and their workload during practice and games. I think that really helps you to realize what individual needs that they have and, as the season goes on, you learn more. It helps to develop a good relationship with them to know exactly what they need.”
What is something that you have learned or something that you didn’t realize was going to be a big part of the job before you started your journey as an AT?
“I think it is communication with all of the other athletic trainers. I know at Murray State we shuffle around a lot and cover a lot of different things. I think it’s really important to have good relationships with your coworkers and to be able to help out wherever you can. It’s busy for everybody, and every athletic trainer has a lot going on. Whenever you can help out, it’s the best thing you can do.”
Since joining the Racer family, what has been your favorite Murray State
“Our win against SEMO (volleyball) on the road in a really hostile environment, in a game that we really needed to win at the time, was super gratifying. Also, our last home game of the year against Morehead State - that win was also really awesome. It was a game that we also really needed to win, against a rival that we always play well against, and it was fun to win the final game at home and send the seniors off on a win.”