Joliet students get a feel for the right fields at career fair
By Tony Graf email@example.com May 13, 2012 8:20PM
Rob Neighbors, an athletic trainer for ATI Physical Therapy, gives a demonstration on stabilizing an arm with a splint during Friday’s career fair at Gompers Junior High School in Joliet. Eighth-grader Crystal Rios (right) participated in the demonstratio
Updated: June 15, 2012 8:10AM
JOLIET — As an athletic trainer, Rob Neighbors is on constant guard for injuries on the playing field. Then he returns to the classroom to learn new techniques for his important practice.
Trainers are in the classroom more than you might think. And they work in places — other than sports settings — that you might not associate with the job title.
Eighth-graders learned this Friday when Neighbors, an athletic trainer for ATI Physical Therapy, gave a presentation at a career fair at Gompers Junior High School.
The school hosted presenters from more than a dozen different fields — including a flight attendant, a photographer and an executive assistant for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
Care for athletes
Neighbors has seen a few football fields himself, working with high school athletes on the gridiron, the soccer field, the basketball court and the baseball and softball diamonds. He takes care of cuts and bruises, sprained ankles and wrists and broken bones. And he is ready to employ CPR or use an automated external defibrillator.
“There are a lot of different situations I have to be prepared for,” Neighbors said. “So I carry a big medical kit full of tape, gauze, gloves and all kinds of medical supplies — splints. And then I carry a big cooler full of ice for injuries. And I also have my AED if something needed that situation.”
Neighbors has a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University, as well as a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology. The training does not stop there. Continuing education is required for athletic trainers, Neighbors said.
“Within every three years, you have to get 80 credits of continuing education,” he told students. “That means you have to go to approved courses. So you go and sit and learn about different techniques that are new on the market, things you can do to help you in your actual practice.”
And the trainer’s practice may extend beyond the playing field.
“They’re starting to work in industrial settings,” he said. “So you can work in a factory. If a factory worker gets hurt, you’re right there, and you can help take care of them and send them to the right people. You can work in a doctor’s office, helping the doctor with casting and evaluating patients. You can work at a physical therapy clinic.”
Danielle Adolph, regional director and clinical director at ATI Physical Therapy, also spoke to students. Both presenters gave demonstrations, which included showing how an arm is stabilized with a splint.
For the Friday career fair, Gompers eighth-graders could attend three presentations of the dozen available. Crystal Rios attended Neighbors’ session and participated in the demonstration.
“I like sports a lot, so that’s why I picked physical and athletic training,” said Rios, who plays soccer.
Other presenters Friday included Amy Blish, a flight attendant; Barbara Eberhard, a photographer; Sharon Manion, an NFL executive assistant; Matthew Chavers, a consultant; Lt. Marc Reid, of the Joliet Police Department; firefighter-EMT Greg Sopko, of the Westmont Fire Department; Carolyn Arthur, an image consultant; Michelle Chavers, a preschool teacher; and Raquell Morales, a cosmetologist. James Serrano gave a presentation on computer technology. Charles Coleman, superintendent of the Joliet Grade School District, also gave a presentation.