Inside Athletic Training with Colleen Norgang ’03

In honor of National Athletic Training Month and Women’s History Month, we asked Head Athletic Trainer Colleen Norgang ’03 how she works with student-athletes and their coaches to mitigate injuries to ultimately improve both their performance and athletic experience. 
With the spring sports season underway, it’s a busy time for Norgang and for Director of Sports Medicine Scott Roy who can be found on the sidelines and in the athletic training room ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of all student-athletes.

Norgang, who returned to her alma mater in 2017, holds a BS in athletic training from the University of Maine, having first attended Gettysburg College where she studied health and exercise science and played basketball. At KUA, Norgang also serves as an advisor and the House Head at Hall Farm.
What made you want to pursue a career as an athletic trainer?
Growing up I thought about being a doctor and every woman in my family became a nurse. When I was a student at KUA, I took Mr. Hyjek’s sports psychology class. His stories about his work and his calm, cool personality drew me to the profession. 

Did you play sports at KUA and did that influence your career path?
I played varsity basketball and softball at KUA for all four years and was captain for both teams. Although I never needed much from my athletic trainers, I always appreciated their time and respected their work. 
What advice would you give to others who want to go into your field?
Expose yourself to the profession in as many different settings as you can. You can’t know if it is the right field for you unless you’ve seen the expectations and demands of the job firsthand.
How do you work with student-athletes and coaches to make sure players are safe and healthy?
Emergency care is a big focus of mine. Educating coaches and putting the necessary equipment and plan is place is critical. When I do continuing education, I am always drawn to emergency care whether it’s spine boarding or reducing dislocations.  
Another area which this setting allows me to delve into, is overall wellness. Here I can see and know how my athletes are doing throughout the day. Sometimes I know how they are emotionally, what they ate for breakfast, and will have already reminded them to drink water, before I even see them for their practice time.
What tips can you offer athletes or others who are trying to stay healthy during their sport or activity?
Routine is important! From sleep, to protein, hydration and getting schoolwork done, a consistent routine improves performance, decreases stress, and reduces injuries.

Hydrate! Proper Hydration plays a pivotal role in everything from performance to concussion recovery, and despite being so simple, hydration is often overlooked by athletes and coaches. If you want to hydrate adequately, aim to drink half your body weight in oz (150lbs = 75oz water)
Stretching is another integral component to performance and injury prevention. I cannot tell you how many times I educate athletes on how and when to stretch. It can be tricky to shift the mentality that stretching is far more beneficial when performed AFTER exercise. We are all busy and often when we are done with a practice or game, it’s off to the next commitment, or meal, or back on the bus. Stretching after training allows the muscles to remain elongated and reduces stress at the joints. Many coaches and athletes consider static stretching part of warming up, but a warmup should simply involve gradually increasing your intensity and blood flow. Static stretching should be part of the cool down!