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In honor of National Athletic Training Month this March, USA Volleyball proudly recognizes Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa), Director of Sports Medicine and Performance and U.S. Men’s Volleyball Athletic Trainer, and Jill Wosmek (Silver Lake, Minn.), U.S. Women’s Volleyball Athletic Trainer, for their exceptional work in a field with a job description that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the services these medical professionals provide.
“Our athletic trainers are an integral and essential part of our staff,” said U.S. Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Hugh Mccutcheon. “We are extremely fortunate to have Jill [Wosmek] and Aaron [Brock] working with USA Volleyball. Having worked with them both, I can say that they are excellent athletic trainers and even better people. It's great to have them working with our national teams.”
Photo: Newsport/Rick Rickman Brock and Wosmek, along with most certified athletic trainers, are strong-pressed not to be called, “trainers”. Athletic trainers are often confused with personal trainers at workout facilities, but are actually medical professionals certified with the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) who have a bachelor’s degree if not a master’s degree, and have passed the rigorous Board of Certification (BOC) exam. They are the gateway to the medial advice and care of their athletes, either treating them personally or creating the most efficient and effective path to the best providers.
“I think as a certified athletic trainer I am very conscience not be called a ‘trainer’,” Wosmek noted. “Athletic trainer in my terms is an all-encompassing sports medicine professional.”
Both Brock and Wosmek are vital members of their respected U.S. national teams, becoming a staple in the every-day physical, mental, and nutritional parts of the teams’ lives.
“I know a lot of times I become a mentor, a voice of reason, a cheerleader, and a ‘parent’,” Wosmek said.
In addition to never-ending work and specific program management for each and every player, the relatively new staff of the U.S. Men’s National Team relies on Brock’s knowledge and experience with the players to create their daily schedules ranging from their nutrition all the way to sleeping cycles.
“My job and Jill’s job is an increased role with USA Volleyball because we design and coordinate the entire medial and performance program,” Brock said. “That includes strength and conditioning, injury management, nutrition, and daily regiment and organization. Everything falls under our umbrella.”
Currently in his seventh season with the USA Volleyball, including the 2008 gold medal victory in Beijing, Brock prides himself on confidentiality, not only because it is the law, but for the protection of his athletes.
Photo: USA Volleyball/ Bill Kauffman “Confidentiality of these athletes’ injuries is crucial in creating a relationship with the people that I work with everyday,” Brock said. “The HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ) law is set up to insure that no medical information is released without a patient’s consent, something Jill and I take very seriously.”
Brock’s athletes recognize his dedication to the team and never take the skills and intelligence that he offers for granted. He is more-so their teammate who happens to be their medical professional.
“Simply put, Aaron is the best,” Reid Priddy, USA Volleyball gold medalist and current national team member, said. “He invests his whole being into his work and approaches the health, wellbeing and preparedness of his players with a passion. That is why he has earned the trust of so many of his players.”
With six years of athletic training experience, Wosmek enters her second year as the full-time certified athletic trainer for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team. Like Brock’s, Wosmek’s service to the U.S. Women’s Team is key to the success of the program and the athletes.
“In January, I tore my meniscus in my right knee while playing in Italy,” U.S. Women’s National Team member, Christa Harmotta said. “Jill was able to contact the best personnel and arrange accordingly, prior to my return to the USA. She has been an important asset to this team and getting athletes back on the court as quickly and professionally as possible, as well as providing injury prevention programs. Jill was a huge part of my speedy recovery and strong rehabilitation program and I am now back in Italy competing again.”
Athletic trainers are the first responders to any illness or injury scene and become the gatekeepers to the extended medical world. With knowledge of each athlete’s individual tendencies and medical history, these athletic trainers decide the best route of treatment.
“We are the first stop for any continual sickness or illness,” Brock said. “We have about 15 physicians, 10 massage therapists and physical therapists that we work with on a regular basis.”
The outgoing and compassionate personalities shared by both Wosmek and Brock are no secret in the medical and volleyball world, something Brock stresses is vital to becoming successful in this field of work. Having a positive attitude is contagious to the athletes as well as other important medical professionals.
“Not only is his hands-on care exceptional, but since the U.S. national teams’ move to Anaheim, Aaron has built an impressive network of the best doctors, specialist and manual therapist in the area all in efforts to better the care and attention of the athletes,” Priddy said. “
Recently there has been a push to socially and culturally re-define the term, “athletic trainer.” There are still three states, including California, that do not have a required license for athletic training as a medical profession.
For more information about Athletic Trainers please visit http://www.nata.org/athletic-training.