Interview: Amanda Drury, Educator and Athletic Trainer [Tips + Mentorship]
Being a personal trainer is a rewarding but intense profession, isn’t it? Now, try adding to that the intensity of educating and training with teenagers. Today we’re talking with Amanda Drury who will share some insight and perspective that will help you to more effectively reap the rewards of your intense vocation.
We’ll discuss how to educate students or clients to be proactive in injury prevention and rehab, how to handle heat-related illness, and how.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Meet Amanda Drury, Athletic Trainer and Educator
Schimri Yoyo: Okay, this is Schimri Yoyo with Exercise.com. We are continuing our interview series with fitness experts. And today we have Amanda Drury, who is an educator and secondary school athletic trainer in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Amanda, welcome to Exercise.com and thank you for joining us.
Amanda Drury: Anytime, thank you.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright, we’re just going to jump right into it and get a little personal intro from you. How did you first become passionate about sports medicine and training?
Amanda Drury: Well, when I was in high school, I would participate in sports, and I became injured a lot. I just enjoyed seeing therapists, physical therapists work, and I did not want to be in a clinic all day. And I did a paper in English over athletic training and that’s when I began to like it actually. It’s what I went to college for as well because being injured all the time then you, I was willing to help other people complete their dreams and play sports.
Schimri Yoyo: You turned what could have been a little bit of a minor tragedy and made it into your life’s passion and profession, that’s awesome.
Amanda Drury: Yes.
Schimri Yoyo: So what sports did you play growing up and what sports do you play now?
Amanda Drury: I grew up, I played volleyball, softball, basketball. I tried track for a year, that was not my thing. But mainly basketball and softball. Right now, I just play on a co-ed basketball team and I work out. That’s it.
Schimri Yoyo: What positions do you play?
Amanda Drury: In basketball, I play wherever they want me to play, but mainly in high school I was everything except a point guard. Softball I was a pitcher and a third baseman.
Schimri Yoyo: What is a good pre-workout meal and what is a good post-workout meal or beverage?
Amanda Drury: With my situation, I have a lot of food allergies, so it’s very hard to figure out what to eat and stuff. Pre-workout something small. For me, I do eat oatmeal, but some people might do bananas or a granola bar or something like that.
Post-workout, I used to do protein drinks—that or chocolate milk, but I can’t have dairy anymore. So I’m actually starting a new protein powder that one of my friends just sent me, and I’m going to try that with some coconut milk and then go from there. I’m still working on the kinks and trying to figure things out.
Schimri Yoyo: That saddens me, your new-found dairy allergy. My cousin had the same thing. He grew up and right around 18, 19, he developed a dairy allergy.
Amanda Drury: Yeah.
Schimri Yoyo: I don’t know if I could do it because I’m a big-time—cereal and pizza are two of my favorite foods and I don’t know what I would do without milk.
Amanda Drury: I know. I’m also allergic to gluten and eggs and garlic, it’s been very rough these past few months.
Schimri Yoyo: I’m sorry to hear that. That makes for an exciting time, I guess you could be creative with your meals though.
Amanda Drury: I do.
Schimri Yoyo: Now, which do you prefer; fall, winter, or spring sports—from a training standpoint?
Amanda Drury: It depends on the day. I really like football. I like the contact aspect of football, but it’s long hours. I would have to say winter because I only have basketball and wrestling going on. In fall, you have football, freshman, JV, I have volleyball, I have women’s soccer going on, cheering, dance, cross country. Then in the spring, I have softball, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and baseball, softball I think I said that. I would think the winter is probably my favorite just because it slows down a little bit.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s funny. I was a former educator myself, I taught in the Philadelphia public school system for almost nine years and was a high school basketball coach for the girls as well. I know how busy and filled up your schedule can get in a hurry, and I just had the one sport. It seems like in the fall you’re pretty much an indentured servant at your school.
Amanda Drury: It’s pretty nice because I can just sit back and watch the sports. Wrestling can be intense sometimes, but my team is not too intense like some other wrestling teams.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. Do you feel that you get to know your students more personally by seeing them on the extracurricular side as the trainer?
Amanda Drury: Definitely. Also, my being a high school educator as well helps out too. I have a lot of them in my class.
So they see me doing athletic training as well and so then they’re like, “I want to try out athletic trainer, I want to do something in the sport’s medicine world.” That’s nice.
Schimri Yoyo: In your opinion, why are athletic trainers so vital to high school sports?
Amanda Drury: Honestly, they can save lives. Right now in football season, it’s really hot in Nashville, Tennessee, and so, if there’s not an athletic trainer and the coaches aren’t paying attention, if someone goes into a heat stroke, they can possibly die. So there have been multiple times that athletic trainers have saved people’s lives.
Schimri Yoyo: That leads me actually to one of my other questions as well. We sometimes hear about high school or college athletes or even some pro athletes who have had serious heat-related illnesses. What are some things that student-athletes and professionals can do to prevent this from happening?
Amanda Drury: We actually have a protocol that we use for heat exhaustion. The main thing is: you want to make sure you get plenty of fluids in you. A lot of these kids come to play and they don’t eat and they don’t drink. Then, of course, they’re going to go into some type of heat exhaustion or potentially go to heatstroke.
But, with our county, in our county, we actually have a protocol. If it’s a certain temperature they have to take two-minute breaks and if it’s over a certain temperature, we can’t practice. I also have huge tubs full of ice and different things to help out if we go into that route, which I pray we don’t. My coaches are very good about listening to me and when I say hey, we’ve got to take a break, they take a break. I’m very blessed in that aspect.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good and with that protocol do you find you guys ever run through drills or simulate certain scenarios like that just for practices?
Amanda Drury: We have an emergency action plan that we do and so every season I go over it with them, which I’m about to do that here in the next few weeks because we start full pads in two weeks actually.
So we’re just doing regular seven on sevens, so it’s not pad because they’re not in full pads. We actually also have a three day. They start with shells, just the helmets, and the pads. They have to do that for three days before they can actually do full pads, so they can get acclimated to the heat. The new student comes in, they have to do that protocol as well.
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Schimri Yoyo: Okay. In your opinion, what’s the relationship between injury prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation?
Amanda Drury: Well, in honesty if you prevent the injury that helps out tremendously as well. But you know, there are certain injuries that you can’t prevent. For instance, I had an athlete that was playing a little seven on seven, caught the ball, ran into a fence and has 11 stitches in his knee right now. You can’t prevent that aspect, but your muscle strains and things like that, you can incorporate different types of really good warmups.
So, with my football team, we incorporated warmups before they play and then my coaches finally let me do a cool down with them after practice to help eliminate that injury, [to be proactive with] prevention. If we can eliminate the small injuries, the muscle strains, that helps out tremendously.
Plus, we have a strength conditioning coach that does a lot of our workouts too. So, in that scenario—again, there are just some athletes that are more prone to injuries. Last year I had a kid with a torn ACL. He was one of my strongest kids, it’s just some kids are born with different—unable to, how can I say this—genetic wise. His father had issues and so he just couldn’t help it.
Schimri Yoyo: Physiologically, some people are more susceptible to injuries.
Amanda Drury: Correct. So you know with that being said, he has surgery with one of our doctors that I work for and then we did some rehabilitation with him.
Schimri Yoyo: Would you say that doing some stretches or light exercises before and after a workout or a practice would help go a long way to preventing injury?
Amanda Drury: Definitely. A dynamic warm-up is the key before starting. Then after practice, a cool down, a nice stretch. I know a lot of teams—our volleyball team incorporates yoga as well to help out, to eliminate some injuries as well. To prevent them.
Schimri Yoyo: Can you explain how you prepare students in your classes for their future careers in the health industry, health field?
Amanda Drury: I teach the basic health science class, which I just introduce them to different medical professionalism and different job opportunities. Then after that, they go to human anatomy and physiology, so they get more in-depth into the actual body. Then their third science, they do with me is called sports medicine.
So they actually get to do different types of observation hours, they learn how to tape ankles, they learn how to prevent heat illnesses, they learn about concussions, and then in their fourth year, they have a clinical internship and they’re able to go out on the field to intern something they want to do in the medical field.
Schimri Yoyo: So it seems like when they first start with you, your main job is to cultivate a love of the science and then throughout that they develop practical experiences along the way.
Amanda Drury: Right. Yes. We start at the beginning and it just keeps going up. Then we also have a club that I’m an advisor for called HOSA, future health care professionals, so a lot of them join that and it’s a series of doing volunteer work. Like we deliver gifts for others around Christmas time.
Schimri Yoyo: What was the name of the club again? Just for the record?
Amanda Drury: HOSA, it’s H-O-S-A.
Schimri Yoyo: I just wanted to make sure I heard you properly the first time.
Amanda Drury: There are different competitive events, so they sign up for an event and they compete in it. For instance, that one girl that completed a physical therapy assistant, she got first in regionals, went to state, got fifth.
If you make it in the top three, you get to go to internationals, which was in Orlando this year. That also gives them the opportunity to see what they’re going to do to.
Sometimes it’s good for them to take these classes because they’re like, “Oh I don’t want to do this.” So they don’t have to waste any college years either.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. What does a typical day look like for you as a teacher and as an athletic trainer?
Amanda Drury: I get to the high school around 7:15 in the morning. We start school at 7:50. I usually work out before I go. There are some teachers that get here at 4:00 a.m. and I’m like, “I can’t do that.”
Anyway, I teach all day long. There are seven classes I teach and then at 3:00 when school is out, I come over into the athletic training room and start preparing athletes for practices or games. For instance, a good day for me I’m done about 6:00, 6:30.
On days we have games, for instance, on Tuesday nights I have late-night practices for football and usually soccer, so I’m not actually home until about 10 pm. Then, Friday night football is—depends—but it can be 1:00, 2:00 a.m. Long days.
Schimri Yoyo: Now I’m beginning to understand why fall is such a load for you.
Amanda Drury: Yes.
Schimri Yoyo: What injury do you have the most experience with or do you see the most during your seasons?
Amanda Drury: I have to say ankle sprains. The ATF ligament. I just see lots of ankle sprains. I try to incorporate with my strength and conditioning coach to incorporate different type of strengthening for the ankles and different things like that. I work on balance. That’s the most common one I see actually.
Schimri Yoyo: What are some exercises or activities that you think are most beneficial for a high school athlete as they’re developing?
Amanda Drury: Definitely a good weight training program. It’s good to do overall bodyweight training. I’m a big fan of high-intensity workouts, but I know my strength coach is big on heavy weights and getting them bigger, but I also feel like we need to incorporate some type of cardiovascular aspect in it. While you are running, working on the mechanisms and the techniques.
But just getting the stronger is the main key for my athletes. It all depends on the sport too. Volleyball, you want to concentrate more on your core and jumping and the vertical, so you have to have a strong core. Well actually, you need a strong core for all sports. That’s the key thing. So any kid I do rehab with, I incorporate core with them as well.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. Along that line, what is an easy thing that an active person, young or old, can do to build their core and to prevent injuries? Something that they can do at home without the assistance at a trainer?
Amanda Drury: They can definitely do core stretching, you can do that at home anytime. Any type of core exercises, I would say low back exercises will help out because you see a lot of people with back issues. You have your planks, you have full situps, it all depends on the age range actually. This is an elderly person, I’m not going to have them do a full sit up, because they’re probably not going to be able to do that. So they’ll probably have a Thera-ball to lay on or something like that. Active people, they can do all different types of core exercises.
Schimri Yoyo: And how can you encourage young people to maximize their physical potential without succumbing to burn out or risking injury?
Amanda Drury: Taking time off. I feel like a lot of, well from Dr. Andrews, I don’t know if you know him, he’s one of the top orthopedics in the country.
Schimri Yoyo: Oh yeah, Dr. Andrews obviously, he’s a legend. He’s so legendary that he was the team doctor for both Alabama and Auburn football as well as the professional football team in Washington D.C.
Amanda Drury: He is. Yes.
At our last convention, Dr. Andrews was there speaking and he tells the athletes to play more than one sport. Don’t just play one sport. Don’t specialize in one sport. Because you get burnout and you get overuse injuries and so it’s great to do multiple sports.
I feel like nowadays college scouts are telling the athletes—they prefer athletes that play more than one sport, because if you continue to play one sport and you never take a break, you’re going to have those overuse injuries. There is going to be burnout, and so I always tell me kids take a break if you need to. We have a dead period for two weeks, which is huge I think. That helps them rest and recover to get them ready for the fall sports.
Schimri Yoyo: Taking a break. That is such good advice. What, in your estimation, is the best way to be proactive with your daily fitness and nutrition?
Amanda Drury: You definitely need to eat healthily. Everybody has their own things. My preference is for small meals. Make sure you have a good breakfast. If you can’t run or you can’t, some people aren’t able to run, some people don’t want to. Just walking or even low impact swimming or elliptical, just something to keep you moving throughout the day. That helps you mentally and physically.
Schimri Yoyo: What is your favorite part about being an educator and how do you use your education background as you are training and helping a student or an athlete through rehab?
Amanda Drury: The educator aspect, I love helping my students, seeing them succeed. Seeing them actually enjoy taking the classes and then when they graduate, seeing them go onto college to do something in the medical field. Or, if I have a student athletic who becomes a trainer, it’s good to see them when they become an actual athletic trainer.
The rehab, I can use in different ways. My students and athletes, if they have a torn ACL, I can actually bring them into my classroom to teach my kids, “Okay this is the test I did to see if he had a positive ACL tear.”
I can do things like that. It’s really nice to have both. Of course, when I’m there during the day, they call me, “Miss Drury, we need you here, we need you here for this or that.” Kind of hectic sometimes, but I can use what I do on the field and bring it into my classroom or vice versa. Kids can do stuff as well.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s right, it’s like a continuum.
Amanda Drury: Yes.
Schimri Yoyo: Do you have any other aspirations for yourself in the sports fitness or sports training industry?
Amanda Drury: I eventually want to get my certification and personal training. The CSCS is what I’m working towards. Next year I’ll be teaching exercise science at the high school level, plus I always want to enhance my knowledge of different things.
I’m constantly going to different types of classes, different CAUs, but all in all, my ultimate goal in life is just pretty much be a teacher and then do athletic training part-time. But also, in case something like that doesn’t happen, I can also do personal training as well.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Well again, thank you for your time, Amanda. Final question, I know this wasn’t on the sheet, I just thought of it. You can be honest. Have your football coaches ever used you for scouting against the other team as you’re on the sidelines?
Amanda Drury: Actually no. They have not.
Schimri Yoyo: Is that something you’re interested in.
Amanda Drury: But they sometimes be like if a kid goes down, they’ll tell me to be like, “Okay we’re just wasting the time right now.” Or, they’re like, when I go over and check on them, and it’s one of the other team’s best players, they’ll be like, “Okay, tell them that he can’t go.” Hahaha.
So I’ll go back out on the field. That’s the way, that’s the only thing they ever had me do. Not really scout or anything, but if the other player gets injured that’s really good. They’ll be like, take the time. Things like that.
Schimri Yoyo: Exactly, stall a little bit now.
Amanda Drury: Yes.
Schimri Yoyo: Well again, thank you for your time.
Amanda Drury: No problem.
Schimri Yoyo: Good luck to you this upcoming season and this upcoming school year. I know that’s a very time-consuming profession and I definitely appreciate the effort that you put in, in the classroom and on the field.
Amanda Drury: Well, thank you so much.
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Schimri Yoyo is a writer for Exercise.com and a financial advisor with active life and health insurance licenses. In a past life, he covered Villanova Men’s Basketball and Big East Football for Examiner.com. Schimri has also produced freelance copywriting, editing, and proofreading for various websites and online publications for over a decade. He is an avid sports fan, possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco 49ers. Schimri is an educator and a storyteller who is eager to assist individuals and families to stay financially and physically fit.