Lucy Gomez Riley
Athletic training, M.S.
Why did you become an athletic trainer?
I became an athletic trainer because I am passionate about the human body and the human spirit. I have literally witnessed miracles and have learned that people are made of so much more than bones and soft tissue.
What are your current position/job responsibilities?
My current responsibilities are to design and implement injury prevention programs for all of Delta’s customer service employees. I also provide them with first aid services, injury assessments and health and wellness education. I also attend meetings weekly with Delta’s local management to identify injury trends and develop ways of addressing our findings. I also attend an annual summit with Delta’s corporate management to discuss what programs work at the local level and determine whether they can be implemented across the entire system.
What do you love about your job? What keeps you coming back?
The best part of my job is the incredible people that I get to work with. No two days are EVER the same. I can see anyone, from pilots to baggage handlers, and they each have a unique set of challenges inherent to their work environment. They are what keeps me coming back. Working with a population that is not used to having athletic trainers around is awesome. I get to be an ambassador for the profession every day and it isn’t a task that I take lightly. The employees are all very grateful for what we bring to the table and we have had a lot of success even though we have only been open for 18 months. Within our first year alone, we have decreased Delta’s injury rate by 30%.
What is the toughest and/or least favorite part of the job?
The toughest part of the job is paperwork. Nobody likes it, but it is absolutely essential. I have to track all of my injury data and present it to the management teams and answer any questions they may have about my clinic’s metrics.
What is a typical day like for you?
On a typical day, I begin work at 11 a.m. It takes me a while to actually get to my office because I stop and check in with my injured workers and make sure that everyone is okay. I then take a few minutes to look over my emails, then I head out onto the tarmac. Most of my time is spent encouraging employees to work more safely, or to follow up with any current injuries. Occasionally, I have to perform my injury assessment on the tarmac as well. I attend a daily briefing with the agents and perform a dynamic warm-up with them before their shift. I then stick around in case there are any questions that need to be answered (which is often the case). I then return to my office to give the employees a chance to work out. I finish off the day by calculating my room visits and breaking down the visits into injury visits, fitness visits or injury prevention visits.
What are the similarities/differences between your setting and traditional AT?
The similarities between my setting and a traditional setting are many. The management hierarchy within the airline is very similar to that in football and I report to each management level accordingly. A lot of the injuries that I see with the airline are musculoskeletal in nature as well. The main difference between my setting and the traditional setting is that I cannot perform rehabilitation in my clinic.
What is the best piece of advice you have received during your career?
Every decision that you make on the field must be efficient and proficient. Never come to work unless you are ready to save a life. Always be a student.
What is your fondest memory of your time in the CBU ATEP?
I have too many fond memories with my classmates, never underestimate the bond you share with the people in your cohort.
What was the toughest part of your academic experience in the ATEP and how did this
My toughest experience in the ATEP was when I didn’t get along with my ACI. It made me stronger because it made me more assertive and made me deal with conflict in a professional manner while still standing my ground.
What was the best learning experience or most difficult moment of your clinical field
experience in the ATEP? Why?
The best learning experience I ever had in the ATEP was when my ACI let me take the reins completely. He was never too far away, but he left all of the clinical decision making up to me and it was the best way for me to learn and really helped prepare me for the job that I currently have. I work completely alone, so any decisions that I make, I own entirely.
Is there any advice you would share for current ATS/young professionals?
Don’t be afraid and never make any decisions based on fear. It is always okay to take a second to collect yourself. You know what you are doing, you just have to trust your instincts and your training.
Anything else you would like to share/say to the ATEP family?
Athletic training is truly an amazing profession and it is growing. It is growing so fast and you are all at the crest of the wave. Don’t stop dreaming and don’t ever stop reaching for more, because it is there for the taking. Always be an ambassador for the profession and enjoy your time at CBU because it is precious.