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TECO partners with USF SMART Institute

USF athletic trainers and athletic training students are gearing up to provide their expertise beyond the conventional sports realm, as a new partnership between USFs Sport Medicine and Accident Related Trauma (SMART) Institute and Tampa Electric Company (TECO) is set to begin this April.

The new program, created by Dr. Barbara Morris, an adjunct professor of athletic training at USFs SMART Institute and Darrell Smith, TECO safety coordinator, will allow USF athletic training students to get experience in the industrial world while providing TECO linemen with advice in preventing accidents and injuries on the job.

Morris said the relationship between TECO and USFs SMART Institute has been in cultivation for the last year and a half.

I was contacted by TECO as my role as SMART assistant director to do some educational things with their workers on sprains and strains and heat illness, so I had put together presentations and attended their safety meetings, Morris said. We started to talk about other ways we could partner on things. Ive asked TECO if we could do a module in my exercise prescription class on industrial workers. Theyve agreed and are very excited.

The students will be able to observe the linemen and provide corrective feedback on issues such as proper lifting techniques, the pivoting of feet and core strengthening, Morris said.

We think of athletic trainers working only with sports teams, but we can look at the lineman job as a sport, Morris said.

Safety on the job and preventing on-site accidents is a number one concern at TECO, Cherie Jacobs, TECO spokeswoman, said.

Seventy percent of injuries are sprains and strains, Jacobs said. This approach will hopefully help injuries heal faster and increase overall performance. So far this approach has resonated well with our employees.

The partnership between TECO and USFs SMART institute, Jacobs said, has proved to be beneficial for TECO employees so far.

Its an avenue for employment for the athletic training students, Morris said. Its also an avenue for places like TECO to see what athletic trainers can do on the work side.

Taylor Creedon, a student in the sports medicine program, said he looks forward to the expansion of traditional roles.

With our courses we are taught that tissue is tissue and will heal as such whether the patient is an athlete or not, Creedon said. I hope TECO and USF sports medicine will eventually reach an agreement to facilitate learning in this industrial work environment as this partnership will show …students that the field of Athletic Training is expanding beyond the courts and fields where we are traditionally observed.