SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. -- Since March is National Athletic Training Month, it seems fitting to reflect on the positive affect that Mr. Jim Weyand has had in his first year as Union Catholic's Athletic Trainer. 

National Athletic Training Month is sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA), the professional members association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession. NATA represents more than 45,000 members worldwide.

Athletic Trainers (ATs) are highly-skilled health care professionals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to provide compassionate health care for athletes, patients, soldiers, workers and performers.

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Mr. Weyand, a 2012 graduate of Union Catholic who was was named the Head Athletic Trainer at his alma mater last summer, has made an immediate impact at UC.  

"Jim's been phenomenal for our teams,'' said Mr. Dave Luciano, Union Catholic's Athletic Director. "He's all about the prevention of injuries, and that's really opened my eyes. I've gotten great feedback from our coaches and players on how professional Jim has been and how they appreciate his attention to detail. His rehab and prevention tactics and also when a injury does happen is dealing with our student athletes and doctors and getting them back on the field or the court has been top notch. He wants to continue to move forward with the times in his field. He wants to push the envelope a little bit with some new style and techniques and I think that will benefit our athletic department for years to come. He's always up on new forms of treatments. He's definitely ahead of the curve.''

Weyand, who graduated from Binghamton University with a B.A. in Physics and a Minor in Health and Wellness Studies and received a Master of Science in Athletic Training from Seton Hall University, said National Athletic Training Month is a time to create awareness. 

"The profession is trying to make sure they highlight what Athletic Trainers do because there is a lot of confusion or assumptions about what goes on in the profession and what the scope of practice is,'' said Weyand. "Starting with the name itself, a lot of people just refer to us as trainers and you think of a personal trainer or a fitness trainer who just works out with you. So it's about getting everyone used to saying Athletic Trainer.'' 

Athletic Trainers do more than many people think.

"In terms of what I do and other Athletic Trainers do, we are the eyes and ears for physicians because they are the ones that ultimately oversee us, but they cannot be everyone at once. My education is in preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehab of injuries and other medical conditions. And a big thing that a lot of people don't know unless you've directly worked with an Athletic Trainer is they can work in the college setting, secondary school setting, and in hospitals and clinics throughout the world, and they can work directly with physicians,'' said Weyand.

Weyand says he tries to do as much as he can for the student-athletes at Union Catholic. 

"I try to handle everything in house, whether it's minor bumps and bruises, but I also know what the limit is to my scope of practice and if I think something is severe enough that worthy to send to a doctor, I don't hesitate to do that,'' said Weyand. "I also provide a lot of rehab services for Union Catholic, and I think of I've done a good job this year of getting the athletes back on the field and on the court.''