James Madison University

AT Student Presents at VATA Conference

By: Dina Manco
Posted: March 26, 2015

PHOTO:Ty Bigelow

In January, the Virginia Athletic Trainers Association (VATA) held their Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposium in Glen Allen, Virginia. The conference is an event for athletic training professionals and students to further their education and develop professional networks in the field. One JMU student, Ty Bigelow (’16), was selected to present findings on treatment for iron deficiency and anemia. In order to be considered to present, Bigelow submitted an abstract of his project to VATA. He was one of five students in the state chosen to present at the conference.

Bigelow’s case presentation is a result from the ATEP 392: Practicum II in Athletic Training course. His study involves an analysis of Iron Deficiency. According to Bigelow, other topics students presented at the conference ranged from "Effect of Impact Mechanism on Head Accelerations in Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse" to "Staged Surgical Procedure for a Traumatic Multi-Ligament Injury of a Professional Basketball Player." Iron deficiency’s large presence in athletes is what sets Bigelow’s case study apart from the others. “About 50% of female athletes have some level of iron deficiency…While there were very specific cases presented, mine is a topic that is prevalent in athletes and not many people are aware of the various causes and treatments,” he explains.

In his study, Bigelow worked with a team physician who treated an iron deficient athlete. The first treatment used was to increase the athlete’s intake of iron with oral supplements. When this method was ineffective in raising the athlete’s iron level to normal, the next consideration was to figure out why the body failed to properly absorb the nutrient. The treatment option was to use an IV to infuse iron directly into the bloodstream, bypassing any absorption barriers. This proved to be a unique and effective method to increase the athlete’s iron levels.

Athletic training faculty member Dr. Connie Peterson worked with Bigelow on his presentation for the conference. She comments, “Our entire staff could not be more proud of him…I think any time students take advantage of these unique opportunities they grow, they learn, and they are better off for it.” She adds, “Learning and professional development are about rising to meet challenges. Ty knocked this one out of the park and now has something really impressive on his resume, which will help to set him apart from others that he may be competing with for a position/job in the future.”

Bigelow states, “Being selected was definitely an honor to begin with…Just from such positive feedback, I am looking to present at the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association meeting and potentially to the National Athletic Trainers Association in the summer. I would like to try to get this case presentation published.”

Bigelow plans to attend graduate school after he receives his undergraduate degree in athletic training from JMU. His goal is to work with a college athletic team in the future.

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