Whatever it takes to get an athlete ready to play safely

Steve Taylor is not your traditional athletic trainer. His main gig is with the DC Fire Department–his side hustle is picking up shifts at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD). MSSD is part of a 150-year history of educating deaf and hard of hearing students on the campus of Gallaudet University.

So how different is it to work at the MSSD? We sat down with Steve to get some insight on how he operates at the school.

If you’d be interested in a contract job at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf, click here!

Name: Steve Taylor, ATC

Nickname: Just Steve

Alma Mater: Ohio State University  

What’s your current gig: Athletic trainer with DC FEMS.

Most Important Thing in Your Bag: Gauze

What’s a day in the life life?
Very diverse and fast paced.

How do you communicate with players/coaches on the sidelines?
Currently, I work in a tactical setting so I do not communicate with players and coaches on the sidelines.

Do you do anything differently when evaluating a player with hearing loss?
Yes I do! I use a board to write instructions, ask questions, and evaluate orthopedic injuries.

Are there any rule modifications or practice modifications that MSSD utilizes?
They use lights and vibrations to let players know what is going on on the field.

Do you know ASL or have you learned any new signs from working these shifts?
No, I do not know ASL, but I have picked up a lot while working.

What should other ATs know about working with athletes with different abilities and/or hearing loss?Athletes with different abilities and hearing loss have been some of the most kind and respectful athletes I have worked with.

What is your biggest take away from working these shifts?
I feel this is a very accepting group, they make me feel a part of the family and are understanding that I don’t know sign language.

Anything else you’d like other ATs to know about the school?
It’s a great school, with a great athletic director, great coaches, and a very fun place to work.

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