Eli Zucksworth is the Director of Institutional and Student Compliance at Redlands Community College (RCC) in El Reno, OK. A nationally certified and licensed athletic trainer, Zucksworth teaches several athletic training program courses at the college. Recently, he began using a new tool with his students: Realityworks’ Knee and Ankle Sports Injury Assessment Trainer.
“I was very impressed with the technology,” said Zucksworth, who has been with RCC since 2007. “I’ve been practicing for a number of years and, fortunately/unfortunately, had the opportunity to feel several different injuries over the years, especially with knee and ankle, and it really was almost eerie how realistic it is.”
Director of Institutional and Student Compliance
Redlands Community College (RCC)
El Reno, OK
Realityworks’ Knee and Ankle Sports Injury Assessment Trainer is a unique tool that helps students learn how to diagnose and test common sports injuries. This is particularly helpful when real-life examples are not available. Its articulating joints and muscles allow students in athletic training programs to get hands-on practice assessing a variety of common ligament and tendon tears.
Zucksworth’s courses prepare students for their certification in personal training. However, these students aren’t all interested in becoming personal trainers; some are pursuing athletic training, physical therapy or occupational therapy.
As Zucksworth was looking into different models to use in his classes, he came across the knee and ankle trainer.
“[The students] see the [injury] description, hear the description, but to feel it is something else entirely,” said Zucksworth. “Many students coming out of athletic training and other related programs have never felt a torn ACL before entering the field.”
After securing funding via a grant through the college, Zucksworth incorporated the trainer into his curriculum immediately.
“I took it out of the box and looked over the instructions, of course, but it was so easy to assemble: just one screw,” Zucksworth said. “Being able to conduct a Lachman test for the ACL, there are different variations of that same test, and you can do almost every single variant on the trainer. That is nice for the students’ preference and abilities.”
One of the most crucial skills for an athletic trainer to master is injury assessment. Zucksworth uses the trainer to show students how to evaluate different sports injuries, allowing the students to feel the difference between a healthy knee or ankle and an injured one.
Zucksworth starts off by using the simulator to demonstrate what a healthy leg feels like before adjusting it to the injury he wants to show students.
“Then I’d have them do the same action again,” Zucksworth explained. “Seeing their eyes just light up in recognition – they were just blown away.”
“[The trainer] is so repeatable,” Zucksworth observed. “I can sit there and do a Lachman on it over and over again, and I get the same end feel, whether it’s torn or not. I’m not having to fight muscle guarding, where it doesn’t matter who you get, they’ll subconsciously muscle guard, which could hinder a new student from getting an end feel on a ligament test.”
To evaluate his athletic training program students, Zucksworth said he plans to cover the dial information on the trainer. Students will evaluate the injury without knowing what it is. This is an exercise Zucksworth has used before in his other courses to add a critical thinking component to the class.
Zucksworth’s future plans include using the trainer with allied health students to help them understand anatomy, as well as using the trainer at local coaching clinics to review sports medicine basics with area coaches.
“Being able to use the trainer as a demonstration and model is huge,” Zucksworth said. “If I use a typical skeleton model or photos, photos are two-dimensional. A skeleton isn’t real. It’s not what we see when we look at a patient. Being able to sit there and demonstrate an actual appendage of a human, and showing [students] that, for instance, they’re going to have to see with their hands is big.”
Learning tools used:
Knee and Ankle Sports Injury Assessment Trainer
Use this one-of-a-kind Knee and Ankle Sports Injury Assessment Trainer to help students learn how to diagnose and test common sports injuries when real-life examples are not available.