District 8 News from California, Hawaii and Nevada

AT Moms Find Support

“AT Moms Find Support With Facebook Group,” featured in the February NATA News shared how Sara Whiteside, MS, ATC, and Christy Carlson, MAED, ATC, used the social media platform to connect athletic trainers who are also mothers around the country. Since its formation, Athletic Training Moms: We do it all! has grown to 325 members. A portion of those members shared words of wisdom on the importance of work-life balance.

What advice would you give to athletic training moms in regards to work-life balance?


Aimee Kelly Smith

“Make your time off of work yours, and yours alone. Turn off the phone, and focus on your family. Those hours are precious, so make the most of them! Find ways to bring the family with you to work. My boys love helping the team with water bottles, or fetching bandages or tape from my kit,” Aimee Kelly Smith, ATC, Indiana, high school setting

“The time that we have to spend away from our children gives the opportunity for our family, friends or daycare workers to enrich our children’s lives in ways that will help them grow up into well-rounded individuals. During that time away from our children, we have the opportunity, as ATs, to enrich the lives of our athletes in ways that no other profession has the opportunity to do,” Carita Mills, ATC, West Virginia


Christy Carlson

“Family first: our coaches (most of them) preach this and we need to remember its importance as well. We have a caring nature naturally as ATs and think all of the athletes are “our kids,” but at the end of the day, it’s our own family we need to put first and foremost. Balance is key and can be obtained; we are strong and both are so rewarding,” Christy Carlson, MAED, ATC, Virginia, high school setting

“Balance is key with being a mommy AT. Having supportive doctors, co-workers, administration and coaches also helps adjust to your new life. Keep a schedule, but be flexible with changes. God, family, football is the Team Taylor way!” Ciara Taylor, MS, ATC, LAT, Alabama, clinic/high school outreach

“For athletic trainers, our athletes and coaches are just like family. Find ways to blend the work family and personal family together. It makes for less stress, more fun and the joy of staying in a profession you love. Work setting and support are key! I am a morning momma and afternoon AT,” Cindy Riley, MS, ATC, Maryland


Cindy Riley

“You are given sick days and personal days – don’t be afraid to use them. Your babies will only be babies once,” Danielle Skiba, ACT, New Jersey, high school setting

“‘Mommy guilt’ is real and many of us beat ourselves up over the demands of AT life. Quality versus quantity – you may not get all the time you had hoped for, but what time you do get, make it count! Your kids will know what resiliency, hard work and sacrifice truly mean from watching you!” Erica Dunkelberger, ATC, VATL, Virginia, high school setting

“I have been blessed to be given the opportunity to switch from the field AT setting to the educational role. Even with a ‘normal schedule’ it stills brings challenges, especially when students want to give up their dream as an AT because they want a family in the future. As a mother of two, it’s truly about balance. Incorporating your family with your career is a great way to set an example to your children. If you are strong enough to become a professional in this field, you are strong enough to balance a career you deserve with the family you love,” Erin Diebler, EMT-B, PES, ATC, Ohio, university setting


Jamie DeRollo

“Don’t be afraid to speak up or ask for help. Other co-workers are parents, too, and understand the stress of being a working mom,” Jackie Durst, ATC, LAT, Maryland, university setting

“It is in our nature to feel torn between our family and our profession. Communication is key – with your spouse and with your school/coaches. For scheduling during breaks or holidays, I ask the coaches in advance and try and get them to practice during a block of time so I am not at work 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.” Jamie DeRollo, MBA, ATC, EMT, California, community college setting

“Don’t be afraid to say ‘no.’ I’m blessed to spend the mornings with my boys and the afternoons with my other kids (athletes). My boys get the opportunity to see Mommy do what she loves, while learning what hard work, respect and teamwork is,” Jena Harris, MS, ATC, Pennsylvania, high school setting


Jennifer Haramande

“We have our kids/athletes 50-plus hours a week, but our own children every second of the day. We have a lot on our plate as AT moms. Take help when offered and ask for help when needed. Anywhere from babysitting while at work to getting a home cooked meal sent over, every little bit helps. It isn’t always easy, but we make it work – after all athletic trainers are the best at multitasking!” Jennifer Harmande, ATC, CFST, New Jersey, secondary school setting


Katie Rosa

“My schedule allows me to be Mommy in the mornings and AT in the evenings. While my kids are tiny, this is an ideal schedule,” Katie Rosa, ATC, Tennessee, secondary school setting

“I am lucky enough to be able to bring my little one to work with me sometimes. I believe when athletes see you as a mom, they see a different side of you and trust and respect you even more,” Kim Schimmoeller, ATC, Ohio, university setting


Lyneice Levi

“Don’t be afraid to not separate work and family. If possible, these two very personal components can work well together. The more work sees you as a person, the easier and with less guilt you can say, ‘my kids sick, I’m not coming in, I know you understand.’ It’s also beneficial as you now have a huge support system to help during those emergent situations. Let your kids see the professional you and let your athletes/coaches see the personal you,” Lyniece McNair-Levi, MS, ATC, Michigan, high school setting

“I think it’s important to remember your family comes first, always. My daughter came down with an ear infection and I felt guilty about not being at work. It’s hard to take time off when there isn’t someone to fill your shoes last minute. I don’t want AT moms to feel badly about taking care of their family,” Mary Chabolla, ATC, Virginia, high school setting


Megan Gallagher

“Strong support systems at work and at home are key. If you are a new mom, give yourself time to adjust and learn your new roles without putting too much pressure on yourself,” Megan Gallagher, MSEd, ATC, VATL, Virginia, secondary school setting

“When your kids are young it’s hard to be away during bedtime routines. I just had to remind myself that there are all types of careers that require parents to be away from their families. All careers have pros and cons. You just have to decide if this is the one you are committed to. Fifteen years in with a 7 and 10 year old, my husband and I make it work,” Melissa Olson Black, MS, ATC, Virginia, high school setting

“Learn the word ‘no.’ Your family comes first. Ask for support from those you work for – most have a family and understand your struggles. And enjoy the moments with the little ones – it goes by quick!” Niki Gay, MS, ATC, South Carolina, clinic outreach

“Your school will not fall apart if you can’t be there due to family business. Remember look at the bigger picture and make sure you put things in perspective,” Rachel Moore, ATC, Maryland


Sara Salvato

“Home is home; leave work at work. Spend every second you can with them, even if that means they’re at work with you! My child is building so many skills by being around coaches and athletes. And I have found it is good for my athletes, too!” Rachel Petty, ATC, Missouri, university setting

“I love that my daughter gets to grow up around such wonderful role models. Anytime I get the opportunity, I bring my daughter out to the field with me. She loves getting to help mommy take care of the big kids,” Sara Salvato, ATC, Virginia, high school setting



Courtesy of Beth Sitzler, NATA News Managing Editor (

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