Spine & Rehab Specialists - August 2021

AUGUST 2021

6358 EDGEMERE BLVD. EL PASO, TEXAS 79925 915-562-8525

11855 PHYSICIANS DR. EL PASO, TEXAS 79936 915-855-6466

BREAKING BARRIERS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL HOW BONNIE BECAME ONE OF THE SPORT’S FIRST FEMALE ATHLETIC TRAINERS

August is finally here, and in our house, that means one thing: It’s almost college football season! I can’t wait to be back to volunteering on the sidelines at UTEP and cheering for the UTEP graduates during their NFL games. My love of college football goes back a long way. When I was a little girl, my father worked for the Civil Service at Fort Bliss. He almost always had to go into work on Saturday mornings so he could be home by noon. Those weekend mornings were special during college football season. My sister and I used to stay home alone (we were 10 and 11), and my dad would always call at 11 a.m. sharp.

“Bonnie, turn on the TV!” he’d say. “What’s the score?”

My father loved his work at the base, but he never let it interfere with his passion for college football. We had to call him every time a team scored a touchdown. By the time I was 6, I knew the Oklahoma Sooners’ fight song by heart and had the colors for the Longhorns, Sooners, and Fighting Irish memorized. I was basically destined to love football. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to become an athletic trainer when I grew up. Athletic training was a tough field for women to break into back then. I had to fight for the opportunity to work on “male sports” like football in high school. It wasn’t technically allowed, so I spent most of my time with the women’s volleyball and basketball teams until my junior and senior years. By then, I’d gone to two student athletic training camps (sleepaway camps on college campuses), so they knew I was serious! In college, I had the same hurdles. Back in the '80s, most schools separated male and female athletic trainers and wouldn’t let women work with male athletes. As a result, there weren’t very many women in athletic training, and even fewer working in Division 1 college football! But my father always told me, “If this is really what you want, then never give up and always keep it professional.” So that’s exactly what I did.

loved it! I quickly made friends with all of the players, and it was like having 52 or 64 big brothers every year. I patched up their injuries, and they walked me back to my dorm at night when I was scared to go alone. When I got the okay to travel with the football team (becoming one of the first female athletic trainers ever to do that), we all celebrated together. At one point during my college years, there were very few women in the country traveling with a Division 1 football team. It was amazing to be a pioneer breaking barriers for women in athletic training. I’m proud to say that right now, the Director of Sports Medicine for UTEP is a woman, Dawn Hearn! In 1995, she was the only female head trainer in the country working Division 1 football. We’ve come a long way since the '80s. After college, I volunteered for UTEP because they were short on student athletic trainers and I needed a job. This led to my first athletic position: Today, I teach athletic training classes there, helping introduce more women to the field. I also volunteer for the football team with Harry — he’ll tell you all how I pulled him into that in next month’s newsletter. I’ve been there 34 years now. I still love college football just as much as I did when I was 6 and screaming the Sooners’ fight song or 10 and calling my dad to give him the scores at work. I can’t wait for this season to start so that Harry and I can cheer on all of the boys we’ve worked with over the years! –Bonnie Koster

After a long search, I finally found a college that would let me work with its football program: New Mexico State. I absolutely

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WANT TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR HEALTH CARE? TRY THIS UNDERUSED TOOL

Are there alternatives to consider? Sometimes, the most common treatment isn’t necessarily the best one for you. If you’re hesitant to take a new medication because of the side effects, for example, ask about alternative medications or therapies. Be prepared that some alternative treatment options may require a greater commitment to lifestyle changes to see results. Follow-up question: Asking “Why do you recommend this procedure/medication over the other options?” will help you understand the factors your doctor has considered when making their recommendation to you. What results can I expect, and how long will it take? This is an often-overlooked question. Say you tell your doctor you have back pain, and they recommend physical therapy. You may be expecting to be pain-free ASAP, while they may think that a successful treatment will yield increased mobility and reduced pain over the course of a few months. It’s important to be on the same page about what to expect and how long it will take to see improvements.

When you’re sitting in your doctor’s office feeling unwell — your pain compounded by anxiety from researching your symptoms — it’s easy to assume the worst. You may be worried about whether your insurance will cover necessary medications or procedures and wonder if there are any good options that will actually help. These worries are normal and understandable, but there’s a rather simple way to ease your mind. To feel empowered to make the right health care decisions for yourself or your loved ones, you need to gather information, and that starts with asking good questions. What are the benefits and the risks? To make an educated decision about your health care, you need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly of treatment options your practitioner presents. Since you want to get better, it’s easy to remember to ask how suggested procedures or medications will help. But don’t forget to ask about the downsides, risks, or potential complications.

Pro tip: To humanize the situation and help you understand how to think through a given decision, ask your provider: “What would you tell your family member about the benefits and risks of this procedure if they were considering it?”

A healthy dose of curiosity may be all you need to get more from your health care and feel confident in your decisions.

BY GOING BACK TO SCHOOL STAY SHARP AS YOU AGE

learning entirely new-to-them subjects, like how to speak a foreign language, use a new piece of technology, or make art. Convinced of the benefits but not sure where to turn to learn? Try these two sources. Most colleges are designed with the traditional, 20-something college student in mind, which may not appeal or be a great fit for adults in their 50s, 60s, and beyond. But many universities are starting to cater to an older crowd with lifelong learning programs. One example is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington (UW). UW’s program offers a full course schedule on subjects in the arts, sciences, and current events taught by qualified faculty and provided at an affordable rate. There are over 100 such programs at universities across the U.S. Have a longtime dream to write children’s books? UC San Diego Extension has a certificate program for that! If you’re looking to dive into a single subject or perhaps you’d like to continue working in retirement or shift gears later in your career, certificate programs are a great option. No previous education is required. Most certificate programs are open to all, typically run for less than a year, and easily accommodate part-time learners. Celebrate your years of hard-earned wisdom but commit to keeping your brain young by going back to school this fall.

While you may be happy for the years of wisdom you’ve gained since being in your 20s and 30s, you might be missing the mental sharpness you once had. Why not have the best of both worlds? Scientists have found that the human brain changes with age — neurons fire more slowly, for example, and short-term memory recall can be more challenging — but that we often underestimate our capacity to continue learning as we grow older. Negative stereotypes about aging can reinforce these beliefs. However, new research is showing that older adults who’ve committed to immersive study of a new subject show brain function akin to someone 30 years younger. This goes beyond the tired advice to do a crossword puzzle or work a sudoku puzzle every day. The participants in this research study were

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IS THIS GOOD FOR ME? APPS TO HELP YOU MAKE SMART FOOD CHOICES

Switch It Up FoodSwitch is a mobile app developed by an international health advocacy group, The George Institute for Global Health. Even packaged foods that purport to be healthy can have high levels of salt, sugar, and saturated fat. While valuable information appears on nutritional labels, they can also leave you more mystified than empowered. In that case, simply open the FoodSwitch app, scan the bar code of the item you’re interested in, and get instant nutritional information and options for healthier alternatives. Each item gets a Health Star Rating from .5–5, making it easy to understand where the item falls on the health spectrum and how it compares to other brands. If that item doesn’t meet your dietary needs, let FoodSwitch recommend an alternative. In a Snap If you’re already a dedicated Snapchat user and don’t want to add another app to your phone, you’re in luck. Snapchat has recently implemented a scanning technology powered by the nutrition-tracking app Yuka. While it has similarities to FoodSwitch, the format Snapchat uses lays out the nutritional pros and cons of each item and gives each item an overall rating on the traffic-light system. Green means good to go, yellow means proceed with caution (moderation), and red means reconsider or only eat this item rarely.

Sometimes going grocery shopping can leave you feeling more like a detective than a human just trying to feed yourself and your family. Sleuthing down the snack aisle brings up questions about whether gluten-free means “good” and whether no added sugars means “nutritious.” The foundation of healthy snacking includes fresh fruits and vegetables, but how can you make smart (or smarter) choices when buying packaged snack foods? New smartphone apps mean the answer is just one bar code away.

With these two apps, you can put down your magnifying glass and pick up your smartphone. Making healthier snack choices is right at your fingertips.

TOMATO AND WATERMELON SALAD (YES, REALLY!) Inspired by BonAppetit.com

TAKE A BREAK!

Bon Appétit magazine calls tomato and watermelon “soul mates,” and they’re right! This surprising gourmet salad will be a hit at your next barbecue.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 tsp peppercorns, coarsely crushed • 1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds • 1/2 tsp turmeric • 1/4 cup coconut oil

2. Combine the watermelon, tomatoes, and feta on a large platter or in a bowl. Drizzle with cooled turmeric oil. Now, simply sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy! • 4 cups seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes • 2 heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes • 8 oz feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes • Sea salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. In a small saucepan, sauté spices and herbs in the coconut oil for 3 minutes over medium heat to create turmeric oil. Take the pan off of the heat, then let it cool.

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PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411

915-562-8525 | www.SpineRehab.net 6358 Edgemere Blvd. El Paso, Texas 79925

1. HOW BONNIE BROKE BARRIERS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2. HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR HEALTH CARE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL LATER IN LIFE 3. APPS THAT HELP YOU SNACK SMARTER TOMATO AND WATERMELON SALAD (YES, REALLY!) 4. THE BENEFITS OF SOUND BATHS INSIDE THIS ISSUE

As is the case with many self-care trends like yoga and meditation, what’s old is new again. The latest relaxation practice with ancient roots to make waves in modern times is sound baths. Celebs from Charlize Theron to Laurence Fishburne say they help promote relaxation and reduce stress. Kendall Jenner, who’s been public about her struggles with anxiety and sleep paralysis, also swears by the practice’s healing powers and has even started creating her own sound baths and sharing them on Instagram. While you can create a sound bath experience at home, most practitioners “bathe” at in-person sessions with “sounders” — those who create the soundscape. These sessions typically last 45–60 minutes. The idea behind the sonic experience is that bathers sit or lay in a relaxing position while gently focusing on the sounds they are immersed in. Sounders commonly use singing bowls, chimes, gongs, and other instruments to create a meditative and relaxing vibe. In fact, sounders say the vibrations of some instruments facilitate relaxation by literally changing the brainwaves. Health practitioners put it differently, saying that the practice MEDITATION NOT WORKING FOR YOU? TRY A SOUND BATH

promotes a parasympathetic autonomic nervous system response, aka a stress reduction response. Either way, the practice is a nice alternative to standard sitting meditation, which often focuses on the breath and can be difficult, especially for new practitioners. While there hasn’t been a lot of medical research done to test the efficacy of the practice, it is becoming a more widely used supplemental treatment for stress, anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you get the chance to experience one yourself, try to approach it with an open mind and open ears. You just might be surprised.

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