Interview with athletic trainer Aphrodite Daphnis
By: Markos Papadatos, Contributing Editor
Aphrodite Daphnis is an athletic trainer and sports nutritionist who earned her graduate degree. She discussed the outlook of the profession, graduation rates at her school, and she offered advice for hopefuls.
Last month, Daphnis earned her Master of Science degree in Advanced Athletic Training and Sports Sciences from Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training from Chapman University in Orange, California.
Regarding the graduation rates from her university in the field of athletic training, she revealed, “There were several students who dropped out because they could not handle the demands of the curriculum. In my graduate program, I was one of two students who graduated. Athletic training is a growing field and is continuing to develop rapidly as others learn to recognize its importance. One of the challenges is educating the public on what we’re qualified to do as healthcare professionals. We are closely related to fields such as exercise physiology and physical therapy. In the sports medicine world, athletic trainers are a highly valuable resource.”
She is a certified sports nutritionist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition, as well as a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In 2012, she became a New York State licensed athletic trainer, among other certifications.
Daphnis expressed her pride for her Greek heritage. “Although I was born in the United States, I am very proud of my Greek heritage. My father is from Chalkida, Evvia. My mother is from Heraklion, Crete. Greek was my first language. I also represented Greece as a competitive swimmer while training for the 2000 Olympic Games,” she said.
When asked about what a day in her life involved, she responded, “Athletic Trainers are healthcare providers who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries. I work with athletes ranging from novice to elite levels. Every day, I am involved in a unique situation, whether I am evaluating a concussion or treating a sprained ankle.”
Regarding the hardest aspect of an athletic trainer’s job, she stated, “It is the long hours that athletic trainers put in to be there for their athletes. Often times, and especially in professional sports, they are required to travel with teams for extended periods of time, which can put a lot of strain on their personal lives. You have to have a strong work ethic and love what you do in order to be a successful athletic trainer.”
Her inspiration to go into this field came from a personal experience. “As a NCAA Division I swimmer, I injured my knees lifting weights. Following surgery, my orthopedic physician referred me to an athletic trainer for my rehabilitation. She inspired me not only to become healthy again, but to become an athletic trainer myself. I am very passionate about my field. Most of all, I enjoy helping others achieve their optimal well-being,” she said.
While pursuing athletic training in college, she noted that it is an extremely challenging major. “You need to have a strong background in the sciences. As an undergraduate student, I had to take courses such as chemistry and physics in order to graduate, whereas in graduate school, my courses pertained more to applied material and research in the sports sciences. I found that my courses in graduate school were challenging, yet easier to succeed in since I already had the educational background and experience in the field,” she explained.
The top qualities that are needed in order to become an athletic trainer/exercise physiologist are as follows, according to Daphnis, “You need to have a strong understanding of how the human body functions, and more importantly, how it functions when there is a dysfunction present. You need to be able to assess an injury and know how to treat it. Emergency care is a significant component of athletic training. You need to feel comfortable attending to an athlete who is unconscious and may need CPR. You need patience and understanding. Injuries are not only debilitating physically, but also emotionally and psychologically. Finally, you need to be driven. Sometimes you are the only athletic trainer in a school of 500 athletes. You need to be able to manage your time and tend to each athlete’s needs in an appropriate and timely manner.”
For aspiring athletic trainers, Daphnis concluded, “If you enjoy sports and learning about the human body, athletic training is an ideal career path for you. In order to be a successful athletic trainer, however, you need to possess the qualities that it takes to become one. It is not an easy profession, but it is a very rewarding one.”
For more information contact Aphrodite Daphnis via email at [email protected] or call her at 510-684-3481.