Demitria Derrico is an exceptionally motivated and passionate certified athletic trainer currently employed at Boston University. Originally from Morgantown, West Virginia, she pursued her education in exercise physiology at West Virginia University before obtaining a master’s degree in athletic training. “I worked in health care for a lot of my life growing up and so I loved it. And I was good at it,” Derrico said. “But nothing really interested me until I got [to Boston], or until I got involved in sports… I really like the athletic population.”
Throughout the past few years and early into her career, Derrico has been privileged to work with various institutions and sports teams, providing her with diverse experiences and challenges. She spent the summer after getting her masters working with the West Virginia Black Bears, a draft league baseball team, where she sharpened her skills in acute injury management while nurturing aspiring baseball players. “I worked in Colorado for a little bit with a ski and snowboarding team, which was such a great experience. I had to be on my skis all day, and if someone got injured, I’d have to ski down and help them, so that was really out of my comfort zone.” She said that her different opportunities made her more adaptable to change.
Currently, Derrico holds the position of resident athletic trainer in orthopedics at Boston University. In this role, she works with medical professionals, coaches, and athletes to provide care for student athletes with various injuries. The residency program allows her to continue her professional development and improve her knowledge in sports medicine.
Derrico said that athletic trainers play a pivotal role in the broader healthcare and sports industries. Beyond providing on-field first aid to athletes, they are great in injury prevention, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation. “If someone was injured and we’re returning them back to sport with rehab and treatment in their rehab, I’ll make it very sport-specific. So if I have a volleyball player let’s say…they need to be low to the ground and quick on their feet. So I will be doing a lot of drills where they do low, moving quick directional changes.” Working closely with physicians, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals, athletic trainers develop plans unique to each athlete.
“I can work in high schools if I wanted to. I could work in elementary schools if I wanted to. I can work at the collegiate level whether it be Division One, Division three. I can work with professional sports. ” Athletic trainers can work in many places, like different academic levels, or rehabilitation clinics, as well as with non-athletic populations. This flexibility allows athletic trainers to make a positive impact in multiple areas of healthcare, promoting overall wellness and injury prevention.
Derrico is well aware of the challenges faced by athletic trainers, including the lack of awareness about their extensive role and expertise. “People see us on the field and they see us passing waters out and they don’t realize our education and how much we’re really doing in the background. So that’s definitely a challenge.” The general public often associates trainers solely with first-aid administration during sporting events, unaware of the broader scope of their practice.
Additionally, she realizes the issue of pay disparity and long working hours for athletic trainers. Despite their critical role in athlete care and performance, compensation for athletic trainers can sometimes lag behind that of other healthcare professionals. “It’s difficult to have people stay in the profession if there’s no work-life balance, and the pay isn’t as good as it should be.” To attract and retain dedicated professionals in the field, Derrico wants to improve compensation and work-life balance for athletic trainers.
While being an athletic trainer, Demitria has experienced numerous gratifying moments that showcase the impact of her work. One memorable experience involves a particularly skeptical patient who initially questioned the value of athletic trainers. “He was pretty skeptical of athletic trainers because he had had a bad experience with one previously. And once I kind of got to know him more, he did not want to leave the athletic training room ever.” Through patience, dedication, and effective communication, Derrico was able to earn the patient’s trust and transform his perspective on healthcare and the role of athletic trainers. This encounter stands as a testament to her commitment to her patients’ well-being, and her ability to make a lasting impact on their athletic careers beyond physical rehabilitation.
Such experiences further fuel Derrico’s passion for her profession. Witnessing athletes overcome challenges, return to their sport, and achieve their goals reinforces her belief that athletic training is not just a job but a calling that allows her to positively influence lives. Moreover, she values the collaborative nature of her profession and engages with peers, colleagues, and mentors to exchange ideas and stay on top of the latest developments.
As she looks ahead to her future, Derrico’s aspirations remain diverse and open-ended. “I could work with a surgeon and be in surgery with him or her…I think the flexibility with my job is spectacular.” She eagerly anticipates the many paths her career may take.
For aspiring athletic trainers, Demitria encourages them to remain open-minded and embrace opportunities outside their comfort zones. Trying different roles and environments within the profession not only expands one’s knowledge but also cultivates adaptability and a well-rounded skill set. Demitria also emphasizes the importance of patient-centered care and building strong relationships with athletes. By prioritizing patient needs, aspiring athletic trainers can establish trust, enhance communication, and provide personalized care that addresses both physical and emotional aspects of recovery.
In conclusion, Demitria Derrico exemplifies the essence of a dedicated and passionate certified athletic trainer. Her journey from a love of sports and healthcare to making a positive impact on the lives of athletes showcases the depth of her commitment to her profession. As she explores new avenues and remains open to diverse opportunities, Demitria’s enthusiasm and passion for her work promise a bright and fulfilling future in the field of athletic training.