Megan Werner of Advanced Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine
As an athletic trainer who oversees athletic trainers, Megan Werner is a great advocate for the discipline.
“We do a lot of different things,” said Werner, adding with a wink, “and it’s so much more than just taping ankles and squirting Gatorade into people’s mouths.”
The Minnesota native is in her third year as Sports Medicine Coordinator for Advanced Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, the award-winning practice that pools their expertise with that of the Orthopedic & Sports Institute to deliver athletic training services to the Appleton Area School District and St. Mary Catholic High School in Neenah.
The core of the program revolves around the delivery of services by the frontline personnel, namely the licensed athletic trainers (LATs) and certified strength and conditioning specialists (CSCSs) at their respective schools.
Werner oversees this outreach, a key liaison who facilitates dialogue and collaboration among key stakeholders including her staff, coaches, activities directors, school administrators, physicians, parents and student-athletes.
She and her team strive to be both proactive and reactive.
“We’re making sure our services are being delivered in the best possible way to keep our athletes healthy and safe,” said Werner, “but we always have an eye on how we can adjust and respond to changing circumstances and needs.”
For Werner right now, this means not only overseeing day-to-day operations and logistics of the program but also delivering services as well. She’s currently the interim LAT at Appleton North High School until Cassy Timmers returns from maternity leave.
Additionally, she’s the Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at Appleton East.
Oh, and she’s part of the Industrial Medicine and Wellness team at APTSM delivering services onsite at area businesses.
If it sounds like a full plate, it is. But it suits Werner’s skill set, and she loves it.
“What I like best about my job is the variety,” said Werner. “We work with patients in all kinds of settings: junior high, high school, collegiate, professional. We plug into a lot of different areas in the health care space.”
That includes the industrial athlete — a term that refers to anyone making a living using mental and physical talents to perform jobs that require skill, strength, flexibility, coordination and endurance — as well as those serving in tactical groups and the military.
“These are all highly active people, and we can supply treatments and proactive injury prevention techniques to keep them at their best,” said Werner. “The work we do is all about getting to issues before they become major problems.”
Speaking of highly active people, Werner is certainly one of those. She projects an aura of movement even when seated.
The farm kid who excelled at multiple sports in high school and combined that with a laser focus on academics, Werner had a vague idea about pursuing a medical career (mom was a pediatric nurse
practitioner) and eventually gravitated to athletic training.
“You had different things going on, and I like that pace,” said Werner.
Good thing. On a recent morning Werner was at Appleton North by 6:10 a.m. to ensure everything was ready for an offseason workout for athletes, wrapped it up at 7:30, arrived for her interview shortly after, then went home to reply to emails, make a few contacts, complete paperwork, call parents, and check the schedule of her staff to ensure after school and game coverage.
Then she promptly replaced the LAT hat with her industrial wellness hat to deliver occupational health services to employees at a local manufacturing company.
Later, Werner returned to Appleton North’s training room to support the wave of students who come in at the end of the school day, checking on current injuries, deciding practice status, correcting the form of athletes on a new phase of their in-season program and, of course, taping everyone who needs to get taped and out the door to practice.
With obvious pride Werner mentions that the sports medicine staff has been very involved in the return to sport protocols utilized by the schools to protect athletes. Such collaborations, said Werner, are empowering and energizing.
That latter is key, as there was a varsity football game that night as well.
And Werner was on the sidelines.