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Athletic Training Alums recognized for work as “Smooth Professionals”

October 15, 2010
By: Jordan Pye

PHOTO: Award recipientsLast spring, JMU Athletic Training alums Pratik Banjade and Jared Miller (’10) achieved YouTube superstar status with their video, “Athletic Trainer: Smooth Professional,” which has received over 67,000 views since its April debut.

The students also caught the attention of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association when the video “went viral” among the group’s 30,000 members. The NATA invited Miller and Banjade to present their video at the annual June conference held in Philadelphia, Pa., and recognized them with an award for “Most Creative Effort.”

The video shows JMU athletic training students acting out multiple roles of their profession, and Miller sings original lyrics to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” while he moonwalks with a fake skeleton and sports one purple latex glove.

Miller and Banjade said they wanted the video to entertain viewers while creating better understanding and awareness of the athletic training vocation.

"’Smooth Professional’ incorporates many aspects of being an athletic trainer, from injury prevention, evaluation and rehabilitation to having a positive relationship with the athletes and joking around when the time is right,” Miller said. “We hoped to show the many different dynamics of athletic training and how valuable athletic trainers are in the health care field.”

In a June Q&A with Shuttle Systems, Banjade and Miller said the video began in their junior year as a class project to creatively promote the athletic training profession. After Miller wrote the lyrics for a song parody, the duo took three weeks to film and over 25 hours to edit the final product, while finishing up their senior year. Their intended audience was JMU’s athletic training program, but within days of its release the video spread to professionals across the country as well as newspapers, news stations, websites. Fellow athletic trainers and students nationwide have posted their compliments on the video’s page and asked to show the video in their classrooms.

Health sciences professor Dr. Connie Peterson said that by promoting their field in a fun way, Miller and Banjade embody the motto of sports medicine by “setting the standard.”
 
“The thing that strikes me most about [the video is] not only the quality but the range of domains represented,” Peterson said. “A lot of people think athletic training is about performance enhancement, but it’s a healthcare profession.”

Banjade wanted the video to communicate that athletic trainers are not just individuals who give ice packs to athletes and tell them to rest.

“We are medical professionals who are educated to perform many tasks which often are unknown to the general public,” Banjade said. For example, “from initial injury to full rehabilitation from ACL injuries - athletic trainers are the ones to go to.”

Athletic trainers require a four-year degree and must pass a national certification exam. Although “Smooth Professional” focuses on the sports field, athletic trainers work in diverse fields ranging from military, government and industrial organizations to NASCAR and the Olympic Games.

Banjade currently works as an athletic trainer at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Fairfax County, Va., with a population of almost 4000 students and hundreds of athletes. He plans to attend graduate school to further his athletic training career.

“If you want to make a positive medical impact on not only athletes but policemen, the elderly, the labor force, or even congressmen, athletic training might be right for you,” Banjade advised prospective students. “First, get informed. Understand what Athletic Training entails, develop passion, and take off. Make a difference in someone's life.”

Miller is now pursuing a master’s degree at Michigan State University while working as a graduate assistant athletic trainer for many of their sports, primarily the Spartan Wrestling team. After earning his degree, Miller hopes to continue working as an athletic trainer in a collegiate or professional setting. He advises other athletic training students to fully commit themselves to the profession, seek out experiential opportunities and learn from mistakes. 

“Athletic Training is a very time demanding major and profession, but it is also very rewarding if you put in the effort to study, ask questions and gain extra experience,” Miller said. “Athletic Trainers who continue to seek knowledge and learn how to apply that knowledge to the clinical setting end up being the most successful.”

Watch the video