Saint Louis University

Anthony Breitbach,Dan Herrin and Alvaro Garcia-Romero of Saint Louis Univeristy's Athletic Training Program at Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis.
From left: Anthony Breitbach,Ph.D., director of the Athletic Training Program; Dan Herrin, MAT Class of 2014; Alvaro Garcia-Romero at Busch Stadium.

The Doisy College of Health Sciences Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training recently welcomed Alvaro Garcia-Romero to learn about Saint Louis University and how athletic trainers and physical therapists practice in the United States, particular in providing athletic health care. Garcia-Romero is a physiotherapist and director of the Master's degree program in Prevention and Rehabilitation of Sports Injuries at Universidad Europea's Real Madrid Graduate School.

Garcia-Romero said in Europe, the practice of athletic training is vastly different than in the United States. The title athletic trainer is not widely used in Europe, but persons with other health professions training perform the duties that are performed by athletic trainers in the U.S. These individuals receive their athletic health care training through clinical experience and formal degree programs. For example, Garcia-Romero and the Real Madrid Graduate School offer a Master's degree in Physical Therapy for Sports that trains physical therapists specifically to work with athletes.

It is his hope that his Madrid students will have the opportunity to attend classes and learn from the SLU faculty and staff in St. Louis while SLU athletic training and physical therapy students may work with him, Real Madrid and other organizations in Spain. While visiting St. Louis, Garcia-Romero toured the athletic training facilities and spoke with staff of the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, St. Louis Blues, Washington University Bears and Saint Louis University Billikens. He also met with SLU faculty and toured the physical therapy clinic at Saint Louis University's Student Health and Counseling Center.

SLU's athletic training program, begun five years ago, has quickly reached the ranks of a top program in a field that has gained visibility and importance in ensuring the health of athletes at all levels of play. The faculty and students have served as advocates and leaders in the region, state and nationally. If Garcia-Romero's wish is granted, the advocacy will reach internationally.