Athletic trainer's background an asset for acute care patients
"I enjoy being part of a team doing what's best for our patients and helping them get back to the activities they enjoy. It truly is a team effort."
As an athletic trainer in the OrthoKansas clinic, Austin Hills helps treat patients with acute injuries. A native of Burlington, he played football at Washburn University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training. He followed his degree with a two-year internship as an athletic trainer working with the Washburn football, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball teams. Austin also had the opportunity to intern with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. During his internship, he also married his wife – Kaylee – a nursing graduate from Baker University.
After his internship ended, Austin went on to be a graduate assistant at the University of Kansas covering women’s tennis and the cheer & dance teams, all while obtaining a master’s in sports management. Following graduation, he spent two years working at Baker University covering women’s volleyball, men’s wrestling, track & field, and Cross Country – all while teaching a Sports Medicine class.
“During my time at Baker, we were blessed with our first child – Jaxton,” he said. “I then had the opportunity to return to Washburn to be the primary athletic trainer for the football team. After my first year there, we were expecting our second child, Hudson, and I was ready to find a position that would allow for more consistent hours and more time at home with the family.”
Fate intervened and Austin began working at OrthoKansas in 2018 working in the Express Clinic helping patients who have acute injuries.
“The Express Clinic runs a little different than the other orthopedic specialties. Ryan Fleming and I triage the patient’s injury and get them set up for what they will need next, whether that’s further imaging, referral to a surgeon, splinting, casting or something else,” he explained.
As an acute care clinic, the team doesn’t always get a lot of background information about the patient’s injury prior to their arrival. Austin says his athletic training background makes him particularly suited to help these patients.
“I’m able to narrow down the focus of the patient’s injury during my intake. This allows Ryan, the physician assistant, to have a better understanding as to what we are seeing the patient for,” he said.
What’s the best part about your job?
Austin says that working at OrthoKansas has been a great experience from the start. He enjoys working with the doctors, who are always eager to answer questions about specific injuries, techniques and how and why they’ve made a particular decision.
“Having been an athlete, I’ve always enjoyed the orthopedic environment, working with athletes and working in the clinic setting my experiences have carried over. Orthopedics is great because I get joy working with patients who come in with an injury and seeing them throughout the process of getting back to their respected activity level,” he shared.
Austin knows that working in orthopedics is a rewarding experience. If you’re interested in working in orthopedics or athletic training, Austin is happy to talk about his experiences. He loves educating those who are interested.
“I tell everyone that’s interested in this field that it’s crucial to have the drive to succeed. Problem-solving in a timely fashion to help get someone healthy and back to the sport they love is an amazing experience,” he said.