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SLUHN Honors Its Own During National Athletic Training Month
March 18, 2024

Brianna Frable prepares an athlete for competition at the 2023 PIAA State Wrestling Championships.

March is National Athletic Training Month, and St. Luke’s University Health Network is proud to recognize its certified athletic trainers.

St. Luke’s Sports Medicine is one of the largest sports medicine programs in the nation, serving more than 60 secondary schools, college and university partners, as well as more than 100 private clubs, organizations and sports program relationships across the region.

“I think National Athletic Training Month is a wonderful time for people to learn what an athletic trainer actually does,” said Megan Yesalusky, St. Luke’s Lead Athletic Trainer assigned to North Schuylkill High School.

“You see athletic trainers at pro football games maybe handing out a water bottle or taping an ankle, but there is so much more that we do,” she said. “We are present from preseason training through practices and games. We are preparing our athletes to participate, helping them rehab injuries with return-to-play protocols, and even important things like monitoring heat conditions and weather conditions.”

Jacqueline Baraciarte, St. Luke's Program Manager for Berks and Schuylkill counties, said that it’s important for the public to know that athletic trainers play a significant role in both their athletes and communities.

“There is a special connection you make working with the community that helps you become integral on a bigger scale than just the high school or college you serve,” she said. During March, athletic trainers are being recognized for their commitment to helping people prevent injuries and stay healthy and active, as well as being on the front lines leading the way by establishing valuable protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic that helped get athletes back on the field safely.

“Athletic training isn’t just a job, it’s a career,” said Yesalusky, who is originally from West Virginia, but has made a home here. Her first mentor preached getting involved in the community, and with that bit of advice, she began to forge relationships with the school nurses and administrators and attended school functions like plays and band concerts. Beyond North Schuylkill, Yesalusky has worked Schuylkill League championships in every sport.

Baraciarte advanced her career in a different way, going from the athletic training room to the management team and ensuring the care of Berks and Schuylkill counties. She found a passion for the administrative end while working with the director of programming at Kutztown University.

“Everywhere I’ve been, St. Luke’s has taken me that one step closer to that management level role,” she said. “Starting at St. Luke’s as a Lead Athletic Trainer in Berks, I set my goal to become a Sports Medicine Coordinator helping different initiatives within the Network. Now, having been newly promoted to Program Manager, working with both Berks and Schuylkill counties, I can help others achieve their personal goals.”

Baraciarte said that transitioning from the school level to the multiple county level is rewarding because you impact entire communities on a larger scale.

This year’s theme for National Athletic Training Month is “From Head to Toe,” which emphasizes the entire patient, both physically and mentally. Athletic trainers are highly educated healthcare professionals who perform their duties in schools, colleges and universities, professional sports, corporations, the military, performing arts, clinics, hospitals and physician offices, and can offer on-site medical care, as well as immediate referrals with the ability to expedite appointments to the appropriate providers.