Seton Hall graduate Laura London, MS ’15, ATC, shows her skills on the court – as an athletic trainer with the WNBA’s New York Liberty.
After completing clinical rotations with two high schools, a Division I university and an NFL team, Laura London took the knowledge she gained through the School of Health and Medical Sciences’ Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) program to help professional athletes in the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) return to play. London’s passion for healthcare and athletics pushes her to continue to grow and excel in this exciting field.
London spent a few minutes with us to talk about her work as an athletic trainer with the WNBA, including how Seton Hall helped her reach this career goal.
What are some of your most memorable experiences as an athletic trainer working in the WNBA?
Laura London: As a female athlete growing up in the ’90s, I remember when the WNBA was formed. Being able to work with the New York Liberty absolutely has been an all-around memorable experience. Walking out of the tunnel and stepping onto the court for my first time at Madison Square Garden, “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” was a wonderful moment as a sports fan. As a newly certified athletic trainer (ATC), being able to join an efficient and effective professional sports medicine team was a major milestone for me. Having that team be led by Laura Ramus, PT, ATC, a female athletic trainer and physical therapist, was an added bonus that has been career-shaping and inspirational.
How did the MSAT program at Seton Hall prepare you for the challenges and responsibilities of helping professional athletes return to play?
LL: One of the reasons I chose to attend Seton Hall was because of the many clinical rotation settings offered. Before graduation, I was able to add to my résumé two well-known New Jersey high schools, a Division I university and an NFL team. Not many AT programs have the depth in their network of clinical preceptors that we have, and the bar is set very high for how they expect us to perform. I feel confident in my abilities to not only assist professional athletes, but also high schoolers and “weekend warriors” in a rehabilitation clinic or a hospital.
Tell us about a time on the job when you thought, “Wow, I’m really glad we covered this at Seton Hall!”
LL: The Seton Hall MSAT curriculum covers a number of topics that athletic trainers must excel at, from emergency medicine to rehabilitation exercises. But, hands down, I love that our faculty members have the experience and knowledge to give us a very strong biomechanics background, which also includes a separate class just on the spine. There were many times with the New York Liberty when I felt confident going into a staff meeting or a conversation with another athletic trainer or doctor because we did such a thorough job in class covering issues related to posture and gait.
What piece of advice would you give to a student in the healthcare field?
LL: Your ability to talk and listen to your patients will be the key to how well you can treat them. Taking a good history during your evaluation is half the battle, and you need to know how to glean important key details. It’s much more than memorizing a textbook on anatomy or pharmacology. What makes a really good healthcare provider is someone who can listen well and tailor a personalized treatment plan that works for that specific patient’s needs. We work in a people profession!
London working with a student-athlete at a high school in New York City.
What is an area of athletic training that you are especially passionate about?
LL: I played rugby very competitively for over 10 years, and, due to suffering multiple concussions, I am now retired. Some of those injuries were due to the nature of playing a collision sport, but – knowing what I now know about concussions – many were due to my premature and unmonitored return to activity. Because of my personal experiences, I will always be passionate when promoting awareness about traumatic brain injuries. Returning an athlete to play and having him or her complete a safe season is very rewarding.
Where else do you see yourself going as an athletic trainer?
LL: Now that the WNBA season is over, I am currently working at The Spence School in New York City. Being a part of their athletics department is very rewarding. The department recognizes my role as an in-house healthcare provider who has experience in general medicine, emergency medicine and rehabilitation.
Growing up attending New York City public schools myself, I didn’t have access to an athletic trainer and wasn’t aware of the profession until college. Working with professional athletes has been a great experience that I hope to continue, but being part of a new generation of athletic trainers who strive to keep NYC high school athletes safe is something I am proud of. I am committed to challenging myself to expand my knowledge, continuing to shape my treatment philosophy and being an advocate for the profession I love.
Seton Hall University offers career-oriented Athletic Training degree options for high school graduates, graduate students, community college graduates and transfer students.