Athletic Training Student

Southern Maine Students Have Banner Year

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Athletic Training Student

Southern Maine Students Have Banner Year

Article reposted from University of Southern Maine
Author: University of Southern Maine

2016 has been a year filled with academic accomplishments for students in the University of Southern Maine Athletic Training Program. The accolades and recognition continued at this year’s National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s (NATA) annual convention in Baltimore.

Incoming-senior Athletic Training student Leah Dell became the first representative from USM to compete in the NATA national student quiz bowl. At the conference, she was also presented with the Larry “Stosh” Neumann Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society.

Dell, a student in the Honors Program and a resident assistant on campus, earned the right to compete in the national quiz bowl after winning the regional crown in January. The Jeopardy-style competition pits regional teams of some of the top athletic training students in the country up against each other, testing their knowledge of the field.

Falling short of the winner’s circle, Dell acknowledged that the competition was “challenging.” But she mentions that she was honored to compete and was well prepared, thanks to her USM education.

“I was honored to represent USM in the Quiz Bowl, and proud to compete on the NATA’s District One team,” mentioned Dell. “To me, the fact that I made it to the national level proves that you don’t have to go to a fancy private school or a big D1 college to get a good education and excel academically.”

Dell’s prowess for the profession was further demonstrated after she received the “Stosh” Neumann scholarship. Applicants for the award were judged based on a number of different categories, such as academics, service, leadership and a demonstrated commitment to the field of athletic training. The $2,000 prize is named in honor of the former assistant athletic trainer of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, who battled brain cancer.

Photo of USM Athletic Training student Leah Dell (middle) competing at the National Athletic Training Association's Quiz Bowl

This isn’t the first academic prize that Dell has claimed this year, either. She was presented with the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA) Kerkor “KoKo” Kassabian District One Scholarship at the EATA Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposium in January.

“Being awarded this scholarship after I won the EATA scholarship has made me really grateful for the experiences I have had the opportunity to take advantage of. I have tried to do a lot while at USM and become active in my field, and this shows me I am on the right track,” stated Dell.

“I’m really thankful for that,” Dell added.

(Pictured above, middle: USM Athletic Training student Leah Dell participating in the NATA national student quiz bowl at the NATA annual convention in Baltimore)

Shelby Watts, an incoming senior in the Athletic Training Program, officially began her term on the NATA’s Student Leadership Committee (SLC) at the NATA annual meeting in Baltimore. Watts is the first USM student to sit on the NATA’s SLC.

“Serving on the SLC will allow me to expand my athletic training network, give me experience in a leadership role and allow me to experience more of an office type of role in athletic training,” Watts stated. “USM also has a phenomenal athletic training program which has allowed me to develop my clinical skill set and instill self-confidence in my abilities to successfully work as an athletic training student,” mentioned Watts.

The mission of the SLC is to represent and advocate for students, create and promote professional development opportunities and encourage student engagement in the athletic training community.

Watts will serve as the representative for District One, the New England region, for a one-year term. She first heard of the opportunity when participating in her clinical rotation with Matt Gerken, USM’s head athletic trainer. He received an email about the opening and believed Watts would be the right fit. Gerken encouraged her to apply, a move that’s paid off for Watts.

“I believe that I will represent District One well because I am not afraid to voice my opinions and would be more than willing to hear what other students would like to see done differently,” added Watts.

Watts will sit on the planning subcommittee, where she will have a hand in planning all student-focused sections of next year’s NATA meeting in Houston. Watts will be responsible for connecting with members of the athletic training community to find speakers for the 2017 convention while also coordinating student activities. All tasks Watts will have to take on while balancing her normal course load, her duties as a Resident Assistant on campus and her responsibilities as president of USM’s Athletic Training Student Association.

The extra work shouldn’t be too much of a burden for Watts, especially when considering the fact that she’s chasing her passion. Even before enrolling in sports medicine courses in high school, Watts knew she was interested in the athletic training field. “By taking (classes in high school) I became more and more confident in my desire to become an athletic trainer and pursue it as a career,” she said.

Watts believes that serving on the SLC will help to provide her with the opportunities needed to stand above her peers when preparing for the next chapter in her academic career — graduate school.

The accomplishments of Dell, Watts and others in the program continue to demonstrate the high-quality educational opportunities offered for Athletic Training students at USM.

“The array of student accomplishments across this past year highlights both the strength of the University of Southern Maine’s Athletic Training Program and the quality of the program’s student body,” said  Dr. Brian Toy, director of the Athletic Training Education Program at USM. Indeed, Southern Maine’s Athletic Training Program is producing the athletic training profession’s leaders of tomorrow.”

To learn more about USM’s Athletic Training program, click here.