College and University

Broken Nose Leads to Career in Athletic Training


College and University

Broken Nose Leads to Career in Athletic Training

Article reposted from Indian Country Today
Author: Alysa Landry

Shauntel Talk’s path to a career in sports medicine began with a broken nose.

Then a high school athlete in Provo, Utah, Talk took a softball to the face, rupturing her nose and causing the first of what would be six sports-related concussions. Instinctively, she tilted her head backward to curb the blood flow.

An athletic trainer quickly corrected Talk, instructing her to lean forward and pinch her nostrils together. In the process, the trainer inadvertently introduced Talk to sports medicine. As soon as she recovered from the concussion—and the copy0,000 surgery to realign her nose—Talk, then a sophomore at Timpview High School, began asking questions.

“I had been playing sports for years, mostly softball and basketball, and I was around athletes and coaches all the time,” she said. “But I had no idea what an athletic trainer was until I broke my nose.”

Talk, Navajo, immediately signed up for a sports medicine class, followed quickly by courses in biology and anatomy. By her junior year, she was working as a student athletic trainer. She scored her first internship, at a physical rehabilitation center, before graduating from high school.

“My interest and passion just took off from there,” she said. “I knew, absolutely, that this was what I wanted to do.”

Talk earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Brigham Young University, balancing coursework and clinical rotations with team doctors. Then she began padding her resume with experience as an athletic trainer at the high school and college levels while she researched graduate programs.

Now, half a lifetime since she broke her nose, Talk, 29, is poised to break glass ceilings. The first Native American admitted to the sports medicine program at the University of Pittsburgh, Talk is eyeing a coveted position with the National Football League.

“My ultimate goal is to be an athletic trainer with the Pittsburgh Steelers,” she said. “I have known for a long time that I wanted to be in sports medicine. Now I know I want to go professional.”