“When I was in grad school at UCO, we had to deal with patients at a (area) high school and a university, and the high school I worked at was Oklahoma Christian School (also in Edmond), and the team doctor that that school uses also happens to be the team doctor for USA (Softball),” Carter said. “While I was there, I followed him for observations.”
After graduating from UCO in 2015, Carter took a job as an athletic trainer at the University of California-San Diego. It wasn’t a full-time position, and she was working on a one-year contract.
“It was tough to leave the weather and the beach (in San Diego), but it is so expensive to live there, and since it wasn’t a full-time position, it was rough,” Carter said. “Budgeting is one of my expertise now. I had not only that job but I also picked up several other jobs along the side just to kind of help, but it was definitely a learning experience for like real life and then for my profession also.”
When Carter worked at Oklahoma Christian School, she became friends with the athletic trainer there. While living in San Diego, she heard from him about a possible job opportunity back in Oklahoma.
“So last spring, he e-mailed me and was like, ‘Hey, are you going to be available this summer?’” Carter said. “I was like, ‘OK, what is the job?’ That’s when he told me it was USA Softball. So I dropped everything and I moved back to Oklahoma.”
Carter came back to Oklahoma in May of 2016 to work with USA Softball. She’s been pretty much on the go ever since.
Last summer, she went with the team to tournaments in Texas and Florida. Carter even spent a week with the team in Japan, and even got to reunite with her younger brother Danny, who was stationed there while with the United States Air Force.
“The week we played, he came up to our games and it was the first time I saw him since he left the States,” Samantha Carter said. “He was able to come watch some games and even stay in the dugout with the team.”
This summer, Carter has taken part in the recent World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City. She will leave for Florida today in preparation for an international tournament.
″(By traveling) I meet some of the greatest softball players in the country,” Carter said. “On the junior team right now, we have some girls that are 16 years old, they’re sophomores in high school and they’re playing for USA Softball. You just meet some of the best athletes around and then you get to travel all over.”
With softball being reinstated as a sport for the next Summer Olympics, to be held in 2020 at Tokyo, Japan, does that give Carter a chance to possibly go over there with Team USA? Carter said she’s not sure, as currently there’s a trainer who works with the USA Softball national squad.
“We’ve talked about possibly going (to the Olympics),” Carter said. “Nothing’s set in stone, I have no idea what could happen. … I have talked to the team doctor and the directors and how they’re going to need coverage, so between me and the other girl, maybe one of us, maybe both of us. We’re just waiting until it gets closer before we start making decisions, so I really don’t have an answer for that.”
Later this summer, though, Carter will get to leave the country once more. She will go to Argentina as Midwestern State’s volleyball team will be playing in an international competition.
Carter, who started at MSU in August of 2016, primarily works with the volleyball and softball teams at the school, while also teaching two courses in the school’s College of Health Sciences and Human Services.
Although Carter’s duties keep her extremely busy, she said she does find it very rewarding to be able to help injured athletes return to action.
“Whenever you get somebody back to playing after something has happened, it’s just overfilling with joy to watch them get back on the court or on the field and play like they did before they got injured,” Carter said. “A lot of times, you don’t hear ‘thank you’ a lot from athletes or coaches or administrators in our profession, but there’s always that one that really appreciates what you do and then goes out of their way to let you know how much they appreciate how you helped them, how you guided them, how you brought them back safely. … I think literally my favorite part is watching someone come back and playing back to 100 percent after an injury.”