Athletic Training Student

Iowa State grad completes athletic trainer internship at Super Bowl


Article reposted from Ames Tribune
Author: Grayson Schmidt

When Iowa State graduate Jordan Pierce first thought about becoming an athletic trainer as a high school junior in Indianola, he had no idea that one day that would lead him to the sidelines of arguably sports biggest stage, the Super Bowl.

“Growing up, I never imagined that these are legends in the sport that I’m now getting experience with,” Pierce said. “It really is an incredible opportunity, and incredible experience. It’s definitely something you never thought would happen, and then all of the sudden it’s Wednesday of Super Bowl week.”

Pierce, 25, is finishing a season-long athletic trainer internship with the New England Patriots, who take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII tonight. And even though he will be working the sideline of one of the most watched events of the year, Pierce said the realization really hasn’t set in yet.

“We’ve been so busy getting everything ready, and working on the guys and setting stuff up that we didn’t really have a second to appreciate it the last couple of days,” Pierce said. “We’re so busy on game day that it has not been until late in the season that I’ve really appreciated the gravity of the opportunity that I’ve been given.”

According to Pierce, he became interested in athletic training in high school, when an injury had him sidelined, and he spent a lot of time with the school’s athletic trainer. After entering the program at ISU, Pierce was able to serve as an athletic trainer for the football, wrestling, track and swimming and diving teams, and also interned one summer for the Denver Broncos. He said that working with so many different sports, athletes and types of injuries gave him the exposure he needed to succeed once he graduated.

“The injuries that you’re going to see in football are going to be different than track and field, which are going to be different from wrestling, and different from swimming,” Pierce said. “Just getting to see different types of injuries, injuries to different body parts, and different demands of different sports was great clinically to help me develop my skills, but then working with different staff athletic trainers at Iowa State really helped me to develop who I wanted to be as an athletic trainer.”

According to ISU, Pierce is not the first Cyclone athletic trainer to have opportunities at the professional level, and he is not the first Cyclone alum to intern at the Super Bowl. The ISU turfgrass program has sent multiple students to intern with Toro and the Super Bowl grounds crew, most recently in 2016.

Upon graduating in 2015, Pierce took a two-year graduate assistant position with Louisiana State University, where worked with the track and field program for one year and the football program for another, until May 2017, when he took his position with the Patriots.

“I didn’t necessarily have a sport in mind, but it was more that I wanted to go to a place that had a great staff with good people and good opportunities,” Pierce said. “That’s what I was looking for, and that’s why I ended up at LSU.”

Prior to working in New England and Denver, Pierce said he was a fan of the Green Bay Packers. Growing up in central Iowa, Pierce said he had friends and family who are Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs fans, so during this year’s NFL playoffs, he said there was a little trash-talking, but by now he said majority of them will be cheering for the Patriots.

“Throughout the season and early in the playoffs, there was certainly that (feeling of) ‘I hope you do well, but I want my team to win.’ Now getting to this point where I don’t really have any Philadelphia Eagles fans as friends, I think everyone’s kind of pulling for us,” Pierce said. “I think they’re rooting for me as much as the team I guess, but that was kind of a funny dynamic there for a few weeks in the playoffs.”

Pierce said he has enjoyed the ride thus far, and is grateful to the Patriots staff and players for welcoming him and providing him with such an experience. All he hopes is that the Patriots can get one more win before he goes to work for his new team. Going forward, Pierce said he has already accepted a position at Vanderbilt University, and will have a relatively short turnaround before he has to be in Nashville.

“It’s been a great experience. I’ve worked for a great staff here,” Pierce said. “The opportunities that I’ve had over the last five or six years now have been unbelievable. When I got to Iowa State, I thought that this was as big as it ever gets, and then to move on to so many different places and meet so many great people has been so totally incredible.”

Athletic Training Student

A busy year for University of North Dakota athletic trainers


Article reposted from Dakota Student
Author: Madison Overby

The athletes of the University of North Dakota are in good hands with the athletic training staff who are working to provide them with care day-in and day-out.

From the outside looking in, people realize there is a high risk of injury in college sports. It’s easy to look on the sidelines during a football game and see the large number of players in casts or on crutches instead of being suited up. What some people don’t realize is that probably at least a quarter of the football team is receiving treatment of some kind from the university’s athletic trainers, this is what goes unnoticed.

During the typical day of a trainer, they see a variety athletes. The athletic trainers at the University of North Dakota have their home base in the Hyslop Sports Center, but there are trainers assigned to each sport. There is at least one certified athletic trainer per sport, but based on the size of the team, the number of student trainers that work with that sport varies. When they are assigned to a sport they attend those practices, weight lifting sessions, games and travel with the team on the road.

The training room in the Hyslop is run by Sara Bjerke. Bjerke is an instructor as well as an athletic trainer at UND. Under her, there are two graduate assistants and about 30 undergraduate students also working to help the injured athletes.

The UND Department of Sports Medicine was founded in 1990. Since then, UND has offered a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training degree. UND was the first university in the nation to have an athletic training program placed directly in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences rather than the College of Arts and Sciences.

After completing the undergraduate degree, students are able to take the National Athletic Trainer’s Association Board of Certification exam to be qualified as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).

Blair Roemmich, a junior at UND, is currently on track to obtain his undergraduate degree in athletic training and plans to pursue a graduate degree in physical therapy following graduation.

Before being accepted into the program, students must complete 100 hours of observation, fill out an application and have a minimum GPA of 2.75. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Although it is a rigorous program, it is rewarding.

“I decided to go into athletic training because it was an opportunity to work with and help individuals come back from injuries. I’ve always been intrigued by the health field and athletic training was great combination of health, medicine and sports.” ”

— Blair Roemmich, Junior at UND

Roemmich said. “I’ve always been intrigued by the health field and athletic training was a great combination of health, medicine and sports.”

The athletic trainers offer assistance with anything from recovery to strengthening to rehabilitation programs.

Right in line with the post-graduate plans of Roemmich, the athletic training department at UND works in line with a group of certified physical therapists. For more advanced cases, specifically post-surgery, the UND Center for Sports Medicine has physical therapists stationed in the Hyslop. Physical therapy is run  by Cathy Ziegler and S. Jake Thompson, both of whom are certified physical therapists and athletic trainers.

The team that works in the Hyslop comes together to make sure the athletes are able to perform to the best of their ability. Although it isn’t the easiest route, for the students and graduates in the program, the athlete’s success is a constant reminder why they go through the schooling and training that they do.

“My favorite part is seeing all the different athletes that come in and getting to work with them as well as other athletic training staff and medical personnel to get them healthy as fast as possible,” Roemmich said.

Athletic Training Student

Strains, sprains? Grand Canyon Athletic Training Students step up


Article reposted from Grand Canyon University

Ryann Gentry, a junior student athletic trainer, tapes up the ankle of one of the GCU men’s basketball team players at the Sports Medicine Clinic.

By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau

It’s 8:30 a.m., and Ryann Gentry, a junior athletic training major, is in the zone.

Armed with a roll of athletic tape, she’s focused, her eyes on the ankle of one of the Grand Canyon University men’s basketball team players as she circles the tape around and around. He’s just one in a line of players she’s taping – a first line of defense against ankle sprains, a common injury among basketball players. Director of Sports Medicine Geordie Hackett stands just a couple of taping tables down from her at the Sports Medicine Clinic and does the same, zipping through the task with steely focus and precision.

Sophomore student athletic trainer Justin Dickinson uses a RAPTOR soft percussion tool to relieve muscle soreness in one of the players.

“We’re getting the basketball team ready for practice. We’re getting them taped up and stretched, when needed,” said Gentry, who is working with the team as part of her clinical rotations at GCU.

Without the bright lights, band or cheerleaders that often go hand-in-hand with the athletes she treats, Gentry diligently works in the background, athletic tape in hand, making sure the machine of GCU athletics keeps barreling forward. She is just one of the many athletic training students serving other students at the University, not just by taping ankles but also by diagnosing and treating sprains, strains, abrasions, pulled muscles and the like and by aiding in the recovery process, from cold-water immersion therapy to massage therapy.

Not that those students are limited to treating other students. They also have assisted with such events as the GCU Wellness Challenge, taking employees’ measurements for the monthlong fitness challenge.

Across from Gentry, sophomore athletic training major Justin Dickinson is skirting the tape for more high-tech equipment.

“I’m pulling up your profile,” he tells one of the players as he stands at a tablet. It’s where he can look up that athlete’s past injuries, goals and current treatments using a program called Fusionetics.

“It keeps track of where they’re at, what they need to work on,” he said.

Then he readies the RAPTOR, a state-of-the-art, handheld percussion therapy device that looks a little like a police radar gun. He places the device on the gluteal muscle, where the player said he’s been feeling some soreness.

Jake Aganus, Head Club Sports Athletic Trainer, works on lacrosse player Josh Gruwell, who sprained his right ACL last year. Aganus said he and his student athletic trainers see about 120 club sports athletes a day at the Antelope Gym training room.

After the clinic, the athletic trainers pack up and head with the team to morning basketball practice. It’s where they launch rehabs for injured players who are sitting out practice and delve into preventive treatments, too – and they’re on site for immediate treatment in case an injury occurs.

New facility

The athletic training team operates a satellite clinic at the practice facility and occupies a corner of the gym, too, with some rehab equipment at the ready.

Michael McKenney, Clinical Coordinator of GCU’s Athletic Training Education Program, sees these student athletic trainers and the facilities they staff, peppered across campus, as an asset to the University community.

The GCU Athletic Training Program just moved into its new home on the first floor of Chaparral Hall in August.

“President (Brian) Mueller said, ‘Guys, we’re going to get you the space that you need.’” McKenney added, “We’re very excited about a dedicated space for our learners.”

The Athletic Training Program itself – one of the Sports Medicine specializations in the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions – has been around since 2002 and had humble beginnings. But the number of students has more than doubled since 2012.

The clinical rotations student athletic trainers complete meet three objectives, McKenney said: “It helps our students become critical thinkers. … I believe it helps them to become better communicators, and, thirdly, it allows our students to be servants of their peers.” Also, the athletic trainers get to apply what they’ve learned in class in a real-life setting.

While these student athletic trainers serve thousands of club and NCAA athletes, “We have future visions of partnering with intramural sports to provide student-to-student health care,” McKenney said. “… We want to partner with Student Life so students can come and receive a basic injury evaluation,” and then be given instructions for home care or advised to seek additional care at a different clinic, if need be.

The goal is not to interfere with GCU’s Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic, which provides basic health services to students, faculty and staff and is a training ground for the nursing college’s nurse practitioners.

Director of Sports Medicine Geordie Hackett (right) said student athletic trainers get real-life training in their clinical rotations.






“We want to support her (clinic Director Connie Colbert),” McKenney said, adding that he sees student athletic trainers as relieving some of the high volume at the clinic.

Busy schedule

Student athletic trainers are required to complete 750 hours of clinical experience, which for many of them means 10 to 20 hours a week of working at a clinic.

One of the program’s preceptors, Jake Aganus, Head Athletic Trainer for GCU Club Sports, oversees some of those students’ work at the small club sports athletic training room on the track side of the Antelope Gym. Ask him how many athletes he and his student athletic trainers see a week, and he just smiles.

“Right now we’re averaging 82 a day. Those are actual injuries. That doesn’t include maintenance. If you include those, 120,” Aganus said.

GCU touts the largest club sports program in the nation. About 800 to 1,000 students participate in club sports, which are competitive sports not regulated by the NCAA or any other similar organization. The list of sports includes everything from rugby to lacrosse – 33 in all.

“It’s being focused on the student experience,” said Aganus, who last week took his students to watch a lacrosse game so they could observe the kind of repetitive throwing motions the athletes do. “… A lot of students that come to GCU played sports before and want to continue,” though not necessarily at the NCAA Division I level, he said.

That’s a lot of students being served by these student athletic trainers.

What’s different about going through a clinical rotation in club sports is that they see a variety of athletes with a variety of injuries, considering that the athletes in those 33 club sports use the Antelope Gym clinic.

Junior student athletic trainer Ryann Gentry works about 10 to 20 hours a week to fulfill her clinical requirements for a degree in athletic training. Clinicals are a good way for her to serve her fellow GCU students. Director of Sports Medicine Geordie Hackett (right) teaches students in their clinicals.

Variety of needs

While Gentry and Dickinson are focusing on basketball in their rotation, student athletic trainers in club sports see just about everything.

Amanda Beers, a part-time graduate assistant, just received her bachelor’s degree in athletic training from GCU and is working on her master’s in business administration.

“Honestly, every day is different,” she said. “In the morning I might come in and there’s cheer practice. … With soccer, I have them come in every day, and I might see everything from an ankle injury to a concussion. It can be a knee, a shoulder, it can be anything.”

Aganus himself is working on lacrosse player Josh Gruwell’s rehabilitation. Gruwell sprained his right anterior cruciate ligament last year: “He’s been in rehab with me … until they won the (Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Division I) national championship in May.”

Hackett said, “Students from our education program come out (to the Sports Medicine Clinic) and we provide an opportunity for them to practice what they’ve learned in a clinical environment. … Not only do they graduate with book smarts, but they also get their street smarts.”

Practicing real-life situations makes a difference, he said, and that learning on actual equipment rather than just reading about it assures that students are better prepared. He said GCU is one of just two universities in the state with an accredited athletic training program; the other is Northern Arizona University.

Students not only work on campus, serving their peers, they have the opportunity to complete rotations outside of GCU “in professional sports settings, doctors’ offices. … They get exposure to lots of different professionals.”

Gentry said, as a GCU student athletic trainer, she had the opportunity to work with the Milwaukee Brewers: “It was a cool experience. It was a good chance to network and get yourself out there.”

But, ultimately, she wants to work at the high school level. While college athletes are already on their way, she wants to help high school students in those early years get to the next level.

“I did a lot of sports in high school. I wanted to do something to keep me close to sports and I wanted something in medicine,” she said.

She likes being able to develop a relationship with the athletes she works with since she sees them for long periods of time, often through athletic seasons and rehabilitations – a kind of longevity that isn’t always there in traditional nursing. And she likes making a difference in an athlete’s life, particularly helping them achieve their goals.

Dickinson will be commissioned in the Army after graduation and wants to go into athletic training there.

He has worked with clients before and said, “My joy was helping people feel better, get better.” Even seeing someone “get up the stairs or do an activity (they couldn’t do before), that’s awesome.”

And for these student athletic trainers, being able to help their fellow students helps them do what they love – serve others.

Contact GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults at (602) 639-7901 or Follow her on Twitter @LanaSweetenShul.


Athletic Training StudentHigher Education

SLU AT Student Gets International Rugby Experience


Article reposted from
Author: Pat O’Neil

SLU AT Student Gets International Rugby Experience through Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland

SLU AT Summer Field Experience Spotlight – Athlone, Ireland
By: Pat O’Neill (SLU MAT Class of 2018)
This summer, I sought out a field experience over the pond in Ireland to work with rugby. Playing a couple years of rugby in college myself has me interested in pursuing a career covering rugby. Currently, I am affiliated with Connacht Rugby, a member of the Guinness Pro 12 League, covering their U17, U18, and U19 squads as well as, Buccaneers Rugby Football Club, a member of the Ulster Bank League.
I have had the pleasure to collaborate and learn from Michael Donohoe M.Sc ARTC.  This is Michael’s second year working with Connacht Rugby’s sub-academy teams and his fifth year working with the Buccaneers. On top of his job as an Athletic & Rehab Therapist, he is also an assistant lecturer at Athlone Institute of Technology. He is always willing to answer the many questions I have and goes above any beyond his role as a preceptor to make sure I am getting the most out of this experience.
Being with the Connacht Rugby sub-academy teams has been an incredible experience to say the least. There are just under 100 athletes ranging between 15 and 18. I am working with and treating the some of the best rugby players under the age of nineteen in the country.
Connacht’s multifaceted approach to developing their athletes has given me the opportunity to collaborate with physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, sports psychologists, and sports nutritionists. With the help of Michael, I have really refined my manual therapy techniques and gained a greater appreciation for them. I have also been exposed to many new rugby specific rehab and return to play protocols.

I have also enjoyed my experience with Buccaneers Rugby Football Club. There are about 40 athletes on the team ranging between early twenties to mid-thirties in age. Currently the squad just started their pre-season training so our focus is on injury prevention and managing the volume of training. The athletes are great to work with and they are sure that there is never a dull moment in the clubhouse. I look forward to covering their matches, which begin mid-August.

I am very appreciative of this experience to work with these athletes and staff. My time working with both Connacht and the Buccs has already had an immense impact on developing my skills as an athletic training student and on my education.
Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student’s reflection on their experience.

Athletic Training StudentHigher Education

Ithaca College Athletic Training Program Builds Seven-Year Passing Streak on Board Exams


Article reposted from Ithaca College
Author: Dan Verderosa

The Ithaca College athletic training education program has gone an impressive seven years without a student failing the national Board of Certification exam. Since 2011, 112 consecutive students have passed on their first attempt.

The rigorous BOC exam is designed to test students’ professional knowledge and assess their clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Students must pass the exam in order to work as a certified athletic trainer virtually anywhere in the country (Texas does not require the BOC exam).

Nationwide, the average first-time pass rate is 81 percent. For the past seven years, Ithaca College’s is 100 percent.

But while the program’s faculty is proud of the perfect streak, they don’t dwell on it. In fact, they intentionally de-emphasize the exam as part of the curriculum.

“One of the reasons that we have this streak is that we don’t focus on the test. We don’t teach the test,” said Paul Geisler, associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences and director of the athletic training education program.

Instead, the athletic training faculty aim to teach students how to think, apply their knowledge base and problem-solve in context so that they’ll excel in a myriad of real-world situations. The 100 percent pass rate is a happy byproduct of not only what they teach but, more importantly, how they teach and challenge their students.

“The goal is that when they graduate, students have clinical capabilities and expertise beyond what is expected of entry-level practitioners,” said Geisler.

The streak has garnered attention from proud alumni, and current students don’t want to be known as “the class that ends it,” creating a healthy competitive spirit in each cohort of students. But sooner or later, all streaks come to an end. And when that finally comes to pass?

“Big deal,” said Geisler. “It’s not the end of the world. We’ll start over.”

Athletic Training StudentAwards

CSUF Athletic Training awards endowed scholarships


Article reposted from The Orange County Register

Cal State Fullerton’s Athletic Training Program hosted its eighth annual Golf Tournament Scholarship Fundraiser at Coyote Hills Golf Course in Fullerton on July 15.

Dr. Robert Kersey, professor of Kinesiology and Director of the Athletic Training Program, said that over the last four to five years, the event has netted between $10,000 to $15,000. He hopes that same figure stands for this past event, which helps endow scholarships for promising Fullerton athletic-training students.

CSUF awarded its third Julie Max endowed scholarship to student Andee Monterone. This is the third Julie Max ’79 endowed scholarship to be awarded to a student, as it honors the school’s legendary head-athletic trainer.

Fullerton also awarded its first-ever Andy Paulin ’78 endowed scholarship to student Jacqueline Miller. Paulin was the second CSUF alum to be inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame.

“He was very instrumental in moving the profession of athletic training forward,” Kersey said.

Kersey said that Fullerton has had an athletic-training program since the mid to late 1970s. The school obtained its first accreditation in 2001, but before that accreditation wasn’t required, Kersey said.

Roughly 100 to 120 people were involved throughout the golf fundraiser with about 65 golfers participating in the 18-hole match. There was also a dinner afterwards, plus a silent auction and raffle.

“It was a fun afternoon and evening and I think most people had a good time,” Kersey said.

Athletic Training StudentResearch

Central Michigan Student Research Could Save Lives


Article reposted from Morning Sun News
Author: CMU Public Relations

These are words that could end a young life.

Yes, a football player suffering heat exhaustion will feel a lot better after a 30-minute break, but if he’s still in uniform and pads, the athlete actually is cooking inside his gear and is closer to death than he or his coach may realize.

That’s what two juniors in Central Michigan University’s athletic training program — Grace Katt of South Haven and Tim Di Mango of Milford — found during an award-winning research project.

“You have cell death. You can have organ failure, and that’s what ultimately leads to death,” Katt said.

Their work won the Best Original Research Award at the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers Association’s annual meeting this year in Chicago. It’s no small honor: GLATA is the largest regional sports medicine conference in the country.

Kevin Miller, a CMU rehabilitation and medical sciences faculty member, oversaw the project.

Katt and Di Mango keyed on football players, who are particularly prone to heat exhaustion — especially with practices about to start under a scorching sun.

So, what’s a coach or an athletic trainer to do? Have a tub of cold water on hand, and get the player immersed ASAP. Fifty degrees or so is just fine, Miller said.

And at this stage, don’t worry about the uniform and pads. The cold water still cools the athlete quickly, and stripping down the player before the plunge wastes valuable time.

“How long you stay too hot determines whether you live or die,” Miller said.

Ten male volunteers, all physically active and in full football gear, ran on a treadmill until they reached body temperatures of about 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit or showed signs of agitation, sickness or loss of body control, Di Mango said.

The subjects then were immersed in a tub of water after delays of five and 30 minutes — on different days — and their core temperatures and cooling rates were monitored.

At no point were the volunteers in any danger. Miller said exertional heat stroke usually occurs at a body temperature over 105 degrees.

“We bring them as close as we can — safely,” he said.

Katt said she and Di Mango based their study on three questions: What happens to body temperature when treatment is delayed for football players in full uniform? Is cold water immersion still effective after the delay? What are the athletes’ perceptions before and after the exercise and during immersion?

The cooling rate was the same after 30 minutes as it was after five, the students found, and immersion still worked.

However, they also learned that while the athletes still felt terrible after the five-minute wait, they reported feeling much better after a half hour.

But they weren’t better.

“We need to rely on things like rectal thermometry instead of asking an athete how they’re feeling,” Katt said, “because they’re not able to accurately tell what their core body temperature is.”

That’s especially important for athletic trainers who move from one practice field to another and can only guess the amount of time a player has been overheated, she said.

Miller was impressed.

“Grace and Tim have done a fantastic job,” he said. “They are really pushing the profession of athletic training forward with this research.”

Miller said CMU is one of the rare schools that offers such opportunities to undergraduates. Original research usually is reserved for master’s and doctoral candidates.

“We tell our students, ‘We’re here to help you go as far as you want,’” he said. “So if they want to present research at a national meeting or a regional meeting, we can help them do that.

“And so far all of those students have taken me up on those opportunities. They go to these conferences, and they represent CMU very well.”

Athletic Training Student

King’s College Student to intern with NFL’s Chiefs


Article reposted from The Citizens Voice

A first impression may have never meant more to Greg Janik than when he met Andres Armstrong.

Janik, the head athletic trainer at King’s, clearly remembers Armstrong walking up to him almost four years ago during the Monarchs’ football preseason.

Armstrong, who was hoping to major in athletic training, was told to introduce himself to Janik when he got to King’s. He shook Janik’s hand, looked him in the eye and said he heard Janik would give him the best chance to succeed in college.

“I remember that vividly because most students do not look you in the eye and shake your hand as a freshman,” Janik said. “He was a mature young man.”

Even as grades fluctuated and Armstrong would have otherwise blended in with the crowd in the classroom, Janik didn’t forget his first meeting with Armstrong, who played wide receiver for three seasons before moving to linebacker. Janik always felt that Armstrong had the potential to succeed — sometimes, he just might need an extra push.

Four years later, Armstrong is headed to the NFL — for his work off the field.

Armstrong’s dedication to athletic training, plus the support of those who believed in him, earned the soon-to-be graduate a summer internship with the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s a goal he set out for himself and potentially the first step in a successful athletic training career.

“It was probably one of the best feelings of my life,” Armstrong said. “My mom … always told me, ‘You’re going to be the first one out of this (immediate) family to graduate out of a four-year institution.’ Once I got this, it was like the icing on the cake.”

An injury in high school introduced Armstrong to the world of athletic training.

Armstrong grew up in Texas for several years before moving to Edgewood, Maryland, and attending Harford Technical. That’s when he got into football and, by his junior year, was ready to start at quarterback.

Just before the season opener, though, he sprained his ankle and landed on Kyle Mohr’s training table. Armstrong said he and his athletic trainer “were the best of friends for two weeks” from there, as he watched Mohr tape other players, evaluate injuries and show him his side of the sport.

“Ever since then, I’d shadow him as much as I could,” Armstrong said.

Before long, Armstrong grabbed the attention of King’s football — which just so happened to be where Mohr went to school and got to know Janik. Mohr pitched the program to Armstrong as he continued to teach him about the trade at Harford Technical. When Armstrong chose to attend King’s, Mohr told him to make sure he met Janik.

At the time, Armstrong said, Mohr was “like an older brother” to him. Without a father consistently in the household, his said his mother, Carmela Perez, always said “it takes a village to raise your child,” and Mohr took him under his wing through high school.

“When it did come to athletic training, he gave me as much knowledge as I could hold until I came (to King’s),” Armstrong said.

“The best advice he ever gave me was to walk up to Greg, shake his hand … and tell him I’m going to make an impact on this athletic training community,” he added.

That introduction between Armstrong and Janik went as well as it could. But, as almost every college student finds out, there are ups and downs inside the classroom.

All was fine in Armstrong’s freshman year. His mother, Perez, said he was always a good student — good grades were required to play sports in her household — and teachers and principals meet her just to say how well he was doing.

That translated into the first year at King’s, where he got by fine.

But in the years that followed, as classwork became more in-depth, “to say I struggled is an understatement,” Armstrong said. He struggled to grasp some classwork as students around him succeeded.

“I’m way too competitive to be complacent. So when I would catch myself being complacent, I would get angry at myself,” Armstrong recalled. Still, there were times he thought, “This is it; I’m going to be a five-year student.”

Luckily, those rough patches included one of Janik’s classes. Janik said his performance “didn’t sit (well) with me” based on their first meeting, but a turning point came last summer when he ran into Mohr.

The two athletic trainers discussed how Armstrong had high potential but just needed extra motivation. That potential was clearly on display when Armstrong’s case report on a unique injury was accepted for presentation at a state conference last year.

The case report — centered around a swimming injury — was also a top-three finalist at a regional conference. Armstrong said he was stopped and congratulated for his work at the conferences, which was eye-opening to him.

“So I knew this guy is obviously very smart,” Janik noted. “I just didn’t know if he cared as much as I wanted him to care.”

Those feelings were relayed to Armstrong, and — with a year remaining to make his mark at King’s — he flipped a switch. He learned of an opportunity to intern within the NFL and wanted to prove he deserved it.

“That was definitely a wake-up call for me,”Armstrong said. “Going into my senior year, I was doing as much as I could.”

In the summer, he went back to his high school to help out his old team.

Back at King’s in preseason, he assisted the athletic training staff without asking, Janik said. He showed up early, lent his expertise, taped players and then ran out to practice a little late.

Even now, he’s directing underclassmen and building a rapport with men’s lacrosse coaches as he comes down the homestretch at King’s.

“He made a great impression there that … he cares about the profession. In athletic training, to me, that’s what it’s all about,” Janik said. “It’s not how smart you are, it’s that you truly care about the patients that you treat. And Andres was demonstrating that at this point.”

With that in mind, Janik helped recommend Armstrong for one of the select NFL internships. He once interned himself with the Eagles, where he met Rick Burkholder, now the head athletic trainer for the Chiefs.

Janik told Burkholder about Armstrong’s passion for the profession. Burkholder asked for an application, Armstrong applied and, before long, he interviewed and got accepted into the program.

Armstrong made a bit of King’s history in doing so — he follows Lionel Rice (2011-14) as the second Monarchs football player to intern with an NFL team.

Armstrong announced the news at the football team’s banquet, where he received a standing ovation. First, though, he acknowledged those who helped him along the way.

He’s always had Perez there as a sounding board, always pushing him. Janik did the same at King’s, while Mohr helped him get started.

“If I didn’t have those three, I definitely know for a fact I’d be lost,” Armstrong said. “They’ve been my guiding light ever since they came into my life.”

570-821-2054, @CVEricShultz

Athletic Training Student

Athletic Training Student motivates behind the scenes


Article reposted from Hilltop Views
Author: Amanda Gonzalez

As senior athletic training student Fawaz Alfageeh tightly applies tape around the ankle of a student athlete before a big game, he tries to be precise, yet quick. While he focuses on his timing, the many athletes he interacts with ask him questions about his life back home.

“I didn’t grow up playing video games,” Alfageeh said.

Instead he would scuba dive off the beaches of Saudi Arabia. As he got older, he also coached soccer and volunteered at the orphanage. He grew up playing rugby, soccer and track.

In 2014, he competed in two rugby tournaments with the Saudi Arabian national team in South Korea and Dubai, while concurrently studying 8,000 miles away at St. Edward’s University.

“Rugby was the main help for me to speak English,” Alfageeh said, as  his native language was Arabic. “Most of my teammates were from England or South Africa. The only communication we had was English.”

Watching classic American movies like “Karate Kid” and comedies like “The Waterboy” also helped him learn English.

In Saudi Arabia, Alfageeh earned a degree in electronics, then came to the United States in 2011 for an eight-month English program in Ohio around the age of 25. In 2012, he moved to Austin and played recreational soccer with the ATX Galaxia S.C.

When he began attending St. Edward’s in 2013, Alfageeh tried to find a major that was best for his passion of sports. His academic advisor pointed him towards the kinesiology major with an emphasis on athletic training.

“Fawaz is great,” Assistant Athletic Trainer Annie Nalepa said. “His maturity level is probably the biggest thing that sets him apart from everyone else. He has some life experience and is very good at assessing a situation and not necessarily reacting impulsively.”

Full-time certified athletic trainers are responsible for assessing injuries and determining the proper course of action, while student athletic trainers observe situations and help with the day-to-day maintenance. Often the unsung heroes, everyone  from first-year observation students to head athletic trainers  help with loading coolers and cleaning equipment after sporting events.

“They’re always around, trying to keep the mood light,” junior baseball player Blake Alexander said of the athletic trainers. “So if you’re hurt, they’re always trying to uplift you and do whatever they can to make you smile.”

Athletic training students acquire 1,800 hours of observation and hands-on experience over five semesters, which can be broken down to about 20 hours a week. Required course classes include basic anatomy, evaluating injuries with upper and lower extremities, taping and bracing, as well as emergency management.

Once they start observing with SEU Athletics, student athletic trainers are on semester rotations with various sports to gain experience with multiple athletes. Alfageeh has worked with women’s soccer then men’s basketball, where ankle and knee injuries are common. This semester, he is working with the baseball team where he deals with more shoulder, elbow and core injuries.

When curious student athletes ask him about his native culture and cuisine, he invites them to visit him, adding that they will always have a home in Saudi Arabia. Upon graduating in May, Alfageeh plans to further his sports medicine studies, and hopes to become the first Saudi athletic trainer on the national soccer team.

“Something I will remember is the love and respect I got from all the teams I worked with,” Alfageeh said. “It was great to see how easy they accepted me for who I am. As [an] international student being involved with American people, it was a big help.”

Athletic Training Student

UNC Charolette Athletic Training Students Preparing for their future


Article reposted from Niner Times

Athletes constantly need the attention of a trainer in order to remain healthy and competitive. Cue students such as Aldo Rodriguez and Allie Smith.

Rodriguez and Smith are a part of the athletic training program at Charlotte and for the past two years they have been assigned to a different team or school each semester. The two students are both working with the baseball team this season.

After an injury during his soccer career at Pfeiffer University, Rodriguez became interested in athletic training.

“When I was doing my rehab with the athletic trainer, they made it a lot easier to get back on the field. At first I hated the injury, it was terrible. He just made the process easier,” Rodriguez said.

Smith drew inspiration from her love for sports and from her big in her sorority when it came time to choose a concentration.

“We got to the point where our advisors were telling us to decide which path we wanted to take. I looked into both options and sports are more involved with athletic training than exercise science, so I applied,” Smith said.

The program is very competitive, as only 21 students were accepted in their class – which is high compared to other years.  The clinicals the students are placed in consist of local high schools and colleges, including Charlotte athletics. Combined, the duo of Smith and Rodriguez have done it all.

While the circumstances of their job might be unfortunate, it allows the two a chance to shine.

“Our jobs aren’t necessarily exciting unless someone gets hurt, which is very unfortunate. I don’t want my athletes to get hurt, but occasionally they do. That’s when our adrenaline gets going,” Smith said.

Being placed in baseball was a new experience for Rodriguez who never paid attention to the sport prior to his clinical.

“I had never really watched baseball before this, but it’s definitely growing on me,” Rodriguez said. “It’s different with baseball. With all of the other sports, like football and lacrosse, it’s more acute injuries like if someone gets hit or tackled. Here it’s more overuse stuff, it’s more maintenance on their arms as opposed to someone getting hit on the knee and hurting their knee.”

Smith, on the other hand, has always had a love for baseball.

“I love watching baseball, baseball is my sport,” Smith said.

Seeing a player through a rehabilitation process and having them return to play is what makes what they do important.

“It’s going through an entire rehab program with someone and watching them finally return to whatever sport it is. I got a really good experience doing that with women’s soccer. I worked with one of the athletes for eight weeks and I got to watch her return to play. It happened to be one of the tournament games and it was just fantastic to watch her comeback,” Smith said.

After athletic training helped get him back on track, Rodriguez is trying to do that for others.

“I want to do what that trainer did with me and work with athletes when they’re hurt, when they’re down and they feel terrible and get them back on the field and watch them perform the way they can,” Rodriguez said.

Both Smith and Rodriguez will be graduating in a few weeks. Rodriguez will head out for the west coast and complete a two-year internship for the Seattle Seahawks.  Smith is still unsure of what she will do after her time in Charlotte.