Few know about UNI’s Wellness and Recreation Center (WRC), close to the landmark UNI-Dome. This building is home to UNI’s Athletic Training program. The facilities UNI athletes use are also where the Athletic Training students learn and have classes and clinical experiences.
From the first day of the Athletic Training program, students are learning through hands-on experiences in the classroom, labs, and clinical assignments under the supervision of faculty and preceptors. Preceptors are professionals who teach and evaluate students in the clinical setting using an actual patient base. There are many opportunities within the Cedar Valley for students to gain experience working with athletic trainers in various settings, as well as physical therapists, medical physicians, and occupational therapists. Throughout the Athletic Training program, students engage in patient care, diagnosis, and treatment.
Payton Stock came to UNI as an Athletic Training student. Cassandra Adamson and Eric Pimentel both transferred into the Athletic Training program after a course piqued their interest and they were drawn to the hands-on training. “You really have to be motivated [in this program]. You cannot just skirt by in your classes, it does not work like that. It will take a lot of your time,” Cassandra said. Courtney Kamman is majoring in Athletic Training with minors in Biology and Chemistry. She intends to attend medical school.
Each of these students has their own reasons for majoring in Athletic Training and each are passionate about it. Some were athletes themselves and all have an interest in helping others. The hands-on aspect of their education is by far their favorite. The students’ favorite courses include Therapeutic Interventions, Clinical Integration, and Anatomy and Physiology. The coursework helps them develop a deeper understanding of the body and how it functions. The students agree that everything they learn in the classroom can be applied right away in their clinicals with patients and UNI athletes. This helps them get a feel for what they will be doing and how to connect with their future patients. Seeing improved outcomes for their clinical patients right away is rewarding.
All four students are involved in research. Eric, Payton and Courtney assist Dr. Mark Hecimovich on his research on concussions. Cassandra works with Dr. Tricia Schrage and Dr. Kelli Snyder on their research on Manual Therapy Strain / Counter Strain.
Courtney sums it all up, “Find your place. Find your people. Find what you love. I fell in love with Athletic Training. I love what I do. I love going to clinicals every day. Being at UNI, you can choose what you want to do. Go where your heart takes you."
For more information, please visit the Athletic Training Website to learn about the program, faculty and curriculum: https://coe.uni.edu/kahhs/athletic-training
Adapted from https://stemed.uni.edu/heart-athletic-training-program, by Ginger L’Heureux, UNI STEM Graduate Assistant