|Future Students||Students||Faculty & Staff||Alumni & Friends||About Us|
Kenny Howard works with ATC program students.
For students in the College of Education's graduate Athletic Training Program, Saturdays in the fall begin with intensive discussions of dislocated knees and broken bones over breakfast.
The certified athletic trainers participating in the two-year, research-based programs bring the X-rays and MRI results they've accumulated while working the sidelines the night before at local high school football games. Dr. Bob McAlindon and Dr. Win Lyle of East Alabama Orthopedic and Sports Medicine bring questions and advice for the students to digest over breakfast.
The session, known as the "Bumps and Bruises'' clinic, provides something for the students far more nourishing than biscuits and bagels.
"Going out for your first time to be a head athletic trainer can be a little overwhelming,'' said Dr. JoEllen Sefton, ATC program director and an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. "But going out with this type of support behind you, if you have an injury that you don't understand, there's always somebody to ask.''
The year-old graduate Athletic Training Program, which is on track to meet accreditation standards, offers a mix of learning from research and clinical settings. Graduate students attend classes and work on projects in an effort to earn a master's degree in exercise science with an athletic training specialization, but much of their learning takes place on the sidelines of football stadiums or inside gymnasiums.
The Kenny Howard Athletic Training Fellowship Program , a non-profit venture of Auburn University, East Alabama Medical Center and RehabWorks, enables the graduate students to apply their skills in service of local high school students. Students in the program, named for former Auburn Head Athletic Trainer Kenny Howard, provide on-site care for high school athletes at Reeltown, Beauregard, Beulah, Notasulga, Loachapoka, Dadeville, Russell County and Booker T. Washington in Tuskegee. On a given Friday night, they will mend the injuries of everyone from tailbacks to tuba players.
"They're professionals,'' said Chad Abrams, program director of sports outreach at RehabWorks and clinical coordinator for the Kenny Howard Fellowship. "They've done everything that is required of them to hold athletic training certification. The beauty of what we do is we provide them with two years of on the job experience that they're not going to get anywhere else. They are, in a sense, totally responsible for the sports medicine program at the area high school we place them in. They're there for the whole school and community. If we have a band member with a dislocated kneecap, we don't mind helping out there.''
The varied experiences have a payoff for the students who, in addition to taping up the ankles and treating the concussions of teen-age athletes, also provide care at Auburn University intramural sports events and clinical assessments at the Department of Kinesiology's TigerFit Program. Sefton said that, between answering parents' questions and treating athletes and cheerleaders alike, the graduate students have contact with 8,000 to 10,000 people per year.
"Typically, their research ideas come from what they see in the field,'' Sefton said.
Meanwhile, local athletes are well served by their professional care on and off it.
Last Updated: Jun 17, 2011