There is a lot that goes into the making of a Catawba student athlete. As spectators, we see the ferocious competitiveness. Players put their bodies on the line for their teammates and school. But we don’t see what goes on before and after the whistle blows. Who are the ones to heal those broken bodies and have athletes ready to perform at their best? Athletic Trainers.
The Athletic Training room is a place where student athletes go to prevent and treat their injuries. It is a place of support, as athletes from all different sports seek trainers’ help to recover from their injuries. The Athletic Training room is run by certified trainers, interns, and students studying in the field of athletic training. Students who are pursuing the B.S. Degree in Athletic Training, spend 200 hours a semester getting hands-on learning experience in the Athletic Training room. They assist the certified trainers and aid athletes with rehab. In the class of 2020, there are eight students graduating with this degree and they will be the last at Catawba.
At the end of this academic year, Catawba College is discontinuing the B.S. Degree in Athletic Training. The National Athletic Trainer’s Association, announced that the Athletic Training degree was transitioning from an undergraduate program to a master’s level program. They found that more employers and businesses wanted their employees to have their master’s degree. The idea is that students will do their undergraduates in biology, exercise science, kinesiology etc., before moving into the Athletic Training Master’s program.
Unfortunately, Catawba does not currently have the resources to facilitate this master’s program. Some institutions have the ability to move straight into offering the master’s degree, meaning they don’t have to completely remove the program. Other big Division 1 schools are offering five-year Athletic Training programs where you graduate with both your undergraduate and master’s degrees.
Understandably, there will be quite a change in the dynamic and the way that the Athletic Training room is run. Currently, it acts as both a training room for athletes and a classroom for student athletic trainers. Although its prime focus is on the wellness of its athletes, there will no longer be the teaching/classroom aspect. It seems that this will allow more focused time with athletes, but really there will be a lot less hands to assist. Assistant Athletic Trainer, Brianne Morith said, “Initially, it’s not going to be fun for the interns and other full-timers because there is less assistance.” Even though they were not fully certified, the senior-student athletic trainers had three years of experience and learning under their belts to help move athletes through.
The Exercise Science majors will be able to offer some assistance. There are some crossovers between the Exercise Science majors and the Athletic Training majors so they will be able to put some of their knowledge into practice.