CEDAR CITY — Athletic trainers must be experts in evaluating, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries resulting from physical activity. At the Rocky Mountain Athletic Trainer’s Association annual symposium in April, students in Southern Utah University’s Athletic Training Program proved they are already well on their way to success, winning the athletic training quiz bowl and defending their title from last year by beating 27 other teams from throughout the western United States.
Southern Utah University’s Athletic Training Program educates and provides opportunities for students to become immersed in the practical application of these skills. Speaking of the experience at the annual symposium, recent graduate Ashley Torok said:
SUU won last year, so our team felt the pressure of returning the trophy to our university. My group was able to work together really well, so when it came to questions we weren’t positive on the answer we were able to communicate and brainstorm.
The victory comes from the knowledge and training students receive from the exceptional faculty and staff in the athletic training program. Nathan Slaughter, athletic training director at Southern Utah University, said he is proud of his students’ hard work.
“As professors, we spend a lot of time ensuring that the students learn and know what to do in a situation,” Slaughter said. “We don’t educate them for the certification test, we don’t educate them for the quiz bowl—we educate them because they will be taking care of someone’s kid. It’s not about becoming a personal trainer or helping someone get bigger, faster or stronger. We are strict and tough in the classroom so they know how to save a life.”
Students at Southern Utah University recognize this hands-on approach to learning is invaluable, especially the personal interactions the students experience with the university’s collegiate athletes.
Smaller classroom sizes and more interaction with the sports teams lend a unique and beneficial learning experience to students accepted into the athletic training program.
Jessie Smith, recent graduate and another team member competing at the national competition, said that the teachers are a huge reason students are successful.
“It was evident throughout my education how much my professors and mentors cared about my success and that played such a crucial role in who I have become and what I will go on to do,” Smith said. “That doesn’t happen everywhere – SUU is a special place full of educators who have small enough classes to dedicate time and attention to each student’s needs.”
The team of four students who won the District Bowl — and who all recently graduated with their Bachelor of Science in athletic training — plan on representing Southern Utah University at the National Athletic Training Association’s convention from June 22-25 in Baltimore. Those students are Brittany Goldberg, Jessie Smith, Jessi Thomson and Ashley Torok.