Student Corner: why i chose athletic training

The latest installment of our “Student Corner” feature was written by upper-level athletic training student Cody Lucas. Cody embodies the story that a lot of us have had. At times, athletic training seemed like a profession to pass through on the way to other career benchmarks. However, like Cody, many of us found our passion and purpose in this profession. We hope you enjoy his story!

As I look back to when I began my athletic training education, I simply scoff at the fact that I knew nothing about Athletic Training. I am embarrassed to say that, like many, I viewed the Athletic Training profession as a stepping-stone to get to a physical therapy profession that I knew even less about. Sadly, the reason I wanted to go the Athletic Training route, was mainly because of the fact that it had the word athletic in the name. I was in for a rude and abrupt awakening as soon as I entered the program; an awakening that I so blatantly needed.

To give a background of my start in the Sports Medicine field, I was honestly a cocky know-it-all who actually knew close to nothing. I did ignorant things like, pull my pants down in the training room, or fall asleep in every class. I skipped as many clinical rotations and butted heads with my superiors at every opportunity. But perspective is a funny thing. Perspective can take any plans that one has or any personality one portrays, and throw it all away. Perspective can bring anger, tears and joy all in one quick sweep of emotion. Perspective has a weird sense of humor; a sense of humor not shared by the person gaining such perspective. And with this perspective, change was inevitable.

So I began to work, and more importantly I began to research. I looked into Physical Therapy to learn what I was getting myself into. I talked with people like Becky Bower, found out what I had to do, and saw how difficult the path I chose was truly going to be. But it didn’t stop me, I was newly determined and ready to succeed. Most importantly, I began to look deeper into Athletic Training and really gaining an experience in my clinical rotations. Strangely enough, I began to enjoy the profession of Athletic Training. I had also began to do my physical therapy observations, and though I enjoyed physical therapy, working with athletes was above and beyond more enjoyable.

Finally I began my senior year at Wright State, with my mind in completely different places. I had successfully done all of the work that I needed to do to apply for PT school. I was going to finish up my prerequisites, apply for 3-4 schools, get in and move on to make the big money. I had one major problem. Nagging in the back of my head was this Athletic Training Profession that I had grown to enjoy; a profession that was actually more like my original passion than physical therapy ever was. Nevertheless, I was on my way to PT school, because it was what I had worked for my whole college career and with that one of my final steps was to double my clinical hours in the Spring semester by doing 450 clinical hours rather than 225. Wouldn’t you know it, I got placed with Jessica Stanley and the women’s volleyball team. For anyone who knows Jess, there is no such thing as cruising through your clinical rotation. Knowing this, I embraced the team as my own. I took pride in what I did, and I was going to prove that I was ready for the next step. And that’s what I did. I learned from Jess in many ways, I did what I was asked and I continue learning from her to this day. This did nothing but push the love for this profession of Athletic Training deeper into my heart. I became a part of the team and genuinely started to care for the members as more than just patients and I learned that I loved helping them.

The irony of timing is a never-ending joke. It became clear that I needed to make a decision on my future. I needed to make a decision on the future I had been so sternly set on since day one of college and I needed to make it now. And when it came down to the decision I made, I can honestly say that I did it for all of MY right reasons, instead of the reasons others had for me.

I want to further my education as an ATHLETIC TRAINER. I want to become the first person an athlete goes to when they need help and the first person with the confidence to say, “I can help you.” I want to be surrounded by the atmosphere that has guided me in the success I have already had and be surrounded by the people who have and continue to get me to where I want to go. I want to be in one of the few healthcare professions where it is not and will never be about the money, but instead about the people. And this isn’t to say that I will not one day go into Physical Therapy. This writing is to simply say that I am in love with what I do now, and cannot see myself anywhere else in the near future.

So maybe I am saying all of this to help those who are just now considering what they want to do. Or maybe this is to help the students who just think they want to go to PT school right away. My advice to you is this. Passion cannot be defined by a 9-5 and it definitely can’t be posted on a wall like a degree. But if you wake up to your passion on a daily basis, and find a way to get paid for it, maybe you have discovered the secret to happiness, or at least a facet of it. All I know is that I watch a lot of sports as it is, and if an athlete were to ask me for help I would help them because it’s the right thing to do. Add a paycheck to the mix and I must be doing something right. So think of what you want, think of what you love, and think of your future, and then go get it. Plain and simple.

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Wright State Athletic Training Class of 2014

To learn more about Athletic Training go to the National Athletic Training Association website at

http://www.nata.org

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