Biomechanics. That’s where human physiology meets functionality, and it’s where Gina Parisi works. As an athletic training major, she’s not just learning how to prepare athletes for optimum performance and how to heal their bodies, she’s searching for new ways of understanding, and avoiding, physical injuries.
Gina discovered athletic training while making plans to form a hip-hop dance group at the College. “Before that, geology was my major, but I took the athletic training intro class and just fell in love with the field. It was definitely hard. We had to learn 10 new muscles every day in anatomy, for instance. But I love working with people, and I love sports, so this is a good fit for me.”
She particularly enjoyed the evaluation classes where students learn to assess injuries by working on real patients with hypothetical ailments. “One professor put us through the head, spine, posture and gait evaluations, which are essentially the hardest aspects to assess. But because it was so demanding, that class really advanced my skills, and boosted my confidence tremendously. And, it got me hooked on athletic training.”
To complete the required 100 hours of observation in an athletics setting, Gina spent two weeks at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Camp. “That was really cool. I observed older individuals, so the injuries tended to be more chronic.” She also spent weeks with the College’s baseball and softball teams and a semester with the men’s soccer team, traveling to games, being on site for practices and working closely with the team’s full-time athletic trainer.
Athletic training majors also work with team doctors at the College. “We’re privileged because we get to set up for the clinics, write dictations on the patients, and we’re right there, in the room, watching what the physicians do. I think these clinics are among the best experiences of the program. At other schools, only graduate students get to do this work.”
One day, Gina plans to work in professional sports. “I’ve learned a lot so far, not just about the body and sports injuries, but also about using data reduction and different operating systems in advanced research. Ultimately, this experience will set me apart.”
Our athletic training curriculum includes such courses as Injury Evaluation, Sports and Exercise Nutrition, Therapeutic Exercise, General Medical Conditions, and Biomechanics – complemented by laboratory work and hands-on field experiences. Our students also conduct significant research with support from faculty whose expertise ranges from the neurobiology of the body’s musculature to nutritional supplements, exercise and injury prevention. And, our graduates are eligible to become nationally board certified right away.
- Our state-of-the-art Sports Medicine Research Lab includes equipment for measuring body structure and muscle strength, and for assessing body joint movement and forces. Students also have access to our Human Performance Lab, a hydrostatic weighing tank, and a biochemistry wet lab for sample processing and analysis.
- Students regularly work with the College’s athletic teams and their professional athletic trainers, as well as area sports medicine clinics, hospitals, high schools, and college athletics programs.
- We put an important emphasis on adapting to the expanding technology in this field.
- Our students intern with hospitals, medical clinics, high schools and semi-professional sports teams.
- Students conduct significant research, and some present their work at professional conferences.