By Jay Phillips
Sports wouldn’t exist without the athletes who play them, which makes athletic trainers and an important component in the field of athletics.
Sports medicine has become popular at Pensacola State College. Our athletic trainers are an example of why athletes depend on them. PSC’s trainers focus on injury prevention and keeping athletes healthy–even without a serious injury.
“I go to the athletic trainers for help every single day,” said Tracey Ferguson who plays softball at PSC, “even if it’s just for ice or something like that.”
Sports medicine is commonly known as athletic training or kinesiology–the study of physical body movements–and is a rapidly growing major in colleges around the country.
At the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Maryland at College Park, kinesiology major enrollees have increased while total enrollment has declined according to InsideHigherEd. com. Dr. Morgan’s department reflects this as PSC offers an Associate in Arts degree for Exercise Science that covers the first two years of a bachelor’s degree in the field.
Athletic trainers spend most of their time preparing athletes, getting their bodies physically ready for the game, but PSC’s department also takes the time to help with non-athletic majors on campus.
Not only does the college have a thriving Exercise Science program led by Department Head Susan L. Morgan, but the college’s athletic trainers also take three days out of the week to focus on any athletic training that students might need.
The therapy provided to PSC’s students and staff puts emphasis on injury rehabilitation and prevention care and is available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in room 324 of the Lou Ross Center.
“Most of the time it’s a lot easier to get here than the doctor, and we still have a direct connection to doctors and physicians that we can help the patient get there faster if needed,” explained Debbie Lee, head athletic trainer at PSC.
“With the services we offer, we try to make it much easier for students to get to physical therapy around their class schedules.”
This could be a great advantage for many students or staff members who would otherwise have to travel to Gulf Breeze for therapy. Athletic trainers continue their sports career around athletics. This would be a great opportunity for anyone interested in being around athletes or a sport they like.
“You get to experience the excitement of the game and are right in the thick of things. You get woven into the lives of the athletic family,” said Lee moments after Neino Robinson of the basketball team came by to give Lee what she calls her “daily hug,” exemplifying the reason she believes this is such a rewarding and exciting career.
“Athletic training is what we love and it makes work fun. Work isn’t work here, it’s fun,” she said.
At PSC, athletic trainers Lee and Phil Loesch can be seen in Building 3 behind the Hartsell Arena, where their office is located to serve the athletes, faculty, and students of PSC. Not only does Loesch work as an athletic trainer, but he is also part of PSC’s elite group of professors in the field. As a professor in the Health Sciences department, Loesch works with his peers to educate some of the future athletic trainers.
“As long as there are sports, there will be people helping to heal and prevent injuries,” said Loesch.