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National Athletic Training Month: Meet our Athletic Trainer

National Athletic Training Month: Meet our Athletic Trainer
National Athletic Training Month: Meet our Athletic Trainer

You've probably seen Julie Bigelow at most of our athletic contests. She's our full time Athletic Trainer and is here to talk about National Athletic Training Month. We thought it'd be fun to do a little Q&A with Ms. Bigelow so we can get to know her better and learn more about this profession.

Q: Where are you from and where did you go to college?

A: I grew up in Montpelier, Vermont and went to college at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. I played softball there all four years and got my bachelor's degree in Athletic Training. In December 2017, I got my master's degree in Injury Prevention, Performance Enhancement, and Rehabilitation Science from California University of Pennsylvania. I am also a Certified Personal Trainer, a Corrective Exercise Specialist, and a Performance Enhancement Specialist.

Q: What is an Athletic Trainer?

A: An Athletic Trainer (ATC) is a certified and licensed health care professional who provides emergency care, injury prevention, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries and medical conditions.

Q: How long have you been a Certified Athletic Trainer?

A: I have been an Athletic Trainer for over 6 years.

Q: What does it take to become an Athletic Trainer?

A: To become an Athletic Trainer, one must graduate from an accredited bachelor's or master's degree program and pass the board of the certification exam. Once certified, the Athletic Trainer must maintain ongoing continuing education credits in order to retain their credentials.

Q: Where can Athletic Trainers work?

A: The most common job settings for Athletic Trainers are at high schools, colleges, and professional sports. Other common settings are:

-Performing Arts

-Physical Therapy Clinics

-Hospitals

-Law Enforcement/Military

-Industrial (warehouses/factories)

Q: Why did you pick Athletic Training?

A: I knew since I was little I wanted to work in the medical field and as I grew up and fell in love with athletics, I wanted that to be a part of my career as well. Athletic Training is honestly the best of both worlds. I have always had a passion for helping people and when I started shadowing my high school's Athletic Trainer, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I was an athlete my whole life, and after suffering an injury in college while playing softball, I knew I wanted to work with athletes and help them get back on the field and return to the sport they love after an injury.

Q: What do you love about being an Athletic Trainer?

A: I honestly love it all! I love being around athletes and seeing their work ethic. I love having the ability to provide an ankle tape to a hurt ankle that allows them to play the rest of the game. I love watching someone step on the field for the first time after coming back from an injury and seeing the smile on their face. I love getting to know my athletes and their family and building those connections. I love teaching the athletes about their injuries, why it happened, and how we are going to make it better. I really could go on and on.

Q: Is there any advice you would share would with someone who is thinking about becoming an Athletic Trainer?

A: Become as involved in the profession as you can and ask a ton of questions. Every program is a little bit different, so make sure you find the one that will work best for you. Do as much shadowing experience as possible during the summers and school breaks. If you are still in high school, take the time to shadow your high school's Athletic Trainer and see what their typical day is like. The athletic training community is definitely becoming tight-knit, so make sure you do something that is going to make you stand out to a potential employer. Get involved in the community and use it as a way to make a difference and to educate people on the profession.

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