Earning an Education on the Sidelines

Posted: November 20, 2017 | Author: Cami Mathews | Read Time: 3 minutes

Randi SpencerRandi Spencer wanted to become an athletic trainer when she was 14 years old. She enjoyed working with the human body, figuring out how to strengthen and heal it. With this goal in mind, Spencer sought out a university who would give her the best academic and athletic foundation to succeed. After attending a high school summer leadership conference at Southern Utah University, she knew SUU would offer her the support and guidance she needed.

“I was very involved in extracurricular activities in high school,” said Spencer. “I wanted a university that was full of opportunities and interesting people. I knew Cedar City would be my home from the moment I stepped foot on campus.”

Spencer’s big dreams of working in the sports industry started in the small town of Vernal, Utah. Knowing she wanted to work in athletics, Spencer looked for opportunities to help her get there.

“I initially wanted to go into physical therapy because it was intriguing to me,” said Spencer. “But I enjoy sports and working with athletes, which made me change my focus. With athletic training, I still get to work with the human body, but I get the added bonus of working with all athletic departments.”

Since she arrived at Southern Utah University, Spencer was on track to enter the Athletic Training Program. The program starts students as Exercise Science majors, having to apply to the program after completing certain prerequisites. Once admitted into the program, Spencer was able to receive hands-on learning through clinical rotations with university athletic teams, as well as other opportunities throughout the community.

“Being able to work with multiple types of athletes in various situations has provided me with a wide range of knowledge that I can take into my future career,” said Spencer. “Taping the ankle of a woman’s soccer player is a whole lot different than an ankle of a football player. The program has allowed me to confirm that I truly love what I am doing.”

During the summer of 2017, Spencer was able to assist with the high school football camps that utilize SUU’s facilities. This opportunity helped her to freshen up her skills, like taping ankles and assessing injuries, and get used to working on the sidelines before the season started for SUU athletics. The camp gave her valuable hands-on education with young athletes, SUU faculty, and staff._MG_0129.jpg

One of Spencer’s most influential mentors has been Zac Willson, assistant athletic trainer at SUU.

“Willson has been willing to not only answer my questions, but explain the answer to me,” said Spencer. “He has always been helpful and ensures that I understand concepts in order to make the most out of my time as a student.”

As she continues in the Athletic Training Program, Spencer finds that her work is difficult but rewarding. She is required to work long hours and finds herself both physically and mentally exhausted, but would not change any part of her experience.

“Having the opportunities that I do at SUU has opened my eyes to all of the places that athletic training can take me,” said Spencer. “The classroom and on-the-field opportunities have confirmed that this is my dream job.”

Spencer has a dream job of working for a national or Olympic team. She enjoys traveling and would love to combine her passion for work with her passion for seeing the world.

Learn more about the Athletic Training program.

Tags: Student Blog Athletic Training College of Education and Human Development

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