Knowing that my athletic career wouldn't last forever, this career will still let me participate in something I love doing. With my passion for wanting to help people, the medical field and sports, this was the perfect major for me.
Chris Ifantiedes ‘16
Major: Athletic Training
Hometown: Massillon, OH
Future Athletic Trainer
Member of the Athletic Training Club, Iota Tau Alpha Athletic Training Honorary Sorority, Alpha Lambda Delta Academic Honorary Society and Intramural Sports
MY EXCEPTIONAL STORY
My father graduated from Mount Union, and by talking to medical staff members at the Cleveland Clinic I learned of Mount’s hands-on approach. I came to visit as a senior in high school and sat in on a class. Even though none of those students knew me yet, they were all extremely kind and helpful. They invited me to participate in their lab that day. I was already exposed to the hands-on approach and the type of people that are in the program, and it felt like I could really see myself here.
The hands-on approach to learning and getting to know my professors outside the classroom is by far the best part of Mount Union. With athletic training, the students and certified athletic trainers spend so much time together outside the classroom that you start to develop friendships with everyone.
The MAAC is my favorite place on campus because as athletic trainers, we spend most of our time in that building. Also, in my free time, I spend hours working out in the weight room and shooting hoops with friends in the auxiliary gym there.
Mount Union is a division III school, but the facilities are bigger and nicer than most, if not all, other schools of a similar size. Whether it is the Gorman Athletic Training Facility, the MAAC workout area, or the field house, Mount Union offers its students so many opportunities that other schools this size cannot.
Preparing for Success
Mount Union's hands-on approach for athletic training is greatly preparing me for success after graduation. At larger schools, many students don't get to be hands-on with the athletes until late into their junior years, whereas at Mount Union we work hands-on with our athletes starting as sophomores. This builds our confidence and puts us in situations that we will face after graduation.
My high school athletic career was plagued by injury, so I became good friends with my high school’s athletic trainer. I got exposed to what he did and I began to have a passion for it. Then, when I tore my UCL pitching and had to go to the Cleveland Clinic for treatment and rehab, that passion only grew. Knowing that my athletic career wouldn't last forever, this career will still let me participate in something I love doing. With my passion for wanting to help people, the medical field and sports, this was the perfect major for me.
Working With Athletes
My favorite hands-on experience so far has been having to spine board an athlete at a wrestling tournament. While we are only athletic training students, when a situation like that occurs the ATCs view us as professionals. I have also really enjoyed evaluating injuries, designing treatment and rehab programs and then executing those plans to help an athlete.
Therapeutic Rehab and Modalities is my favorite class because we learn how to rehab and treat different injuries. Also, at times it can be like a game. While some treatments may work for one athlete, they may not work on another with the same or similar type of injury.
Whitney Snyder is my favorite professor. She has her Masters degree in rehabilitative exercises, which is exactly what I want to go into. She also taught me to have tons of energy and fun while at work because in this profession, you can have some very long days.
Incorporating Liberal Arts
The benefits of combining a liberal arts education and career preparation are very noticeable in our profession. With a liberal arts approach, we learn how to research topics, write papers and make presentations about these topics. This is crucial to our profession as we strive to gain recognition because we must use evidence-based medicine in our practice. This means we must use methods that are proven by studies to work, and we must do some research to prove why we do what we do.
My ultimate career goal is to pass the BOC and become an ATC. Then, I will go to graduate school for physical therapy and focus on sports rehabilitation. After I complete that, my dream job is to work at the Cleveland Clinic, either in their sports rehabilitation wing or get contracted out to a collegiate or professional team in that area.