By: Katelyn Robinson
For someone who never actually participated in the sport, wrestling has been a part of my life since I was a little girl. My dad, having two daughters, had very little opportunity to introduce us to the sport other than on the living room floor. It wasn’t long, however, before he began taking us to college matches and I caught the bug.
As soon as I arrived at Oklahoma State University for my undergrad, I applied to be a Mat Maid with the wrestling team. Then, when my senior internship came around, I studied under the athletic trainer responsible for the wrestling team. I even had the opportunity to be on the floor for the Big XII tournament in 2018. Let me tell you, those were the best seats in the house.
A passion for athletic training
I’ve known for a long time that athletic training is the career that I want to pursue. As I researched my options, it became clear that the Athletic Training master’s program at the University of Tulsa would be a perfect fit. I could tell from the moment I interviewed that my future professors understood my passion for the profession and would provide every opportunity to gain the experience that would set me apart. The Big XII Wrestling Championship in Tulsa was just that.
Student coordinator for sports medicine
On January 2, I received an email from my program directors asking whether I would be willing to serve as the student coordinator of sports medicine care for the event. Prior to the actual weekend (March 9-10), I was in charge of taking an inventory of supplies from previous years, putting together an order for what was needed, coordinating volunteer sign-up and transporting the supplies to the BOK Center.
During the event itself, I spent every waking hour in the big circle that is the ground floor of the venue. Security, parking and food personnel knew me by name and continually asked how many steps I was at for the day. I was the only member of the medical staff there every hour the BOK Center was open and, honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
A championship experience
This opportunity gave me experience in more than just the medical portion of athletic training. The organization of people and supplies, networking with medical professionals from all across the country, interdisciplinary cooperation with everyone from sports medicine physicians to x-ray technicians, and communication and coordination with my peers as well as my superiors are all situations that most first-year graduate students do not have the chance to experience.
But because of the support, encouragement and trust given to me by my professors, we got through the weekend with very few road bumps. And in the end, I got to watch the championship round at the best seat in the arena – the end of the mat.
Katelyn Robinson is nearing the end of her first year of study in TU’s master’s of athletic training program. She wants to work with collegiate athletes after graduating in May 2020.