Athletic training - Oxley College of Health Sciences

Athletic training

Robinson receives NATA scholarship

Round-offs, back handsprings and cartwheels — Katelyn Robinson grew up on gymnastics. With every twist and turn, she witnessed others’ injuries and made it her mission to study athletic training.

Robinson is a National Athletic Trainer’s Association Research and Education Foundation scholarship awardee. The number of scholarships NATA awards varies annually from 50 to 75 recipients with the amount of the award currently at $2,300 per scholarship.

Her love for athletic training started as early as the eighth-grade when she attended an athletic training day. While attending Oklahoma State University for her undergraduate degree, she interned with the football and wrestling teams.

The “golden” experience

 Robinson with Dean of Oxley College of Health Sciences, Robin Ploeger
Robinson with Dean of Oxley College of Health Sciences, Robin Ploeger

Robinson is a Tulsa native who chose The University of Tulsa to pursue her education in athletic training.

I have always dreamed about going to TU for athletic training,” said Robinson.

Seeing how passionate TU is about giving their students opportunities and teaching is really incredible to me,” explains Robinson.

The athletic training program at TU is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The program was the first accredited athletic training program in Oklahoma and involves an extensive core of academic study combined with in-depth clinical rotations.

We are very proud of Katelyn for earning recognition through the NATA Foundation scholarship,” said Ron Walker associate dean of the Oxley College of Health Sciences.

Walker explained: “She is certainly a very deserving recipient who represents our athletic training program and TU very well because of her experiences and enthusiasm for the athletic training profession.”

Sideline support

For some, sprains, cuts and gruesome injuries make heads turn right away, but Robinson doesn’t bat an eye “You have to be that person that they look to in the situation that to them is the end of the world,” she said.

Robinson volunteered with the Student Leadership Council at TU to help coordinate the Big XII wrestling tournament in Tulsa.

In the master’s program, Oxley College of Health Sciences students are required to assist professional athletic trainers during sport seasons. Robinson has assisted Tulsa-area high schools and the TU Men’s soccer team. This fall, she will be on the sideline assisting the Golden Hurricane football team.

I have loved that relationship with the athletes from the moment they stepped foot on campus through any injuries and battles that they had and watching them play the sport they love,” said Robinson.

The NATA Foundation’s work benefits every athletic trainer and every group associated with the profession, as well as the physically active community at large.

The scholarship was presented during the NATA Clinical Symposia in Las Vegas on June 25.

The requirements for the NATA Research and Education Foundation scholarship are:

  • Be enrolled in a CAATE accredited entry-level master’s program that concludes with a master’s degree;
  • Have a cumulative overall grade-point average of at least 3.2 (based on a 4.0 maximum) for the last 40 credits of his/her undergraduate courses and ALL of his/her entry-level master’s courses including the fall of 2019;
  • Have one academic year in master’s program remaining OR is graduating in spring 2020 and intends to pursue an advanced degree in domains of athletic training.


Inside the Big XII Wrestling Championship with TU’s student coordinator of sports medicine

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.

Big XII Championship wrestlers

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.

TU student medical coordinators at the Big XII Wrestling Championship
Casey Seitz, Katelyn Robinson, Jessica Johnson, Gage Murphy (1st-year athletic training master’s students who worked the championship round at the Big XII tournament)

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.

Athletic Training master's student Katelyn Robinson at the Big XII Championship in Tulsa


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.

True confidence: Athletic training alumnus helps Texas Rangers maximize performance

In late 2018, athletic training alumnus Jacob Newburn (BATS ’04) made a career home run when he was named the Texas Rangers’ major league assistant athletic trainer. “I love working with professional baseball because every day is a new and different challenge,” Newburn says. “Whether at home in Arlington, during spring training or on the road, my aims are to maximize players’ recovery, limit inflammation and maintain our athletes at their highest level of performance.”

True Blue Alumnus Jacob Newburn

A cross-country career

Newburn’s involvement with baseball began when he was a student in The University of Tulsa’s athletic training program. The summer after his junior year he had the opportunity to intern with the Frisco RoughRiders, the minor league double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. “I spent that time learning about injuries in baseball, clubhouse atmosphere and techniques for stretching and exercises.”

Jacob NewburnAfter graduating from TU in 2004, Newburn completed his master’s in science in kinesiology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Drawing on a connection he had made during his TU internship, in June 2006 Newburn landed a seasonal employee position with the Rangers’ minor league team in Spokane, Washington. By November of that year, Newburn had been brought on full time with the organization, working with teams across the country and at the off-season complex in the Dominican Republic.

A solid foundation

Newburn regards his four years in TU’s athletic training program as foundational for his professional success. “I received an immersive education in my chosen career,” Newburn says. “My time at TU gave me the confidence to try techniques, put my hands on athletes and not be afraid to attempt new things in order to learn and improve.”

Jacob NewburnHis undergraduate years also instilled in him what Newburn calls a “mindset” – a True Blue quest constantly to explore unfamiliar areas of practice and to improve his own skills. “Fresh research and clinical techniques come out so often that it’s hard to stay current. But I try to stay on top of new concepts and modalities, and I don’t shy away from trying new things just because I’m not an ‘expert’ yet.”

Rounding the bases

A home-run career such as Newburn’s does not happen by chance. For those who are considering an athletic training career in professional sports, Newburn has the following advice: “Gaining experience is the best thing you can do in this profession. You can’t obtain that – or the confidence you need – by watching someone else do the job. You must make the effort to get your hands on players and learn in a direct-contact atmosphere. It’s also vital to ask questions, try new things, question norms and look for the ‘why’ of a treatment or exercise that’s been prescribed.

As far as getting into professional baseball, Newburn says, “there are openings every year for entry-level positions in the Dominican Republic or at spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida. Start at the bottom, put the work in, spend the off-seasons working in physical therapy clinics that specialize in baseball or upper-extremity rehab. If possible, work with winter baseball leagues. Learn manual therapy techniques and definitely learn Spanish. Above all else, develop your passion for the wonderful game of baseball.”


If you are interested in rounding the True Blue bases like Newburn, check out TU’s athletic training program.

Jacob Newburn and others