Behind the scenes at major Spokane athletics events such as Bloomsday, Hoopfest and Spokane Shadow soccer games, students in Whitworth's Athletic Training Education Program are busy wrapping athletes' sore ankles, icing their swollen knees, and stretching their tight hamstrings. Because of the program's excellent reputation throughout the West, Whitworth students regularly participate in providing emergency care and injury treatment at athletics events throughout the Pacific Northwest, says Russ Richardson, director of the Whitworth Athletic Training Education Program.
"Whitworth has the reputation as having one of the leading athletic-training programs in the Western United States," Richardson says. "We receive invitations based on that reputation and on our commitment to be involved in community service."
Bloomsday, Spokane's annual 12-kilometer road race, features more than 50,000 participants and is one of the nation's largest such races; and Hoopfest, the largest organized three-on-three basketball tournament in the world, takes place every June in Spokane. Whitworth athletic-training students contribute their skills at these popular community events, as well as at Skate America competitions, NBC summer camps, and the Wrangler Pro Rodeo Classic.
During these competitions Whitworth students provide care for serious injuries and also tape sprained ankles, treat other minor injuries, and encourage the athletes as they encounter challenges while competing. At figure-skating events, students also provide massage therapy, and conduct stretching and rehabilitation exercises with skaters.
The involvement of athletic-training students in community events allows the students to apply and hone their existing skills, acquire new skills, and participate in professional networking. These experiences often lead the students to jobs and graduate placements after they graduate from Whitworth, Richardson says.
"The skills Whitworth students acquire while working at these athletics events are numerous," Richardson says. "Not only do students sharpen the skills they've learned in class, they also gain confidence and strengthen their communication skills."
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.