FTG 0032 – Raising Banners & Healing Athletes with NCAA Championship Winning Athletic Trainer Katy Poole '11


Overview: Katy Poole ’11 HHD is a Senior Athletic Trainer at the University of Kentucky, where she works with the national championship women’s volleyball team and serves as a leader in their athletic department overseeing training for the gymnastics and golf teams. Katy graduated from State College Area High School, and shares her experiences coming to Penn State with a focus on becoming an athletic trainer by earning her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with Honors. She provides an in-depth look at this healthcare field from undergraduate through professional. Katy also offers advice that can be helpful to any Scholar on overcoming early academic struggles, finding the right path, adapting to other universities for graduate school, and the importance of cultivating relationships. You You can read Katy’s full bio and a more detailed breakdown of the episode topics below.

Guest Bio:

Katy Poole ’11 HHD is a Senior Athletic Trainer at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington. This fall (2022) marks her 12th season working primarily with the women's volleyball team. As the team's athletic trainer, she oversees all aspects of healthcare for the student athletes that she serves. Over the last 11 years, she has helped the team win 5 SEC Conference Championships, and the 2020 National Championship. In addition to her role with volleyball, she has oversight of the gymnastics and golf teams, and is involved in several committees within the athletic department. Prior to being hired on full time, Katy worked for two years as a graduate assistant at UK while completing her Masters in Athletic Training. Before moving to Lexington, she graduated from Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development with a BS in Kinesiology with Honors. She is originally from State College, PA and can be found on Twitter and Instagram @KatyPoole.

Episode Specifics:

In this episode, Katy shares her insights on:

· Applying to the Honors College both as a State College local and as someone on the fence about it

· Rebounding from a challenging first year and working back into good standing as a Scholar

· Converting playing youth sports into academic and career passions

· Getting tapped for senior honor societies, Homecoming Courts, and making the most of your last year

· Early exposure to athletic training through undergraduate opportunities

· The importance of relationships, especially in collegiate athletics

· Using clinical experiences to inform thesis research interests – and using it in your career!

· Determining criteria for which grad schools for the your personal best fit

· Deciding to pick an NCAA D1 “Power 5” university for a professional home

· Defining athletic training as a distinct healthcare profession

· A day in the life of an athletic trainer during their sport’s season

· The biomechanical differences between sports

· Alternative paths in sports science and athletic training from Katy’s

· The value of team continuity in the workplace, and the unique role of the team’s athletic trainer

· Responding to COVID-19 in athletic training

· Balancing your Penn State pride with your graduate school or employer (if another university)

· Learning what career paths are best for you and advice for prospective athletic trainers

· Professional development and work life balance for athletic trainers

· Reflections on success like winning a national championship and mentorship

· The importance of making connections with the College’s staff


Schreyer Honors College Links:






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Credits & Notes:

This content is available in text form here.

This show is hosted, produced, and edited by Sean Goheen ‘11 Lib (Schreyer).

The artwork was created by Tom Harrington, the College’s Web Developer.

The sound effect is “Chinese Gong,” accessed via SoundBible used under Creative Commons License.

The theme music is “Conquest” by Geovane Bruno, accessed via Pixabay and used under Creative Commons License.

Greeting scholars and welcome to following the Gong, a podcast of the Shire Honors College at Penn State. Following the gone takes you inside conversations with our scholar alumni to hear their story so you can gain career in life advice and it spanned your professional network. You can hear the true breadth of how scholar alumni have gone on to shape the world after they ran the gone and graduated with honors, and learn from their experiences so you can use their insights in your own journey. This show is probably sponsored by the scholar Alumni Society, a constituent group of the Penn State Alumni Association. I'm your host, Shawan Jheen, class of two thousand eleven and college staff member. If this is your first time joining us, welcome. If you're a regular listener, welcome back. Katie Pool, class of two thousand eleven, is a senior athletic trainer at the University of Kentucky, where she works with the National Championship women's volleyball team and serves as a leader in their athletic department, overseeing training for the gymnastics and golf teams. Katie graduated from State College Area High School and shares her experiences coming to Penn state with a focus on becoming an athletic trainer by earning her bachelor of science and Kinesiology with honors. She provides an in debt look at this healthcare field from the undergraduate through professional levels. Katie also offers advice that can be helpful to any scholar on overcoming early academic struggles, finding the right path, adapting to other universities for graduate school and the importance of cultivating relationships. You can read Katie's full bio and a more detailed breakdown in the episode topics in the show notes on your podcast APP joining me here today from Historic Memorial Coliseum in the heart of the Bluegrass is my friend and national championship winning athletic trainer, Katie Pool. Katie, thanks for coming on. Before we get into athletic training in your days in royal blue, though, I want to start, of course, with your time in Navy blue at Penn State, and I imagine your reason for coming to Penn state generally is probably relatable to some of our students from Center County, but I want to hear what exactly brought you here and what also brought you to the Honors College as a student? Sure. Well, first of all, thanks for having me on Sean. It's good to be back and talk about my time at Navy blue. I grew up right by the waffle shop on blue course, so very close to campus. Um. So Penn state was really in my blood from the get go. I looked at some other colleges senior year of high school but didn't consider any of them seriously. Is Penn state was sort of always a given for me. Um. What was not always be given for me was even applying or thinking about stryer. Um. I had a good friend in the grade above me who asked about it when we were talking about college applications and I laughed at her and then I went and asked my parents, hey, should I think about applying to Shryer, and they kind of laughed too, and I went and asked my guidance counselor and they kind of said, well, maybe, but we don't know. Obviously, being from state high a ton of people that are applied to Shreier as well, many of whom had far better grades than I did in high school and significantly better sat scores than I did. But thankfully my friend was persistent and sort of convinced me and I said, well, what the heck, I'll give it a try and I got accepted. And I have thought about that a lot since then because, especially now that I work with college age people, just about the power of encouraging people to reach sort of outside their comfort zone. I don't think at the time that I this played out, as you know, Um, later in my shryer career. But I don't think I fit the bill academically for Shreier right off the bat, or at least in the way that it was so obvious for a lot of other people. Um, I think I really fit the bill again being reflective of what it is that they were probably looking for for the you know, being engaged in my community and learning and serving and helping others. So more from a fit standpoint, I think that was sort of my nation what sort of helped me get in. Thankfully I did, and thankfully that friend was persistent. Shout out to Bonnie Pedlo if she's listening to the podcast. And so yeah, Atherton Hall, there I was and Katie, you had mentioned before the show that obviously you've gone on you've been very successful. You graduated with honors. You wouldn't be on this podcast if you had in but your first year was a little rough. Could you talk about that experience, because I think there's a pressure for scholars to just do everything and I have to have the four point. Oh, and that's not true. You can mess up a little bit along the way and still rebound. Can you talk about your experience? Yeah, absolutely, so I think I guess actually clarify one other point from my previous story is that my grades weren't bad necessarily coming out of high school. I just you know, it's not the person that was getting fives on all of my a P tests. So my when I first started out, I knew always that my interests lied in athletic training, but I wanted to keep the door open if I down the road, changed my mind and one to...

...go to medical school, and I think that was opened even more, or I let that door open even more because right so many people at the time that I was in Shryer were everyone onted to go to medical school or, you know, law school or something sort of a big illustrious career when you think of it in that way. And so my first year I took a lot of really hard science classes that I didn't necessarily need for athletic training, you know, like cout two and some of my sort of basic genet's that I struggled with more than a lot of my honors college peers. And my first semester it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great and it wasn't stryer standards necessarily. I think I missed the G P A cut off grade by like point one or something like that. No big deal. My second semester I still had not really grasped what worked best for me in terms of studying. I still was not in any athletic training or like kinesiology specific classes. It was a lot of the more traditional science lasses Um and I was starting to get more involved with things on campus and thon, and it did not go well. It was really bad, and so I ended up obviously not meeting the GP a department that semester as well. I got my letter saying that I was on academic probation and if I wanted to I could fight it, but otherwise I was going to be let go, so to speak, from the from the Dryer Honors College and so I thankfully went and worked with Judiasma, who was a savior, and she and I sort of talked through a lot of things. I wrote my appeal and she sort of walked me through it, and that next I took a few summer classes Jen ed English and things like that. But that next fall once I really got into like, okay, these now I'm in kindness classes, I'm in some athletic training classes. This is a lot more applicable and makes a lot more sense to me in my brain. It just it totally changed the game for me and once I was around in classes with a lot of other students that weren't in the Honors College, I guess, and I didn't feel quite as much pressure to try and keep up, if that makes sense. It just became a lot easier. That burden sort of was lifted and it was it's a lot easier right to learn and study and care about things that you are passionate about. So it was that once I got into that and was able to focus a lot on on that, it really sort of changed the game and thankfully my g p a rose to the occasion as well, so I was able to stick around and they couldn't get rid of me quite yet, which was good because I lived in Atherton for two years. I'm glad that worked out for you too. Obviously you've had a very great career since and I want to hear about you. Know, you found your niche, as you said, in athletic training and before we hit record we were just trying to talk about state college and you immediately pulled up a memory about crushing a different elementary school in volleyball in fifth grade. So you've been a very competitive person. You've probably played a lot of sports. Can you talk us through kind of your athletic history and what drew you not to coaching but too at let it training, which is an integral part of the athletic experience for obviously athletes. Yeah, so grew up I just have always. I grew up playing volleyball. I've always been very, very athletic, Lee oriented. I wouldn't say have been super athletic, but I have always wanted to be really athletic Um and really interested in sports. So I played volleyball, basketball, softball sort of all through the state college pipelines really up until high school. The thing that sort of got me interested in volleyball right away. was being from State College, smaller town. My parents were friends with a coach rose. So my mom took me to a volleyball game once when I was seven. was hooked. Coach was nice enough to be like, oh, just bring her by practice sometime. So one day after elementary school my mom and I go way you walk into South Gym at Rec Hall and coach was like Yeah, just come hang out at practice whenever you want to. And so from that point on, once or twice a week after school I would instead of going to the YMC A, I would go to red hall and I would run around the gym, Shag Volleyballs and interact with the team and it really just sort of I mean from that point on I have been hooked on the sport ever since I became interested in athletic training through a combination of things. One when I was at least practices, one of the people that was always in the gym was Dan Eck, who at the time was the athletic trainer for Penn State's volleyball team. So I just talked to him a bunch growing up and knew what he did and he got to go to volleyball practice every day. How cool was that? So it became interesting to me from that standpoint. And then in high school I not only continued my volleyball career but I really my injury career really took off. So tore my C L, had some shoulder injuries and became a lot more interested in the science of Human Movement and how that played out. So I knew pretty early on that I wanted to do athletic training and stuck with it. And we're going to pivot away from the athletic training for just a minute. You mentioned earlier you were involved in thon and you were also on the homecoming court. As a scholar, how did you balance being involved in different things on campus with the expectations of class...

...work and especially once you got your G P A backup? Um You said it rosted the occasion and in your requirements for working, presumably with the volleyball team in a more professional capacity once you were on campus. So I think for me one thing that was really helpful, and I really Credit Schreier and the kinesiology honors advisors that I was working with at the time, is there are a few core kinesiology classes that are considered some of the tougher ones. You know, three fifty and three sixty, so exercise, FIZ and neuro and I am not sure why, but I am thankful that I did. I took those as a sophomore, and most athletic training students at the time we're waiting until their senior year to take those, and that ended up benefiting me a lot because I had had sort of those like big block of tough classes out of the way and was able to focus on my thesis research, but also being involved on campus and because I had done a lot of that. I remember really vividly going into my senior year being like, okay, I'm really involved in athletics. I've done fallen, I've been on operations committees, I have, you know, done I've danced for Springfield fill and I was involved in Springfield, but like what else I have to be able to like give back or be a part of? I'm going into my senior year, my last sort of Parrah, and it ended up that I was eventually tapped into alliance law and that sort of it just was odd that I was sitting there thinking like, oh my gosh, I need one more thing like I want one more thing to really get back and embrace my senior year. And that sort of worked out. And the reason I bring it up is that was how I got sort of involved with homecoming, the people aspect of it. Um Obviously court was the whole other process, but that sort of opened my eyes to all these organizations on campus that I wasn't super familiar with. So yeah, I'm sure that there were times where my athletic training people felt I was not doing a good job of balancing all of my extracurriculars. But really for me, especially senior year, it was just about embracing everything that Penn State had to offer and you get into the groove. You know. Okay, here I am with my research, I feel like I'm in a good place with that. Here I am with my athletic obligations and like I just want to spend any and all three time that I have to making the most of my last couple months at Penn state. You're not the first guest on here. To emphasize, you know, you're only a college student wants enjoy what you have at Happy Valley or at barrened or in Abington or Middletown. Or wherever your campus is at. So enjoy enjoy that time because you don't get it back now. You mentioned being involved athletics. Correct me if I'm wrong. You were essentially like a student trainer. How did you get involved in that and what advice would you have for students who want to get involved with volleyball or any of the other thirty varsity teams or countless club and I am opportunities that we have here at University Park? So the way that it was structured when I went and athletic training recently has undergone the sort of giant shift in how they are certified. But for us all people who got certified before this shift happened, it has recently shifted to an entry level masters to become certified. When I was an Undergrad, you took the certification exam at the end of Undergrad so the way it was structured at that point was you took an intro to athletic training class and they would assign you not necessarily a certain team but a certain athletic training room. So in Whet Hall in East area, at the Brice Jordans Center with and you would work with all of the teams in that area and you would sort of get exposed to the athletic training room, and it really is twofold one. It helps them see, hey, can this person cut it? Do they show up on time? Are they willing to do what we're asking them to do? But it also helps you see, is this what I want to do? You know, if they're telling you to be at the Bryce Jordan's center at six am to help set up for practice or five thirty am to help set up first six am practice, it can lead some people out if you don't want that. So you do that for about a semester and you just get exposed to a lot of other aspects, I guess, of the Athletic Department. Once you were accepted into the program, you got assigned a team and you were with that team for the semester. So not just a an athletic training room, but a specific team which allows you to integrate, I guess, a little more with each team and what they've got going on. so Um I worked with soccer, I worked with Um Women's across, was an awesome opportunity for me, and then obviously men's and women's volleyball and because of relationships that I had established with, you know, women's volleyball previously, but also I happened to be assigned to them my first semester in the program and even with you know, women's Lacrosse later on. Those people always left the door open for me to go back. So if I wanted, you know, extra experience with something or, you know, I was with baseball in their hours were a little more flexible. On days that women's across was playing, I could always just go and help out some more and at that point I just wanted to be exposed to and learn as much as I could, so I took advantage of that. And it sounds like you built relationships with the staffs there in those different teams and that's what helped keep those doors open.

Is that? Is that fair to say? Yeah, I still keep in contact with the HOE and l family. Tara was an assistant for once across team when I was there. Dennis was an assistant for volleyball, so I knew them through that. They left Penn State for a little bit and then they came back to penn state for a little bit and Tara, I think now I was coaching high school across and people always think that I know that family really well because of of Dennis, which is true, but it's also because of relationship that I built with Tara through women's across and I think especially, I mean in life, yes, but especially in athletics, relationships make all of the difference. You know, if you are able to invest in people, other people as much as you are in yourself, then it benefits you a lot in the long run. I think that was some really solid advice that Katie just shared there. So made sure. Probably if you don't take anything else from this conversation, that might be one of the things you want to take. But obviously keep listening because there's a lot more to talk about here, and one of the things to talk about, Katie, is the thesis. You've mentioned it a couple of times and you shared what your topic did that come from your practical experiences with the different athletic teams here? Yes, definitely. So it was very specific. I am quite positive that I was the only scholar, at least at the time, writing about different knee taping techniques. But yeah, they I worked in the Athletic Training Sports Medicine Research Lab and I worked with John Byro who is still still there and does a lot of really good work. And Yeah, it came from the clinical side of you know, you see all these athletes and a lot of them have any pain and there are some traditional ways of of taping the knee and at the time Kinsio tapeer Kue tape or rock tape or whatever brands you want to use, but that everybody knows. It's got all the funky designs and that sort of thing was really sort of coming up, but there wasn't a lot of research on it. And what it actually did. The tape, for people who haven't seen it, is it feels almost fabricky. So it doesn't move or manipulate a joint in the way that a lot of other traditional tapings do, and so we wanted to take a look at it. So we we looked at that and it's effect on pain when we had people do certain tasks. And there's another uh scholar there who was looking at muscle activation, I believe, of their quad. They're in the same thing. So yeah, it was interesting and I'm sure that the results from that are probably something you still use to this day, I imagine. Yes, we and you know, people are curious and they should be curious about their healthcare. So when we use N C O tape in a clinical setting now, people will always say, well, what does this do? And I don't think that they're quite prepared for the litany of response that I give them because, little do they know, I writen a whole thesis about it. But yeah, it has benefited me over and over again just to have that knowledge. I was glad that I picked a research topic that translated so closely with what I actually do on a day to day basis. That's a common theme here on the show, in addition to relationships, is with the thesis. Typically, I've heard. I've had a few faults who are like I want to pick something completely different just to get a different experience, but a lot of faults like U Katie, say, know you've got to be passionate about it because it can be a grind getting through that process. So if it's something useful to you, something you care about, makes it a lot easier. Yes, which is also relatable to Grad School. You went to Grad School for something that I don't want to say it's like a traditional Grad program and that you're probably not going to go for a PhD eventually in this field. It's also not an MBA or J D or an m d like those professional degrees are. Can you tell us about that search process, of how you went about looking at Grad schools and even to decide that you wanted to go to Grad school, because it's now it sounds like you have to, but at the time you didn't have to. Can you talk about that? So, yeah, you're right. Now you have to go to Grad school to be a certified athletic trainer, to be able to sit for the certification exam. At the time you did not have to. But something that I knew that I was interested in and I think that shryer really instilled in me, was just this. I wanted to keep learning and I actually liked the research. There are a lot of days I did not like the research process, but I liked it. I liked having a question and, you know, trying to find an answer for it. So when I looked at Grad schools, I only picked Grad schools that I knew would make me have to write another thesis. I do not know why I did that to myself, but I did. And really three three schools sort of emerged for being well known for giving a high level like power five, clinical experience and also a really high level research intensive graduate program and those were U N C, U V A and UK, and I was signed, sealed delivered. GOING TO U v A. I had talked to their program director. I really liked them. Um, I knew that they had the chance to have an opening for a graduate assistant to work specifically with volleyball, and that was sort of what I wanted to do, obviously, and their program was only a year. So I was like, let's do it, that's gonna be Great. Um. And I got a call from Dr Carl Mattacola, who was at UNC Greensboro now but at the time was the program director at UK and he um, he was like, well, just come visit, come on down, see if you like it. And I did, and I did really...

...like it and I found myself more curious about it. It felt, and you can attest to the Shawn, because you spent some time in Lexington, but it felt kind of like a bigger version of state college. It's not big and overwhelming, but is bigger than state college. Um, but it just it felt homie. And Yeah, so I just like totally pivoted and called DVA and was like Hey, I actually think I'm not gonna come. I'M gonna go to the University of Kentucky and said, and I didn't have a phone call in that process from coach Ross who had heard that I was sort of back and forth on a decision and he had called to say that he knew Craig skinner, the head and volleyball coach here, and that he was a really great guy and he would work for him. So there you go. I definitely echo everything you just said about Lexington. I Love State College, I love Lexington and definitely a great town and I've described it in the same way. It is a larger version of state college and with a little bit more barbecue options. Absolutely, yeah, absolutely. And so you obviously did two years of Grad school there. You got your stairs. What ended up like? How did you navigate that job search process, because there's lots of athletic departments, there's hundreds, if not thousands, of N C double a programs across the country in Ai a, lots of options, but you stayed right where you went to school. How did that work out? I knew again, put to your point of earlier when we were talking about being competitive. I just I'm always, I've always been really competitive. I've always liked large scale division one athletics that it is motivating for me as a clinician to constantly be trying to get better and make my team better and the way that I'm able to do that, and it's just it's a motivating environment really, because everybody is kind of wired that way, like, okay, how do we be the best? How do we be the best? So I knew that that was sort of the environment that I wanted to be in. Obviously, the volleyball piece was important to me as well, and I happened to part of this is fortune. Part of this goes back to investing in people in relationships, but I got a little bit lucky with timing because as I was graduating from Grad school, you started to see this shift where a lot of bigger athletic departments were transitioning from graduate assistant athletic trainers that would be in charge of their teams to okay, now our next step is providing a lot of these especially Olympic sports, their own full time athletic trainer who is hopefully around for more than just a year or two and is able to devote more of their time to this specific whatever specific sport it is. You see in volleyball, you've seen it a lot Um in gymnastics, soccers. There's just been a lot of growth in the profession in that way. So I got a little fortunate with timing that Kentucky was looking to make that tradition right as I was graduating and finishing up my assistantship and I just had really invested in Kentucky Volleyball and the Kentucky Athletic Department and bought into the Athletic Department and their vision and those people, and also Craig and what he was trying to build with Kentucky Volleyball. It was super exciting for me. You know, Penn State won the national championship my four years in college. So I came from a program at won four natties and ended up at this program that I could tell was just trying to at the time, breakthrough and we just we were trying to win the SEC. That was our biggest, biggest goal, and it was cool. I want to be a part of that. I wanted to help build that. So it's a pretty easy decision. Once the IT became clear that that might be an option. I thought I was going to move to license in for two years and leaving. Now I've been here for twelve. We're pretty good way into our conversation here, but I want to take a quick step back. A million dollar question. Maybe we watched the Games on TV. We go to beaver stadium or Kroger Field for a football game, B J C ropp arena. What exactly is an athletic trainer? Can you define exactly what your job is? Sure so for people who asked that who have recently been to a sporting event, the story that I always tell us like when somebody gets hurt and somebody runs out onto the field to see if they're okay. That's an athletic trainer. But what an athletic trainer is is an allied healthcare profession and we oversee and are responsible for all of the healthcare operations with the populations that we work with, especially if you're a collegiate athletic trainer, whether that's in the D two, d three, D one setting. So we work on the prevention, the assessment, the rebuilitation of muscular skeletal injuries and your experiences and I guess expertise can differ depending on the setting that you in. Athletic Training is growing a lot as a profession. People are starting to realize the value of athletic trainers and the knowledge base that we have. So their Toyota is a really good example. They employ athletic trainers to come in and they look at the Ergonomics and biomechanics of what they're asking their factory workers to do. So you can have athletic trainers and a lot of different settings because the knowledge base is so applicable. Right everybody wants to feel good while they're doing what they do to make money or players for it or whatever it is. So yeah, it's an IT's an allied healthcare profession. We are in no way related to physical training. I think that's the number one probably misconception is you say you're an athletic trainer and people are like, Oh, you must be in such good shape. I can assure you that I am not um and I have nothing to do...

...with our team's strength and conditioning. I work very closely with our team strength and conditioning coach. But yeah, it's a it's a healthcare profession. I think that helps a lot in knowing that there's a difference between PT and Athletic Training and the strength and conditioning. Now it's kind of a another one of these deep career questions here for you, Katie. Can you walk us through? I originally wrote a day in the life, but I realized that's probably a silly question. So can you maybe a day and a season in the life of an athletic trainer, especially at the collegiate level, and you work not just with volleyball but with other sports that are based out of the Coliseum. Can you talk about as well, if there are differences between those sports in the seasons and how that works for you as as their trainer? So pretty much anywhere the team goes, I go. So I am at all of our practices, all of our strength and conditioning sessions Um and all of our matches, whether those are home or away. So that's sort of the baseline is I'm at all of that Um in terms of a schedule, and then the ust of the schedule really depends on class schedules, on if somebody gets hurt, sort of what we've got going on, if an athlete has just had surgery. So if we have an athlete who is working through a relatively minor injury, I may have them come in in the morning do some Rehab and some treatment before they go on their way to class. I might go to the doctor with another athlete who got hurt maybe the day before in practice or has something going on, and then come back about an hour hour and a half before practice. We'll do pre practice treatments, try and get the team ready to play, take their ankles, all that kind of thing, and then during practice I'm in the gym just sort of watching how people are moving, shagging volleyballs, but also trying to get a feel for what we're doing in practice that day, the volume and how can I then, on the back end of practice, go about setting up recovery for our team. So I work really closely with our strengthen conditioning coach, I work really closely with our nutritionists and then obviously under the revision of our team physicians, and just sort of think about what can I do to maximize how our team feels so that they ultimately can play their best. And I'd say where this has grown the most is we also are their first step of contact for Um mental health as well for a lot of a lot of teams and a lot of athletes. I tell recruits when I meet with them, I tell our athletes at the beginning of every season, my goal is for you to feel the best that you can mentally, physically, emotionally. So we're sort of there for first stop. So when you're an eighteen year old kid and you're in college and you wake up for the first time and you don't feel well, nine out of ten people call their mom to probably be like what do I do now? And I would say the one out of ten are collegiate athletes who call me and say what not what? So yeah, I've sort of worked through that journey with them and then senior year, hopefully I've helped people realize that they need to take some ownership of their health care and help them transition to the real world. That's really, really helpful to hear. I did realize about the mental health and that's great about that transitioning out because, especially in the sports that you work with, probably not a lot of them are turning pro even at a really good program like yours and at Penn State, not many people are playing volleyball professionally. So it's good to be able to take that in that learning there too. So it's also an educative educational role that you have. Now correct me if I'm wrong. You have the women's gymnastics team and one other team. Do you see differences across the sports and how that works? Yeah, I have some. I've been involved with gymnastics and the golf team since I've been here. Right now it's just sort of in an oversight role because, like I said, the Olympic sports has sort of expanded. So they've hired their their own full time athletic trainer as well, so it's sort of been supervisory the last few years. I think the biggest difference, other than schedule, because gymnastics is a winter sport volleyball is the fall sport, is one of the things I like the most about athletic training is biomechanically. The demands of all of these sports are really different. So what gymnasts can do and the way that they are able to move their body and assist, the body systems that they use and the ranges of motion that they put their bodies through are really different and quite impossible for some of the athletes that I work with. Who are you know six five. So for me I think the biggest component of that is just looking at what are the demands of the sport biomechanically, what do? What is each athlete need to be successful and you sort of go from there. But I guess the biggest place that comes into play is in a rehab setting. So my rehab for a gymnast is going to look really different for my than my rehab for volleyball. Volleyball House to jump a lot more times than gymnastics does. Gymnastics is a lot more explosive in some ways than volleyball is. You know, your shoulder situation is really different for bars than it is to serve volleyball. So that's sort of the fun challenge, I guess, of working different sports and if you can find athletic trainers who are interested in a very specific sport and have worked in a specific sport for a long time, I think you'll start to see that area of expertise sort of grow over time. Yeah, absolutely, you become like the subject matter expert and this is how...

...volleyball player moves, this is how a football player, you know, the quarterback. Our motions that different thing. Obviously there's other paths you can take in athletic training. You focused on collegiate athletics. Could you talk quickly about what are some of the other paths that schollege could take if they want to go in athletic training but maybe they want a little bit of a different path? One Way to do that or to at least stay involved with athletic training? I have a lot of friends that, especially through Grad school at UK, have decided that they really like the research portion of athletic training. There are a lot of interesting thing about athletic training research is it's so applicable clinically right, so it's really easy to translate. Okay, I'M gonna look at interventions for this and see if it decreases ankles brands in this population, and that is a very easy crossover as opposed to somebody WHO's in a lab looking at maybe cellular data, which is super, super important, but it's just a really tiny piece of a much larger puzzle most likely. So I have a lot of friends that have stayed in athletic training and have pursued their PhD or just stayed in as research assistants. We have a sports medicine research institute that has was just started a few years back at Kentucky. They do a lot of really good research. It's actually run by Nick Heatner, who was is a Penn State Grad. He was a senior when I was a sophomore at Penn state. So there are a lot of people that do a lot of good research. That's one avenue. I have a lot of friends who have decided that they wanted to be high school athletic trainers. So they wanted to work in a more traditional clinical setting and they love it. They're hours are a little bit different than than mine. Um, they probably have to deal with a few more parents than I have to to deal with, but they get a variety of sports. You know, I'm volleyball pretty much all the time seven and they get to work with a different age group, they get to work with different sports. So the value of athletic training is starting, like I said earlier, to be noticed a lot more across the board and there are a lot of really cool and interesting and unique opportunities for politic training. So you really can can do anything you want with it. That is awesome. Now going back specifically to the collegiate space here, Katie, anyone who even is tangentially aware of sports headlines. Know that coaches in particular come and go all the time. You know this coach is on the hot seat, Yada, Yada. Especially you know there's assistant coaches and graduate assistance. What is it like for you as a trainer and how do you adapt to working with new coaches and other athletic staff that come and go? That could be helpful for students, you know, navigating new bosses or new team members in any job. I think one of the most unique things about Kentucky, and we just talked about this, we have had a lot of longevity in our coaches at Kentucky, a lot more than a lot of other places, and one of those people is Craig skinner, who's our head volleyball coach, and he has been here for longer than I have been. I think he came in thousand three year along those lines. Maybe. Sorry, Craig, I'm getting that wrong. And our staff has really sort of been together for a long period of time. We've had a few assistants lead for head coaching roles Um or get out of coaching, but our staff really hasn't had as much turnover, which is nice. And just sort of reaffirms what I said earlier about Kentucky, that it's a place to invest in its people and it's a special environment and atmosphere. So I would say one of the things that I pride myself in is, especially with somebody who spends so much time with the student athletes. Right the coaches have our limits that can be in the gym with people for Twenty hours a week. There's no hour limit for how much I can interact with our team. The coaching staff can't be with the volleyball team at all other than camps in the summer. I have unlimited access to them in the summer and they're all working out all summer long, so I see them a lot. It's really just trying to be a constant for when there is turnover and change is okay, how can I support our team through this? Are there certain people that are struggling more than others with the change, and then being adaptable in my style and for what they need from me, the coaching staff, but then also be able to support the people that I serve, which are student athletes. We're recording this in August, uh, so the season's not quite underway yet when, at the time recording, it'll been well underway by the time you're listening to this. Normal years, you probably have a good routine. But one thing that could not have expected, because no one did, was a global pandemic. Obviously, your role you are right up working on people. You're on your student athletes. You talked about taping ankles and knees and risks. How did that affect your work and how have you adjusted back as it seems to move in? Not any kind of epidemiologist, but it seems like we're moving to an endemic phase and slowly getting back to some sense of normal. Talk about how covid impacted your personal career, work and in the broader athletic training field. Yeah, Um, it was a nightmare, Um, to put it frankly. So I think. I mean, obviously the pandemic affected a lot of people in a lot of ways and it was incredibly difficult for healthcare workers across the board, whether that was physical therapists who maybe had to take some time off work because their clinics were shutting down, to doctors and nurses who were incredibly...

...overworked in larger settings. For us, it was interesting because we do not have a very strong background knowledge and infectious disease. You know, we worked pretty singularly in the muscular skeletal department and so we had to learn a lot quickly. You also had to be adaptable because rules and guidelines are constantly changing, and both from a CDC in a federal level, but it's different state to state. You know, you might be trying to travel with your team to one state where they have a mask mandate and your state doesn't, or vice versa, and then it's different at each school, right. So there are rules for on campus, the guidelines and testing requirements and stuff for each campus that might be different. Um. So for us it was difficult and I guess like the other piece of that is at a conference level. Right. So the SEC handled covid in my opinion, very well, but very differently from the big ten initially. You know, the big ten took good approach where they were going to do rapid emagine testing and they were going to test almost daily. The SEC WE USED PCR testing. We tested our high risk sports, football, basketball's, volleyball, Um, I believe the soccers were included in that. Three times a week. So it was just constantly adapting, but all of our athletic training staff for our teams had to sort of take on this extra role. In the beginning of the pandemic, we were trained in COVID testing and how to administer the tests. So we were testing all of our teams. Um We had to be trained and do a lot of legwork and contact tracing and what is that entail? So you're really sort of trying to manage all of it, you know, and you really could drive yourself crazy sitting there trying to monitor. Are you wearing your mask? Are you washing your hands? Are You doing this? Are you staying away from people that you're supposed to be staying away with outside of the gym? And for us at least with volleyball, it was really unique because we knew how special our team could be and so there was sort of an added pressure of we know that this team could be really good this year. We just need the chance to play. So it was sort of an added pressure, I guess, from athletic training in that sense, for anybody whose team was at a high level and trying to function at a high level. For me personally and my career path, it took a little bit of an additional twist because the first weekend the SEC used a third party testing groups so that every school was using the same testing group. Nobody could say like, well, Alabama's testers don't swab the same way that Kentucky's do or whatever. And we worked with them for about one week and my boss called me and he turned it over to me and he said you're gonna run this and you're going to be in charge of our covid operation. He was on the SEC medical task force and dealing with the regulations and keeping up with all the research and that sort of thing. And so for our on the ground covid nineteen response and testing. Um, I oversaw all of that for everybody in the Athletics Department, Admin all of our athletic teams and it was a lot. So it was a really unique opportunity. I learned a ton about myself. I learned a ton about administration and organization and everything. I'm not that it has ended Um and that we are transitioning to an endemic phase, but it affected athletic training substantially and then, on top of that sort of that extra layer of responsibility that I was given. It certainly affected my last two years quite heavily. I think you have a great answer to well, tell me about a time that you had to solve a big problem. Yeah, that's definitely I will forever be able to answer that question. Now, now you mentioned the SEC. Obviously UK is in that conference. Penn state's part of the big ten. So what is it like being at another large, nationally known athletic brand after your time at Penn State? How do you and this is something I always trying to balance myself when I was at UK, how do you balance your pride in dear old state and being a part of what you referred to as the big blue nation? Yes, that was hard. It took me probably eighteen months to two years before I was able to stop saying we in reference to Penn state, especially because I was that's my hometown right. So I would just say, Oh, well, we used to do and somebody would always penn state and I'm like Yess, sorry, Penn State. Used to do so before I was able to think of myself as we UK um. The Passion of the FAN bases, I think, is similar and it's one of the things that I love about it is it's just the environment and the love and the loyalty for both of those schools is so similar that the feeling of that is so similar to me that I love it. It's it's part of what keeps me in collegiate athletics. Um. When I got here, like I said, Penn State had just come off of four volleyball National Championships. So I did not share my undying love for Penn State volleyball quite as much as I probably was used to, because nobody wanted to hear about at that point. You know, they're like a dynastate. It's like Patriots football. People are sick of hearing about them. Um. So I didn't talk a ton about that. Um, I was able to rag about Penn State football quite a bit. Um, because at the time Kentucky football was Yikes. They are now, of course, since on the up and up. My worst nightmares happen when they played each other in the citrus bowl or whatever a few years ago. So it's been fun. I haven't...

...had too many issues where things have overlapped with each other. Yeah, it's been it's been fun. The shades of blue are just a little bit different. Everybody has an Undergrad institution and most people are proud of it and so it's just part of what next working in College Athletics Fund is. There's gonna be a little trash talk, right, it's not college athletics if there's not. So you know, I asked that question because so many of our scholars go on to Grad programs, generally at other institutions like Ohio State and Michigan and northwestern and some of our other rival institutions, and so you know that's always kind of an interesting dynamic to have. Is like, okay, I met this other place and I used to cheer against them, but especially you being in athletics. Yes, one of our one of my good friends here is from she went to Undergrad at Ohio state and it is from Ohio. So she and I go back and forth pretty heatedly during football season especially. But yeah, it's you know, it's part of it. I don't wear any intense state clothing in our athletics facilities. I usually say those for the off days or around my house, but other than that it hasn't been too difficult, except for that citrusful day. That was that was a rough day my household. I'm sure it was for you to with you and your friends and family. I stayed alone in my house that day. I had chances to go to the game. I had groups of friends in Lexington that were watching and I thought it is best for everyone if I just watched this game alone on my couch. So that is what I did. Now, practical question here for students. What skills or experiences could they, any students be looking to get now if they want to pursue a career in athletic training? Now? May Have already covered this with the question about some of the clinical experiences, but is there anything else that they could be doing besides those classes and internships? Don't be afraid to email people that you think have a job that you're interested in, and I guess that really goes for anybody, but in athletic training. If you say, let's say, I want to be a football athletic trainer or basketball athletic trainer, find local ones, maybe they're pen state affiliated, maybe it's at a high school, and ask if you can job shadow and just go and see what it's about to make sure that that's something you want to do. But be just get exposed to a lot of different sports and people and styles of athletic training. So from a clinical standpoint, I think just exposure to as many different things as you can. Athletic Training is a healthcare profession. My job is to make my team feel the best that they can so that they can play the best that they can. That's really hard to do if you are not people centric and not willing to do everything in your power to help other people. So I think the biggest skill there is are you adaptable to whatever is going to be thrown at you, because athletic training is constantly changing and you never know when somebody's gonna get hurt or somebody's going to change practice or people want to do something different and people feel vulnerable when they get hurt. And so your ability to interact with all different people, because you're especially if you want to work in a collegiate setting, you're going to get all sorts of different people, and your just ability to invest in other people. I think it's really important and probably your biggest non clinical skill that comes into play the most. Absolutely. I interviewed a physician assistant on here a few episodes back and she talked about like when you're interacting with them, especially if they're injured, they're probably one of their lower points. So having that empathy and working on those dells is a great point. We talked about what scholarge to be doing. If you're actually an athletic trainer, what does professional development look like for you, because the science is probably constantly being updated, constantly. So Athletic Training has continuing a class continuing education requirements similar to any other healthcare profession. So there are a lot of different national conferences. Um, you can go to the National Convention for Athletic Training, you can go to a collegiate athletic trainers society. They've got professional football athletic trainers societies. They're athletic training societies in every state. So you can do a lot of professional development through those. And then, to your point, the science is constantly evolving. Everyone's looking for ways to feel better faster, and so I think you've seen this a lot, especially in like soft tissue. People are starting to get a lot more into mild fashional decompression or covering or some sort of instrument attist it assisted soft tissue mobilization, like a Grasston or scraping tool. Um, dry need to laying that sort of thing and just constantly trying to learn. Okay, what are some tools in my toolbox that I can continue to add? You know, if you can add one year, by the time you've been doing this for ten years, you've got a pretty good set of tools at your disposal to to help people. If one thing works for somebody, it might not work for somebody else and you've got other options. And then taking care of yourself. Last question that's very specific to athletic training here. How do you balance, try to find balance during a season, especially for a sport where you're traveling for Midweek matches and you've got early morning practices late night sessions? How do you even try to find some sense of balance during during a season when you are focused on one specific sport? Um, I think you have to be able to make the most of the little time that you have and find things that you like to do. So for me, I really like to cook,...

I love to listen to music. Um, I collect final records. So I like to do those little tiny things if I have a chance to. Um, one of the benefits of working in athletics is you're typically around a group of people that also like to work out, and so for me. I feel a lot better. I feel clearer mentally if it's a day that I'm able to get to work out in the downside of athletic training in a lot of people's minds is that it's not a traditional nine to five. I think that you can also turn that into a positive, because it's not a traditional nine to five. Hours are so scattered sometimes and so demanding at other times that it is not uncommon for any of our athletic training staff to leave at eleven am and say I'm gonna go work out for an hour. And you know that's not something that a lot of people can do with their job, is leave in the middle of what most people would consider work day. But if you're team practice at six am, then you might be done by eleven am. I think just trying to make the most of whatever time you have available to you and find little things that keep you grounded. But it's ad advice. And finally, here, Katie, here's a chance for you to brag a little bit, as we alluded to in the introduction. What would you say is your biggest success to date? Definitely winning the National Championship, obviously in colletion. ATHLETICS SETS THE GOAL FOR ANY team at the end of the year. I alluded to it a little bit early on, but we knew going into that our team was really special and had all the pieces to do that. We won the SEC for the first time in a really long time back in seventeen and we just felt like since that year we had been building and been building and sort of knocking on the door. We knew we had the team to do it in which was part of the reason the pandemic really affected us, because it was like we have worked so hard for this and now we're looking at a time when we might not even be able to play. They might not even give us a chance to play. So for us, obviously winning the National Championship was incredibly special Um and was the biggest accomplishment to do it in a pandemic year. Technically or national champions but we won it in April because they moved all the fall championships to the spring, so our season was a year long. We battled with COVID and a lot of other stuff. So that is certainly the biggest accomplishment. It would be anyway, but to do it in a pandemic year it's really pretty significant. Absolutely, I would imagine it. UK, you probably have three goals throughout the season. Right, beat you of L yes, when the SEC win natty? Absolutely, and your senior class that year, if I'm right, didn't not win the SEC. That's yes, they graduated with four SEC championships on a national championship. So not too chabby. No, not at all. Definitely reminds you of the Penn State Dynasty you were alluding to earlier from the from our time in school. Absolutely, yeah, and we were the first SEC team. Volleyball was the only n C double a championship of the Sports of the SEC sponsors that had not ever won. So we were the first team in the SEC also to ever win the volleyball national championship, which was kind of fun because you watched Florida, you know, just dominate the League for so, so long. So it was a little fun to sneak in there before them. And for the as of you who obviously are big ten more familiar with UK Uf, is certainly a pretty big rivalry in many a sport. So I'm sure that probably felt pretty good too. But on the flip side, Katie, what would you say was your biggest transformational learning moment in your career so far in what you learned from that, I think definitely the pandemic. I mean it's an easy answer and we talked about that a little bit, but I just you had to take a total step back. You couldn't plan ahead for anything because things were constantly changing. So it just forced you to develop adaptability to a lot of different scenarios because you, you know, you sort of had all these what if scenarios in the back of your head and you would try and make plans for them and then something would come along and ruin everything that you've planned. So I think that's probably where I learned the most over the course of the last two years. So it was certainly the most tired that I have been in my career throughout the last two years as well, but definitely in the area of of learning the most and the most growth probably for me. Speaking of learning growing, how do you approach Mentorship, both as a mentor and as a mentee? I think as a mentee, the biggest thing is just continue to ask questions. Don't be afraid to sound them, don't be afraid to put yourself in a room where you feel like you maybe don't necessarily belong, because you're going to learn the most that way and you only grow when you're uncomfortable. So don't be afraid to to get involved and be around and ask a lot of questions. From mentorship perspective, I think you know the people aspect is important, getting to know the people that you work with. It can be really specific to hey, this is how I operate clinically as a volleyball authletic trainer, and these are some things that have helped me. But I also think a piece of it is that not your non clinical skills. You're empty your adaptability and working through a lot of that as well. So just trying to make yourself available and be as transparent and open as you can. You gotta like what you do, but the endgame also is to grow your profession right and to hopefully you're adding into something that will be sustained once you're done...

...doing it. So how do you leave athletic training in better hands than you found it? You've mentioned quite a few folks throughout our conversation today, but is there any other professors or friends from your days here at University Park that you wanted to give a shout? Out to I have to. I mean I mentioned judios meant on the front end, so I have to give a shout out to her because she worked through a lot of my academic probation issues with me my first year and it was helpful that I felt like not everybody in the Honors College had given up on me, so to speak. It was nice to feel like I had somebody in my corner. So she certainly won. Dr John Byro, Johnny B Kinesiology, is a big one for me. I was fortunate my high school athletic trainer, Alison Kravsky, was also an adjunct professor at Penn state in athletic training, so she and I have work together a lot. We still keep in really close contact. So those are probably three of, I guess, the biggest players, so speak, in certain my academic journey and I think you touched on something really important there. You know, you took the effort to reach out to Dr Osmond, who was on the staff at the time. Come talk to us who are here now. You know, if you're experiencing a challenge or a problem, come talk to us here. Neither Tenner Simmons or or you know book a time online with us if you're at a campus or on a different part of university park and you don't want to walk over from, say, west halls. But trump talked to us in some form or fashion and we can try to help you, like some of our past staff helped Katie when she needed it. As we're wrapping up, do you have a last piece of advice that you wanted to share for students generally, for potential athletic trainers, that you really wanted to share but just didn't come up in our conversation on its own? Yeah, I think, and I know I've touched on pieces of this, but for any of my Ted Lasso fans out there, highly recommend. If you don't watch it, but Ted last on Apple TV. Shout out. Our assistant coach just hung up a quote in his office earlier this week and it reminded me of it. But it says be curious, not judgmental, and when it boils down to it, I think one that makes you the best that you can be, whether it's clinically as an athletic trainer, whether it's as a doctor, whether it's as a lawyer. Right, if you're curious about how do I get better. How do I constantly be the best that I can be? What are other things maybe that I'm not trying? Whether that's doing research, whether that's asking your peers, whether that's asking somebody that you have met, like hey, how do I get better? Not Assuming you have all the answers. I think curiosity can really benefit you in that way. And the flip side of that is you have to be curious about other people. What drives them, what motivates them? Um, you really cannot do many things in this world on your own, and even if you could, I promise it's better if you do it with others. Um If you're invested in other people and their process and what your bigger goal is. So that's really easy to say when you work with a team and that's sort of built in, but really anything can be a team when you when you look at it. So be curious, not judgmental. Ted Lasso slash reminds me of Wayne Gretzky, Michael Stott exactly. Definitely check out Ted last so this is not sponsored, we're not being paid to recommend it, but a great show. If you have access to Apple TV. Katie and I both recommend that. Now, if the scholar wanted to reach out to you and pick your brain on any of the different things we've talked about today, from your involvement on campus to athletic training to going to an SEC school. How can they connect with you? Um, the easiest way is probably, honestly, through direct message on either twitter or Instagram, and through that I'm happy to give my email to people and connect with them that way, but definitely on twitter instagram. My handle is just my name, so pretty easy to find Katie with a y pull with any yeah, either of those those ways and I will do my best to get back to you. And finally, as a tradition here, if you were a flavor, Berkie crumery ice cream not your favorite, but if you were a flavor, which would you be? And, most importantly, as a scholar alum, why would you be that flavor? So I did a deep I've into all of the flavors that you sent me sean to try to prepare for this, and it sounds like, first of all, there are a lot more than when I left. It is my favorite, but I think I would be anyway. Peanut Butter Swirrel. It's just a timeless classic. Um, you get a little bit of sweet a little bit of salty. I tend to be a little quick witted and can you know, throw some singers out too. So you know, you might get a giant mouthful of peanut butter and it might be a little salty, but it evens out eventtionally. You get a little hug from the sweetness of the Vanilla. So peanut butter swirl. That's it for me. There is no other flavor. I talked about it at Nauseam. Probably to the people here in Lexington. That is a great choice. I was a little surprised you didn't go with the Russ Rose Flavor, but I think you had a very good rationale for the one that you picked and you certainly did your homework, just like a scholar, so I appreciate that. Both both are good flavors. Well, thank you for joining me here today. Katie, National Championship winning Athletic Trainer at the University of Kentucky for their women's volleyball program. Shameless plug go state as well, but...

...good luck in your season. When you're hearing this, will be deep into conference play for both Penn State and Kentucky respectively. At the time of airing, but good luck on your season and thank you so much for joining us and sharing all of your advice here today on following the Gong. Yeah, thanks, Sean. Thanks for having me. Thank you, scholars, for listening and learning with us today. We hope you will take something with you that will contribute to how you shape the world. This show probably supports the Shreier Honors College Emergency Fund Benefiting Scholars experiencing unexpected financial hardship. You can make a difference at raise dot P, S U, Dot e Du. Forward Slash Shreier. Please be sure to hit the relevant subscribe, like or follow button on whichever platform you are engaging with us on today. You can follow the college on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Linkedin to say up to date on news, events and deadlines. If you have questions about the show or a scholar alum who'd like to join us as a guest here on following the gone, please channet with me at scholar alumni at P S U, Dot e d U. until next time, please stay well and we are.

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