Graduate students who earn two-year Kenny Howard Assistantships attend classes and work on research projects while pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate within the College of Education. But most of their learning takes place on the sidelines of football stadiums or inside gymnasiums. On a given Friday night in the fall, these students will help football players, cheerleaders and band members while serving as head athletic trainers for area high schools.
Between answering parents’ questions, working with coaches and school administrators and evaluating and treating the injuries of everyone from quarterbacks to cheerleaders to clarinet players, the graduate students have contact with as many as 10,000 people each year.
The largest need for certified athletic trainers is in the high schools where more than 6 million student-athletes participate in sporting activities. This program offers ATCs the opportunity to further their education and to help meet the specific needs of this population. The ATCs are provided a unique opportunity to set up and develop their own program at the school, while working with student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and parents, to meet the needs of the high school setting.
Another benefit to having certified athletic trainers present in the high schools is the availability of assistance in creating athletic training school modules. Many high school students are interested in a sports medicine career (i.e., athletic training, physical therapy, sports medicine). We are able to develop programs within the school, where high school students can act as assistants to the ATCs. This further augments the athletic trainers’ educational experiences and benefits those students interested in the health care profession.
Graduates of the Kenny Howard Fellowship Program have been successful in obtaining jobs at the high school, university/college, professional and clinical levels throughout Alabama and the United States.