Inside Athletics

Devoted to athletics: A.T. majors playing varsity sports

Devoted to athletics: A.T. majors playing varsity sports

From April 7-13, the NCAA celebrates Division III Week -- seven days devoted to the accomplishments of the student-athletes in D3.  The goal of the celebration is to raise awareness of Heidelberg and other D3 schools across the nation. 

This story is fourth in a six-part series highlighting the student-athletes at Heidelberg University.  It was written by Erica Huffman, a senior from Strongsville majoring in sport management and business administration. 

For more information on Heidelberg's D3 Week activities, visit the D3 Week homepage.

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When a college athlete suffers an injury, most student-athletes avert their gaze. But athletes majoring in athletic training tend to rubberneck, both at the injury itself and assessment given by the certified athletic trainers.

"There's a big difference between being in your uniform and being in khakis and a polo," said Stephanie Romie, a junior volleyball player majoring in athletic training. "But when something goes down, it's hard not to look. As AT majors, we are taught to be curious."

For athletic training majors, the desire to compete in sports is common. But because athletic training programs have significant clinical requirements, combining the two is often prohibited at many universities. More than a third of the students currently admitted into the athletic training program at Heidelberg University also compete in varsity athletics.

"We understand the whole student-athlete experience," said Ryan Musgrave, the coordinator of clinical education for the AT program. "We want our students to get the most out of their collegiate experience, both academically and in their other endeavors."

While being an athletic training major, senior Kyra Dorney has competed in 68 games for the Heidelberg women's basketball team.

"It can be difficult to balance our academic life and responsibilities while getting our 10 clinical hours in," said Dorney. "Being organized and keeping a detailed schedule designating time for basketball and time for schoolwork really helped me."

Dorney's dedication to schoolwork and athletics are an inspiration to her peers.

"With Kyra being an upperclassman, it gives us motivation," said sophomore Jackie Abrecht, fellow AT major and teammate. "Seeing that she can balance class workload and basketball at the same time makes it a lot easier for me. It's going to be challenging but I'm ready for it."

Abrecht started 20 games for the Student Princes as a sophomore. She attributes her success balancing the demands of athletic training and athletics to good time management and a supportive faculty.

"Before entering the AT program, they interview you and make sure you are aware of the difficulty involved," said Abrecht. "They want to make sure that you keep up because the program is so strict."

Support comes from coaches as well. Romie has proven that balancing the rigorous athletic training program workload with athletics is possible with a coach who understands and believes in the academic-athletic balance of the Division III student-athlete.

"In order to graduate you are required to get clinical hours with football. Because I participate in a fall sport, I was assigned to work with Tiffin University football this spring," explained Romie. "Their practice times directly conflicted with my practice times for volleyball but Coach [Jason] Miller worked with me to form a practice schedule that worked around my clinical hours."

And though they have different goals after graduation, Dorney, Abrecht and Romie have all mastered the time management and dedication necessary to perform at a high level in Seiberling Gymnasium and in the athletic training room.