University of Mobile student puts athletic training to usecomment (0)
January 5, 2006
In July 2005, Micah Allison packed up her car and her two young sons and drove from Alabama to California to complete another step in her life’s dream.
For three months, the athletic training student at the University of Mobile (UM) spent her days evaluating, treating and training some of the nation’s most heroic individuals — and she knew she was right in the center of God’s will.
“I feel so many doors have been opened,” said Allison, who attends Dayspring Baptist Church, Mobile, in Mobile Baptist Association with her husband, Jason, and sons Jason and Austin. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that everything happened the way it did, that God’s let me do something I’m passionate about.
“I honestly cannot think of a more fulfilling way to utilize my athletic training skills than to help treat national heroes or even future heroes,” she added.
A former active-duty Marine, Allison said she was thrilled when she found out at a 2004 National Athletic Trainers’ Association symposium that the military was in the experimental stages of employing athletic trainers. She immediately knew she wanted to be in this field.
In California, Allison was fulfilling UM’s requirements for her senior clinical at Marine Corps Depot, Edson Range, Camp Pendleton at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in southern California. There she worked alongside a civilian athletic trainer taping, bracing, padding, applying treatment plans and more for recruits, drill instructors and active-duty Marines.
In addition, Allison made referrals for X-rays and medical appointments, gave recommendations for “training drops” to the medical rehabilitation platoon to allow injured recruits extra time for physical therapy, trained corpsmen in taping techniques and was even one of the first individuals in the United States to clinically apply a newly FDA-approved electrical modality application, the InterX 5000.
According to Allison, the experience was uniquely challenging. “It’s a very different side of athletic training. There haven’t been athletic trainers in the field very long. There are some very qualified athletic trainers who couldn’t work in the military because it’s such a different world. You have time limits and other constraints, so you have to be creative to reach your goals with limited time and resources.”
Though her work was challenging, Allison also found it deeply fulfilling. “At a time when nearly every active-duty Marine I came into contact with had been deployed to Iraq at least twice, between the recruits, drill instructor and active-duty Marines I worked with, I was certain to have worked with real-life heroes every day, including Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Silver Star recipients,” she said.
Allison had spent four years in the service following high school. After that, she knew athletic training was the perfect path for her. “Coming out of the military, I was a certified personal trainer, and I wanted to go into some sort of medical field, so athletic training seemed like the perfect fit,” Allison said.
She began her educational career at a state school but said she transferred to the UM because she was tired of the “secularism” she encountered there in her field. The Christian atmosphere of UM really drew her. “It was exciting to come to a school where teachers would pray before class,” Allison said.
She also preferred the smaller size of the program because of the individualized attention she was able to receive and the enhanced freedom to choose where she performed her clinicals.
William Carroll, director of UM’s athletic training education program, said, “Internships are only limited by the student’s imagination. If a student tells me they’re interested in a particular experience, I make contacts and follow up, and we try to make that dream come true.”
Allison said she appreciated the flexibility of the program and the opportunities it provided. She said, “They’re so willing to gear you specifically for what you want to do. I don’t know that I would have gotten that opportunity elsewhere.
“If I hadn’t gone through that internship, I don’t know that I could have applied somewhere and qualified for that. Getting that experience is a whole different world from working with sports teams, and making those contacts and meeting people and networking and the experience are invaluable,” she said.
Thanks to such experience, the guidance of God and the help of professors, Allison knows she can achieve her goal of passing the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Board of Certification exam and fill one of the limited athletic training positions available in the military.
“God’s opened these doors and opened them at the right time,” Allison said. “He knows my heart and knows what I love and have a passion for doing, and He’s really made them available to me.” (UM)