Wilmington College Graduate Scores Best in Nation
The following article was published in the Summer 1997 as part of the Link, Wilmington College's alumni magazine.
UPON RETURNING TO SCHOOL several years ago, 1996 Wilmington College graduate Linda Tecklenberg dedicated herself to being the best athletic trainer she could be. Her commitment to excellence resulted in her attaining the top score in the country on this year's national certification examination for athletic training.
This summer, at the National Athletic Trainers Association's annual convention in Salt Lake City (June 18-20), she was confirmed as among the nation's best and most promising in the field of sports medicine when she received the "Eddie Wojecki Award" in recognition of her test score. Tecklenburg, who resides with her husband, Don, and their four children in Cincinnati, said she was initially worried about simply passing the exam, which encompasses 150 written questions, an oral practical and a written simulation component. "I never imagined I'd finish the best in the country," she said. "I figured a physical trainer with 10 years of experience who came back for certification would.
"I was scared to take it because I know the vast majority of those taking it the first time don't pass all three parts of the exam," she added. News of Tecklenberg's accomplishment delighted Wilmington College's athletic training staff. "It's like winning the national championship in your sport," said Cynthia Studrawa, assistant professor. "Linda's an exceptional student and an excellent trainer.
"Her accomplishment gives our program a lot of credibility," Studrawa added. "Apparently, we're preparing our students well. We're making them good certified athletic trainers - and that's our goal!" Terry Rupert, director of athletics and chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Athletic Training, said Tecklenburg's achievement was the culmination of an "outstanding" year that saw an individual national championship in track and field, the men's and women's soccer teams compete in the NCAA Division III National Tournament and a general resurgence of the College's athletics program.
"Athletic training is one of Wilmington's most unique and prominent academic programs in that it is based on the concept of learning by doing,'" he said, noting student trainers work closely with each of WC's athletic teams and play an integral role preparing athletes for competition, evaluating injuries and assisting them with rehabilitation. "Linda's achievements ‹ her excellence in the classroom, her exemplary work with Wilmington athletes and her best score in the nation ‹ reflect the epitome of preparation for a career in athletic training," Rupert said.
Larry Howard, Program Director and Associate Professor, said Tecklenburg's success on the national level comes at a particularly good time, as the department is seeking national accreditation of its athletic training program, which currently has more than 60 majors. "Linda's a credit to our program," Howard said. "She's an exceptional student, very intelligent and a hard worker." Tecklenberg, who originally earned a degree in biology "a million years ago" from a much larger school, said Wilmington's opportunities for personal attention from faculty and staff were keys to her success. "The thing I like most about Wilmington is the intimacy of the classes.
There's a familiarity and, as questions come up, the professors are available to you almost any time of day," she said. "Having been in chemistry classes with 500 students at a large university, Wilmington's classes are much less intimidating," she added. "That environment helps reinforce learning." Tecklenburg related the story of when she was forced to miss several days of class because her son was ill. She sent a tape recorder to her classes so she wouldn't miss the lectures.
"The tape came back not only with the lecture but with greetings and well wishes from my classmates and professors," she said. "It's a very personal learning situation - you're definitely a person at Wilmington." Tecklenburg experienced WC's trademark personal attention on an even higher level when her professors took on the role of mentor. "That close one-on-one situation helps you learn," she said.
"That mentoring relationship lended itself to my success - the athletic training faculty give you both independence and responsibility." Also, she gave back to the program by volunteering as a tutor to help her peers in courses she had taken, an action that also assisted her in preparing for the certification exam. Tecklenburg would like to start her athletic training career at a medical clinic in the Cincinnati area with an ultimate goal of getting her master's degree and teaching in a college setting like WC's. "I started out at Day One at Wilmington to be the best athletic trainer I could be," she said. "I think my success on the certification exam is a very good endorsement for Wilmington's athletic training program - it indicates they're teaching the right stuff."
Is There an Athletic Trainer in the House?
The following article was published in the Summer 1996 as part of the Link, Wilmington College's alumni magazine.
When a student injured her leg at the College's Community Day, there was no cry of "Is there a doctor in the house?" Instead, the call went out: "Is there an athletic trainer around?"
After all, this is Wilmington, where athletic training is one of the College’s most popular majors and students gain hands-on experience in working with athletes in 22 sports.
One of the athletic trainers answering the call at the Community Day mishap was Jennifer Judy, then a senior from Germantown who graduated in 1997 as one of the College’s premiere students in athletic training. Indeed, she is the first WC recipient of a National Athletic Trainers Association Scholarship.
For the uninitiated, learning that someone is majoring in athletic training evokes images of pumping iron and working out. Rather, certified athletic trainers are indispensable components of high school and collegiate athletics, corporate wellness programs, and clinical and physical therapy settings at health care facilities, in addition to essentially all professional and many amateur sports teams.
"My sister still thinks I show athletes how to lift weights," Judy said. "Part of being a trainer is to educate people on what it’s all about."
Judy has known "what it’s all about" since being involved with a mentoring program at St. Elizabeth’s Sports Medicine Center in Dayton while she was in high school. Since entering Wilmington College as an athletic training major, she engaged in well over the required 1,500 clinical hours of hands-on experience, including the mandatory: five hours a week in the training room for freshmen, 10 hours a week for sophomores, monthly rotation or working different sports for juniors and year-long senior program of assisting one team.
"I was with the men’s soccer team for the past year: pre-season, the season and post-season," she said. "Even though soccer season was completed five months ago, I put together an off-season weight training program for the team and I’ve been assisting athletes in injury rehabilitation."
Working with athletes from the time they are injured on the field, through what often can be a lengthy recovery process, to seeing them return to competition at full strength is the most satisfying part of an athletic trainer’s profession, she said.
"Rehabilitation is a continual thing–as a trainer, you’re with them every day," she said, noting she often has to deal with an athlete’s psychological and emotional anxieties resulting from an injury, as well as the physical aspects. "Sometimes the most important thing you can be for them is a friend.
"Rehabilitation from a serious injury like an ACL tear is hard and athletes can get discouraged–you have to reassure them the hard work required for recovery is worth it," she added. "The most rewarding thing is you’re working with them through it all and the coaches and players make you feel like you’re part of the team."
Judy, who plans to attend graduate school this fall in sports management, aspires to a career as a trainer and administrator on the collegiate level. In addition to her experience on the field and in the training room, she engaged in summer internships with the Dayton Sports Medicine Institute and an on-campus internship in sports administration with athletic director Terry Rupert.
"The personal attention I’ve received at WC has clarified things so well for me–it’s made learning easier and more meaningful," she said. "I feel everything’s coming together."