Sarah Walters: Sports medicine director
July 11, 2014
Sarah Walters has always loved sports, but it is her passion for athletes as individuals that motivates her to do what she does. Since the fall of 2009, Walters has been enriching the lives of Evangel’s Kinesiology students and athletes through her teaching and healthcare services. She currently serves as sports medicine director.
Walters graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor of science in athletic training. While studying at UCA, Walters involved herself in local and national committees concerning concussions and leadership theories in athletic training. In 2011, Walters graduated from Evangel’s master’s program with a degree in Organizational Leadership.
Over the next year, Walters will be guiding Evangel’s Athletic Training program toward accreditation. Here’s a look at what is in store for this program, and it’s leader, in the future.
What exactly is Evangel’s Athletic Training Education Program, and what makes the program unique?
Evangel’s Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) is a comprehensive education program designed to help individuals interested in healthcare in athletics learn how to effectively recognize, prevent, evaluate, treat and rehab injuries. Our program is unique because we offer great teacher-to-student ratios, and students receive hands-on experience in the second semester of their freshman year. After gaining accreditation, it will also be one of the few degrees that will offer a certification upon graduation. This will allow students to be immediately employable after passing their certification exam.
“I love athletics and working with people. I also enjoy studying the human body. As an athletic training student, I am able to combine the best of all these areas into one major. I have always wanted to pursue a career in health care, and the deeper I get into my classes, the more I realize how much I love working in this field.”
— Athletic Training student Kelsey Kapella
What kinds of hands-on experiences do the students get while studying at Evangel?
Students are able to take what they are learning in the classroom to the field or court. We intentionally write our curriculum to foster a progressive learning style. Students receive hours of hands on experience, supervised by their preceptor, to perfect their skills, and assist in making diagnoses with their preceptors and even team physician. We want our students to become competent clinicians who upon graduation feel equipped to secure a job in the discipline of athletic training and have the necessary tools to exceed employer expectations.
Accreditation is important for ATEP programs. Where does Evangel’s program stand in the accreditation process?
The athletic training program will be submitted to the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) by July 1, 2014. At that time, CAATE will review our self-study report and schedule a time to meet with us during the Spring of 2015.
What types of things are graduates from the Athletic Training program doing after graduation?
Once our program becomes accredited, graduates will have many options to pursue. Some of those options include: working in a high school or university, with the military, major airlines, performing arts such as the Rockettes, or continuing into graduate work. We hope to connect our students to job opportunities upon graduation through teaching them skills in professional networking.
What advice do you have for prospective Evangel students, especially those interested in a career in athletic training?
As a student, the best thing you can do is ask lots of questions to the people around you who have been working in your desired field. Develop relationships with those people, and stay in touch with them throughout your collegiate career.
What exciting things do you see coming in the future of the program?
The future is bright for the program. Athletic training is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. One of the goals I have for the program is to provide diverse clinical experiences for students that reach beyond the traditional settings athletic trainers work within. Another strength of our program will be the ability to provide students with opportunities to professionally network in the world of health care. Students will have opportunities to attend professional conferences and the preceptors we use have many connections around the United States. We as faculty value professionalism and strive daily to instill the same in our students throughout their career at Evangel.
See the heart behind the Kinesiology Department’s mission to care for people in Sarah’s blog — Debunking the myth of the sweatsuit