Call her Dr. Stephanie Thompson.
The Marble Falls High School athletics trainer earned her hood from A.T. Still University, located in Mesa, Arizona, June 4 for her Doctor of Athletic Training that culminated five years of dedication.
“It was all online except I had to go for one week,” she said. “I didn’t have to sit down for lectures. They gave me the materials, and I learned them. They gave it to us, and we did it on our own.”
In addition to writing papers and passing exams, Thompson had to complete at capstone project that was on “anything we wanted to make the field of athletic training better.”
She chose to write about how to help student trainers become more confident as professional trainers. She got the idea after working with a newly graduated athletic trainer who didn’t seem to have the confidence to do a lot on his own. And she could see herself in him when she started working as a professional who was still unsure about specific tasks.
“Athletic trainers have to do certain things on the field,” she said. “I wasn’t super confident. I had a mentor.”
Her capstone project stated that athletic trainers get more confidence through more education, having a mentor and logging more time in the field as a professional.
“Those were the three big things we found that allowed them to do things on their own,” she said. “Access to a mentor, continuing education and people who got some more healthcare degrees were more confident.”
Thompson obtained a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Baylor University in 2014 and a master’s degree from Sam Houston State University in 2016.
She noted that at one time, obtaining a bachelor’s degree was enough to be an athletic trainer. Now a master’s level degree is required.
“Athletic training is advancing,” she said.
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