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Faculty Focus Friday | Sabrina Pletz, Assistant Professor of Athletic Training

Ashley Byrd

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Sabrina Pletz, Assistant Professor in Spalding’s Master of Science in Athletic Training program as well as the assistant athletic trainer for Spalding’s NCAA Division III athletic department. Professor Pletz earned a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in athletic training from Cumberland College and master’s in exercise science from Fort Hays State University. She previously served as an instructor and assistant athletic trainer at the University of Charleston (W.Va.) and the clinical education coordinator for the athletic training program at St. Catharine College. (Read full bios of Spalding’s MSAT faculty.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?
I like the fact that I get to do what I teach. While I teach in the MSAT program, I am able to provide athletic training services for Spalding Athletics. Spalding is a diverse campus. I love seeing students from all walks of life and different ethnic and geographical backgrounds. I’ve seen a trend of first-generation college students at Spalding as well. This is a place they can call home be welcomed with open and helpful arms.

What is your academic specialty or areas of expertise or research?
My academic specialty is in athletic training. It is such a rewarding privilege to be able to educate and influence future professional athletic trainers. I am currently a first-year doctoral student at Spalding in the Doctor of Education: Leadership program.

LEARN MORE | Athletic Training master’s program and undergraduate tracks to enter it
REGISTER | Student athletic training/sports medicine workshop on July 22
SUPPORT THE EAGLES | Spalding Athletics’ official site 

Why is athletic training a good option for students to consider for their academic studies and future profession?
Athletic training is one of the most exciting and rewarding professions. A good number of our students are former athletes or other highly active individuals who like to be around athletics and sporting events.  The National Athletic Trainers’ Association website nata.org describes the profession well: “Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multiskilled health care professionals who render service or treatment, under the direction of or in collaboration with a physician, in accordance with their education, training and the state’s statutes, rules and regulations.  As a part of the healthcare team, services provided by athletic trainers include primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.”

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?
I have a skeleton of an arm. I teach Evaluation of the Upper Extremity, and I use it in class. People usually give it a double take when they walk into my office.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing our students finally have that light-bulb moment and connect what they learned in the classroom to their practical fieldwork.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?
There’s the phrase, “Practice what you preach.” The version of it for me is, “Practice what you teach.” I stand in front of my class and teach technical, ethical and leadership skills. Staying true to myself and my students, I strive to be a positive role model for practicing our profession the way it was designed to be practiced. Another way I feel I have made and hope to continue to make an impact is seeing a need and jumping in with both feet to address it. One example is the creation of our student health clinic, Eagle Care. (Retired graduate nursing faculty leader) Dr. (Pam) King, (MSAT Program Director) Dr. (John) Nyland and I saw a need for health care access for our students, and we worked tirelessly to bring this necessity to fruition. This clinic has really come a long way over the past three years. We now have a part-time Nurse Practitioner and MSAT and nursing students who rotate through the clinic.

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