Rick Burkholter challenged fellow athletic trainers during this AT month to write about “why” they became an athletic trainer. Like so many others, I became an AT because I wanted to make a difference. To watch those patients you have helped to get back to work, life, and sport is very gratifying. To be a part of a “team” and know that you “made a difference” in the lives of many people. Even those of us no longer involved in patient care continue that same feeling of making a difference. Having taught at several different institutions, I feel great pride to watch my former students succeed, to go on and make a difference themselves. A special “call out” to former students Valerie Moody and Matt Gage who have become successful AT Program Directors and are also currently engaged in leadership roles in the profession.
I became a program director to attempt to impact the lives of those students under my purview and to help them succeed as future clinicians. I continued that passion for impacting the lives of students by accepting the position of Executive Director for the CAATE. I was then able to make a difference and help students within other programs, to ensure that programs maintained quality and that students received the type of education that would allow them to succeed in the profession. And now, in my role as a consultant, I hope that I can continue to make a difference, by helping those colleagues needing assistance with accreditation, curricular development, assessment, and other areas. In the end, ensuring that students have access to the best educational experiences possible so that they can be successful as ATs and that we can continue to move the profession forward.