Meet Aliza Siebenaller
Aliza Siebenaller completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph in Human Kinetics (BSc. 2019) and is currently working on her Masters in Biomechanics at U of G. During her undergrad, she took part in the Student Athletic Therapy program, an experiential opportunity offered to students to gain perspectives, knowledge, and experience working with varsity sports teams on campus by filling the role of student trainers and providing emergency first aid during games and practices. After going through the application and training process, Aliza was placed with a varsity team in her 3rd and 4th years, loving it immediately. She was able to apply what she was learning in class to athletic therapy, which in return made her more interested in her courses. Aliza shares with us the connections she made, the experience she gained, and some insights on the program.
What is the Student Athletic Therapy program?
“The Student Athletic Therapy program is a unique learning experience that places students with the varsity sports teams on campus to fill the role of student trainer. As a student trainer you attend the team’s practices and games throughout the season and are there to provide emergency first aid if it is needed. Students also learn about injury prevention and rehabilitation.”
What was the application and training process like?
“When I applied for the program four years ago it was a competitive volunteer position with extra-curricular training classes that you attended on your own time. Now the program has become a true co-curricular activity with two academic credit courses associated with it. Students complete a short application in the Fall to get into the first course (BIOL*3650) offered in the Winter semester which provides an introduction to athletic therapy and most of the training needed. If you wish to be placed with a varsity team the following fall you can apply to the second course (BIOL*3660) after successfully completing the training course.”
What was your experience like working in this program? What were your roles and responsibilities?
“As a student trainer, I was responsible for taping and stretching athletes before practices and games to assist with injury prevention. I also got to stay close to the bench so that I could watch the game for any injuries and provide emergency first aid if needed. Occasionally, we were also able to follow athletes through their recovery and rehabilitation journey. It was very exciting to be part of the team and rewarding to get to help the athletes stay healthy.”
What was the most challenging and the most beneficial thing from this experience?
“Athletic therapy requires a significant time commitment so the most challenging thing for me was learning how to manage my time effectively. Being at games and practices was always fun and I looked forward to it so that made it easier to fit into my schedule. The most beneficial thing about this experience was that it related what I was learning in my classes to the real word. This provided an added layer of depth to my education and is an experience I’m truly grateful for.”
How did you find the hands-on aspect of this Experiential Learning opportunity?
“Athletic therapy is almost entirely hands-on, which is my preferred method of learning, so it was great for me. It can be a fast-paced environment at times, but that only helped to improve my problem-solving skills. I loved being able to apply what I learned to help the athletes and that I was able to educate them as well. There were so many opportunities to practice our skills and learn new things from the certified athletic therapists.”
How did this experience help your path, both academically, as well as your personal or career goals?
“Athletic therapy introduced me to a variety of different health care professionals who became my mentors and taught me a lot about the industry. It was an excellent way for me to figure out what I would like to do in the future and to see firsthand what a career in athletic therapy would look like. Athletic therapy perfectly complimented what I was learning in anatomy class and being able to apply my knowledge helped me to better retain information.”