The Ithaca women's soccer team finished the season with a 12-4-0 record and went undefeated in Empire 8 play, thanks in part to athletic training major Caitlin McFadden '10.
With 15 of 27 players injured at the start of the season, things were looking grim for the squad. But McFadden, the team’s athletic trainer, saw a learning opportunity.
Slideshow best if viewed in full screen. Photos by Martha Pace '12
"It’s unfortunate that these girls had to go through this," says McFadden, "but at the same time, I get to be in this great situation."
McFadden spent hours in the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance training and rehabilitation rooms, working to help the athletes recover.
"I feel for them. When you become an athletic trainer, you’re part of the team," says McFadden. "You’re one with the team, and that is what makes it such a great group."
That work paid off: in the first few weeks after preseason, the team went from 15 players off the roster to just one, who had seriously torn a ligament in her knee.
Through Ithaca’s athletic training program, students go through extensive course work and fieldwork in order to understand what it takes to train athletes of all backgrounds and abilities.
First-year students take a number of health- and science-based courses to prepare for their reapplication into the program.
Accepted students spend their sophomore and junior years shadowing other students and teams and getting involved in campus organizations such as the Ithaca Athletic Training Students Association (IATSA).
Senior year they pick an Ithaca athletic team to work with one-on-one. Students are no longer shadowing or sitting in a classroom; they are working to ensure the success and safety of a real, competing sports team.
It took a while for McFadden to build the confidence to do her job well.
"The first time I went on the field and had to do an eval, I was so nervous," explains McFadden. "They wouldn’t know it, but I was shaking. Now I am very confident and very calm."
It helped that the team was so welcoming. "They're like 'Oh, you’ve never played soccer a day in your life? That’s okay. You’re part of the team, and that’s how it is,' " says McFadden. "And that is what makes this such a great experience."
McFadden says she ultimately chose to come to Ithaca College for hands-on experience, a great community atmosphere, and, of course, the athletic training program, "which is top in the country," she says.
In her work this fall with the women’s soccer team, she got all three. And the Bombers got a winning season.
Are you a prospective student with college planning questions? Then myIthaca has got you covered.Sign-Up Learn More
Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.