Recent Ram grads, leaders among their peers in the growing field of athletic training, shined bright on the national stage this summer.
Abigail Diaz ’16 and Joshua Matthews ’16 represented Texas Wesleyan at the National Athletic Trainers Association 67th Clinical Symposia in Baltimore, Maryland, June 23-25.
Diaz and Matthews, both athletic training majors mentored by Laura Kunkel, Ph.D., assistant professor of athletic training, received honors for research projects completed as part of their undergraduate studies.
"I'm very proud of Abby and Josh for representing Texas Wesleyan and ‘Smaller. Smarter.’ so well at the national level,” Kunkel said.
Pam Rast, Ph.D., Department of Kinesiology Chair and Athletic Training Program Director, who also represented Texas Wesleyan at the convention, said she is continually impressed by the fantastic work athletic training students present.
“The Texas Wesleyan athletic training students have a long list of regional and national awards, scholarships and research recognitions received – and Josh and Abby are among the best of the best,” Rast said. “I am proud of the students that they were and the professionals they have now become."
Diaz received the DeLoss Brubaker National Student Writing Award for her case study, "Ross Procedure and Left Patella Dislocation in a 17-Year-Old Female.” The study followed a young female golfer who was diagnosed with aortic Stenosis (a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart) at birth. This disease is seen in 10 percent of the population, usually age 50 and older. The patient also suffered a number of orthopedic conditions over time, possibly as a result of the inactivity associated with her heart condition.
"It [the NATA Symposium and AT Expo] was an incredible educational experience," Diaz said. "The various research projects continue to shed light on current issues affecting athletic performance and emphasize the importance of an AT's keen awareness in order to implement proper care."
Matthews presented a case study poster titled “Latissimus Dorsi Rupture in a 23-Year-Old Male Mixed Martial Artist.” The 22-week case study followed the injury and recovery of a mixed martial artist who was injured during a jiu-jitsu sparring event. The patient was initially seen by an athletic trainer who referred him to a physician for imaging of a suspected muscle tear. However, this patient did not follow up that referral and continued to train for another six weeks until pain prohibited movement. The delayed care led to traumatic myositis ossificans (the formation of bone inside muscle tissue) lengthy rehabilitation and recovery.
“The NATA 67th Clinical Symposium and AT expo was an excellent opportunity to congregate with fellow professionals and visibly see the athletic training profession flourish,” Matthews said. “I was blessed to have the opportunity to present a poster. This type of research not only progresses our profession, but also furnishes knowledge for other healthcare fields.”
Above: Abby Diaz ’16, tests a Hydroworx therapy tank at the NATA convention and Athletic Training expo. Diaz won a national writing award at the convention.