Your hands-on learning begins right away in the athletic training program. On your first day of class you'll be assigned a third-year or fourth-year student mentor who will guide you through your first year as an athletic training student. In your second through fourth years, you'll take clinical experience classes to practice what you have learned on real patients. Nationally, BVU is one of the few universities where the athletic training instructors are also clinicians. You'll practice what you learn with BVU's athletic teams under the supervision of the same people that teach you in the classroom. They know you, and they know your strengths and abilities.
The athletic training program also has a partnership with Northwest Iowa Bone Joint and Sports Surgeons, a sports medicine clinic in Spencer with an office in Storm Lake. This partnership offers students the opportunity to follow injuries all the way through surgery, therapy and recovery. BVU is the only school in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with an athletic training program that has a doctor specifically assigned to its teams and athletic training program: Rick Wilkerson, D.O., keeps office space on campus and sits on the sidelines for all home football games and many other sporting events. Through Dr. Wilkerson, athletic training students are able to further participate in evaluations and sometimes even observe surgeries.
"Dr. Wilkerson has done thousands of knee surgeries and looked at hundreds of knees," says James Day, athletic trainer and instructor of exercise science. "To be able to consult someone with that much experience is invaluable to a student who has seen only one or two injuries."
It's quite possible that a student would follow an injury from start to finish: view the injury as it happens, go to all the doctor visits, see the surgery and be involved in the rehabilitation.