With a complicated schedule that includes balancing time between treating athletes with injuries and driving down the lane for a layup, Nicole Barton still finds a way to meet expectations and do her best.
From a young age, Barton always expressed interest in helping people.
“The combination of being able to help people while staying active in a sport setting is what really drew me into athletic training,” says Barton, a graduate of Santiam Christian High School. “I always knew I wanted to be involved with people and be able to help them play sports.”
Once she learned about Linfield’s robust athletic training program, Barton knew it was for her.
“The Linfield athletic training major sounded like exactly what I wanted to do,” she remembers. “There are so many opportunities I can look forward to pursuing once I graduate.”
Her busiest stretch of time is during the basketball season, yet she somehow balances her time in order to achieve her goals.
“Things are definitely way busier during basketball season, but the athletic training program is very considerate in having me do less clinical experience hours than normal, which makes things easier to balance,” says Barton, one of just a few Linfield students who compete in athletics.
Among the criteria to graduate, student athletic trainers must complete 1,000 hours of practical experience that includes time tending to athletes’ injuries in the treatment center, was well as on-site attendance at practices and games.
“It is challenging for them to balance the demands of the academic program, clinical experience requirement and participation on an athletic team,” said head certified athletic trainer Tara Lepp. “It is especially difficult for athletic training students who participate in the sport of basketball, because their season spans all three terms.
“Nicole has faced that challenge with an impressive determination to meet her goals,” says Lepp. “In addition, she dedicates five hours a week to the athletic training education program as a work-study secretary.”
When on the basketball team, Barton does not view her teammates from a sports medicine standpoint. She focuses on being a teammate first and an athletic trainer second.
“As a teammate I want everyone to be healthy and able to play their best because that makes us better as a team,” believes Barton. “If someone is hurt, I do try to help them, but I also encourage them to see (certified trainer) Laura Kenow and the student trainers assigned to our team.”
Once she graduates in the spring of 2013, her aspirations are limitless as she hopes to enter the athletic training field.
“I plan on getting into grad school to get a master’s degree or going to PT school to become a physical therapist,” says Barton. “I am trying to stay open minded. I believe the right opportunities will come along after graduation.”
-- Ian Rapport '13