By DAVID J. HILL
Published November 1, 2022
Hailey Westover is in the first year of the athletic training master’s program at UB. After she graduates, she hopes to work with elite lacrosse programs. Westover had an opportunity to see what that would entail when she participated in a UB clinical experience assisting working athletic trainers at two recent major lacrosse events in Buffalo.
Westover, who received her bachelor’s in exercise science from SUNY Brockport, helped out at the International Indoor Junior Lacrosse (IIJL) World U16 championship held at Buffalo RiverWorks last month, as well as the Super Sixes tournament tryouts for the Haudenosaunee women’s team held at Highmark Stadium.
Such clinical experiences are a key part of the athletic training program in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, whose students are routinely able to gain valuable experience working with amateur and professional sports organizations, says Sarah Krzyzanowicz, clinical education coordinator for the athletic training program.
“It’s wonderful to be able to offer these clinical experiences to our students, and even better when we’re able to pair them with a sport they’re looking to go into,” says Krzyzanowicz, who is also a clinical instructor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences. “When students are looking for a program, it’s not just about location. They’re looking at what that program has to offer, and from a clinical perspective, we have a lot to offer. Our students are pretty lucky.”
That’s certainly how Westover felt to have the opportunity to gain experience at two lacrosse events. “It’s really awesome how many opportunities we are given in this program and how many connections we are able to make in just a couple months of being here at UB,” she says.
Westover’s career goal is to work in athletic training at the elite lacrosse level. The recent tournaments in Buffalo enabled her to work alongside a working athletic trainer. At the U16 tournament, which featured teams from the U.S., Canada, Poland and the Haudenosaunee, Westover helped set up the athletic training station and provided first aid for athletes who needed it so they could quickly return to play.
“It was an awesome experience,” she says. “It was cool being able to see what it’s like firsthand and be able to work with the sport I am most interested in. This experience helped me with getting used to being in a high-intensity situation and being more comfortable taking control in this environment,” she adds. “It also helped me work on my communication skills when talking to the head athletic trainer, coaches and the athletes.”
Another group of 10 UB athletic training students recently assisted at the NHL Exposure Combine, which aims to expose current and former hockey players to the world of hockey officiating, held at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo in August.
At the officials combine, UB students assisted with administering the fitness tests that prospective officials went through, as well as recording the data.
“It was an early start each day, at 6 a.m., and it was great to see our students’ faces and how excited they were,” Krzyzanowicz says.
UB’s athletic training students have also recently worked with the Buffalo Bills and followed along on the Empire State Ride, a 500-mile, seven-day cycling adventure across the state that benefits Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
All of these experiences add up to a host of potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for students.
“Buffalo is a great place to study athletic training and sports medicine,” says Krzyzanowicz. “There’s a variety of professional sports teams, and UB is part of an academic health center, which also bodes well for our students.”