UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | October 01, 2022

Athletic trainers work to keep DSU athletes healthy

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Coming to Dixie State University next fall semester is the new Master of Athletic Training program.

DSU students will have the opportunity to find a passion for becoming athletic trainers. Kelby Hofheins, assistant athletic director for sports medicine, and Bruno Silva, head athletic trainer for the DSU football team, are a few examples of DSU faculty members that found this drive and passion.

Hofheins found an interest in medicine when he was a pre-med major at Brigham Young University. The first person Hofheins met at BYU was an athletic trainer. After shadowing him, he found a passion for the profession.

Silva grew up playing sports and liked the medical side of things. During his time at Weber State University, Silva had his fair share of athletic injuries and opportunities of running into athletic trainers.

“Getting to know the athletic trainers and what they do and being at Weber State is how I fell in love with the profession,” Silva said.

Silva’s professional experience, like interning for the Houston Texans, has helped him become a qualified athletic trainer.

Silva said: “It was great to see everything available, especially with the Texans. We didn’t have a budget. We could do anything and everything we could do for the athlete. Being involved in that and seeing how they function and learn what they do, helped me be able to help the athletes here.”

“Being involved in that and seeing how they function and learn what they do, helped me be able to help the athletes here.”

Bruno Silva

The daily schedule for an athletic trainer like Hofheins and Silva can get busy.

In the morning or in between classes, Hofheins is getting the athletes who are not cleared to participate in practice, doing treatments, getting them started on the rehab setting and physical therapy. Then, an hour before practice is pre-practice where there is heating, stretching, mobility type work, taping and bracing being done for the athlete.

Silva’s day is different compared to Hofheins. There are about 115 players on the football team that need to be taken care of before practice. Football practice begins at 7 a.m., so Silva comes in at 5:30 a.m. to set up the field. At 6:00 a.m. players start to come in to get prepped by heating, stretching, bracing and padding to make sure they’re safe while practicing.  

Silva said: “There’s me, Ryan Willis and four work-study students that help us out a ton making sure the guys get water. The other part of it is the coaches too, we need a lot of eyes. There is a lot of guys that get banged up. The more eyes we get on them, the more we can protect them making sure they’re safe doing what they do. Then post-practice everybody wants to ice everything all the time so we get everybody out in about 45 minutes.”

Hofheins said the requirements to be a qualified athletic trainer have changed.

Hofheins said: “You have to apply and be accepted into a program. Then you take classes that are in the morning most of the time. In the afternoon you are doing your residency type activity. With your internship, you’re learning hands-on functionality that you learned in class and learning alongside veterans. Then you do the Board of Certification Exam which is an international exam to become certified.”

Related:

    While the new Master’s program for athletic training has been put off until next fall, there are still work-study students who help out the athletic trainers.

    Hofheins said they teach the students the basics, such as prepping the treatment table for the next patient, since they are unable to make medical decisions or treat certain injuries.

    Hofheins said: “Though they’re not being given any monumental tasks, they’re given tasks. Without them, we couldn’t focus and do our job on the individual athlete. In the future, we’ll have that master’s degree in the athletic training program. So, we’ll have those students we’re trying to teach clinical skills to.”

    For further information on the master’s athletic training program, visit https://health.dixie.edu/health-human-performance/.