March is National Athletic Training Month
In honor of National Athletic Training Month…
Our Athletic Trainer, Kelly A. Franks, M.S., ATC, has shared her story!
As a high school cross country and track runner, I faced countless injuries that required months off from training and competing. Fortunately, my junior year we received an athletic trainer from a local hospital who came three days per week to work with our sports teams. The way he cared for his athletes and took interest in my own personal progress in my sports surprised and inspired me. We discussed treatment and rehabilitation plans and what began as a return to run protocol quickly progressed into an eagerness to learn about the profession of athletic training. I soon decided I wanted to pursue athletic training so that I could have the chance to give back everything that my athletic trainer gave me during my finals seasons as a high school athlete.
I started taking courses in the athletic training department at Azusa Pacific University in the fall semester of 2006 and was later accepted into the accredited program in the winter of 2006. I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of teams and athletes through the program. This included observation hours with APU men’s and women’s soccer, high school football, as well as collegiate football. As I acquired more clinical skills and experience, I was given the opportunity to work as a student athletic trainer with the APU baseball, track, and spring football teams. In addition to collegiate sports, I was able to take part in a full clinical rotation in high school football.
The opportunities athletic trainers are given are unbelievable: traveling with teams to competitions and the chance to have deep and meaningful relationships with athletes and patients are just two of these. It requires a great deal of time management and organization. While serving so many athletes with such limited time can be overwhelming, to see the look on an athlete’s face that was once frustrated because they were unable to compete but now can because of their rehabilitation program is worth every extra minute. As a result of these experiences, I have come to find that the most important characteristics of an athletic trainer are compassion, adaptability, honesty, dependability, enthusiasm, and a good sense of humor. I am so blessed and beyond grateful to be a member of the Movement for Life team here at San Luis Sports Therapy and the Head Athletic Trainer at Paso Robles High School.
I am currently in my fifth year as a certified athletic trainer. I have been extremely blessed by the opportunities I have had in the past 5 years. In August, I began a new job through San Luis Sports Therapy clinic as the Head Athletic Trainer at Paso Robles High School and Health Care Career Pathway Instructor. Prior to accepting this new job on the central coast, I was blessed to serve for two years as the Head Athletic Trainer and Rosary Athletic Medicine Program Director at Rosary High School in Fullerton, after one year of serving as Associate Athletic Trainer. I graduated from APU’s ATEP in May 2009, having begun my journey in 2005. Following my undergraduate education at APU, I attended Cal State Fullerton and graduated with my Master of Science in Kinesiology and Clinical Exercise Science in May 2011.
I knew I wanted to attend Azusa Pacific after hearing rave reviews from my sister who played Cougar Softball. I also knew I wanted to study athletic training after my junior year of high school, and I knew APU had an ATEP to which I wanted to apply. And before I knew it, I had packed my belongings and was moving into Trinity Hall. I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere at APU. The athletic training students I entered the program with in the spring of 2010 quickly became a new family. We studied together, did clinical rotations together, went to the gym and worked out together, shared meals and prayers, celebrated holidays together, cried, laughed…the list goes on! The bond between the 9 of us was one I never anticipated. To this day, two classmates from my graduating 2009 ATEP family are two of my very best friends.
The clinical experiences I had while at APU helped me determine the settings in which I desired most to work as a certified athletic trainer. After working with Darrick Linenberger at South Hills High School, I knew I wanted the opportunity to work in the high school. There were such unique opportunities that I saw Darrick had with high school students and the ability to shape, mold, and empower students aged 14-18 excited and challenged me. I knew I wanted that same opportunity.
Additionally, my time at Mt. SAC with Bill Ito helped me decide I also wanted professional experience at the collegiate level: junior college or university. Time spent with both Sean Gateley and Glory Fung further inspired my passion for working the sport of football. I am in awe that as I wrote those past three statements, I have been blessed to work in the settings I have desired most. Taking classes from Phil Ford, Chris Schmidt, and Sean Gateley were some of the most empowering and challenging classes and topics for my professional growth. Phil Ford had a way of encouraging, challenging, and “firing up” his students: passion, commitment, and evidence based practice! By the end of the semester for our Current Concepts class, Phil had taught us so many different manual therapies that it was hard to decide which one or two were my favorite techniques. To this day, multiple professionals have shared that they did not learn half the manual therapy techniques we had been taught in undergrad.
There are few individuals who can say that college not only shaped them as scholars and future professionals in athletic training, but also graduated as stronger men and women who love the Lord more than the first day they walked through the doors of APU. I continue to keep in touch with some of my clinical instructors who now live outside of California, as well as some who still in Southern California or are still instructors at APU. I will be forever grateful for the professional experiences I gained during my time at APU as well as the personal faith growth and devotion to working for the Lord as a certified athletic trainer.
Preparing to leave the halls of APU, I was left with the decision of what to pursue post college graduation. I knew I wanted to earn a post professional degree in a related field of study as well as investigate graduate assistant positions for athletic training. I had heard positive reviews from various professionals regarding the education and the athletic training department at California State University, Fullerton. After weeks of deliberation, I decided to take a leap of faith and apply for a graduate assistant athletic training position that was open at CSUF as well as apply for graduate school in the Kinesiology department. To the day, I know it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Upon graduation from APU, I was excited to attend CSUF but had mixed emotions to leave what had been the most influential four years of my life to date. As I moved apartments, changed addresses and cities, and transitioned into post college life in Fullerton, I was not sure what to expect for life as a graduate student. Fortunately, I quickly learned I had left one athletic training family at APU to join another at CUSF. I remember vividly my first few days at CSUF. Meeting my new colleagues, peers, athletes, coaches…many individuals I continue to keep in touch with today.
I had the opportunity to not only join the Titan family but also work some of the most incredible athletic trainers I have ever met. Julie Max, the Head Athletic Trainer at CSUF who was also our first female president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, taught me invaluable lessons not only about athletic training, but also about life in my short two years while I was at CSUF. I also highly valued my time with Amanda Rice Van Natta, who was our Assistant Athletic Trainer at the time. She took me under her wing and was such an encourage while also challenging me to continue to learn and strive for excellence in my profession. My time spent with professors was absolutely incredible as we discussed exercise physiology, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and sports psychology. I will be forever grateful for Robert Kersey, Lee Brown, Jared Coburn, Ken Ravizza, Dan Judelson; all individuals who have made lasting impacts on my life both personally and professionally.
The two years I spent at CSUF were some of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life; writing, researching, defending and publishing my thesis was a grueling process but it was one for which I am extremely grateful. There were three of us that were graduate assistant athletic trainers from 2009-2011, Sarah, Alisha, & myself, and they have also become two of my dearest friends. It has been such an honor and privilege to see them grow as women and as professionals in the last four years as we left the nest of CSUF Athletic Training.
That is the special thing about athletic training: it is a profession unlike any other. It bonds individuals together. It molds and shapes, it challenges, inspires, tires and energizes, and at the end of the day or week, you will ultimately know what you are made of. I absolutely LOVE my job and the opportunities and individuals it has brought into my life and I would not trade it for the world. I hope that I can continue to say that for years to come!
While I absolutely love my job and it is a huge part of my life, it is also important you know a bit about me that goes beyond athletic training! Here are a few interesting facts about me. I hope you enjoy!
I love playing guitar and look forward to spending more time learning more chords! Music is an extremely important part of my life. 😉
I love sports. I am a huge sports fan! When I am not one the sideline of various Bearcat athletic events, you can find me cheering on my Dodgers or my Seahawks! #gododgers #gohawks!
San Luis Sports Therapy- Paso Robles
1345 Park St
Paso Robles, CA 93446
I love everything outdoors: running, hiking, backpacking, camping, swimming, kayaking, sunbathing…you name it! You might also catch me reading, writing, trying out new calligraphy fonts, capturing moments behind a lens, or frolicking through fields with aqua teal balloons.