October 28, 2011

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - SIU-Edwardsville

This is one of a series of posts by the Saint Louis University Athletic Training students featuring their clinical site and their clinical instructor. The number, quality and diversity of clinical instruction is a major asset for the SLU AT education program.

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
by: Alex Sawyer (MAT Class of 2013)

My Approved Clinical Instructors (ACIs), Gerald “Gerry” Schlemer, Tyann “Ty” Thomson, Ben Heimos, and James Mays are a group of amazing, inspiring individuals. Each person brings a different energy to the athletic training room, and I have had the opportunity to work with each of them rather closely. The first person I had the chance to work with was Ben Heimos. On my very first day at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) he welcomed me warmly and made sure I was oriented to the athletic training room at Korte Stadium. At this time Ben was responsible for working with the women’s soccer team. While working with him I also learn a bit about his background. Ben started at SIUE in October of 2009. Before that he worked with the Florida Marlins organization in three different Florida minor league affiliates during that time. After women’s soccer season is over, Ben is primarily responsible for coverage of SIUE’s baseball team. He got his Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from the University of Evansville, and his Master of Science in Athletic Training from Indiana State University.

The next person I met, the same day I met Ben, was James Mays. James was also very welcoming. He was working with men’s soccer at the time. James is very easy to talk to and has a very contagious laugh. He brightens up everyone’s day with his remarkable sense of humor and admirable athletic training skills. The passion he has for his athletes is something that radiates through his extraordinary work ethic. James started at SIUE in January of 2007 after receiving his bachelor of science in Athletic Training from Millikin University. Being that Milllkin and my alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University, were rivals in the CCIW conference, we had a lot to talk about. James also has his Master of Science in Education from the department of Kinesiology at SIUE. After covering men’s soccer, James will shift his responsibility to the women’s basketball team.

SLU AT student Alex Sawyer (middle) with Gerry Schlemer ATC (left) and Tyann Thomson ATC (right)
I worked with both Ben and James at Korte Stadium for the beginning of the soccer season and continue to work with them at soccer games. I later moved to the Vadalabene Center to work more closely with Ty Thomson and Gerry Schlemer. Ty has been an amazing teacher. She always takes time out to work with me on my competencies, and is always there to answer any questions I may have. Being the only female on the team, Ty offers somewhat of a motherly air to the athletic training; making sure things stay in order, athletes are taking care of their responsibilities, creating work schedules of the athletic trainers, and so much more. In addition to all of this, Ty’s primary responsibility is to the volleyball and softball teams. Ty began working at SIUE in August of 2007. She received her bachelor of science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a master of science from Indiana State University. I admire Ty’s talents and her ability to “hold her own,” amongst the men she works with. She is not afraid to speak her mind and demands respect from her peers and athletes.

Last, but certainly not least, the most influential person I have worked with thus far, Gerry Schlemer. Gerry lives and breathes athletic training. His passion for this field is commendable and truly inspiring.  He is dedicated to his athletes and their well-being. Though Gerry wears many hats at SIUE, he manages his time well. He devotes equal time to his athletes, maintaining the athletic training room, and taking me on as a student. He challenges me and seems to truly enjoy teaching. Gerry respects my talents and allows me to work hands-on with athletes. I feel that he has developed me the most thus far. He taught me new skills, in addition to putting previously learned skills to work. Gerry can be a “tough cookie,” but he only wants the best for the athletes and his peers. The list of his past experiences is extensive. He began working at SIUE as the Head Athletic Trainer in 2004. Having more than 18 years of athletic training experience at a variety of levels (collegiate, high school, clinical, professional), Gerry is a great mentor to have. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to work with him.

I am looking forward to the next few months to come. Upon leaving SIUE, I would have worked with 4 amazing athletic trainers. Each of which have an individual presence, level of expertise in the field of athletic training, and a unique flare. As I grow as a student I only expect that this experience gets even better and I learn more. If given the opportunity I would love to work with this team again. They are truly a unique and influential group. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with each of them.

No comments: