Gannon’s New Master of Athletic Training Program in Ruskin, Florida Provides Students with Valuable Clinical Experience with a Nationally Ranked Team
When Stephanie Deschamps and Hannah Merrifield ’17 considered graduate schools, both looked for a Master of Athletic Training (MAT) program that offered small classes and year-round clinical application. Enrolled as the two inaugural students in Gannon’s new MAT program in Ruskin, they have found just that and more.
Deschamps and Merrifield entered their first clinical placement at the start of the program in August, working with the athletes, licensed athletic trainers and coaches on the University of South Florida’s (USF) nationally ranked football team.
“It makes me proud to be part of Gannon and also representing USF,” said Deschamps. “We’re there as students assisting the certified athletic trainers and doctors. If somebody has a cut, we wrap it and get them back on the field. If they have a cramp, we get them hydrated and stretch them out.”
Merrifield, who earned her undergraduate degree in sport and exercise science at Gannon’s Erie campus, added, “We do a lot of preventive, acute care and rehabilitative treatment at USF, applying what we’ve learned in the classroom. To have this type of opportunity in our first clinical is incredible. We’ve learned so much right away.”
Fostering the partnership with USF and providing that classroom knowledge is Program Director and Assistant Professor Susan Wehring EdD, ATC, LAT. “It’s a hands-on program with full-immersion experiences; they’ll have a clinical experience as a course every semester,” she said.
"To have this type of opportunity in our first clinical is incredible. We’ve learned so much..."
“The partnership in clinical education with Gannon University’s Athletic Training program is off to a great start,” said Steve Walz, MA, ATC, LAT, Associate Athletic Director of Sports Medicine at USF.
“Stephanie and Hannah have done a tremendous job applying the knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom. They have been an asset to USF’s sports medicine team and keeping our football student-athletes healthy. I look forward to watching them progress in their careers and to continuing clinical education with future Gannon students.”