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Athletic training graduate kicks off career with the New York Jets

October 8, 2021 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

As the daughter of a U.S. Air Force serviceman, Victoria Simpson traveled extensively as a child – so much so that she considers the Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany to be home. The frequent moves accompanying her dad’s military career didn’t stop Simpson from participating in sports, including volleyball, basketball, softball and soccer.

Like many athletes, Simpson endured her share of injuries. And like many future exercise science professionals, her first significant injury introduced her to the world of sports medicine.

“I went through extensive rehabilitation and met individuals who inspired me to pursue a career in healthcare,” Simpson says. “The athletic training profession has allowed me to combine my love for sports with my appreciation of the human body.”

I know that I want to create positive, impactful change for patients that come in contact with athletic trainers, especially minorities.

-Victoria Simpson, M.S. in Athletic Training 2021

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the College of Charleston, Simpson turned her seasonal role as an intern at Carolina Physical Therapy and Sport Medicine into an aide position. She learned about the newly created Master of Science in Athletic Training program just in time to enroll in the inaugural cohort in 2019. One of the selling points for her was the program’s unique clinical experiences, including opportunities to work with Division I collegiates, K12 teams and tactical athletes.  

“Each clinical rotation offered a varying prospective into the countless components that contribute to the role of what an athletic trainer is and does,” Simpson says. “Whether it was related to the evaluation and rehabilitation process of patients, how to advocate for the profession, or ways to work within an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. The rigorous courses and hours spent at various clinical sites allowed me to have unique experiences with countless patients.” 

During her program, Simpson explored her interests in diversity, equity and inclusion, mental health, the disablement model, and healthcare services for communities who are marginalized and lack resources for equitable care. She found mentors in Arnold School faculty and clinical supervisors – individuals who supported her research, academic writing, internship applications and more.

“Without them, I would have missed opportunities to propel myself and my career,” Simpson says.

Following her May 2021 graduation (two days later, to be exact), Simpson headed north to begin the first step in that career: a seasonal athletic training internship with the New York Jets where she also participates in the organization’s community outreach efforts. Long term, she would like to continue working with the NFL, provide healthcare services to low-socioeconomic communities, and support the Paralympics or Invictus Games as an athletic trainer.

“One of the mottos I live by is remembering my why,” Simpson says. “Although my purpose hasn’t been defined quite yet, I know that I want to create positive, impactful change for patients that come in contact with athletic trainers, especially minorities. As everyone says, find a job that doesn’t feel like work. Every day I go to work, it doesn’t feel like work.”


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