April 19, 2021 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Public health is easily one of the most misunderstood areas,” Madison (Maddy) Hauge says. “The United States spends the highest percentage on healthcare but only ranks 34th in life expectancy, and only three percent of what we spend on healthcare is put towards prevention. It is essential that public health be the primary focus since it’s credited with adding 25+ years to life expectancy.”
As an athletic trainer, Hauge has developed expertise in examination, diagnosis and treatment. She has also learned the power of prevention and the need to focus on public health overall – working to improve systems and structures within a community and serving as frontline workers during crises (e.g., COVID-19 pandemic).
“I chose this field because I am able to enter into a community and provide my support, knowledge, and skillset to help families and adolescents in need,” Hauge says. “Many people I have encountered cannot afford doctor visits, ambulance rides, or orthopedic assistance, and we are some of the only healthcare providers that individuals may see or have access to. It gives them piece of mind talking to me about their child’s injury and gaining resources and advice when they are not able to get care at times when it is needed.”
I chose this field because I am able to enter into a community and provide my support, knowledge, and skillset to help families and adolescents in need.
-Madison Hauge, M.S. in Advanced Athletic Training
After growing up in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, Hauge earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training at Florida State University, gaining experience with the school’s football, softball, track and swim teams during her program. When it was time to look for graduate programs, Hauge was tuned into the UofSC’s Master of Science in Advanced Athletic Training for certified athletic trainers (housed in the Arnold School’s Department of Exercise Science) by the supervisor at one of her clinical rotations. After visiting UofSC and seeing how the current students talked about the program and the camaraderie they shared with faculty and staff, Hauge made her decision.
During her program, Hauge continued to build on her clinical experiences. She also served as a teaching assistant and conducted research – co-authoring several abstracts and manuscripts. Her own research focuses on eating disorders, body image dissatisfaction, and meta-perceptions among collegiate student-athletes. She shared this interest area with exercise science associate professor and athletic training program director Toni Torres-McGehee.
“Dr. Torres-McGehee aspires me to be a strong female leader – someone that other students want to learn from,” Hauge says. “I share similar interests and passions as her, and I hope to uphold what I have learned and more importantly, build upon it with my own specializations.”
Like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic created an array of challenges for Hauge. Arriving during her second semester at UofSC, the virus resulted in barriers for her and many other hands-on professions as well as financial difficulties across fields. To stay afloat, Hauge managed to secure three scholarships at the state (SC Athletic Trainers’ Association), district (Mid America Athletic Trainers’ Association), and national (National Athletic Trainers’ Association) levels in 2020.
After her May graduation, Hauge will move to Vail, Colorado where she will begin a 13-month residency position at The Steadman Clinic, a national medical center with the U.S. Olympic Committee and a medical provider for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Through clinical rotations, she will have the opportunity to observe and assist with surgeries, attend lectures, conduct research, work with Olympic athletes and work with athletes in unique areas (e.g., skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, trail running).
Hauge has plenty of advice for others pursuing careers in public health or athletic training through a graduate program. Her suggestions include: keep being intellectually curious, gain more responsibilities by becoming more autonomous in clinical decisions, and take advantage of opportunities, such as events, tournaments, conferences and volunteering. However, she emphasizes that balance is of the utmost importance. For Hauge, that means making time for traveling, hiking, lifting, yoga and spending time with family, friends and pets.
“Enjoy graduate school but don’t miss out on life happening alongside it,” she says. “It is possible to have best of both worlds, it just takes time to understand how you would like to personally balance it.”