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Arnold School of Public Health

International student earns master’s degree to increase athletic training services in Caribbean

May 6, 2022 | Erin Bluvas,

When Reann Young experienced an injury as a national-level volleyball player in Trinidad and Tobago, she was one of few athletes lucky enough to receive sports medicine treatment. She received care from an athletic trainer, and it opened her eyes to the profession.

“I knew I wanted to help athletes in the same way he helped me rehabilitate my injuries, and from there my passion for the profession only grew,” says Young, who won her nation’s Youth Award for Community Sport in 2014.  

After graduating from high school, Young moved to the U.S. to earn a B.S. in Athletic Training (with a Minor in Exercise Science) at Georgia Southern University. When looking at graduate programs, UofSC stood out for the Department of Exercise Science’s (and College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management’s) No.1 sport science ranking. She also liked the M.S. in Advanced Athletic Training program’s inclusion of multiple clinical experiences and the opportunity to attend sporting events at an SEC university.

During her program, Young gained experience by serving as an athletic trainer for UofSC’s beach volleyball and football teams as well as the South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory and Columbia International University. She also developed research interests in the mental health of collegiate student-athletes.

“I have loved my role as the athletic trainer for beach volleyball,” Young says of her most recent rotation. “I have especially enjoyed the many opportunities for collaboration and building professional relationships with other athletic trainers, coaches, strength and conditioning staff, physicians, and mental health professionals and making the most of this experience.”

Young found mentors in exercise science/athletic training faculty Susan Yeargin, Zachary Winkelmann and Toni Torres-McGehee. “Dr. Yeargin has introduced me and helped me have a deeper understanding of research, which I am very grateful for,” she says. “Both Dr. Torres-McGehee and Dr. Winkelmann have been so helpful and supportive in what I do clinically, professionally and research-wise. Dr. Winkelmann has been my research chair throughout this program, and I am very thankful for his guidance.”

After graduating this May, Young plans to pursue a position as an athletic trainer at a Division One school. Long term, she would like to return to the Caribbean to provide athletic training services to national and regional teams.

If her achievements are any indication, Young is well positioned to achieve these goals and help fill the need for additional athletic training services that she observed growing up. Her honors include the A.C. “Whitey” Gwynne Scholarship (Mid Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association) and the Research & Education Foundation Ronnie Barnes Scholarship (National Athletic Trainers’ Association). Young has also continued to play volleyball in her spare time, winning intramural competitions in both the summer (sand) and fall (indoor) of 2021.

“Know your goals and how this program can best help you achieve them,” Young advises prospective athletic trainers. “This is a great program with great students and mentors who will support you throughout your two years here.”

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