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Arnold School of Public Health

  • Amanda Trujillo

Exercise science degree preps Carolina Band Feature Twirler for career in athletic training

December 21, 2023 | Erin Bluvas,

Amanda Trujillo was surrounded by sports medicine specialists while growing up in Jacksonville, Florida. She was born into a family of twirling, dance and gymnastics, and she continued the tradition. Multiple sports led to multiple injuries, and she got to know the physical therapists, physicians and other professionals who helped her get back to doing what she loved.

Amanda Trujillo
Exercise Science major Amanda Trujillo has been a Carolina Band Feature Twirler during her undergraduate tenure.

“I wanted to be a part of a field that was for the betterment of people, and studying exercise science allowed me to progress on this path to health care and sports medicine,” Trujillo says. “I wanted to attend a university that not only prepared you in the classroom, but out in the field as well, and the University of South Carolina allowed me to do just that. As one of the best exercise science programs in the country, I wanted to be a part of such an elite school that helps their students blossom into active and caring individuals within the field.”

Trujillo excelled in her classes, snagging a spot on the President’s or Dean’s list every semester. She found a mentor in her advisor, Barbara Cuevas, who looked out for her well-being and recommended extracurricular activities to help Trujillo learn beyond the classroom.

After years of training and recovery, Trujillo was chosen as one of just two Carolina Band Feature Twirlers – a position that required 20 hours of practices/performances each week and resulted in two individual gold medals and one silver medal at the world championships as a member of Team USA. This was just during her time at USC. Trujillo has won a total of five gold, three silver, and one bronze – nine total medals – in her twirling career.

I wanted to attend a university that not only prepared you in the classroom, but out in the field as well, and the University of South Carolina allowed me to do just that.

Amanda Trujillo

“Being the feature twirler with the Carolina Band allowed me to showcase my passion for twirling with 80,000 people every Saturday in the fall,” she says. “Whether through individual interactions with fans or twirling fire baton in the endzone during halftime, I’ve been able to see Williams Brice light up with passion and spirit for the Gamecocks.”

Trujillo also mentored other students as a University 101 Senior Peer Leader and served as treasurer for Carolina Dance Science. In her field of study, Trujillo joined the Exercise Science Club, pre-professional health fraternity (Alpha Epsilon Delta) and the South Carolina Athletic Training Student Association.

Amanda Trujillo
Trujillo has won nine medals (five gold, three silver, one bronze) during her twirling career.

She completed a 300-hour practical experience as a student athletic trainer for Gamecock Football and conducted research within the exercise science department’s athletic training program. Trujillo even worked with professor of exercise science and sport sciences Andrew Hatchett (USC Aiken) to publish a peer-reviewed paper on the characteristics of baton twirling athletes in the Journal of Sports Research.

She will build on these experiences by continuing her journey at USC. Trujillo was recently accepted into the Arnold School’s Master of Science in Athletic Training program, where she will further her lifelong dream of advocating for and enhancing the performances of collegiate athletes using a health care perspective.

“My experience at USC has been monumental as I have been able to immerse myself within the university, the community, and connect with individuals not just in South Carolina, but around the world as well,” Trujillo says. “USC has continuously provided some of the best opportunities and connections with peers, professors, faculty and alumni that I will forever cherish.”

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