UNC men's basketball trainer spends time with CCCC HFS students
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Doug Halverson (on screen), head athletic trainer for the University of North Carolina men's basketball ... (more)
SANFORD - One of the top trainers in college athletics offered plenty of professional insight and career advice on Monday, Sept. 13, during a teleconference with Central Carolina Community College's Health and Fitness Science students.
Doug Halverson, who spent 40 minutes with students from the college's introductory course, is the head athletic trainer for the University of North Carolina men's basketball team, a position he has held for the last eight years. Before that, he worked as a staff athletic trainer for the Tar Heel football, women's lacrosse, field hockey and golf teams.
As head athletic trainer, Halverson is responsible for evaluating, treating and rehabilitating injuries, so athletes can quickly and safely return to competition.
Questions ran the gamut -- from nutrition to the challenges of working during the pandemic to what kind of injuries were the toughest to rehabilitate. (His answer: pretty much anything involving the knee.)
After the session was kicked off by Dr. Carl Bryan, program director for CCCC Health and Fitness Science, the floor was turned over to his 20 students. Freshman Daniella Jaimes immediately jumped in with a few questions in rapid succession, including what Halverson found most challenging about his job.
After a very short pause, he gave a particularly direct answer: "Convincing 18- to 22-year-old males that they are not invincible," he told the group composed mostly of that precise demographic.
Halverson said he enjoys working with 18- to 22-year olds because they develop a lot of maturity over those years. But it takes a while for young athletes to understand their vulnerability and learn the tools they need to achieve their own goals, which almost always include playing in the National Basketball Association or professionally overseas, where they can make a good salary.
"When they get to juniors and seniors, you start to see all of those messages seeping in," he said. "You start to feel like your messages are getting through."
Another theme threading through the discussion was the idea of collaboration. Though Halverson's primary focus is on individual athletes and their successful rehabilitation, he also works as part of a team -- doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists and others -- to make that happen. And, he said, the athletes play a critical role in their own rehabilitation.
Jaimes, the first-year student from Siler City who asked Halverson about his greatest challenge, appreciated the trainer's candor. Because she is working toward the same career, with plans to transfer to a four-year university before pursuing a master's degree, it was especially helpful for her to hear Halverson run through his typical day, how he manages all of the competing job demands and what intrinsic motivation keeps him pushing ahead.
"That really turned a switch on for me," she said after the teleconference. "You've got to find your intrinsic motivation. You've got to have your 'why.' Why are you choosing this career? Why are you going for this? What is your motivation?"
That's the kind of reaction Dr. Bryan hoped for when he and colleague Bryan Koprowski arranged this event. "Students need to see a future and a need to connect with those at the highest level of their craft," Dr. Bryan explained. "In our geographical area, students are familiar with ACC basketball and to have Doug present his insight about his athletic training practice at UNC is so valuable for our students."
Dr. Bryan also said this was an opportunity to help guest speakers learn a little about CCCC's Health and Fitness Science program, meet students pursuing their associate degrees and maybe assist those students if they ever meet again down the road.
This was just the first of several virtual conferences planned this year. Dr. Bryan is working with three other community colleges in eastern North Carolina to offer a three-day wellness fair in November. That event is expected to include more than 16 guest speakers featuring Richard Howell, head of strengthening and conditioning for the Indianapolis Colts, and veteran National Football League player Tim Goad.
To learn more about the Central Carolina Community College Health & Fitness Science program, visit www.cccc.edu/curriculum/majors/hfs.
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