USATF Championships

UWS students love the opportunities for hands-on learning and field experience. Read some of our student experiences below.

The UWS team of volunteers at the USA Track and Field (USATF) Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif. (Pictured left to right: Doug Wombold, Jerrod Puckett, Brad Crowe, Emily Kreifels, Breanna MacPhail, DC)

Student: Emily Kreifels
Program: Doctor of Chiropractic/ MS Sports Medicine
Quarter: 7

I had the opportunity to represent UWS as a student intern at the USA Track and Field (USATF)  National Championships in Sacramento. It was an incredible experience for me to be able to combine my favorite sport and my future career. I saw hundreds of phenomenal athletes in peak condition, competing to improve their times or for the coveted few berths to the World Championships. These world-class athletes make running and jumping look easy.

Unfortunately, heat was an adverse factor for most of the competition. The average temperature for the duration of the championships was more than 100 degrees, with one day reaching 111. To accommodate this, the evening sessions were pushed back. Times might not have been as fast as they could have been in cooler conditions, but it didn’t seem to hinder the athletes very much.

For me, the best part of the entire experience was being able to observe all the clinicians and see what techniques they used. There were chiropractic physicians, physical therapists, massage therapists and a podiatrist, in addition to athletic trainers. The end goal was the same for everyone—to help the athlete feel better—but the path to get there was as varied as the number of providers.

While checking athletes in and ensuring that they filled out paperwork correctly, I was able to ask questions of many of the clinicians. Their advice gave me ideas for things to do in my future practice working with athletes.

Chiropractic tables ready for athletes at the USA Track and Field (USATF) Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif.

Student: Jerrod Pucket
UWS Program: Doctor of Chiropractic/ MS of Sports Medicine
Quarter: 10

I want to become the best all-around physician possible, so naturally, the sports medicine master’s program at University of Western States appealed to me. Being an athlete since the age of 12 has brought on many injuries over the years, and I’ve treated the majority conservatively through chiropractic physicians. I knew early on that I wanted to help treat and manage athletic injuries, especially those that occur in my fellow runners. Enrolling in the doctorate of chiropractic program at UWS was one step of the process, but further education in the field of sports medicine is necessary to ensure the overall care of an athlete is at its peak.

The best way to learn is by doing. The practical part of the UWS sports medicine program opened the doors to that. My hands-on educational experience has doubled by being in the sports medicine program.

Attending the USA Track and Field National Championships (USATF) was the highlight of my sports medicine practicum thus far. Shadowing and learning treatment strategies of high-level athletes from a handful of the best sports medicine physicians out there was truly enriching. I observed athletes being treated in a multidisciplinary setting, and watching the different professions interact and handle the same patients opened my eyes to the necessity of cohesive care.

Working in a multidisciplinary setting such as a medical center or a hospital has always appealed to me. Learning to interact with patients will help guide treatment in my future office, but learning how to interact with other practitioners is paramount to the unified care of an individual. Attending the USATF championships allowed me to interact with massage therapists, athletic trainers, acupuncturists, podiatrists, physical therapists and chiropractic physicians working as one. I am truly humbled and grateful to be part of the student team that assisted the amazing sports medicine professionals at the USATF championships. Future students in the sports medicine practicum would be wise to participate in these events to open doors regarding their future practice and patient care.