Benefits of the Sports Medicine Program at UWS

By: Caitlin Jones, Q9 UWS doctor of chiropractic and sports medicine student

There are a few different master’s programs that are offered at UWS with sports medicine being the most popular one taken by doctor of chiropractic (DC) students. Throughout the first year, I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to add it on and I talked to a number of students in the program to get a better idea of it. As with every program, there were some ideas of how it could be better, but the general consensus I received was that it was absolutely worth the extra work. So, when the time came, I applied and was ecstatic when I received my acceptance letter!

I’m now three quarters in and have really enjoyed the courses. I have been able to take a new tidbit away from each class such as why you can get sick during intense exercise (hint: it’s the fastest way your body can get rid of excess hydrogen ions and balance your pH levels). The lectures are all online and there is a lot of reading assigned, but the in-person labs really help to pull the information together. The Exercise Physiology lab the first quarter was great! Even though I’ve taken a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) course, it was great to run a few students through the screening and see it in action. 

This quarter I started practicum, which is the main reason why I enrolled in the sports med master’s program. It looks very different due to COVID, but I’m hopeful that in the spring I’ll be able to work with athletes at the high schools in the area as well as different events around Oregon such as Hood to Coast, volleyball tournaments, and a past student favorite – the rodeo. Having the ability to work with a variety of different athletes on the sidelines of various sports is wonderful experience that we don’t get in the Campus Health Center. 

Since we are unable to work with teams at the moment, the professors have really tried to make practicum a useful and informative experience. It has become a choose-your-own-adventure and you can decide where your hours come from. One of the options is going through a SCAT 5, which is a concussion screening tool that we go over in a previous course. Performing this on a friend is still helpful because many teams conduct it at the beginning of a season to use as a baseline test. Having that experience also helped me when I was working with someone who was worried they had a mild concussion after hitting their head a couple days prior. Without having to look up anything, I was able to ask specific questions to help assess them and give them some things to look out for over the next few weeks.

So far throughout the program, I’ve been able to have more experience with extremities, history taking and working with scenarios where I can critically think about what diagnoses are most likely. Even though the practicum is very different than what I had imagined due to COVID, I’m still happy that I decided to take on the sports med master’s in addition to the DC program. 

If you’re interested in the program and how it can help you in the field, I’d recommend reaching out to the alumni department so they can put you in touch with a graduate. I’m also happy to answer questions you may have from a current student’s standpoint! ([email protected])