The University's athletic training program offers hands-on opportunities for students looking for a career in athletic training.
A kinesiology junior, Maia LeBlanc, didn’t decide to become an athletic trainer until she enrolled at the University. After attending an interest meeting, she decided to combine her love of sports and helping others and started working toward becoming an athletic trainer.
Jeremy Plante, another kinesiology junior, decided sports medicine was his passion his freshman year. He came to the University from Rhode Island and was excited to see the University’s strong athletic training program.
The process of being accepted into the program can be strenuous. Plante completed 100 observational hours and had two interviews before he was accepted in a small group of 16 student trainers.
Once accepted into the athletic training program, students are assigned to a team. Plante started with the University’s volleyball team, where he built a relationship with many team members. He said he learned a lot while working with them.
“I could not have asked for a better experience to start off my path in athletic training,” Plante said. “These girls were such a blessing to work for as they were so appreciative."
After spending the 2017-18 season with the volleyball team, Plante spent this year working with coach Ed Orgeron and the football team. He credits this with helping him grow even more as an athletic trainer.
“The clinical responsibilities are much greater working for such a bigger team, but it has allowed me to learn and experience so many new things within the profession and has only set me up for success in my future,” Plante said.
LeBlanc started working with coach Will Wade and the basketball program during her first year in the program, but she completed her studies off campus and spent this year at Central High School, working for the football team.
While she enjoyed her time with LSU's basketball team, she has felt more challenged by working outside the University.
“It is definitely a different atmosphere than being at LSU,” LeBlanc said. “But it is a good stepping stone to gain the confidence I will need as I step into my senior year and beyond.”
Along with being athletic trainers participating in games and practices, LeBlanc and Plante also balance working hard in their classes. All classes in their major require a B- or above to advance. While both had their struggles in various classes, they recognized it was essential for the future of their careers.
“There were definitely some classes that were harder than others, but that just meant more time and effort needed to be put into them because they were essential for my success in the future of my career,” Plante said.
Plante plans to continue his education in graduate school and earn a graduate assistant spot after he completes his undergraduate degree at the University. He’s undecided whether he wants to go back home to Rhode Island, or find a new part of the country to discover.
LeBlanc also plans to go to graduate school and earn a graduate assistant spot once she graduates from the University. She hopes to work with a professional sports team, preferably a women’s soccer team, but said she will be happy wherever she ends up.
“Regardless of who I work with, I would love to work with a team or organization that would allow me to travel and explore the world,” LeBlanc said.