'We’ve all grown up in the program’

AT students reflect on a rewarding first year

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

It all started about a year ago with Zoom classes and learning skills from their homes. It has evolved into a challenging, yet rewarding curriculum that has prepared them for more than they ever imagined.

Welcome to the CHS Athletic Training professional program.

Throughout March, we’ve been celebrating National Athletic Training Month by highlighting students and faculty in our program with profiles and stories.

Today, we’ll introduce you to two of our Athletic Training students, Angela Huston and Emalee Johnson, and we’ll ask them five questions about what makes the UK AT program so special.

Here’s five questions with … Anglea and Emalee:


Why AT at UK?

Angela Huston:

I'm from northern Kentucky and I actually went to UK for undergrad. So when I was looking into the program I knew it wasn't accredited yet, but I just met with Hanna and some of the other faculty and just loved the family atmosphere.

They care about us as people, as well as students, and I think we form a close relationship just because there's only five of us.

I shadowed my high school athletic trainer, Andi Jones, and loved the relationship she was able to form with her athletes and just ended up falling in love with it. Without her, I would have never considered athletic training as a career path in my future. She helped spark my interest in this field and lead me on this path to pursuing my passion.

Emalee Johnson:

I’m from southeastern Kentucky — London, and like Angela, I went to UK for undergrad and majored in Kinesiology. I was also a student athletic trainer for UK athletics, and through that program I found my passion for athletic training.

I honestly just found my passion senior year and I don't know — something just clicked and I was like this is it, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.


What have the faculty been able to do to make classes a little more normal during the pandemic?

Angela Huston:

All summer we were on zoom, which included a taping class. This experience was not easy at all, but you had to learn not to get frustrated because we were all doing the same thing. When we got back to campus in the fall, we started practicing our taping again in person.

Throughout the fall, we kept the same partners in class just to kind of limit the exposure to who was working with each other. But things have been a lot easier, because they allowed us to get back in the classroom to practice our hands-on skills. And we have been very fortunate to go to our clinical sites.

Emalee Johnson:

We have been unbelievably blessed to be able to go to all of our clinical sites, which has been great because that is such an integral piece of our program. You can have book knowledge, you can be the smartest athletic trainer, but if you don’t know how to apply it, it can take a toll on how you practice clinically.

We usually do five-week clinical rotations, which comes out to be about three per semester. For example in fall, I was at UK football for my first rotation, then to Midway and then to Henry Clay High School.

And for spring this year I was at Frederick Douglass High School now I’m at UK softball and then I’ll be at Asbury at the end of the semester.


There are five of you in this first professional AT cohort, and you’re now able to all be together as a class. How much does that help you in your education?

Angela Huston:

I think it's extremely beneficial. I mean, first getting to know each other's personalities and how each of us works in different ways. For example, if one of us is struggling on a certain topic that another classmate has down, it helps them study and teach us in a different way than how we learned in class.

You can put it all together so it makes sense.

Emalee Johnson:

I agree with Angela. I think that we share a tight bond now that we can actually be in person and spend time together.

It’s nice to have a team of people beside you that share the same responsibility of being the first cohort of this new program and that also are reaching for the same goals. I love the bond that we have built together thus far!


Has it lived up to what you expected so far — even through this tough pandemic time?

Angela Huston:

I think for me it's definitely exceeded my expectations. Our faculty kind of gave us an overview of what to expect, but once you're actually living it, it really becomes a reality.

The faculty and staff have gone above and beyond. They're always willing to help you out, and the resources we have available — working at an SEC school — are incredible.

This all helps you grow as a person, as well in the classroom.

Emalee Johnson:

It’s definitely exceeded my expectations.

Coming into the program, knowing that it was completely new and that we were all getting to form the foundation of what we hope the program will become in the future was and still is exciting.  I feel like we've all grown together — even our faculty. We’ve all grown up in the program.


What would you say to someone who is interested in AT at UK?

Angela Huston:

I honestly would tell them they will never regret coming here. It’s an experience that they will be very grateful for, as it will best prepare them for their future in athletic training.

Emalee Johnson:

There are so many sports medicine and athletic training programs, and they are done so well. I’m sure some other places go above and beyond, but there is just something different about the University of Kentucky.

It’s something you can't describe. You can't try to explain it. It's truly something you just have to experience.


Interested in applying to UK’s Athletic Training program? Visit us here.