Siaura Saville ’15, ’17 ultimately wanted to attend Shenandoah University for its Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) program, and felt it was the best choice to also receive her undergraduate degree from Shenandoah as well. In 2015, Saville earned her Bachelor of Science degree in sports medicine/exercise science and she earned a Master of Science degree in athletic training in 2017.
Looking back on her six years at Shenandoah, Saville believes that the university has the most amazing professors and staff because they are always so welcoming and care for each and every student.
“They will go out of their way to help a student in any way they can to help them reach their goal or whatever the case may be,” said Saville. “Both my undergrad and grad school professors not only helped to make me into the professional I am, but more so helped shape me into the person that I am today. I could not be where I am today if it was not for them.”
Saville still keeps in contact with most of her professors, and she is also grateful for the life-long friendships she built with many of her classmates.
Saville is the head athletic trainer at Harrisonburg High School in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she is the preceptor for both James Madison University’s and Bridgewater College’s MSAT programs. Each day, she is responsible for caring for the student-athletes at the high school, which includes injury prevention, rehabilitation of current and existing injuries, as well as emergency care during games and practices if something occurs. Throughout a given day, she is seen taping athletes injuries to help aid in their pain levels in order to get them back to their pre-injury level, evaluating new/chronic injuries and assisting in all aspects of hydration and nutrition to allow athletes to perform at their very best.
The most rewarding experiences Saville has had in this position are, “seeing the smiles on athletes’ faces after returning from a severe injury and scoring their first basket/touchdown/run, etc. Also, the warm hugs/thank yous/‘Couldn’t have done it without you’ allow you to know that you are in the right place and reaffirm that I made the best career choice for me.”
Saville has also been heavily involved in the Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association (VATA). She is the co-chair for its Young Professionals’ Committee, the VATA ATLAS Ambassador for the Korey Stringer Institute and a member of the Secondary Schools’ Committee. She was also named the 2023 Vito Perriello Secondary Schools Athletic Trainer of the Year for the VATA.
Saville’s education at Shenandoah more than prepared her for the current position. The rigorous course load throughout the program not only challenged her mentally, but in all aspects of life allowed her to be the best athletic trainer she can be. Through the MSAT program, Saville traveled to the University of Richmond (UR) to do her last clinical rotation, which gave her amazing experiences in working with the school’s football and men’s lacrosse teams. “That rotation ultimately lead me to be able to stay at UR for another year doing a paid internship, allowing me to gain even more experience at the D1 level, which continued to give me all the tools and knowledge to become the ATC I am now,” said Saville. “And all of this would not have been possible without the amazing professors, preceptors, and staff within SU’s MSAT program.”
Saville’s advice to students is: “Never stop learning and never be afraid to ask questions! Even today as an ATC, I find that I am constantly learning new information from research as well as within practice that was not taught during grad school, because that’s how quickly things can change within athletic training. I learned valuable tips and tricks with my preceptors during my rotations that help make my job as an ATC much easier that they had learned as well! Athletic Training is a lot about creative and critical thinking – so many things could be going on with different solutions, versus just a simple black and white answer that most professions have, so being able to have a vast variety of tools in your toolbox is going to help you so much along the way.”