PHOTO CAPTION: Mandy Reed Carter ’09, ’10, is head athletic trainer at Liberty High School in Bealeton, Virginia. She credits much of her success to the people she met and the education she received while attending Shenandoah University, where she earned a fast-track Master of Science in athletic training in five years. Click here for more information about the AT program.
A student-athlete in high school, Mandy Reed Carter ’09, ’10, M.S.A.T., became interested in athletic training after she sustained an injury her senior year.
“I started taking sports medicine classes. After that, I basically just kind of went from one class to the next and began to realize that athletic training was my passion,” said Carter.
Today, Carter is the head athletic trainer at Liberty High School in Bealeton, Virginia, and she credits much of her success to the people she met and the education she received while attending Shenandoah University.
The decision to attend Shenandoah wasn’t a hard one for Carter. At the time of her senior year, it was the only school in Virginia that offered a five-year Master of Science in athletic training program. In addition, the school’s softball program meant Carter could continue her athletic career — another one of her passions.
The intimate size of Shenandoah’s athletic training program helped to foster a tight-knit community among Carter and her classmates. “I was able to join the softball team and get to know my teammates, who were also in the same classes that I took for physical training and athletic training. That helped with study groups and, in return, team bonding.”
Along with faculty members, Director and Associate Professor Rose Schmieg, D.H.Sc., and Assistant Professor John Hunt, D.P.T., ’04, Carter notes Head Athletic Trainer and Adjunct Instructor of Athletic Training Michael Kotelnicki, M.S., as one of the people who influenced her the most. Even now, she knows she can count on all of them for advice and support. “I can still call them and bounce ideas off about treating an athlete or getting an athlete back to play.”
As a student, Carter completed internships and clinical rotations at a number of different high schools, including Liberty. When a position opened up at the school following her graduation, her experience and familiarity with the school helped to get her foot in the door.
“Shenandoah is very good about having a lot of selections for doing your internship. I picked to stay at the high school level, since my undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Science for Physical Education and in teaching kinesiology.”
No day is the same for Carter, something she immensely enjoys. “The role of the athletic trainer for the sports teams begins at the start of a practice or game, and you stay until the end of the practice or game,” said Carter. “It’s great, because you see a variety of things. It’s not the same 9-to-5 setting, you’re going to see different things everyday. It’s not a stagnant job.”
She also enjoys the connections she builds with students. “The role of an athletic trainer is somebody that is a supportive person but, at the same time, you are empathetic to the injuries they sustain,” she said. “You’re seeing this athlete everyday, and you develop a rapport with them, so you’re able to see truly the beginning and end of the process. That’s what makes it great when these athletes return to play. They get to go back in, and you get to see them make these game-winning shots.”
Carter is married to fellow alumnus Joseph Carter ’12. He teaches special education at John Champe High School in Aldie, Virginia. The couple have a two-year-old son named Jace.
Being a good mother and raising her son is something Carter is very passionate about. She said she feels extremely lucky to work in an environment that welcomes families. “I get to bring my son to Saturday night events or bring him to practices. Liberty is very good about the family-oriented component, and I feel like Jace is welcome here.”
High school athletic training is exactly what Carter strived to do, and now that she’s pursuing her dream, she doesn’t see herself changing career paths anytime soon.
“Staying at Liberty High School for years down the road is definitely a possibility,” said Carter. Although she said that one day, she could see herself returning to Shenandoah.
“I’m looking into furthering my education in athletic training, or even earning an Educational Doctorate (Ed.D),” she said.
Perhaps, one day, she might teach athletic training at her alma mater.
Contributed by Hilary Legge ’14