When Corinne Wallis ’22 arrived at Shenandoah University to study in the Doctor of Physical Therapy/Master of Science in Athletic Training dual degree program, she had never even considered attending a rodeo. Now, as part of a clinical rotation at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, Arizona, she’s been in the ring with the Justin Sports Medicine Team.
Shenandoah Director and Associate Professor of Athletic Training Rose Schmieg, DHSc.; Assistant Professor/Clinical Education Coordinator John Hunt, DPT; and Assistant Professor of Athletic Training Katie Gilbert, DPT, suggested the University of Arizona rotation to Wallis after she showed interest in working at a Division I university where she could also incorporate performing arts medicine (she’s also studying for Shenandoah’s Performing Arts Medicine Certificate) into the experience. She said she’s so happy she followed their guidance. “It was the best piece of advice that I had ever taken! Thank you to them for knowing who I was and where I would fit in best.”
The rotation includes experience with both physical therapy and athletic training, Wallis said. She spends a third of her time in the University of Arizona physical therapy clinic, another third of her time as an athletic training student in the school of dance, and the final third with athletics – primarily with softball and football. But, her University of Arizona clinical instructor, Jenny Wyly, also happens to be the program manager for the Justin Sports Medicine Team, and Wyly invites students to assist with the all-volunteer team.
“As an individual who initially came to school dreaming of working with performing artists, I felt that the rodeo athletes presented had a ton of similarities with the performing artist population as they primarily have the goal of entertaining the crowd. When it came to actually working with the Justin Sports Medicine Team, it was unlike any experience I have ever had.”
– Shenandoah University Doctor of Physical Therapy/Master of Science in Athletic Training student Corinne Wallis ’22
The team provided treatment from a traveling bus, which had an interior arrangement much like a small athletic training room, Wallis said. “Though the injuries were similar to a traditional athletic population, the mindset of the athletes was much more determined than any athlete I have worked with in the past. No matter the circumstance, each rodeo athlete would do anything to be sure they could perform. At my second time at the rodeo, I had the opportunity to be in the ring with the action. There were more moving parts than ANYTHING I have ever seen. It was important to remain vigilant of angry animals, opening gates, and the health of the range of athletes in the ring! There was no need to be anxious in the situation as there was a whole team to work with, including PTs, ATs, sports medicine MDs, and MD residents, so you consistently had a second opinion on the situation at hand and an extra set of eyes to be sure you weren’t crushed by a horse.”
The experiences Wallis has had during this rotation (she said she wants to offer particular thanks to her current preceptors, Wyly and Kristin Miller) are likely to have an impact on her immediate future, if all goes as she hopes. “Directly out of school, I hope to land a job in an environment that allows for a range of opportunities similar to what my experience at University of Arizona has offered in this rotation,” she said. “Ultimately, I want to be sure that I have the chance to utilize my emergency care medicine skills alongside my rehabilitation techniques while under a mentor who can help me become the best clinician that I can be! In the long run, I do hope to open my own clinic with an emphasis on Performing Arts Medicine.”
As she considers her career plans, she said she could go on for days about why Shenandoah’s dual degree program is special, but she noted that she believes the program really sets itself apart with its wide range of mentors who have a variety of approaches to patient and athlete care. “With the quick sports medicine environment SU MSAT offers combined with the detail-oriented neuro/peds/ortho/generalized approach behind SUPT, you ultimately become a well-rounded clinician by graduation,” she said. “Plus, not sure if you can tell, but they offer really cool clinical experiences.”