This month we are spotlighting Dr. Megan Brady. Dr. Brady is currently the Director of Athletic Training Experiential Education and Assistant Professor of Athletic Training for Drake’s Master of Athletic Training (MAT) program. Prior to becoming a professor, Dr. Brady was an athletic trainer with several collegiate athletic teams, which allowed her to practice her skills in diagnosing, treating and preventing illness and injury among athletes, as well as travel to some pretty unique places with her teams!
Megan Brady grew up in Marcus, IA and earned her bachelor's degree in athletic training from Briar Cliff College (now University) in Sioux City, IA. After earning her bachelor's degree, she went on to earn a master's degree in Athletic Administration from Idaho State University in Pocatello, ID. Megan's first position as an athletic trainer after graduate school was at Morningside College in Sioux City, IA where she worked and travelled with all of their women's sports. Prior to coming to Drake University, Megan was an athletic trainer at the University of Northern Iowa for 15 years, where she worked and traveled with women's soccer, women's basketball, softball and volleyball. Megan also earned her doctorate degree while at UNI.
In the collegiate setting, the athletic trainer is typically the first medical provider student-athletes see when they are ill or injured. I joke that student-athletes used to bring me everything, but that’s actually very true. I have treated everything from pink eye, to infections, to ankle sprains and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. I developed great relationships with my coaches and student-athletes, so my student-athletes felt comfortable coming to me when they needed health care. If it was an injury or illness beyond my scope of practice, I made the referral decision for that student-athlete.
I have always been a very competitive and active individual. I do not like to be stationery and love variety in my day. I am also fascinated by the human body and its abilities (it’s the only “machine” that can repair itself). Being an athletic trainer is the perfect blend of athletics and health care for me. When I was in college I decided I wanted to go to the NCAA Tournament at the Division I level. I didn’t care what sport I went in, but I wanted to go. UNI volleyball took me there 8 times. Each time was its own individual and amazing experience.
A collegiate athletic trainer is very ingrained in the lives of student-athletes. Responsibilities are wide-reaching, from providing overall health care, to nutrition education, to mental health. As I mentioned previously, student-athletes brought me everything. Each day had a schedule that included treatments, rehabs and teaching class in the mornings, and treatments and practices or games in the afternoons/evenings. But the interactions and happenings of each day varied. One day a student-athlete might come in after vomiting all night, or wake up with a cold. The next day a student-athlete was stressed about a class, and needed someone to talk to. A typical day to me means every day is different. And I love that.
The people I worked with and the experiences I had. I met and worked with amazing people (coaches, student-athletes, co-workers, athletic trainers from other institutions), and I still maintain many of those relationships today. When I was in grad school, I worked with a track athlete that went on to become an Olympic Gold Medalist in the pole vault. And the experiences I had would not have happened if not for my job as an athletic trainer. I have been to California, Pacific Northwest, Florida, New York City, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Europe. These trips were all for my job, so I didn’t have to pay any of the expenses (except for fun money).
Work hard. Accept challenges with an open-mind. And don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. That’s where a lot of your growth will be.
Drake is a teaching-first institution, and I love to teach. I am constantly impressed by Drake students. They are driven, hard-working, and determined. My interview solidified my decision to teach at Drake: everyone I met with was honest, sincere, and truly passionate about being here. I guess in the end, it was a feeling. And that feeling was correct.
The Drake MAT program curriculum is designed to give students experiences in multiple areas/patient populations of athletic training. The profession is constantly changing and expanding, and our curriculum is designed to provide students with experiences in these expanding areas. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to choose a concentration area within athletic training, and to specialize their education based on their career goals.
I am excited about a few things. First, I’m excited to be teaching athletic training students again in the classroom. I am very passionate about athletic training, and look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with students. Second, I am excited for our athletic training students. Some of my favorite moments are when students drop into my office and tell me about an injury they saw and/or learned about the previous day. Their excitement in telling me the story gets me excited, and I love sharing these moments with them. Lastly, as the coordinator of clinical education, I am excited about the clinical rotation experiences that Dr. Newman and I have developed for our students. We are developing clinical rotation experiences for our students that were not available when we were students (as the profession has evolved), and I am eager for our students to get started and learn at these sites.