Athletic Training

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Athletic Training Spotlight

Meet Dr. Williams, Assistant Professor of Athletic Training for Drake’s Master of Athletic Training program.

Dr. Williams' area of expertise is in sport-related concussions and the implementation of sport safety initiatives, which she is very excited to incorporate into her teaching in the MAT program here at Drake. 

Name:    Richelle M. Williams, Ph.D, ATC
Job/Position:    Assistant Professor of Athletic Training
Organization:    Drake University
Location:    Des Moines, IA


Richelle Williams joined the Athletic Training faculty at Drake University in 2019.  Growing up in California, she comes to us with a background in athletic training and kinesiology, having a variety of experiences in practice and academia.  In 2018, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical outcome studies at A.T. Still University.  Prior to her fellowship, she completed her education at San Diego State University (B.S. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in athletic training), A.T. Still University (M.S. in Post-Professional Athletic Training) and the University of Michigan (Ph.D. in Kinesiology). She currently teaches courses in management of injuries, health care systems, and patient-centered approaches to quality healthcare to A1 students.

What role do athletic trainers have in healthcare?  How do ATs contribute to the health and well being of people? 

Athletic trainers have an integral role in healthcare. Athletic trainers are healthcare providers who diagnose, treat and manage a variety of injuries in all populations. Athletic trainers are often the first to communicate with parents, coaches and other healthcare provides on injury and management plans. Athletic trainers provide life-saving healthcare and are important for all sports and schools to have access to.

What do you love about being an athletic trainer?  What first attracted you to the profession and what has kept you engaged throughout your career?

Athletic trainers have the unique opportunity to see a patient from the initial on-field injury through the rehabilitation process. This allows athletic trainers to develop great rapport with their patients and have a strong impact on care. As an athlete,  I was exposed to athletic training in college. The impact that the athletic trainer made on my care initiated my interest in pursuing athletic training. I started shadowing other athletic trainers and soon started to love the profession.  I realized that there was much more to athletic training than I had originally thought and began to consider other aspects of athletic training as a career.

What is your area of research/interest within the field of Athletic Training?  Why is this topic important to the field of AT?  How are students in the program exposed to this topic?

My research areas focus on pediatric sport-related concussions as well as the implementation and policies of sports safety initiatives. These areas of research are important for healthcare and specifically athletic training, to be able to improve patient care.

Why did you choose to teach at Drake? 

As the newest member of the Drake MAT faculty, I looked at the opportunities Drake provided related to building a new program and was encouraged by the current faculty and students.

How does the Drake MAT program prepare students to achieve their goals?  What are some specific aspects of the program that stand out?

Drake University provides students with an all-encompassing education and the opportunity to learn alongside other healthcare professions. The clinical experiences that the students have access to are amazing opportunities to see the full scope of care.

What are you most excited about in this first year of Drake's MAT program?

I am looking forward to seeing this first cohort dive into athletic training and have a “light bulb” moment on putting their education into clinical experiences.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a student who is interested in pursuing a career in AT?

Reach out to your advisors to talk about the profession and seek insight from all aspects of athletic training. There are a lot of career paths and opportunities for student’s post-graduation and being able to learn about them is great before starting a career in AT.

Past Athletic Training Spotlights

Bridget Davidson (2022 MAT alum)

Alisa Drapeaux (Drake Health Sciences Faculty, Athletic Trainer)

Nate Newman (Drake MAT Program Director and Faculty)

Frankie Porter (2021 MAT alum)

Frankie Porter (student profile)

Delaney Taylor (MAT Candidate 2023)

Kayley Weiland (2022 MAT alum)

Richelle Williams (faculty profile)

Sara Wilson (MAT Candidate 2024)

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