Exploring what it means to be an athletic trainer

Big Red Athletics Health, Exercise, and Sport Studies
December 14, 2023

In pursuit of a career as an athletic trainer, health, exercise, and sport studies (HESS) major Jay Branch ’24 is exploring his options both on campus and off.

At Denison, Branch is staffing the sidelines of multiple Big Red teams as a member of the sports medicine department. He’s getting hands-on experience while also benefiting from the advice and mentorship of staff members including associate head athletic trainer Ben Tate ’15.

“Working with Ben has given me so much insight,” Branch says. “I am learning to understand his philosophy of treating his athletes, and his rehabilitation approach for specific injuries.”

Branch helps out in the training room, applying heat packs, administering cupping, and going through treatment exercises with team members.

“Don’t be afraid to use resources around you. They can help you decide where you want to go in life.”

He has worked with Big Red athletes on many of Denison’s 26 varsity sports, including field hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, swim and dive, cross country, track and field, and tennis teams. In his senior year, Branch has decided to add more to his plate, including contact sports such as football.

This summer, Branch expanded his knowledge even further during an internship with Indiana University, where he worked as an athletic trainer with the women’s basketball team.

One of his biggest takeaways was observing many of the differences between a Division I athletics program like Indiana and a Division III school such as Denison. Experiences like this can help Branch decide the direction he wants to pursue in his career.

He offers a few words of advice for future HESS majors: “Don’t be afraid to use resources around you. They can help you decide where you want to go in life.”

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