Dr. Ashley Goodman has been a certified athletic trainer since 1997 and has taught in Appalachian’s Athletic Training (BS) degree program since 2008. Her teaching specialties are athletic training, gross anatomy and foot orthotics.
What excites or inspires you about the field of athletic training?
The athletic training profession excites me because there is never a dull moment; every day is different in most of the settings where athletic trainers are employed. We work with patients who are highly motivated to return to participation in their sport, work and/or recreational activities. This, in turn, motivates me to become a better evidence-based clinician and educator in athletic training. I chose the athletic training profession over other healthcare professions because it allowed the most patient-centered interaction. To be an influential part of a patient’s success, through the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of their injuries, and to experience their growth and development over time, is my “national championship.”
Another exciting aspect of athletic training is the various employment settings. Athletic trainers have branched out from traditional healthcare settings, such as professional, collegiate and high school athletics, to employment in the clinic, hospital, industrial and military healthcare settings. You can find an athletic trainer working in all kinds of places, from Major League Baseball, to John Deere and Boeing, to NASCAR, to the Army, and this is a great thing to see.
Why did you choose to come to Appalachian to teach?
I chose Appalachian State University for several reasons. One, the athletic training program has a long-standing reputation for graduating competent Certified Athletic Trainers. Two, I found Appalachian considers quality teaching a priority, and makes the effort to provide the support and resources necessary for successful teaching and learning. Finally, Boone and surrounding area provide our faculty, staff and students numerous outlets to be physically active, and Appalachian’s location is a constant reminder for me to practice gratitude for living in such a beautiful place.
What is your research specialty and how does it fit into and/or strengthen your teaching?
I research retention, attrition and turnover in athletic training. I also investigate work-life balance strategies for athletic trainers. Athletic trainers in certain settings do face challenges and barriers to managing their personal and professional lives as they navigate the world of athletics and/or high-profile environments. My research has strengthened my teaching by facilitating those difficult conversations with our athletic training students. We have class sessions, club meetings and impromptu conversations about the benefits and barriers in certain settings, what the evidence says a supportive and positive environment looks like, what to look for when applying and interviewing for positions, and most importantly, how to constantly check in on their personal and professional values. Our athletic training students learn how to promote their value in this demanding, ever-changing world of health care.
What do you enjoy most about teaching Appalachian students?
I enjoy their enthusiasm to learn, to be engaged in a “hands-on” degree, and especially their enthusiasm to be at Appalachian. They really enjoy actually BEING here. I enjoy those “a-ha” moments when I student makes the connection between the proximal and distal attachments of a muscle on the cadaver in gross anatomy. I enjoy how they come together as a cohort, navigating a challenging and demanding program, learning and growing together. Finally, my culminating joy is the bright smile on their faces as they walk across the stage at graduation, and give us high-fives on the way out, as if to say, “Yes! I made it...and thank you!” I am so proud of our students, and our program, in those moments.
Why should a student interested in an athletic training degree choose Appalachian?
We try to maximize our students’ clinical experiences during their time in our program. Once our students are accepted into the athletic training program, they are immediately enrolled in a clinical education rotation, and are exposed to various real-life, clinical experiences. They are also instructed in a way to immediately interact in their clinical rotation, whether it is taping an ankle, taking a blood pressure or fitting a patient for crutches.
During their time in the program, we take a step-wise approach to learning, which involves problem-based and cooperative learning as we build upon the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation aspects of athletic training. This process prepares students for a senior year focused on clinical integration and preparation for the Board of Certification examination.
Furthermore, our athletic training program is one of the few which has a laboratory devoted to gross anatomy, including human cadaver exploration and dissection. Also, we are one of the few athletic training programs in North Carolina that enhances anatomy education via the Anatomage Table – a high-resolution, 3D, interactive anatomy visualization system which displays human anatomy and pathology in real life size.