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Left to right: Courtenay Burckhard, Heather Golly, Carrie Eder and Casey Seltvedt review an EKG.
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MSU graduates charter class of athletic trainers

In the competitive sports world, athletes often share a common bond: love of the game and discipline to persevere. Three former student-athletes completed this journey in May, graduating as athletic trainers from Minot State University, representing the program's inaugural class.

Growing up in Harvey, Casey Seltvedt participated in all kinds of sports - track, basketball, volleyball, softball. So when she came to MSU for track, it was no surprise she thought a career incorporating sports might also be a good fit.

"I started out studying corporate fitness," Seltvedt recalls. "Then I talked to Dr. Golly about the athletic training program, did some research and realized 'Wow! That's what I want to do.'"

She decided a major in both athletic training and corporate fitness would be her destiny.

A Burlington native and high school athlete, Courtenay Burckhard played volleyball at Williston State College and followed Coach Johnna Torr to MSU. She continued to play volleyball and golf for another year before focusing solely on academics.

"I followed Johnna to MSU, which is what brought me back to Minot, and originally thought I'd study pre-physical therapy within the realm of sports management," Burckhard said. "After looking into the athletic training program, I decided to stick around. Athletic training is a demanding program - you have to know this is what you want to do. The program requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and many hours of clinicals, so it's hard to participate in a sport in the fall and winter as well."

Like Seltvedt, Burckhard decided to study both athletic training and corporate fitness.

Carrie Eder, a former high school basketball and volleyball athlete in Williston, came to MSU to study generals before pursuing her degree in dietetics.

Left to right: Heather Golly, Casey Seltvedt and Courtenay Burckhard assess a student-athlete’s injuries.

"I'd been in Minneapolis for two years and wanted to return to North Dakota and get closer to home," Eder said. "I originally thought I'd spend two years at MSU, then head to Fargo to study dietetics. I saw the athletic training program in the undergraduate catalog and after talking to Heather Golly, - she was so informative and passionate — I decided I was more interested in sports management than nutrition."

Five years ago, assistant professor Heather Golly became the program director of a new athletic training education program and created a curriculum designed to meet accreditation requirements and recruit students. The program grew in popularity, and admission today is fiercely competitive.

This spring, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education reviewed MSU's athletic training education program and will notify MSU late summer regarding its accreditation status. By all accounts, it's not a matter of if, but when, accreditation becomes official. Until then, the women are unable to sit for the Board of Certification exam or work as athletic trainers.

"Majoring in the program was a leap of faith," Seltvedt said. "My class led the path for other students to follow in our tracks. I can't take the certification exam yet, but I feel good about it - the program is solid. We learn through classes and clinical experience with certified athletic trainers, so I think we've had a great start."

Eder agrees. "We had a tougher time as the first three (students) in the program; classes weren't set, but it kept us on our toes, and the staff was amazing. Since our class was so small, we had a lot of one-on-one time with athletic trainers in our clinicals, which helped us learn so much more," Eder said.

Once Seltvedt is certified, she would like to return to Harvey and become an athletic trainer in area schools. Someday, she wants to operate an athletic rehabilitation clinic and work with a team of physical therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists on injury recovery.

"Right now, an athlete has to go to several places for comprehensive therapy. I want to create a centralized place for an injured athlete to come for help," Seltvedt said. "Down deep, I am still an athlete at heart."

Burckhard graduated magma cum laude and prefers working with sports teams, especially hockey.

"I didn't know much about hockey before my clinical rotations," Burckhard said. "Now I am a crazy fan. The games are fast paced, high intensity and you see a lot of injuries. A good AT has to be knowledgeable in their craft and able to respond immediately."

Eder, also magna cum laude, prefers the high intensity of the Williston School District. She would like to contract with Williston State College or the public schools to work with student-athletes.

"I really enjoy working with student-athletes. You always see something different," Eder said. "An athletic trainer has to be at practices and games - it's a lot of work, but I couldn't be in an office for the rest of my life."