how to become an athletic trainerAthletic Training Program Director Katherine Liesener

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Dr. Katherine Liesener is the athletic training program director in the health and human performance department. When she’s not overseeing the administration of the athletic training program, she can be found either treating patients or teaching several different foundation, organization, and administration classes.

How long have you been at Concordia? Why did you choose Concordia?

I have been employed by Concordia for 16 years. When I first came to Concordia, I was a Staff Athletic Trainer with dreams of becoming more involved in the Athletic Training Education Program. Two years into my staff position, I was able to transition to the faculty side; and 11 years ago, I became the program director. I chose Concordia for several reasons, including the Christian environment, small class sizes, DIII athletic environment, potential for career growth, and geographical location.

What does an average day in your life look like?

A typical day is never predictable. Between overseeing the administration of the athletic training program, teaching in the classroom, and treating patients, every day is different. But that is why I entered into the athletic training profession!

What do you love most about Concordia?

I am honored to be part of a faculty that places the students first. It is extremely fulfilling to work in an environment where our faculty and staff dedicate all of their energy to pushing our students to realize and reach their full potential.

What’s your education and career background? Where did you study? What did you do before Concordia?

I earned my bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse, my master’s degree at the University of Akron, and my PhD at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. My educational pursuits have focused on athletic training, education, exercise physiology, and administrative leadership. Prior to Concordia, I completed a Graduate Assistantship in DI athletics, providing medical care to DI athletes at the University of Akron.

What are you most passionate about in your work here at Concordia?

I am most passionate about seeing my students succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Our Athletic Training Program gives us a great opportunity to educate, mentor, and guide our students for five years prior to entering the workforce. And many of their first jobs involve extreme autonomy. So to see my students grow from very little to no medical knowledge, to independent, autonomous clinicians is extremely rewarding.

What’s the one key lesson from your courses/work here at Concordia that you hope students take away from interacting with you and learning from you?

I hope that my students adopt a passion for continuing to learn and grow in their career and faith throughout life. I impress upon them that their learning does not stop at graduation, it is only beginning!

What’s the most interesting thing about athletic training that the general public might not know?

Many individuals may not realize that athletic training is an allied health care profession that specializes in the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of emergent, acute, or chronic injuries and medical conditions. We work in a variety of settings such as schools, colleges and universities, clinics and hospitals, professional sports, performing arts, public safety, military, and occupational health.

Why should students study athletic training?

I find the athletic training profession to be extremely challenging and rewarding. By providing the highest level of medical care, we are able to make a significant impact on others by helping them achieve their goals.

Lastly, why should students consider Concordia as their school of choice?

Concordia offers an inclusive, supportive, and faith-based environment that cannot be matched.  Furthermore, the dedication to student learning is the forefront of all decisions and operations at this university. My students find their “college family” here and develop lifelong relationships and skills that make them incredibly successful in life.

To learn more about athletic training at Concordia, check out our program page.

This post was originally published on March 8, 2019. It has been updated to reflect current information.

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