Last Updated on August 14, 2022
Interview with Dr. Hal Strough
Sports Degrees Online had the chance to speak with Dr. Hal Strough, who is the Dean of the College of Health and Wellness at Northwestern Health Sciences University. They touch on topics including the future of Athletic Training, the growing importance of analytics in the health sciences, and how his career as a Professor of Athletic Training has set him up for success.
About Dr. Hal Strough
Dr. Hal Strough is the Dean at the College of Health and Wellness at Northwestern Health Sciences University. He holds his PhD in Athletic Training from Purdue University, and is an exam writer for the BOC Inc.
Professor Strough, you currently hold a position at Northwestern Health Sciences University where you oversee the College of Health and Wellness. How has your career as a Professor of Athletic Training prepared you for this role?
Being an athletic trainer prepared me for larger scale administrative roles in a variety of ways. It’s important to coordinate a lot of moving parts that are sometimes disparate (i.e. admissions and an academic program). This is not unlike coordinating multiple care providers to meet a patient’s needs. Further, there are just a lot of details to pay attention to and be prepared for. There is budget, admissions, scheduling, course instruction, ensuring sufficient resources, etc. Athletic trainers have to multi-task to effectively perform their jobs. There are also a lot of personalities to deal with. Again, this is similar to the athletic environment where you might have 100+ players on a football team.
Professor, there are literally hundreds of Health and Human Performance programs out there these days. What are some factors that prospective students should keep in mind as they are trying to choose a program?
I think the biggest things to look for include a) what sort of infrastructure does the program have in terms of equipment and technology. Things like metabolic analyzers and cameras for capturing biomechanics data are important. b) what kind of research are faculty doing and how can students get involved, c) currency of curriculum. As I look at websites some curriculums seem dated, and d) does the program have a focus/specialization (i.e. strength and conditioning) or is it more generic in nature. I would support a more focused curriculum.
What are some ways that data analytics is changing what your programs look like?
I think there are two big trends relative to data a) what is the scope of technology used to capture the data and b) what is done with the data once it is captured. How are the results interpreted? Students increasingly need to be prepared in both areas.
Looking specifically at the fields of athletic training and sports medicine. What advice do you have for undergraduate students who are hoping to have a successful career in one of these fields? How can they be setting themselves up for success in 5 years?
Here is the advice I have – a) get experience and exposure in as many settings as possible and accrue skills that will translate across settings, b)be flexible and be willing to fail. c) be patient. You’re not going to get a top salary early in your career. Don’t get discouraged.
Professor Strough, over the last number of years, employment opportunities for Athletic Trainers have been growing in a variety of settings, including warehouses, military, and other environments. Do you expect this trend to continue, and what does this mean for the field of athletic training?
Athletic trainers are being utilized in a number of settings. I think thats a credit to the skill set that athletic trainers have and that has increased with the evolution of AT education. The work schedule/environment in some settings is a limiting factor and salaries continue to lag. If those issues aren’t addressed the potential growth of AT will be stunted.