Last Updated on May 11, 2022
Interview with Dr. Rich Bomgardner
Sports Degrees Online interviewed Dr. Rich Bomgardner to get his perspectives on Athletic Training today. Dr. Bomgardner shares his thoughts on the evolution of Athletic Training and areas of growth where career opportunities are on the rise.
About Dr. Rich Bomgardner
Dr. Rich Bomgardner, EdD, LAT, ATC, CSCS, has been the Athletic Training Program Director at Wichita State University since 2003. Prior to his post at Wichita State, he was in the field with the New York Mets' Minor League Affiliate and as Head Athletic Trainer for Eastern New Mexico University Organization.
Sports Degrees Online: Professor Bomgardener, prior to your career in academia you spent some time as an athletic trainer for the New York Mets minor league baseball team. Many people out there might not realize that athletic training can be a great way to travel and see the world. Can you talk a bit about what life is like working in a role like that?
Dr. Bomgardener: Minor league baseball was a great experience. I lived in 5 states over 18 months and traveled up and down the east coast. However, it’s not all a vacation – there are lots of late nights, bus rides, hotel stays, etc. Being from the midwest, I saw places I would probably not have had the opportunity to see. But, I was working so there was little time to really tour [each city we passed through].
Sports Degrees Online: Why do you feel that athletic training as a profession could be a smart choice for young people out there to pursue?
Dr. Bomgardener: It is a service career for people who enjoy helping others and being around sports. It is also a good choice for people wanting to pursue professional programs in health care such as physical therapy and physician assistant. I think our profession just keeps getting stronger and better each year.
Sports Degrees Online: There are so many Athletic Training programs out there today for students to choose from. What are some important factors that prospective students should look for when comparing Athletic Training Master’s programs?
Dr. Bomgardener: I think the important factors to consider are tuition, cohort class size, clinical opportunities, pass rates on the national board exam, and placement rates for programs.
Sports Degrees Online: What can you tell us about the career prospects for Athletic Training graduates right now?
Dr. Bomgardener: Career prospects have definitely grown over the next several years. Currently employment opportunities are at a high compared with even ten years ago. There are increased opportunities in industrial, military, and international settings. Professional opportunities for women are also growing throughout professional sports.
Sports Degrees Online: In recent years, opportunities are emerging for Athletic Trainers in settings far away from the sidelines of sporting events. Do you expect that trend to continue?
Dr. Bomgardener: Yes, athletic trainers are allied healthcare professionals with a diverse training background. Our level of training and education can be utilized in different formats of employment. I started out as an athletic trainer in college athletics and will end my career as an associate professor in higher education.
I know athletic trainers who own a business, are physical therapists, physician assistants, high school administrators, strength and conditioning professionals and many other careers away from the sidelines.