By Damon Markiewicz

The 2023 Charles J. Redmond Distinguished Athletic Training Alumni Lecture series took place on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. This year’s event was titled, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Athletic Training.” This year’s lecture coincided with the 50th anniversary of Title IX, and featured Springfield College Athletic Training alumnae who have broken through the “glass ceiling” in athletic training.

Moderated by Springfield College Dean of the School of Physical Education, Performance, and Sport Leadership Sue Guyer, the campus community welcomed home Katie Delude ’11, Kristin Farrell ’06, LaToya Franklin ’07, and Amanda Kelley ’10. Each returning graduate has promoted, enhanced, and advanced the profession of athletic training through their diligent work as athletic trainers, educators, and administrators.

“We were so fortunate to have these amazing graduates and professionals with us on campus,” said Guyer. “They have all made Springfield College proud, and they all demonstrated why they were part of this special evening.”

Each panelist developed their professional skills at Springfield College, and they have demonstrated how they have used our Humanics philosophy to assist others in their professional duties. Delude is the Head Athletic Trainer at Northeastern University, while Farrell serves as the Director of Manual Therapy/Assistant Athletic Trainer for the National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz. Franklin works as an Injury Prevention Specialist for Amazon-CLT4 in Charlotte, while Kelley is currently the Associate Head Athletic Trainer, at The College of The Holy Cross, and has the honor of being a Staff Athletic Trainer for Team USA Women’s’ Hockey.

The panelists responded to a series of questions crowdsourced from Springfield College students, staff, and faculty.

Since the passing of Title IX, women have become the leading faction in athletic training, with about 52% of all athletic trainers being female. One of the essential ingredients of being an athletic trainer is the relationships they can build with their athletes, coaches and co-workers. 

“Communication is huge for building respect, it’s the tried-and-true way for me to build valuable relationships,” said Kelley. “There will be days where you ask yourself why you do what you do, but a simple thank you from a coach or player, or the difference you make in a player’s physical or mental recovery will remind you of the impact you can have.”

Mental health has become a newer aspect of the job, with players getting more comfortable sharing their struggles. Delude has had some experience dealing with the mental well-being of athletes. Delude emphasized that while physical health is crucial for an athlete’s success, they can only perform when their mind is right. 

“I’ve had to handle many panic and anxiety attacks, and the way to handle those situations isn’t found in a textbook because they’re so personal,” Delude said. 

Farrell was adamant about building relationships with players and coaches and how it makes it more enjoyable to go to work every day. 

“We see them at their highest highs and their lowest lows, and our athletes sometimes spend more time with us than their coaches, teammates, and even their own families,” Farrell said. “You’re in the foxhole with them, so you become very close, and it’s important to be there with them.”

When the panel was asked what they were most proud of, after a brief silence, Kelley picked up a mic and replied, “Tonight.”