Student-athletes enrich their knowledge of health science through active participation in sports.


Student-athletes enrich their knowledge of health science through active participation in sports.

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Student-athletes at Ithaca College are gaining more than just classroom knowledge; they’re deepening their understanding of the human body through rigorous practice sessions and thrilling game days.

In the 2022–23 academic year, 118 out of 286 student-athletes who made the Liberty League All-Academic team belonged to the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance (HSHP). These athletes represent 31% of HSHP’s enrollment, totaling 214 students.

For example, there’s Junior Juliana Valli, a field hockey striker, who majors in physical therapy and minors in art. Her connection with the college was initially sparked by its strong athletic and academic programs. Valli’s love for both sports medicine and art initially seemed at odds, but she soon realized the potential for creative expression within health sciences.

Valli’s journey is shared by many on her field hockey team, with 13 of its 27 athletes studying various health-related fields like occupational therapy, athletic training, and clinical health studies. Despite the challenges of a science-based field, their athletic experiences often translate into practical knowledge.

Kaitlyn Wahila, the field hockey team’s head coach, acknowledges that the prevalence of health science students enhances the team’s approach to training and recovery techniques.

Sophomore Cullen Adams, an exercise science and pre-athletic training major on the men’s lacrosse team, was drawn to Ithaca College’s health science programs. His passion for sports medicine was ignited by witnessing injuries on the field and the desire to help others recover.

Ithaca College’s HSHP students often go on to pursue careers in athletic training, performance coaching, and sports medicine, with graduate programs available in various health-related fields. Adams gained invaluable experience by shadowing athletic trainers for the women’s lacrosse team during the Spring 2023 semester.

Tim Reynolds, an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training and a former student-athlete, empathizes with the challenges faced by these students. He believes that student-athletes studying health sciences have a unique advantage since they witness the course material in action daily on the playing field.

For them, the knowledge they acquire isn’t just theoretical; it’s a tangible understanding of how the human body functions, making their academic journey all the more meaningful.


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