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Otterbein young alumna Kate Weale ’10 is OATA Athletic Trainer of the Year

Otterbein young alumna Kate Weale ’10 is OATA Athletic Trainer of the Year

An injury for a student athlete isn’t always the end, and sometimes it can be just the beginning. That’s exactly what happened to Otterbein alumna Kate Weale ’10.

Weale was in the midst of her first year on campus and playing for the women’s soccer team when she went down with an injury. She began spending more and more time in the training room for rehab with Dr. Joan Rocks, Otterbein’s director of the athletic training program.

“I had been exposed to athletic training in high school but it wasn’t until I saw the combination of the science of training alongside the personal interactions that Dr. Rocks has with patients first-hand that I knew this career was for me,” Weale said. “I soon declared athletic training and physical education as my majors and never looked back.”

Since then, Weale has had a successful career at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. All of her hard work was recently recognized by the Ohio Athletic Trainers’ Association (OATA), as she was named the 2017 Athletic Trainer of the Year. For Weale, winning this award began as a student being given opportunities to be part of something bigger.

“We were always encouraged to be part of the OATA, even as non-members as students,” she said. “I was fortunate to be at Otterbein where we traveled to conferences and went to meetings, networking and interacting with professionals we emulated.”

Nominees for the Athletic Trainer of the Year Award must make contributions and support to the profession of athletic training and athletes at the state, district and/or national level, according to OATA’s guidelines. Nominees must also be well-respected members of their communities.

Weale fits those descriptions perfectly. She works with doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital several days a week in their concussion clinic, helping to diagnose, treat and prevent student-athlete head trauma and further complications. When not in the clinic, she works with athletes at Grandview Heights High School in Columbus, working with students to get them back up to full health and onto the field, just as Dr. Rocks did for her. It’s a special connection that Weale still feels today.

“I thought about Joan Rocks the minute I was told I won the award back in February. She was one of the first calls I made to share the news because without her and Otterbein’s connection to OATA, none of this would have been possible.”

Being named the Athletic Trainer of the Year has already opened new doors for networking and career enhancement, Weale said. She’s been taking calls from all across Ohio of congratulations from the state’s top professionals. She’s using this as just one more way to get her name out there for future opportunities, coupled with serving on the OATA Young Professionals Committee as social media coordinator. Weale wants students to know the true value of being involved in their desired career.

“Get involved as early in your profession as possible, because the connections you make now in school will definitely help you later in your job. I loved my time at Otterbein as a student and soccer player. Otterbein prepared me for what was next in my life and to always be ready and willing to part of a larger whole.”

Learn more about Otterbein's athletic training program.