Impacting Athletes

Josh Eaton received his master's in athletic training from Lebanon Valley College

LVC athletic training graduate Josh Eaton ’18, M’20 learned about the impact an athletic trainer can have on an athlete even before he started his first job. As part of his clinical rotation at an area high school last year, Eaton was on the field when one of the players tore his ACL.

“I helped him off the field and cared for him on the sideline. I was there for his MRI results, to get him ready for surgery, and even observed his surgery,” said Eaton. 

“After, I helped with his daily rehab and saw him make huge improvements. It was an incredible experience to have, and I think that for an athlete, having your athletic trainer with you and protecting you every day makes a huge impact.”

Now, after earning his master’s degree in May, Eaton is working full-time as an athletic trainer at Lancaster General Health’s sports medicine clinic. He sees about 10 patients a day, conducting a health history, performing an orthopedic exam, and taking vital measurements. He shares his findings with a physician to help determine the course of action and then assists in the next steps that could include injections, ordering x-rays, or fitting patients for equipment such as walking boots.

Eaton’s comfort level with patient care grew as he progressed through his clinical experiences in LVC’s Athletic Training Program.

“I gained hundreds of hours of direct patient care,” he said. “I started out learning by watching my preceptor, and over time, I took on more and more responsibility. It was awesome learning everything in class one semester, then applying my new knowledge in real life during my clinicals.”

As part of the first cohort that included five LVC athletic training graduates, Eaton enjoyed watching the program grow and evolve, and developed close relationships with the other students and the faculty. Eaton said he appreciated the personal, tight-knit environment rather than a large university.

“The best part of the AT program at LVC was the professors,” said Eaton. “I don't know how, but our department chair, Dr. [Joe] Murphy, talked some of the greatest minds in our field into teaching at a small school with a brand-new program. And, the program wasn’t even accredited at the time. Our professors are all extremely knowledgeable in their respective specialties and worked with us to make adjustments and improve the program throughout our time.”

While Eaton has goals to further his education through a physical therapy or physician assistant graduate program, for now, he feels that he’s in the right place.

“I found a profession and a specific type of work environment that I really enjoy,” he said. “I see myself working as an athletic trainer in the clinical/occupational health settings for a long time. I hope to return to school eventually and work in one of those fields with a focus on orthopedics or sports injuries.”