LVC Senior Reflects on Clinical Experience

Lebanon Valley College athletic training student Autumn Gessner

Deciding what one will do for the rest of their life is a difficult decision to make. To a degree, most people struggle with such a decision. However, for Autumn Gessner ’21, M’22, this certainly was not the case.

“I wanted to change my life in a different setting,” said Gessner, who appreciated the small class sizes and individual attention from faculty. “LVC was my best option to do that.”

As an athletic training major, Gessner has had ample opportunity to gain valuable, formative experiences, shaping her as a student and prospective employee. She minored in Spanish, studied abroad in Costa Rica and New Zealand, and completed clinicals at various locations during her studies. These locations include LVC, Penn State, Bell & Evans, and currently, Milton Hershey High School.

Clinicals allow students, under supervision, to interact with patients and gain hands-on learning. While most of her placements focused on student-athletes, Gessner’s time at Bell & Evans, a meat packing company in Lebanon County, stands out as unique with its emphasis on workplace injury and prevention. The clinical also gave Gessner a chance to use her Spanish-speaking skills that she enhanced through a medical interpreter course that an LVC professor suggested.

“Athletic trainers are important in occupational settings to keep workers safe,” said Gessner. “I learned more about ergonomic assessments in the workplace to make the environment as safe as possible. I worked with employees on injury prevention and helping those who did get injured. There tend to be many overuse injuries from repetitive tasks performed throughout the day for many individuals who work in factories.”

Erin Ulrich, LVC’s clinical education coordinator of athletic training and clinical assistant professor, echoes Gessner’s sentiment. She is finding an emerging need for athletic trainers in occupational settings.

“The roles of athletic trainers vary widely depending on the setting and company’s needs,” Ulrich said. “Athletic trainers’ focus can include prevention of overuse injuries, ensuring Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations are being implemented and followed, and helping patients navigate the healthcare system.”

Gessner suggests students studying athletic training gain as much experience in various settings to understand the field and bolster their skill set.


-- Josh Hildebrand, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant