Q&A: Erin Leaver on Athletic Training at WU

What makes Waynesburg successful and what does the future hold for the AT field?

Many athletes go through injuries and then a recovery process during their playing careers at Waynesburg University, but it’s up to the athletic training program to assist athletes in working through those times and getting back into playing shape.

Erin Leaver, assistant athletic trainer, found Waynesburg through working for Presidents’ Athletic Conference rival W&J in the 2013-14 athletic season. Since then, Leaver has made a home for herself in the Yellow Jacket athletics community.


Question: What brought you to Waynesburg?

Answer: “At the very end of that year I ran into a former Waynesburg athletic training member who mentioned an assistant position was going to be opening up. I believe I applied for it the day of graduation. Ultimately, the institution checked all the boxes for me: Division III, close to family, and a Christ centered environment.”


Q: What do you think makes Waynesburg and its student-athletes so unique?

A: “I love D-III and the environment that it creates. Waynesburg is a great example of that. The athlete you get at such an institution wants to play, work hard, and succeed for the love of the game. And I know that is an overused and cliched take on D-III, but I have seen it time and again. For Waynesburg specifically, people are everything.”


Q: The last eight months have been difficult for a lot of people, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve seen athletes overcome?

A: “Their ability to be flexible and go with the flow is commendable. I think of the heart of D-III athletes. Unlike what you see at D-I schools where many athletes may stick around this season because of scholarships and necessity. At D-III, there are plenty of opportunities for student-athletes to opt-out this season, and I would not hold that against them. Instead, I’ve seen a group chomping at the bit to get back on the field, even if it’s just in their pods often to toss a ball around. They love their sport.”


Q: Why is Waynesburg’s athletic training program so successful?

A: “I think the success has come from the people. With the way our system works, we have a decent amount of turnover, as we utilize grad assistants. However, that has not stopped us from having wonderful people work for us. Also, having the trust of athletes and the respect of coaches goes a long way.”


Q: Where do you see the AT field going in the future?

A: “The field of athletic training education has shifted in the past few years into an entry-level master’s program. I think this shows a bit of the future of the profession, as we continue to evolve with the times. People think of athletic training in a traditional context (sports coverage), but don’t realize there are a good amount of other emerging settings where our skill sets are utilized, like with law enforcement, military, industrial workers or the fine arts such as ballet. We are a Swiss Army knife in healthcare, and I think you will continue to see this expand.”