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Student Trainer Boosts UT's Winning Tradition

Published: April 01, 2008
She was there throughout the entire five months that the 2007 Spartan baseball team battled it out – first with their conference competitors and later on the national stage. She was there for every pitch, every strike, every foul ball, every home run, and most-importantly, every injury.

On and off the field, Erika Hamel assisted the baseball team as its designated student athletic trainer - a task she carried out diligently all the way up to the team’s national championship victory.

“I would definitely say that the national championship was the highest point of my time as an athletic training student,” Hamel said. “My job was to assist in keeping the athletes healthy and able to play, so when they succeeded in winning a national championship, it was very exciting to be a part of it.”

Yet as big as the championship was, it was but one highlight in a long run of achievements for the UT senior. A member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority, Hamel was recently awarded a national scholarship from Order of Omega, an honor society for upper class students involved in Greek organizations.

A competitive organization that admits only 3 percent of fraternity and sorority members per semester, Order of Omega awards the scholarship to students who demonstrate an ability to maintain their academics while serving as leaders. It is an honor well earned for Hamel, who currently serves as president of UT’s Order of Omega chapter and has seen the group grow to 21 members – the largest it has been in two years.

“It’s a small organization,” Hamel said. “We’ve been very proactive lately in maintaining academic and personal standards. Everyone has put in a great effort.”

For her part, Hamel was driving force behind the “Sober Sister” program within her sorority, which promotes alcohol abuse prevention. She also had a hand in organizing social events for both Greek and non-Greek students at UT.

All of it, coupled with Hamel’s high academic achievements, led UT’s Order of Omega chapter to choose her as one of two nominees for the scholarship.

Still, even with her active involvement as a student leader, Hamel’s studies as an athletic training major remain her primary focus. In her four years at UT, Hamel has partnered with six different athletic teams and organizations both at UT and elsewhere to fulfill the program’s rigorous training requirements.

“As student athletic trainers, we’re there with all the wins and we’re there with all the losses,” she said. “We work with certified athletic trainers to bring the best mix of sports medicine care that we have been taught in the classroom to help the athletes we work with to stay healthy and able to perform at their optimal level.”

In addition to serving as the head student athletic trainer with the back-to-back national championship winning baseball team in 2007, she has served as an assistant to the women’s soccer team and an NFL Europe Football Team. She has also interned with the Cape Cod Baseball League in her native Massachusetts as well as the Clearwater High School Football team and, most recently, at RehabWorks - the on-site rehabilitation program for employees of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The latter position placed her in a hands-on setting with NASA employees to perform medical evaluations and educate about injury prevention and other aspects of athletic training. The experience, Hamel said, provided a unique look at the industrial athletic training setting - an area she wanted to become familiar with before pursuing her future goal a master’s degree in physician’s assistant studies.