Young Professional Brief

These question(s) identify and address the interests, needs and concerns of young athletic training professionals. Young professional Mike Hopper, ATC, has teamed up with the experience of Danielle Kleber, ATC, to highlight some of the issues young professionals find themselves dealing with early in their careers.

How important do you feel it is for a Young Professional to attend professional meetings?

I believe professional meetings are the cornerstone of networking yourself and are extremely important – especially for young professionals.  I know of very few people who get jobs without knowing someone who knows someone.  It also helps you gain respect and confidence from your colleagues and demonstrates to your administration that you are truly a professional, both of which can be important when you are just starting out.

It’s also your professional responsibility to stay current with issues that affect your profession like legislation changes, state association decisions, etc.

Probably one of the biggest things that holds back a YP is the expense; how do you justify that cost?  

But, this doesn’t mean you have to go to the national meeting every year to make this happen.

There are plenty of other opportunities to take advantage of professional meeting situations.  Most states and districts have meetings at that level which are usually more reasonable in cost and closer for travel expenses.  You can start a journal club with other Athletic Trainers (ATs) in your area.  Get involved with your state association and regularly attend their business meetings.  The list can go on…

If your goal is to get to the national meeting or cost is what is preventing you from taking advantage of other opportunities, don’t be afraid to ask your booster club, administration, or team physician to help you make it happen.  Stay in touch with other alumni from your program and find ways to share expenses to make a trip more reasonable.  One of our strengths as ATs is to problem solve, so use that skill in finding a way to pay for your trips if it is your goal to get there.



Michael Hopper, ATC, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Health Management: Athletic Training Concentration from Southeast Missouri State University in 2010. He is a current graduate student through the University of South Florida working towards a Master’s Degree in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Athletic Training. Hopper has worked with athletes of all ages from youth sports all the way up to professional baseball and currently works for Monroe Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Waterloo, IL.




Danielle Kleber, ATC, attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Fitness and Leisure Management with emphasis in Athletic Training and went on to complete her master’s coursework at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in Fitness and Wellness Promotion.  Her professional experience includes collegiate and high school experience and she has worked with athletes at all levels of competition. Currently she works at the Director of Operations at Athletes’ Training Center, a sports performance and physical therapy facility in Omaha, NE.

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