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WVU alumni network helps grad land UNLV Athletic Trainer job

Even though Kyle Wilson is one of the most well-known athletic trainers in the country, his initial journey into the industry was not smooth sailing. 

Wilson, BS ’82, Secondary Education with an emphasis in athletic training, WVU, M.A.Ed ’84, minor in psychology, Nicholls State (Louisiana), received his share of rejection letters.

“I mailed out lots of resumes and cover letters to as many schools that I thought might have a job opening,” Wilson said.

Even with his qualifications, Wilson was struggling to find a job that fit. In the pre-internet, pre-cell phone years, and without a way to easily access an alumni network, Wilson discovered the power of the Mountaineer Nation. 

“The University of Nevada, Las Vegas was looking for an assistant athletic trainer that would work with football, basketball and baseball,” Wilson said. “It turned out that the head athletic trainer (Jerry Koloskie) and the athletic director (Dr. Brad Rothermel) were both from WVU. 

“I did a phone interview with them and the baseball coach and was offered the job. It took me two and a half days to drive everything that I owned in my 1976 Oldsmobile Omega from West Virginia to Las Vegas.”

Wilson has been with the Rebels ever since.

He received the District 8 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer and the National Athletic Trainers' AssociationMost Distinguished Athletic Trainer awards in 2012. Wilson has served as president of both the Nevada Athletic Trainers Association (1994-98) and the Mountain West Conference Team Physicians and Athletic Trainers Society (2011-14).

His days at UNLV are long, but rewarding.

“In the fall, a normal day starts at 6 a.m. with treatments and rehabilitation exercises with the injured student-athletes,” Wilson said. “Football practice starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 10:30 a.m. After practice, the injured student-athletes receive another treatment session before they start classes at 11:30 a.m. each day.

“The afternoon is spent documenting new injuries, documenting all of the treatments and rehabilitation exercises, scheduling x-rays, MRIs, physician appointments for injured student-athletes and meeting with the coaching staff regarding the injury status of the student-athletes,” he said.

As head athletic trainer, Wilson oversees the packing of rehabilitation supplies, prior to games, and monitoring of proper lifting and conditioning techniques for student-athletes during the summer and spring semester. 

Wilson works more than 75 hours a week during the regular seasons and prioritizes time to read up on current athletic training trends. Since he entered the workforce, the athletic training landscape has grown exponentially, now with almost 400 US colleges and universities offering a bachelor of science in athletic training.

“The knowledge base of recent graduates in athletic training has dramatically increased over the years,” Wilson said. “This requires me to continue to read, study and learn to keep ahead of them." 

The most significant trend in the future of the field, according to Wilson, is a change in required education. The transition will require completion of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in athletic training educational program, prior to earning certification.

Wilson offers career advice for CPASS students, “Utilize your connections and network as much as possible. Volunteer for as many things as possible. You never know which person you have worked with in the past who will be able to help you in the future. 

“Talk with your classmates and instructors about possible job openings and seek out WVU alumni as potential sources of information.”

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