University of Tulsa Grads of Exercise and Sports Science Enter Health Professions

Students in The University of Tulsa’s exercise and sports science (EXSS) program have a broad range of career goals. Some want to become athletic trainers. A good number want to work in fitness centers. Others go into teaching or rehabilitation. And, a healthy proportion want someday to become a physician, physician assistant or some other sort of medical professional.
“Currently, nearly a quarter of EXSS students follow the program’s pre-medicine track,” said Eric Wickel, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitative Sciences. “This plan includes the required prerequisites for medical school and it provides students with hands-on application in courses such as Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics. Many EXSS students taking the pre-medicine track also participate in faculty-led or student-driven research projects focused on understanding human movement.”
Two such students are recent EXSS graduates Madeline Lyons (BS ’18) and Kelson Goins (BS’19). Both are now in their first year of doctor of medicine studies – Lyons at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine in Tulsa and Goins at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. Goins sees his medical future in orthopedics. Two options he is considering are surgery or sports medicine. For Lyons, a career as a pediatrician is the goal.

Real-World Training and Clinical Knowledge
Even though it’s still the first semester of med school for these TU alumni, they are already reaping the rewards of their EXSS studies. “Kinesiology and the prevention and treatment of sports injuries are extremely important to the gross anatomy course I’m now taking,” said Goins. Lyons echoed these insights, adding that completing anatomy and physiology courses (plus anatomy and physiology labs) during her undergraduate studies gave her a head start when she got to medical school.
“I also learned a lot about biomechanics from Professor Roger Kollock at TU, and that is proving useful when I’m dealing with movement and musculoskeletal exams,” Goins continued. “Overall, I’d say it’s the functionality and practicality of the EXSS program – its emphasis on real-world understanding and clinical knowledge – that is proving most valuable. Those dimensions don’t get emphasized as much in some of the more common pre-med majors.” Lyons added, “it’s the clinical correlations skills you get in EXSS that make such a difference when you arrive at med school.”

Research Opportunities
An important component in a person’s application to medical school is research experience. During her time at TU, Lyons was involved with Kollock’s Biomechanics Lab for over two years as part of the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC). “That lab has all the equipment – such as a myoMOTIONTM machine, force plates, functional movement screen equipment, an accelerometer – needed when running various biomechanics and exercise physiology tests. The experience taught me the fundamentals of research as well as how to prepare a presentation. In addition, you want to have a very competitive résumé when you apply to med school, and through TURC I was able to accomplish that too.”
For information about the The University of Tulsa’s exercise and sports science (EXSS) program, call 918-631-2000.

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