Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State provides $1M in free athletic training services

December 13, 2018

When an injury to Shunnosuke Hayashi's right shoulder derailed his chances to play baseball during high school, he channeled his passion for athletics into a calling in sports medicine. That dream led him from his home in Kameoka, Japan, to Indiana State University to earn a master's degree in athletic training.

He spent a fall semester working with State's Tim Demchak, professor in the College Health and Human Services, and other students to provide free athletic training services at the Wabash Valley Health Center in Terre Haute. In the past nine years, Sycamores have provided more than $1 million in free athletic training services at the center.

"As a student, I really appreciate patients letting me do treatments and give them therapeutic exercises because it's valuable experience for me as I go into my career," said Hayashi, who plans to return to Japan to work in an orthopedic clinic after he graduates in May. "I'd previously worked with Indiana State's football team and with athletes at Terre Haute North High School and was used to treating athletes. This experience allowed me to work with patients who have a broad range of unique issues."

Services are available to anyone currently receiving primary medical or dental care at Wabash Valley Health Center. Patients can receive evaluation and treatment of common musculoskeletal injuries, like chronic pain conditions, ligament sprains, low back pain, muscle strains and tendonitis. Treatments are individualized and evidence-based.

The free-of-charge athletic training services are made possible through a grant from Indiana State's Center of Community Engagement and Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs.

"One of the strengths of our center is that we are able to provide so many services - medical, dental, behavioral health and the athletic training services - all in the same location, which is really valuable for our patients," said Charlie Welker, CEO at the Wabash Valley Health Center. "It is not required by community health centers to have athletic training services, so it's not only an added value for our patients but it's also convenient for them. If the athletic training services were not offered in our facility, I'm not sure how many (patients) would be able to go elsewhere to receive them. We've been able to sustain these services for so long because of Tim's passion to provide these services and expose students to this unique environment."

Nearly 60 Sycamores from multiple disciplines have used the Wabash Valley Health Center's athletic training services as a clinical or observational site, including 45 athletic training majors, six exercise physiology students, four physician assistant students and three occupational therapy students. Students collaborate with the primary care providers, who refer patients to the students for care.

"I let students do all the evaluations and develop and execute treatment plans to help the patients get back to work or return to daily living, which is the reason I started the clinic," Demchak said. "This gives our students the opportunity to see a different patient population that's not the 13- to 24-year-old, healthy athlete. Most of the patients are of lower economic status, and a lot deal with issues like diabetes or smoking, things you wouldn't generally see in the athletic population. A lot of times the patients we deal with wouldn't be able to afford any type of therapy, which means they would be in pain, get injured worse and not be able to work or do the activities of daily living without these services."

The clinic has provided the community and students with the kind of support Demchak envisioned when he sought the initial grant in 2008.

"It's still fun for me. I enjoy getting off campus, helping people in the community and bringing it back to the classroom," he said. "It's exciting to watch our students work with the patients and grow from day one at the clinic to the end of the semester."

One of those students whose progress Demchak watched was Kelcey Granger, who completed a rotation at the clinic last spring and an internship last summer on her way to achieving her dream.

After earning a bachelor's degree, Granger worked at Toyota as an ergonomics specialist. When it came time to learn more about body mechanics to better aid patients in their workplace, she enrolled in Indiana State's athletic training program.

"The clinic was the first time I got to work with the patient population that I want to work with," said Granger of McCordsville, Ind., who will graduate in May. "In athletics, you can tell patients they can't practice today, but the patients at the clinic have to go to work. It's humbling to know that we get to impact their everyday lives in such a profound way through our services."

Photo: - Tim Demchak

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, University Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or