By Kasy Long
Dec 1, 2022
Kent Games likes to answer hard questions. That’s why he never tires of answering questions from his students at Indiana State University.
Games supports Sycamores and their curiosity as a professor and director of clinical education for the Doctor of Athletic Training program in the College of Health and Human Services. He also currently serves as the interim dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies.
Games educates students in areas of athletic training, exercise science, applied medicine, rehabilitation, and whole-body wellness. He encourages Sycamores to search for evidence-based research, and he uses his own research experience to provide examples for his students. This includes a focus on exercise science, applied medicine, rehabilitation, and working with athletes from all walks of life, including adolescents, adaptive athletes and many others.
“I like to see athletes at their best or worst and being a part of their journey,” says Games, who has also worked with Olympic athletes, firefighters, military personnel, and healthcare providers. “Athletic training isn’t just about working with athletes. I’m passionate about improving the lives of healthcare providers. They give so much to their patients. Through my work, I get to challenge the status quo and help others take action on their dreams and aspirations.”
Games also challenges his students with his teaching. He creates a classroom environment that provides opportunities for Sycamores to transform as learners and professionals. He primarily teaches research methods, evidence-based practice and medicine, whole-body wellness, and clinical courses in which students engage with patients on a daily basis.
Indiana State offers a Master of Science degree in athletic training, as well as the Doctor of Athletic Training degree. Students have the option to complete their Bachelor of Science degree in either applied medicine or exercise science and their M.S. degree in athletic training, all within five academic years.
“What makes Indiana State so unique is that first-year students can come and engage with their undergraduate and graduate coursework, and transition directly into their doctoral degree from the first nationally accredited doctor of athletic training program. These students can really be advanced practiced providers and lead others in athletic training,” Games explains.
Through the program, students develop skills to be patient-centered and understand their patient’s specific health and wellness needs. Every patient has a unique background affected by their social and cultural traditions. Students learn these skills with models, practice-based research, and advanced simulations, providing realistic situations designed for a student’s specific career goal in athletic training. Sycamores also gain clinical experience under the supervision of a qualified athletic trainer.
“Our students get a sense of what healthcare is and how athletic training plays a role in healthcare,” Games says. The College of Health and Human Services creates a close-knit learning environment, providing academic opportunities for students to collaborate as they learn about medicine, health, rehabilitation, wellness, and patient care. “We have the training for our students to find their own path.”
This training continues in advanced laboratories, including the Neuromechanics, Interventions, and Continuing Education Research Lab [NICER], and the Tactical Athlete Research and Education Center. The laboratories provide hands-on learning opportunities for students to work closely with patients. Students mentor each other and become even more engaged in their research.
“We try to create a team environment where everyone is learning with and from one another,” Games says.
The professor supervises numerous student projects where Sycamores gain firsthand experience. For one project, students worked with firefighters to study the effects of protective equipment on their balance. Another assignment involved students visiting a farm to learn about food insecurity and understand how they could improve conditions.
“Our students are involved in the entire project. They learn how to engage in their research that goes beyond the technical side,” says Games. The coursework and experiential learning prepare students to have meaningful connections with their research and patients. “Our students can discover their passion and eventually take on any role in athletic training.”
Indiana State’s athletic training program has graduated champions. According to Games, the University is home to the most National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame members of any institution.
“Not only are our students prepared academically, but they have excellent resources to engage in research. When our students graduate and look for employment, they have the skillsets to take on any challenge,” Games explains. “Our curriculum is connected to a student’s purpose and their passion.”
Games loves creating opportunities for students. He’s available as a resource to any student across Indiana State’s campus. He supports Sycamores and wants to push them toward their dreams.
“Indiana State is your experience and your education,” he says. “The entire university is in your corner. I’m going to help students forge the future of athletic training in alignment with who they are and the life they want to build for themselves—one, five, 10, or 25 years from now. That foundation starts right here at Indiana State.”
Along with other Indiana State faculty, Games inspires the next generation of leaders. Sycamores are ready to tackle any challenge with creativity, compassion, and dedication. Because successful learning begins with BLUE!