Islander Athletic Trainers Provide Quality Care to Non-Traditional Athletes

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In recent years, Islanders have turned to the surf, the skatepark, and to ballet studios in pursuit of novel opportunities to provide athletic training support to nontraditional athletes.

While traditional athletic training career paths often lead to service in secondary schools, colleges and universities, or in revered American pastimes, such as football and baseball, an explosion of new sporting activities in recent decades has created a growing field of opportunities for students working toward a Master of Science in Athletic Training at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. 

There are a wide range of nontraditional athletic training careers, according to Dr. Mikaela Boham, TAMU-CC Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Director of Athletic Training. Some of the most common are Athletic Trainers working with performing arts, rodeo, X Games, NASCAR, the military, industrial corporations, or occupational health. Even astronauts can benefit from expertise of an Athletic Trainer, Boham said.


Working with ballet opened my eyes to the strength and endurance these young dancers must have to put on five shows in three days/nights. ... I’m very happy to provide medical care to a group that is mostly overlooked when it comes to on-site health care coverage.

Justin Bain, '06, '09

Islander Alumnus Justin Bain ’06, ’09 is one such Athletics Trainer who has been able to provide services beyond his traditional 9-5 employment. Bain, the Senior Athletic Trainer at the Memorial Hermann Medical Center north of Houston, has also helped with both the Ironman Triathlon and an annual local Nutcracker ballet production. The Ironman Triathlon is a grueling long-distance triathlon, tackled by both professionals and amateurs alike.

“The gratitude (the non-traditional athletes) give to us for allowing them to continue their path towards achieving that goal they set out to obtain nearly 15 hours earlier – without a doubt, that’s the most rewarding part,” Bain said.

Bain also said providing medical care to ballet dancers offers him the opportunity to use a different set of skills than those required for traditional sports.

“Working with ballet opened my eyes to the strength and endurance these young dancers must have to put on five shows in three days/nights,” he said. “I provide much more manual therapy and preventative treatments for them to ensure they do not miss a show, not to mention the work that they need on their feet and ankles from being en pointe. I’m very happy to provide medical care to a group that is mostly overlooked when it comes to on-site health care coverage.”

Island University Athletic Trainer Sean Kendrick-Graham ’18 says her experience has been a fulfilling one to date.

Kendrick-Graham, who is working on a master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in health care administration, is currently the program coordinator for Athletic Training and sports clubs at A&M-Corpus Christi. The Corpus Christi native’s passion for athletic training stemmed not only from an interest in human anatomy and physiology, but also her personal experience as a classically trained ballerina and gymnast.

“Far too often these high intensity performing arts are left in the shadows from medical treatment and overall preventative health care,” Kendrick-Graham said. “My interest in Athletic Training began my journey to bridge the gap between performing artists, athletes, and health care.”

Athletic Trainers are familiar sight at Buc Days Rodeo as well. Boham and some of her students have provided medical and health care coverage for the annual rodeo competition since 2014. Some of the services they provide include taping, bracing, and preventative care; stretching and musculoskeletal evaluation and treatment; emergency care and trauma evaluation; and injury evaluation, maintenance, and treatment, to name a few.

“Our students work with a comprehensive medical team to provide high quality medical care to professional rodeo athletes,” Boham said.

Boham said that data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which expects the job outlook for athletic trainers to grow 19% from 2021-2022, demonstrates strong growth in the field going forward.

Additional Information

To learn more about the graduate program in Athletic Training offered at TAMU-CC, visit The program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).