NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Dr. Linda Bobo, professor and director of the athletic training program at Stephen F. Austin State University, served as a volunteer medical staff member during the three-day Pan-American Cadet and Junior Championships in Costa Rica.
During the event, Bobo worked as an athletic trainer alongside three other medical staff members. Together, they were responsible for the care of 42 athletes ranging from ages 12 to 17.
The Pan-American Taekwondo Union hosted the event, which included poomsae, a combination of basic actions and movements exercised with an imaginary opponent; and gyoroogi, where athletes spar opponent to opponent.
Bobo has volunteered with this organization since 2007 and has had the opportunity to work with Olympic-hopeful athletes.
“I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with elite athletes who were qualifying for the Olympics,” Bobo said. “This year I worked with the younger age groups. I enjoy the international travel and working with these athletes, who are very spirited, intelligent, goal oriented and thankful for our services.”
As an athletic trainer at the Pan-American Cadet and Junior Championships, Bobo administered manual therapy, traditional taping and wrapping, soft tissue stretching, injury management, acute care management and more. She said she uses opportunities like this to stay current in her field, as she believes professors should live what they teach in the classroom.
“I’m able to reflect on the opportunities and give my students real-time application of my practical experience,” Bobo said. “In these venues, you have a table and that’s about it. Students see how you have to think outside of the box and how you can use your athletic training skills in a non-pristine setting.”
In class, Bobo utilizes a case-study approach to educate her students. She explained how she shares her experience in Costa Rica to remind students how to adapt in an environment and how to handle the age variance when working as an athletic trainer in a non-traditional, combative sport.
“What you learn in a textbook is not always protocol for what you need to do on the scene. That’s why it’s important for me to take my experiences back and share them with the class,” Bobo said.