BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- Rachel Morris is the head athletic trainer at Birmingham-Southern College. She has been at BSC for five years and has been the head athletic trainer for three. As a college athletic trainer, Morris specializes in the injuries of student-athletes. Her primary sports include football and softball.
Originally from Norfolk, Va., she spent her young adult life in Huntsville, Ala. Morris is certified by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Board of Certification and is licensed by the Alabama Board of Athletic Trainers. She is also a certified performance enhancement specialist.
Morris chose athletic training because in graduate school she was heavily involved with athletics, but only helped on the sidelines. When considering career paths, someone suggested to her that she should be an athletic trainer. “At the time I had no idea what an athletic trainer was,” she explained.
After learning more about the field, she decided she really liked it and went on to earn her master’s degree in athletic training at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. She then moved back to Alabama and got hired as an assistant athletic trainer at BSC.
Morris loves to work with student-athletes because they are a fun group and full of energy. “[They] are driven, and they have the motivation to get back playing, which motivates me to get them back on the field to play,” she said.
Her suggestion for students wanting to pursue a career in athletic training is, “you have to major in some type of science in undergrad, like kinesiology and meet the prerequisites that will get you into a master’s program. After graduate school, you have to take your board examine, and if you pass, then you have to get licensed in whatever state you want to practice in.”
The life of an athletic trainer is busy. Her average day starts around 5 a.m.
“I usually have to be on campus before practice starts,” she explained. “If there are no practices, I am on campus at 10 a.m., and stay on campus until practice ends, which is around 8:30 p.m.”
Considered a first responder, she typically travels to away games with the football team. “I am available at the games just in case any injuries happen or emergency situations come up that need evaluating,” she explained.
Morris always has to be prepared with emergency supplies. “Some necessities that I usually bring are lots of tape, hot and colds packs, braces, and other emergency equipment,” she added. “The supplies that I use the most are tape, and stretch tape because the players usually get a lot of turf burn from the fields.”
Morris balances her work and home life by making sure that she gets the proper amount of sleep, and on her days off spends a lot of time with her husband and pets. Her hobbies include weight lifting, and going to the gym. She said, “it’s a stress reliever, and it allows me to get away and be in my own bubble.”
When asked what the average person doesn’t know about her, she said, “I compete in body building competitions in the figure category. I like to have a challenge and to always have some type of goal in mind.”
Morris has competed twice in 2017 and won second place in her category. She stated, “bodybuilding is a science, and you need everything in your body to line up.” To prep for her competitions, she said, “I maintain a macronutrient based diet, and while I am training, I eat 1,200 calories a day. Nothing is off limits, its just about making wise food choices.”
“When I’m on stage my competitive nature always kicks in. If you don’t stick to your goals, you aren’t going to succeed. Bodybuilding is very competitive just like athletics. You use your competitive drive to get you to your final destination.”