Student Profile: AT Student Aims for the Major Leagues
Mark Welhouse works in a preschool. He makes stained-glass window treatments for friends, family and even businesses. He plays baseball and a couple of other sports.
And in his free time, he studies in the Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP).
"I really like medicine – I wanted to be a doctor and did pre-med for the first couple of years," Welhouse said.
But he weighed the time investment of a medical doctor against his commitment to family, and thought again.
"Family is really important, so I envisioned a better career where I could spend a lot of time with my kids, too," he said. "And I really like sports. It's a good environment and it's a good form of medicine because the people you deal with are really motivated."
As part of a team of sports medicine health care professionals, athletic trainers work to help athletes achieve their best – a goal they already have, Welhouse said. "I think that's kind of a cool career philosophy.”
Welhouse had always dreamed of a career, or at least an avocation, in baseball. After he began the ATEP, he became excited at the prospect of working with baseball players. But the university lacks an NCAA baseball team, so he works with the football team.
Being an athletic trainer is like being part of the team without being on the team, he said.
"That's what I really like about sports medicine – you spend so much time with the team that they all get to know you and you have a relationship with all the guys," Welhouse said. "They really get to trust you and rely on you, and they come to you for help when there's something wrong with their body."
When it came time to find an internship last summer, Welhouse was obliged to look out of state in order to test out his dream of working toward the major leagues.
"I ended up going to Alaska, which was really cool," he said. "There's a baseball league up there, kind of at the same level as the Madison Mallards."
The drive was long, with a lot of time to think about his career and life plans, and if baseball players would be different than what he expected.
"I was driving up there to Alaska and (wondered) 'What if baseball isn't what I think it is?' and 'What am I getting myself into?', and all these crises on the way," he said. "But when I got there, it was a dream… (It was) everything I love about sports medicine and everything else I love in the world, which is baseball."
The internship taught him plenty about shoulders, but also gave more focus to do well in school so that he can be better prepared for what he'll deal with in clinical situations, he said.
"It emphasized the importance of really knowing the stuff that you learn in the classroom," said Welhouse, who is planning to continue his studies in graduate school.