Irish student completes athletic training studies at Xavier

Budding program allows students, faculty to compare cultural differences in the field | November 14, 2003

When Laura Butler, 22, came to Xavier University from Carlow, Ireland, to study athletic training, she was impressed to learn how well college athletes are taken care of in the United States.

Butler, a senior at Carlow's Institute of Technology, arrived at Xavier in August to do her clinical assignment in athletic training. The institute's program, which is only in its third year, allows students to choose from a variety of locations at which to do their clinical assignments. Butler is one of only a few who chose to come to the United States.

During her time on campus, Butler worked with Brett Massie, assistant professor and coordinator of the University's athletic training program, as a student athletic trainer for the women's soccer team. Massie worked for several years to enable a foreign student to come to Xavier not only to study athletic training, but to teach students and faculty here about programs overseas, as well.

"The idea was to see how athletes are treated in other countries compared to the United States," he says. "Laura got a different view of athletic training and treatment techniques, and we got to see what kind of athletic training education is taking place in Ireland."

Even something as basic as taping an ankle can be different.

"Here (in the U.S.) there are even different types of tape to use," Butler says. "Many things are done differently here. There is a treatment for everything, even right down to a blister, where in Ireland the treatment is very basic."

While studying at Xavier, Butler also worked a few days a week at The Christ Hospital's Spectrum Rehabilitation center, which was a partner in sponsoring her visit to Cincinnati.

In mid-November, Butler returned to Ireland, where she will spend the next few months writing her thesis. She hopes to graduate next year.

"I loved it here," she says. "I learned a lot of things I will be able to take home with me."

And Butler is not the only one hoping to use this experience to elevate her education to another level. Massie plans to travel to Ireland next spring to talk about athletic training education.

"We would like to have another student come to Xavier next year," he says. "And in the future, we hope that this will become a true exchange program, where we can send a Xavier athletic training student to Ireland."

For more information, contact Massie at 513 745-3859.