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A Change in Passions


November 8, 2011

By Courtney Martin
Intern



Heidi Roach '06 has always had a love for horses - she has been riding since the age of three. When she began looking at colleges, she looked for a college where she could pursue her passion. She found the perfect match at Averett and left her home in Connecticut to enter Averett's equestrian program. Although she loved the program, she discovered another passion - athletic training.

During the summer of her second year at Averett, Roach had a family member who fell ill. "(This experience) opened my eyes to the world of physical therapy," Roach said.

When her interest got the best of her, she went to talk with Dr. Lee Burton, associate professor of physical education, wellness and sports science, about her goals and how they could be reached by entering the athletic training program. "I thought about it through the remainder of the fall semester and decided to make the change in the spring."

In 2006, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in athletic training and went straight to graduate school at Old Dominion University, graduating in 2008 with a master of education degree with a concentration in athletic training education. That June, Roach became the assistant athletic trainer and adjunct faculty member in the PE department at Averett.

In May 2010, she received an offer from DonJoy, a major global company. The company is part of the DJO Global Family Companies that specializes in orthopedic knee braces. "Our clinic sees everything from sports injuries to pediatric fractures to joint replacements. Basically, all those football players that you see on TV wearing knee braces, those are DonJoy knee braces."

Roach is a field service representative for the company. She handles all of the bracing and insurance billing for the clinic. "I would say I fit anywhere from 10 to 25 braces a day."

Roach reminisces about Averett and how her experiences here are still relevant in her life. "I have so many great memories of Averett that it is so hard to narrow it down to one. My husband and I met my freshman year at Averett. We got married in 2009. Our whole wedding party was our friends from Averett."

Roach encourages students who are currently in the athletic training program to take advantage of the experience. "The athletic training program is very hands-on. Every second you can spend learning from your professors will benefit you later in life."