Culver-Stockton training connection grows

Jan Garrison

Small to take accelerated program


April 8, 2022

For nine years, the Culver Academies’ training staff has hosted student trainers from Culver-Stockton College, giving them the opportunity to work in a boarding school environment with a varied athletic program.

This fall, Culver will be returning the favor. Brianna Small ’22 (Culver), a student trainer, will be entering Culver-Stockton under the accelerated admission program. The accelerated program will allow Small to receive her bachelor’s degree in just over three years and complete her master’s in five.

This unusual connection between the two schools gave Small special insight into the college. She has had the opportunity to talk with students currently in the Culver-Stockton program, alumni who did their clinicals at Culver Academies, and meet with Dr. Jay Hoffman, the chair of the college’s Athletic Training & Health Sciences department.

How Small even got interested in athletic training is a happy accident – literally. After suffering an injury her freshman year, Small’s parents urged her to lay off sports to give her body time to heal. But she still wanted to be involved, so she became student athletic trainer in the spring.

Since that time, she has worked with every athletic team on campus at least once and specialized in football, volleyball, wrestling, and rugby recently. Her typical day starts after classes are over and runs until 6:15 to 6:30 p.m. It involves getting each team’s practice kits together, restocking the tape drawer, helping with basic taping, and working with athletes on recovery and rehabilitation.

Game days involve more time, especially when traveling with the football team. All the student trainers go with the football team, Small explained, because of there are so many moving parts. She has also traveled with the wrestling and swim teams on occasion.

“I originally did it for fun,” she said. But as her knowledge in the different areas of injury prevention and rehabilitation grew “so did my passion for training.”


Brianna Small with trainers Dan Cowell (left) and Ryan Fought (right).


Small was a sophomore when she met with Hoffman. He came with the student trainers who were spending the weekend and she took advantage of the opportunity. “I wasn’t really interested in training as a career at that point,” she said. ‘But he suggested I look into it.”

Hoffman knows Culver Academies well. He served as a member of the Wellness Department’s triennial review committee and has personally brought groups of students up for their weekend shadowing experiences. Other students have spent two weeks working with the training staff to get in their clinical hours. And two Culver-Stockton students have spent an entire school year on campus through the faculty fellows program.

Small’s education will cover a broad spectrum of the health and wellness fields. Her classes at Culver-Stockton will include biology, anatomy, physiology, physics, chemistry, nutrition, exercise physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, psychology, and pathophysiology.

She looked at several schools before deciding on Culver-Stockton. But when she visited the college she discovered several similarities that made her feel comfortable. The Canton, Missouri, school is relatively small with 1,000 students. While Culver Academies has Lake Maxinkuckee, Culver-Stockton has “The Hill,” which overlooks the Mississippi River. And, Small said, the academic program gives her the best opportunity “to walk away with success.”

Along with attending Culver-Stockton this fall, Small will also be going to a four-day intensive summer session at Northern Illinois University that will cover human anatomy, basic injuries, basic taping, and adult rehabilitation. Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation training is included but Small is already CPR-certified through the Culver lifeguard training program.

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