MAT At Senior Bowl

Senior Bowl Week is Experience for UM Master of Athletic Training Students

Melissa ThomasNews

MOBILE, Ala. – In Mobile, Alabama Senior Bowl week is not just another sporting event for the players who are invited to this annual event. This week offers top-ranked collegiate football players the opportunity to highlight their skills with the intent of gaining the attention of professional scouts.

That same statement could be true for the University of Mobile’s Master of Athletic Training students who were invited to work alongside athletic trainers from the Detroit Lions and the New York Jets during the week’s festivities.

The graduate athletic training students pictured above are part of UM’s first cohort for the Master of Athletic Training program that began in June 2021. MAT students have worked extremely hard during their first three semesters and gained confidence in skills such as taping, bracing, splinting, management of acute medical conditions, evaluation of musculoskeletal injuries and rehabilitation techniques. In addition to these didactic courses, students have the opportunity to take lessons learned in the classroom and apply them in hands-on experiences in clinical skills labs and clinical settings throughout Mobile.

“The invitation to participate in the Senior Bowl each year is always welcomed with program faculty and students. It is an opportunity for these students to learn from some of the best athletic trainers in the field,” said Dr. Melissa Thomas, program director for the Master of Athletic Training program and associate professor of kinesiology,

“It always makes a program director happy to hear feedback that their students are energetic, work without complaints, not afraid to stand in the rain, and are not afraid to get their hands dirty,” she said.

The Senior Bowl is a highlight, as is every exposure for these students throughout their two-year 62-credit-hour program. Students have six semesters to figure out what type of athletic trainer they want to be, in what setting they will best thrive, and how can they put themselves in positions of networking with other athletic trainers to reach their goals.

“I believe that as these students graduate and embark on this profession, they will value their time at UM for the exposures they had, the friends they made, the memories they share, and the potential impact they have for future UM MAT program students” said Thomas.

She said UM is blessed to have fostered the relationship with Senior Bowl medical coordinator Dean Kleinschmidt, ATC, and assistant medical coordinator Will Utsey, ATC. Both have long-standing careers in athletic training and have served the Senior Bowl for more than 20 years. Thomas said a special thanks is due to both the Detroit Lions and the New York Jets athletic training staffs for allowing UM students to observe and work alongside them throughout the week.

For more information on the Master of Athletic Training Program in the School of Health and Sports Science, visit or call Enrollment Services at 251.442.2222.

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university with a vision of “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose,” founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions in an environment where they are known.

(Pictured from left are Kaitlyn Spangler, Chelsea Acton, Jemiar Jonasian, and Tyesha Smith.)

 About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs. Founded in 1961, the University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.

For information about the University of Mobile, areas of study, admissions and more, visit, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author

Melissa Thomas

Melissa Thomas is program director of the Master of Athletic Training Program in the School of Health and Sports Science at the University of Mobile. She is an associate professor of kinesiology. Learn more about Dr. Thomas at