Senior Bowl Students

University of Mobile Students Assist Senior Bowl Athletic Trainers

Amber KelleyNews

Chelsea Acton, George Harvell, Emilie Brown and Kaitlyn Spangler

MOBILE, Ala. – Four University of Mobile pre-athletic training students had the experience of a lifetime on the sidelines of the 2020 Senior Bowl. They were surrounded by the top players in college football, famous collegiate coaches like Nick Saban, and NFL coaches and staffs who gathered in Mobile, Alabama, for the annual all-star showcase.

But the best part of the experience was the opportunity to shadow NFL certified athletic trainers and see first-hand what it’s like to work in a field that might be theirs one day.

“I was able to make connections and gain experience that would not have been possible without the University of Mobile. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Chelsea Acton. Acton worked with the Detroit Lions team.

Acton says she applied what she has learned in the classroom to real life.

“By volunteering at the Senior Bowl, I was able to learn more about the operations of what I am studying at school. I got to apply the things that I learn about in my textbooks,” she says.

In addition to Acton, a senior, fellow students George Harvell, senior; Emilie Brown, junior, and Kaitlyn Spangler, junior, were each given the opportunity to assist the Lions and Bengals athletic training staffs. They helped with taping and stretching of collegiate players for the entire week leading up to the Senior Bowl. All four were invited to assist in game coverage on the sidelines when the nationally televised Senior Bowl kicked off on Jan. 25.

Melissa Thomas, master of athletic training program director and associate professor in kinesiology, says that this opportunity has been afforded to University of Mobile students on a volunteer basis for the last few years.

“This shows the validity of our program to the community by the invite alone from the Senior Bowl. It shows that over the last few years our students have impressed certified athletic trainers working at the professional level, by their initiative to learn, their work ethic, and their professionalism,” says Thomas.

Thomas says an email received shortly after the game indicated how valuable the students were in their efforts over the course of the week.

It read: “On behalf of the Cincinnati Bengals athletic training staff, I wanted to express our thanks for hard work and excellent job that your students did at the Senior Bowl.  We appreciate their professionalism and efforts on a job well done!”

This is just one way the University of Mobile is providing exceptional education and once-in-a-lifetime, real world, opportunities to their students.

“I think what students gain with an experience such as this is the belief that they can do this job, that if they work hard someone will notice, and by putting yourself out there when you are terrified of failure will only build confidence,” says Thomas.


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 more information about the University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.