Katie Corsmeier runs to meet an injured soccer player on the sidelines during practice. She takes care to situate herself directly in front of the athlete and begins to assess the damage.
A senior in UC’s Athletic Training Program, Corsmeier has been amply prepared to evaluate and treat injuries. But it’s the training she received in a free elective course outside her major that makes it possible for her to successfully help this particular athlete.
The athlete is deaf. In fact, everyone on the soccer team, including the coaches, are deaf or hard of hearing. So it is with all students, faculty, and staff at Gallaudet University, where Corsmeier is performing a required 12-credit-hour internship before graduating in spring 2015.
A professed linguaphile, the idea of taking an American Sign Language (ASL) course as a free elective intrigued Corsmeier. “I’ve always loved learning languages and thought ASL was so interesting. I love watching people sign and think the language is beautiful. I had room in my schedule and thought, ‘Why not?’ I didn’t know if I would ever use ASL, but I fell in love with it and have enrolled in multiple Deaf Studies courses,” she said.
The internship at Gallaudet has been the perfect opportunity for Corsmeier to employ both her ASL and athletic training skills.
While in her element in the athletic training room, taping ankles, covering blisters, and helping athletes stretch, Corsmeier appreciates the added challenge of communicating with deaf athletes. “I’m much more in tune to little things that I used to take for granted, such as stopping in the middle of a stretch or an evaluation to sign to the athlete ‘More?’ or ‘Does this hurt?’” said Corsmeier.
Growing up, Corsmeier played soccer, softball, basketball, track, dance, and later got into lacrosse. It was this interest in sports and a curiosity about how the body works that ultimately led her to apply to the Athletic Training Program at UC. She initially majored in biological sciences/undecided, but transferred into athletic training for the hands-on experience. The “hands-on” experience has taken on a dual meaning for Corsmeier thanks to her ASL/athletic training emersion experience at Galluadet.
Upon graduating, Corsmeier plans to pursue her Master’s in athletic training and hopes to eventually work as an athletic trainer at a small college with deaf and hard of hearing athletes.