GSU eases transition from the basketball court to the training room for former athlete

Courtney Thomas is a senior at Grambling State University majoring in the field of Leisure Studies with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. 

Thomas has also been a student athletic trainer with the football team for the past four years. 

“Most people don’t really understand my major, I went through three major changes until I finally chose this one,” Thomas said. 

Thomas said leisure studies can be a very broad career. 

“When I first came to Grambling , I knew I wanted to be an athletic trainer, although Grambling didn’t offer athletic training as a major, they offered an alternate major but still would be a route I could take to ensure I became one,” Thomas said. 

Thomas used to play basketball in high school and the collegiate level, but due to career ending injuries she decided to stop. 

“Tearing my ACL in high school really gave me my first interest in becoming an athletic trainer. I loved watching how my athletic trainer showed so much interest in learning about my injury and taking time to help me,” she said.  

ACL injuries aren’t the only thing Thomas has faced, she tore her rotator cuff senior year of high school. 

“Going into senior year of high school I tore my rotator cuff and a lot of colleges who recruited me reneged on their offers due to me tearing my ACL and now my rotator cuff,” Thomas said. 

Reality set in for Thomas after all her injuries. 

“Having so many injuries and being injury prone really put things into perspective for me about my life,” Thomas said. “Things became real, I knew I needed to really focus on being great in school because I couldn’t depend on sports forever.” 

Athletic training took a big interest in Thomas once she got to Grambling State. 

“After having injuries I was already interested in athletic tr

aining because of my injuries, college opened up so many doors for me to further my interest in athletic training,” Thomas said. 

She said she is happy with the opportunities she has had in training as an undergraduate. 

“Working with football as a student athlete trainer has been the best thing in my college years. Getting the experience from being a student athletic trainer is once in a lifetime,” Thomas said. 

Thomas has been granted many opportunities others often wished they had. 

“Football has presented me with so many opportunities and connections, recently I was able to visit the pro football hall of fame in Canton, Ohio,” Thomas said. “Football isn’t the only sport I’ve worked with. I’ve worked with tennis, softball, soccer and track and field. Out of all the sports – football and softball were my favorite.” 

Thomas entered her last season as a student athletic trainer in August.

“It’s bittersweet, I’ve formed so many good friendships,family and even connections,” Thomas said. “The football team is really like a big family, they are all my annoying brothers.” 

Thomas plans for life after Grambling State include more schooling.
“I will intern in the spring at the Veterans Affair Hospital in Alexandria, La., then I will continue my education in athletic training at Arkansas State,” Thomas said.