Photo of William Netzhammer

William Netzhammer '13: Getting Athletes Back in the Game

By Nick Watt '13

William ‘Billy’ Netzhammer ’13 of Alton, Ill., feels as though he has found the perfect fit in McKendree’s Athletic Training (AT) major. Graduating this coming May, Billy spoke of his passion for the program. “I love being around sports and being able to help people,” he said. “I really find it special to be able to get an athlete back into the game they love.”

The opportunities provided to all athletic training majors at McKendree has enabled Billy to grow as a student while being able to gain real world experience through working in close proximity to the university’s athletes. The program itself offers students the opportunity to experience the real life workings of a team physician, while the clinical appointments provide time to ensure the practice and testing of the required skills is met. “These experiences are vital,” admitted Billy. “They put everything you have learned in the classroom in perspective once you do them live. These experiences are what you are going to base your decisions on. Also, these experiences give you different tools and skills to use to keep your athletes healthy.”

A day in the life of an athletic training student is somewhat different to the average day of another student. “As an AT, I usually have classes in the morning,” Billy describes. “After these classes, I usually have my clinical class. In this class, we cover sports on campus and in some cases off campus sites. These practices can last an hour to four hours. They usually finish up in the early evening. So my days are pretty busy, but very exciting."

As a member of the men’s bowling team at McKendree, Billy knows the atmosphere created from a strong team spirit. Throughout the athletic teams at McKendree it is widely acknowledged of just how similar the bond is between what a sports team shares and what these AT’s harbor amongst themselves. And Billy can certainly testify to this. “I have a similar relationship with the AT’s as I do with my teammates on the bowling team. The classes are pretty small so you get to know everyone really well.”

It is the small class sizes also, that allow for another, equally important relationship to form between instructor and student. “Our professors are very personable,” he said. “They will help you with anything, school related or not. Also, the upper classmen in the program are a big help to the under classmen. They will let you know what to expect in classes and clinicals.”

Between the instructors and team physicians Billy believes he has all the motivation he needs for success. “They put me into an environment that makes it easy to learn and ask questions, but they also make things challenging.”

With graduation a month away, Billy fondly recalls his favorite McKendree moment throughout the journey. “My favorite experience here was covering my first football game. It was amazing to be down there next to the action and being able to help our athletes when needed.”

Billy plans to pursue a graduate assistant position working as an ATC before going on to earn a master’s degree in his field.

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