March 21, 2024

Cowley Athletic Trainers honored during Athletic Training Month

Cowley Athletic Trainers at work

National Athletic Training Month (NATM) is held every March to spread awareness about the important work of athletic trainers. At Cowley College, the school is fortunate to have head athletic trainer Blake Smith and student athletic trainers such as Ainsley Carson.

Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multi-skilled healthcare professionals who render service or treatment under the direction of or in collaboration with a physician in accordance with their education, training, and the state's statutes, rules, and regulations. As a part of the health care team, services provided by athletic trainers include primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

At Cowley College, students can major in a pre-athletic training associate’s degree program based on a science core of classes and recommended electives. Within the program, students will gain knowledge and practical experience in the classroom, athletic training room clinic, and athletic competitions. Through this educational experience, students will begin to build a solid foundation for their academic and professional future in athletic training or other allied healthcare specializations associated with the physically active.

South Central Kansas Medical Center and Integrity Healthcare Professionals awarded Blake Smith the title of Lifesaver of the Month in January 2020. The decision to award Smith was made following his heroic actions that saved the life of a Cowley College student-athlete.

Smith is a native of Dexter who attended both Cowley College and Southwestern University to study athletic training. Following his graduation in 2016, Smith started at Cowley, where he spends his time working with many of the college’s young athletes across several different programs.

During Athletic Training Month, smith recently spoke to students at Caldwell High School about what it takes to become an athletic trainer. 

Through its partnership with Kansas State University, Cowley College receives students in KSU’s Master’s program to help shadow throughout the spring and fall semesters. 

During the fall, Cowley had KSU Master’s students Jenna Ficken and Ray Kuhlman assist with the athletic training duties. Ainsley Carson, who previously attended Cowley before Kansas State, is back at Cowley for the spring semester.

“These three have been huge additions to our program,” Smith said. “We have gotten a lot of talented kids from the KSU partnership, and I believe it has been good for Cowley and Kansas State.”

Carson, who plans to graduate from Kansas State in May, returned to Cowley because of Blake Smith and former head athletic trainer Jeff Fluty. She also has a good relationship with the Cowley College coaches.

“I would strongly recommend other athletic training students at KSU to follow the path I did,” Carson said. “I grew up playing sports, so being able to work with athletes and be involved with healthcare easily fit into what I wanted to do in life.”

For more information on Cowley College’s athletic training program, please get in touch with Blake Smith at 620-441-5566 or

Rama Peroo | Director of Institutional Communication
Cowley College
125 S. 2nd Street
Arkansas City, KS 67005