Athletic training alum Marjorie Albohm a pioneer in her field

February 6 2008

Marjorie Albohm has never been afraid of running ahead of the pack.

One of the first women in the country to receive a master’s degree with specialization in athletic training, and newly elected as president of the 30,000-member National Athletic Training Association, she is as comfortable talking with her physician colleagues at The Orthopaedic Research Foundation as she is Bryant Gumbel on Real Sports.

An alumna of Indiana State University, Albohm is often called upon by the media to give expert commentary in the area of musculoskeletal issues as they relate to the physically active, especially those of the baby boom generation. Most recently, she appeared on ESPN with Gumbel to talk about how baby boomers can stay injury-free while exercising.

“Boomeritis” was the topic of her guest appearance on The Today Show in 2006, where she fielded questions from Ann Curry about sports-related injuries suffered by baby boomers, in front of a live audience and about 5 million viewers.

“Being behind the scenes of a show like that was pretty amazing,” Albohm said. “You’ve heard of the ‘green room’ where the special guests wait backstage, but really it’s like being in somebody’s closet. They have food there and people are hanging out. It’s very casual. When I was there, Dick Ebersole of NBC sports was in the room with me. You could be next to the biggest star in the world and everyone would be treated the same.”

Getting good information out over the airwaves about being active, no matter what your age, is thrilling for Albohm.

“Of all the interviews I’ve done, being on the Today show definitely had the hottest spark to it,” Albohm said. “My appearance was very short and quick, but it was a fabulous opportunity to be on that platform in front of the millions of people that watch it and talk about what I have a passion for.”

WHAT ABOUT THE WOMEN’S TEAMS?

Always physically active, Albohm played field hockey and basketball as an undergrad at Valparaiso University, where she has since been inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame.

“I had an ankle sprain and the head men’s athletic trainer helped me. I asked him ‘Where are the athletic trainers for the women’s teams'’ He said there aren’t very many women in this profession. That sparked an interest for me,” Albohm said.

She looked into graduate athletic training programs, and in 1972, there were two in the nation. Only one accepted women -- Indiana State University.

“ISU was so progressive in their athletic training program, and some of those early faculty were so wonderful. Many prominent women in the field today got their experience there,” Albohm said.

Albohm’s pioneering spirit was a perfect match with the new program at ISU, and she graduated in 1973 in only the second class to do so with a master’s specialization in athletic training. Recognized as a trail-blazer in her field, Albohm was given the Outstanding Alumnus Award by Indiana State’s College of Health and Human Performance in 1996.

“When I arrived on campus, I wasn’t singled out as a ‘woman athletic trainer,’” Albohm said. “I was integrated into the group. It was a neat thing and speaks so well for the institution... and they have continued their reputation for excellence and equity.”

AT THE TOP OF HER GAME

There were no athletic training jobs for women when Albohm graduated from ISU in 1973, she said. She has seen the industry grow exponentially since then, and she has developed her own expertise right along with it.

For more than a decade, Albohm has immersed herself in the hands-on work of helping athletes of all kinds recover from injury �-- first at Indiana University in Bloomington where she headed up care for all the women’s sports teams; and then across the globe, at the Big Ten Basketball Championships, the Boston Marathon, the Pan-Am Games and even the Olympics.

Today, Albohm is the executive director of The Orthopaedic Research Foundation in Indianapolis, as well as the director of orthopaedic research and business development for Orthopaedics Indianapolis and The Indiana Orthopaedic Hospital.

The foundation, which is a private, non-profit organization, has more than 60 physicians, three outpatient surgery centers and its own specialty hospital.

“The respect I have for my colleagues in the field becomes broader every day as I direct research for our clinics and the hospital,” Albohm said.

While Albohm doesn’t do the hands-on work of an athletic trainer in her position, she does have a great deal of interaction with the clinicians employed at the practice.

“I am able to stay current from a sports medicine standpoint through working with orthopaedic surgeons every day,” she said. “I am able to learn the latest techniques, and we make it a point to constantly review new research.”

Albohm also stays up to date with the latest musculoskeletal issues through the NATA, of which she is the president-elect, to be sworn in at the annual meeting in June 2008.

“I have served on NATA’s Outcomes Research Task Force for the past 10 years, am currently its secretary/treasurer and served as vice president before that,” she said.

Being elected to president of the NATA was a humbling experience for her, Albohm said.

“It is the pinnacle of anyone’s career to be in that position,” she said. “I am honored and humbled. It also is a bit overwhelming when you represent more than 30,000 members. No longer am I just speaking as an athletic trainer or board member; every word I say represents all those professionals.”

But this should be no problem for Albohm, who is called upon by newspaper reporters and broadcast journalists throughout the country on a regular basis.

“After years of experience working with musculoskeletal issues of people of all ages, beginning with elite athletes, and now the everyday person, I’m privileged to be in a position where I have been able to offer some expertise to the media and general public on areas that are a passion for me,” she said.

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PHOTO: Download photo here: Marjorie Albohm

CONTACT/WRITER: Katie Spanuello, media relations assistant director, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or kspanuello@isugw.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

One of the first women in the country to receive a master's degree with specialization in athletic training, and newly elected as president of the 30,000-member National Athletic Training Association, ISU alum Marjorie Albohm is as comfortable talking with her physician colleagues at The Orthopaedic Research Foundation in Indy as she is Bryant Gumbel on Real Sports.

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