By John Sacco
Dr. Linda Platt Meyer makes her living as an online professor in California University’s Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies.
While online education and remote work have come into better focus and gained importance while the world battles the coronavirus, Meyer hopes classroom, with face-to-face interaction and debate do not become less popular.
“I hope and pray it doesn’t replace the classroom setting,” Meyer said. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the classroom. I think students still need that socialization. They need to hear the opinions of others while sitting there with them instead of just logging on to a website and listening to their point of view shared by someone else. It’s important to hear the ideas of others even if they aren’t the same as your own.”
Meyer has taught a variety of courses in the online master’s degree program in exercise science and health promotion since 2006. She was a member of the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine and is actively involved with the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society, holding many different leadership positions.
Earlier this year, Meyer was inducted in the Class of 2020 to the ’49 Club at the 72nd annual Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA) Conference, which was held Jan. 10-13 in Mashantucket, Conn.
“The ’49 Club is considered the highest honor an EATA member can achieve and is equivalent to Hall of Fame recognition,” said Dr. Thomas West, EATA member and Cal U. professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies. “It is a very impressive honor and Linda is very deserving.”
An athletic trainer is typically one who specializes in the treatment and care of injuries and implements preventive care to the physically active. A number are found in professional, collegiate and high school sports. Others work in rehabilitation and performance centers, doctor’s offices, or in industrial settings.
An athletic trainer’s main responsibility centers on prevention, evaluation, consultation, treatment and rehabilitation. They are often the decision maker on whether an athlete continues playing or when an athlete can return to practice or game action.
Athletic trainers are under the supervision or direction of physicians. They have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, however, more than 70% hold a higher degree.
Athletic trainers are medical professionals.
In addition to those duties, Meyer has been involved with something else dear to her heart.
For the past 30 years, she’s volunteered as an athletic trainer for Special Olympics Pennsylvania, helping to raise the quality of healthcare for athletes during competitions.
Meyer’s vision was to create an interdisciplinary sports medicine team where physicians, athletic trainers, nurses, and EMS work together to provide outstanding coverage for Special Olympics events.
All Special Olympics state level events now have interdisciplinary healthcare teams providing coverage for competition.
Meyer was one of two athletic trainers with Team USA for the 1993 World Winter Games in Salzburg, Austria, and the only athletic trainer with Team Pennsylvania for four other World Games.
Since 1990, Meyer has served as the medical coordinator for Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s State Winter Games.
She’s recruited hundreds of athletic trainers and athletic training students, including Cal U. athletic training graduate and undergrad students to volunteer for the Special Olympics Winter Games at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Champion.
She has presented dozens of times at international, national, district and state levels on topics related to athletic training, Special Olympics, and/or leadership. Some of her published works on leadership, athletic training and Special Olympics topics have appeared in Journal of Athletic Training and Athletic Therapy Today.
“Since 1994, I was able to provide a life-changing opportunity for hundreds of athletic training students – and athletic trainers – as they volunteered for the (Special Olympics of Pennsylvania) State Winter Games and interacted with Special Olympics athletes,” Meyer said. “It is my hope that many of these (athletic training) students, now certified, have continued to volunteer for (Special Olympic) events across the nation and beyond.
“While this 49 Club recognition may have my name tagged, I want to share it with all athletic trainers who have volunteered for Special Olympics events.”
Meyer’s career includes stops at Shade-Central City High School, Bellefonte – where she was head athletic trainer – and Somerset High’s School as its first paid athletic trainer/teacher.
She moved onto Duquesne University where she, and others, created its nationally-recognized athletic training education program in 1992. She remained there for 14 years.
Meyer started working for Cal U. in 2006.
“At Duquesne, we were able to create a working medical model and an interdisciplinary model that at the time was unheard of,” Meyer said. “At Duquesne, we worked with the major sports teams – Pirates and Steelers – and branched out to work with Robert Morris University, LaRoche and Carnegie Mellon University to tap into other clinical studies.”
In 2013, along with Cal U. faculty colleagues Dr. Barry McGlumphy and Ms. Julie Ramsey-Emrhein, Meyer was inducted into the Pennsylvania Athletic Training Hall of Fame.
McGlumphy and Meyer worked together at Duquesne and then again at Cal.
“I am humbled and grateful,” Meyer said of the 49 Club recognition.
She remains hopeful that while remote and online learning and education gain popularity, in-class, face-to-face interaction remains part of the education process in athletic training.
“A hybrid is most acceptable,” Meyer said. “It’s great to have online classes and to be able to go back and look at the notes. We still need the face-to-face learning and sharing of ideas. Those are things we’d miss not being in a classroom. It’s all part of society.”