James Madison University

JMU Students Place 2nd in VATA Quiz Bowl

By: Brett Seekford
Posted: April 17, 2015

Twenty-two Athletic Training students from James Madison University attended the 2015 VATA Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposium in Glen Allen, Virginia, from January 9-11. While there, they participated in lectures and hands-on labs; networked with others; and explored career opportunities.

PHOTO: JMU Students and facult at VATA

Dr. Connie Peterson, an associate professor of Athletic Training who served as the trip sponsor, thought the experience was beneficial to the students. “Attending professional conferences as a student is critical to develop appreciation for the importance of continuing education throughout one’s professional career,” Peterson said. She went on to discuss the atmosphere: “It is a professional conference where professionals and students are learning new developments in the field, gaining insight as to trends and treatment methods/options, continuing our education, networking, and conducting professional business, such as elections for new officers/leaders.”

The part of the meeting that attracts the most enthusiasm is the quiz bowl competition, which began in 2008. JMU has participated every year and the teams’ successes have varied. Students volunteer to compete. The team that wins the quiz bowl advances to the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association competition and potentially the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Along with the ability to continue competing, the winning team also earns a traveling trophy and bragging rights. Overall, the main purpose of the activity is to showcase students’ knowledge in a friendly environment.

This year, Gage Berry, Travis Cole and Kelly Martin represented JMU in the quiz bowl. Placing second, they attribute their noteworthy performance to undergraduate classes taken. “Our classes at JMU were more than enough for us to do well in this competition,” Cole explained. “I believe the team that came in third place was Shenandoah University. The contestants were in a Master’s level program so they were tough because they had already taken many of the classes we’re still taking.”

The game is designed much like the popular game show Jeopardy. Despite their readiness, the quiz bowl proved to be more difficult than expected, but their competitive personalities drove them to persevere.

The rivalry with nearby Bridgewater College was an added incentive to win. “Since Bridgewater took home the trophy and they’re right down the road, you could say that’s a bit of a rivalry,” Martin said. She went on to clarify the school spirit that trumped any tension: “All in all though, everyone was there for the same reasons and it was fun more than anything.”

Despite their energy and preparation, JMU came up short in the competition, earning second place behind Bridgewater College. While unhappy with the outcome, the team was proud of their efforts. Martin explained her feelings: “To be completely honest, I was a little disappointed we didn’t take home the first place trophy. We did come from behind and showed a lot of depth and knowledge, though. It was bittersweet.”


 The quiz bowl provided entertainment and a venue to test students’ understanding of athletic training, but the purpose of the conference overshadowed any competitiveness. “Attending a professional conference as a student is a good thing to put on a résumé or to be able to reference when interviewing,” Peterson said. “Representing the school in the quiz bowl is an added bonus that shows commitment to the profession and a willingness to take chances to grow and learn.”


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