Athletic Training Grad Volunteers in Zimbabwe

Suzanne Lipscomb always wanted to go on a mission trip but never had time -- until this summer. Lipscomb, an athletic training major who received her bachelor’s degree in May, recently returned from two weeks in Zimbabwe with the sports ministry Athletes in Action.

“This being my last summer before I had a real job, I decided to do it,” said Lipscomb, who is from Lynchburg. “Athletes in Action has positions open for all kinds of athletes, including athletic training.”

Ten people from across the United States and five from Zimbabwe were selected for the trip, which began with training camp in Xenia, Ohio. Lipscomb was chosen as athletic training coordinator, which included overseeing sports medicine clinics and teaching young athletes and coaches about injuries such as muscle cramps, sprains and strains.


Suzanne Lipscomb '11 (far left) is shown with students from other universities who were part of the Athletes in Action project in Zimbabwe.

Lipscomb said her team worked with athletes to help them reach the next level of competition. “We also went to some local high schools and did track clinics. One was a boarding school with 700 students in a rural area,” she said. “This was awesome because they have never had any formal training. All they know is what they have seen or read.”

Lipscomb says the trip was the ideal after-graduation experience for her. She credited faculty members Michael Moore, Angela Mickle and David Sallee with preparing her for her mission.
“They gave me all the knowledge in the classes and helped me learn to apply it to the things I was going to see,” she said. “We were challenged to put things in simple terms so an athlete could understand. This was a vital skill in Africa, where they didn’t have the training I had. If I started speaking in big medical words, they would not have understood me. This was a key factor on the trip.”
Radford’s athletic training program assigns each student to a sports team for a semester to get better acquainted with the athletes, Lipscomb said, and that served her well in Africa. Radford’s program “is one of the best,” Lipscomb said. “It simulates real world experience.”

Sep 22, 2011
Bonnie Erickson