Faculty, student researchers developing course to teach athletic trainers about sudden cardiac death

Two Radford University faculty members and a group of undergraduate student researchers are creating a professional development online course designed to further educate athletics trainers about sudden cardiac death.
Front row, from left: Dr. DeEtta Ray, Lauryn Wiley, Dr. Angela Mickle, Siani Reese, Chrishaun Morgan and Crisheena Rolack. Back row, from left: Kalaejah Baugh, Dr. Pamela Frasier and Dr. Sandeep Ravi.

Two Radford University faculty members and a group of undergraduate student researchers are creating a professional development online course designed to further educate athletic trainers about sudden cardiac death.

To do so, Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP) faculty members Angela Mickle and Pamela Frasier are using funds they received in a grant earlier this year from the National Athletic Trainers' Association’s (NATA) Ethnic Diversity Advisory Committee. The grant is to be used to develop professional skills in African American athletic training students.

They chose to focus on sudden cardiac death education because it is a condition that more commonly occurs in African American athletes, said Mickle, an HHP professor of athletic training.

Sudden cardiac death can occur for a variety of reasons when an individual’s heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

Assisting with the research are five African American students who are majoring in athletic training at Radford. The students, all female, were selected by Mickle and Frasier, HHP associate professors.

“Being a part of this grant will definitely help me as an athletic trainer because we are basically the first responders to an injury on the playing field,” said student researcher Lauryn Wiley, a sophomore athletic training major from Roanoke. “Having more knowledge about sudden cardiac death will help prepare me for whatever I would see while on the job.”

The faculty-student collaborators are teaming with Dr. Sandeep Ravi, a cardiologist at Carilion Clinic, and Dr. DeEtta Ray, a cardiology nurse practitioner at Carilion. Ravi and Ray are serving as “content experts” during the course development and will be recording some of the course content, Mickle said.

The course will be presented online in video format. The students are providing research assistance and proofreading course materials. They also will create closed captioning for the videos.

“This is a great opportunity for not only myself but the advancement of the black community,” Wiley said. “I've heard of many people younger than me, my age or older than me, suddenly dying and nobody knows why. If I can have some type of background knowledge about the situation, maybe I can educate others on the matter at hand.”

Siani Reese is another student member on the project who hopes to gain valuable experience from the research and working with faculty and cardiology professionals.

In the future, she hopes to become one of the first female head athletic trainers in the NFL. There, her knowledge of sudden cardiac death could be valuable. Football, followed closely by basketball and soccer, tops the list of sports whose athletes more commonly experience sudden cardiac death.

“I hope to learn about why this condition is way more prominent in African American athletes than other athletes,” said the sophomore from Hopewell. “I would like to contribute what I learn during this project to other future athletic trainers so that they are aware of this condition if they ever have an athlete with sudden cardiac death.”

The opportunity to conduct research and “engage with faculty members,” also drew Reese to the project.

“Supporting undergraduate research is something Radford University does really well,” Mickle said. “It gives undergraduate students an opportunity to select topics that interest them and work with faculty members to conduct meaningful research that may be relevant to their future careers.”


Oct 31, 2018
Chad Osborne