Chatham University’s Head Athletic Trainer looks to sharpen her skills

Samantha Powell visits the 2022 NCAA Division III Institute for Administrative Advancement this spring


Sam Powell assesses Stephanie Walter ‘24 and her injury

Lilly Kubit

Chatham University’s Head Athletic Trainer Samantha Powell has been selected to attend the 2022 NCAA Division III Institute for Administrative Advancement this spring.  

With only 30 mid-level administrators selected each year, this institute strives to help under-represented populations in Division III athletics learn about themselves as administrators, gain skills and tools to grow in their current role and leave better prepared to attain a senior administrator position if they wish. 

Powell hopes to take away information on “being able to be an asset to our student-athletes as an administrator beyond the medical field, being able to help with compliance and being a representative of the BIPOC community.”  

Ultimately, Powell wants her skills to be well-rounded in order to be another resource for student-athletes.  However, according to students, she is already quite an important resource. 

Elizabeth Simpson ‘22 says athletic trainers are “probably the most important aspect” of playing sports at Chatham. 

Athletic trainers oversee the health and safety of student-athletes at Chatham. This includes injury recovery, injury prevention and education on how to take care of the body. 

“A lot of times they will know when we are trying to play when we’re not healthy, and they will obviously stop us from further injuring ourselves,” Simpson said.

A head athletic trainer has even more duties, all of which help student-athletes have a smooth-sailing experience at practice and games. These tasks include filing paperwork, filing insurance for injuries, stocking supplies at athletic sites and ensuring COVID-19 protocols are being followed. 

Athletic Trainer Rebecca Kayda says she works “really well together” with Powell, and illustrates how important a head position is. 

“Having a ‘head athletic trainer’ is critical for a university so that there is a consistent point of contact for all of the different departments on campus to be able to reach out to a singular person/position,” she said.

During an interview with Powell, conversation was stopped twice by students, proving how important of a resource she is. 

Powell grew up playing sports and still wanted to be involved with a team even after it was no longer an option to play. 

“I’ve always been a caregiver, so being an AT was the next step,” she said.  

Before coming to Chatham, Powell worked at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. When the pandemic started, she decided she wanted to be closer to home and applied for the Head Athletic Trainer position at Chatham. In February 2021, she started at the university and plans to stay here and grow for some time. 

“Chatham really cares about sports,” she said. “A lot of schools, especially at the DIII level tend to be like ‘oh it’s just DIII,’ and I don’t have that mindset. It’s just as competitive, everyone still wants to play, the only difference is you’re not getting your education paid for because of athletics.” 

Powell believes that she is at the perfect school, and that the institute came at a perfect time.  She had heard about the institute over the past nine years, and was approached this year by the NCAA to apply. 

When applying, her reasoning for wanting to attend was “I found this school that I wanted to be at and I wanted to stay here but I need to put myself in a position to be able to be more useful as the years go on.” 

Powell hopes to use the institute to grow beyond the medical side of athletics. She wants to be more of an administrative asset, as well as a mentor to BIPOC students. 

“Being able to be an asset and a mentor to our athletes of color is huge,” she said. “We are very underrepresented when it comes to administration. Athletes of color are everywhere, but who do they look up to if their coach is not a person of color… if they don’t have an administrator that is a person of color?”