Mike Wild ’11,’12 is building a career in athletic training after earning two degrees from Daemen.
Having grown up with his brothers playing soccer and enjoying the countryside, it is no surprise that Daemen’s athletic training program interested Wild.
“I was looking at other schools, but after a visit to Daemen, I came away feeling that I would really fit in and thrive there,” Wild recalls.
And thrive he did.
Wild started out in the physical therapy program, but during his first year he discovered the world of athletic training. A student-athlete, he played forward on the men’s soccer team, ran cross country, and was part of the college’s first track team. When he met Jeﬀ Sage, currently assistant athletics director for sports medicine and performance at Daemen, it was the first time Wild had ever heard the term athletic trainer.
“Growing up in a rural area, I had no idea you could make a career out of athletic training,” says Wild, who earned a bachelor’s degree in health care studies with a focus on health and fitness and a master’s degree in athletic training from Daemen. “I thought what Jeﬀ was doing was pretty cool, and that was the spark that helped launch the career I enjoy today.”
His studies were complemented by his strong record as a student-athlete, including serving as captain of the soccer team. He received the Coaches Award in both soccer and cross country and the Daemen Alumni Senior Leadership Award in the final year of his undergraduate studies.
“Courses at Daemen in the exercise sciences were a major advantage for me in graduate school and in starting out in the athletic training field,” Wild says.
“There is a direct link to Daemen in everything I do today in the field of athletic training.”— Mike Wild
“The curriculum was a springboard for understanding movement and how muscles work and then applying that knowledge to athletes. That is what I specialize in today.”
Wild’s Daemen experience did not stop with a master’s degree. After student clinical assignments that included athletic training on the college and high school sports level, he worked as an assistant athletic trainer and clinical education preceptor at Daemen. He went on to become an instructor and athletic trainer at Bethel University in Minnesota, where he also helped design rehabilitation programs for student-athletes.
A desire to be closer to home led Wild to take a position as a clinical athletic trainer for cross country and track and field at SUNY Cortland, where he also currently teaches a course in the kinesiology department. Last summer, he volunteered with the United States Olympic Committee, providing medical evaluation and treatment for athletes at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center in New York.
“There is a direct link to Daemen in everything I do today in the field of athletic training,” Wild concludes. “As a student and then as a faculty member, I gained a full understanding of what it takes to run a collegiate athletic organization and to care for student-athletes.”