USI hires new head athletic trainer

Jessie Hellmann

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USI’s new Head Athletic Trainer Luke Steele had a hectic experience with his hiring process. His original flight was canceled and his baggage was lost, so he came to Evansville with nothing.

He had to buy clothes from Wal-Mart for his interview, but it was worth it. He got the job.

USI caught his eye because of the diversity of programs – athletically and academically, Steele said.

“Both the facilities and programs interested me,” Steele said.

Steele’s last job was as a head athletic trainer for 16 NCAA Division II athletic teams and two NCAA Division I programs at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania.

“I’ve seen every level (of athletics) – division I, II and III, and high school,” Steele said. “I’ve seen a broad spectrum of sports, and I think it’s prepared me for basically any situation. I’ve seen anything from small bumps and bruises to fractures and dislocations.”

As USI’s new head athletic trainer, Steel is responsible for overseeing the health care for USI’s athletic programs, especially men’s soccer and men’s and women’s basketball.

“My goal here is to provide the best possible healthcare in the most efficient way, at the same time making sure that everyone is having his or her needs met,” he said. “Injuries are going to happen. That’s a part of sports, but we’re going to try and return them to play as quickly as possible. That’s the biggest goal and making sure they’re able to maintain that and get them educated on how to prevent certain things from happening.”

Steele received his bachelor’s degree from University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and attended Oklahoma State University for graduate school where he worked as a graduate assistant for the football team.

It was in UNI where he realized he wanted to be an athletic trainer. He originally studied electronic media and journalism while running track in college.

“My dad was a news anchor, so that’s always been something that interested me,” Steele said. “But I ran track in college and got hurt, so I spent a lot of time in the athletic training room. It seemed like something I wanted to do, and it grew on me from there.”

So far, he enjoys USI, he said.

“The coaches and administration have been great and organized,” Steele said. “They seem to really support the programs, both on the athletic side and the academic side.”