UNCSA Logo' 

March 17, 2014/For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu



 UNCSA athletic trainer wins statewide honor for treating students in physically demanding disciplines

WINSTON-SALEM – March is National Athletic Training Month, and the head athletic trainer for Student Health Services at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is celebrating with a statewide honor. Laura Santos has been named Emerging Practices Athletic Trainer of the Year by the North Carolina Athletic Trainers’ Association (NCATA).

Emerging practices refers to work settings for athletic trainers that are outside the traditional field of intercollegiate and professional sports. In addition to performing arts, emerging practices may include military installations, industrial/occupational settings, hospitals and clinical environments.

The athletic trainer position was created nine years ago to treat students in the physically demanding arts disciplines, according to Health Services Director Ann Potter. 

“Laura has provided exceptional therapy for UNCSA’s student artists,” Potter said. “Her compassion and dedication toward performing arts medicine has made her a role model for many students as well as other athletic trainers, and a trusted colleague for faculty.”

Athletic trainers who work in performing arts must understand factors that play a role in acute and repetitive use injuries, including the use of musical instruments, costumes, footwear, lighting, floors, stage apparatus and performance props. They address core strength and postural stability; aesthetics, body image and eating disorders; theatre safety and emergency procedures; and demands associated with rehearsal and touring. 

Laura Santos

Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ward Caldwell said that Santos is one of two athletic trainers who work closely with arts faculty and health care providers both on and off campus to keep students healthy and strong. “Our arts training programs are rigorous, and the physical demands are tremendous,” he said.

“Students are here to excel in their art and perform, and they cannot do either if they are injured or sick. Our focus and commitment is teaching students how to be safe and to maintain their health and wellness,” Caldwell added. “Laura is an outstanding example of the staff’s commitment to that goal.” 

When injuries or illness do occur, Potter said, providers in the Student Health Center are equipped to support students with appropriate therapy. “And compassion,” she added. “A little bit of TLC goes a long way when you are young, away from home, and hurting.”

Santos has a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and an M.S. in exercise and sport science from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.


AAs America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.