MMA fighter fuses training, education

The Prairie.

CJ Berryman

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Sarah Alpar, a mixed martial arts fighter for Extreme Martial Arts Gym, is a junior attaining her Sports and Exercise Sciences degree at WTAMU.

The former flyweight champion admits that her education has already played an important role in her training and in her everyday life.

“The program has benefitted me a lot,” she said. “It has allowed me to see what I am doing right and wrong in my training and it has helped me in my coaching as well.”

Alpar also tries to educate others on their own training schedules and regimens, and she said the Sports and Exercise Sciences program has allowed her to help people gain the knowledge of how to better themselves.

Alpar acknowledged that injuries are a major part of all sports and what she has learned in class has assisted her in how to manage injuries that occur to her and to others.

“The department has courses that help individuals deal with psychological issues that come with injuries and people having a hard time recovering from them,” said instructor Kimberly Crowell.

“Not everyone experiences a detriment,” Crowell said. “For those that do, we train to help them when they are struggling mentally with rehab or to get over the fear of injuring it again.”

Crowell said the department’s psychology of injury course also teaches techniques such as goal setting, imagery, and positive self-talk to help the athlete or person through the rehabilitation process.

“[Our trainers] are typically right there, hands on when injuries occur, but they are becoming more medically oriented and diverse,” said Department Head Lorna Strong. “We train not just for sprains and broken bones, but even life or death [situations].”

Crowell added that athletic training is now being geared to be more aware of signs and symptoms and potential risks of other issues an athlete may go through, such as diabetes.

“We are not allowed to diagnose,” she said, “but the goal is to spot those symptoms and refer them for further evaluation.”

Alpar said overall, the program has allowed her to make a lifestyle change for her own personal wellness.

“I use [what I have learned] on and off the mats,” she said. “I want to reach my personal and professional goals and [my education] has helped me become more aware of what I’m doing with my body.”

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MMA fighter fuses training, education