Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Behind the Major with RyLeigh Greer: a genuine desire to help others


RyLeigh Greer is a senior at West Texas A&M University pursuing a bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree in sports and exercise science (SES). Greer is from Artesia, New Mexico, and is working hard to succeed in her career goals.

Greer is interested in working in a field that helps people recover physically.

“I only decided this last fall that I wanted to do athletic training,” Greer said. “I took an athletic training class, and I was able to shadow, and I was like, ‘Yeah, this is what I wanted to do.’ I thought about it when I graduated high school, but I decided to look at other options. Since I was able to shadow and took that class, I made, like, 106 in the class because it just made sense to me.”

After getting injured in high school, Greer became interested in recovery.

“My junior year of high school, I tore my ACL,” Greer said. “It was the first day of basketball practice after volleyball, and it was a simple close-out drill. I stopped with my leg and my knee hyperextended, so I went to the trainer because he saw it happen. I was like, ‘You know, I’m good to go,’ so I got back on the court. Nothing seemed wrong, so I went. I ran down the court, and I turned. My knee went in, and it popped. I was able to do all of my physical therapy with my athletic trainer, which was such a blessing. He would like to quiz me every once in a while on things like, ‘What do you do?’ Or like, ‘What is this muscle?’ Or like, ‘Why are we doing this exercise?’ Then I remember, like, one of the basketball boys, he rolled his ankle pretty bad, so he was coming in to do a little stuff here and there. He was in there the longest, but my trainer would be like, ‘These are the three main ligaments in the ankle, and this is how we classify a sprained ankle on a grade of one, two, or three.’ It just sparked something. I have always been interested in the body, and I find it fascinating how it all fits together. I just want to help people get back to their sport or just everyday living. So that’s why I chose SES; it was so broad that I could go into athletic training, physical therapy, coaching, occupational therapy, or anything like that.”

Athletic training can benefit everyone by getting them back into a normal routine, and it is used in more ways than people may initially think.

“Athletic trainers are becoming a lot bigger now and more popular,” Greer said. “Like popping up in other places. So, my professor, he was just a teacher, and he’s working on his master’s right now. He’s an athletic trainer here at WT, and that’s who I shadowed. But before he was working here, he was working with UPS as an athletic trainer because if you think about it, how much are those workers moving all these boxes, equipment, and heavy stuff? He’d have them be able to pick the box up with the correct form; otherwise, they would hurt themselves. UPS has to have an athletic trainer on-site in order to conduct business, so if somebody falls or the equipment hits somebody, their athletic trainer has to go check on them because that’s the number one job of an athletic trainer is like first aid; that is like 90% of the job. If you’re sitting there at a game, I’m making sure if something goes wrong, that’s my job to get to them first. Even NASCAR has to have athletic trainers. I never, ever thought about athletic trainers because in other places than for sports teams, but it makes sense.”

One of Greer’s favorite parts of her major is the professors.

“I love all of the SES classes, honestly, and the professors are great,” Greer said. “They really work to have a relationship with you, and because the classes are kind of small, they remember you. I had one professor for only one semester, but she was one of my favorites; well, they’re all my favorites, but she still remembers my name. Like we had a conversation last week in the hallway because she knew I was close to graduating and wanted to see my plans and how I was doing.”

Since WT is in a sweet spot between Greer’s hometown and not too far away, she knew this was the right university.

“WT was close to home, but not too close to home,” Greer said. “Home is like four hours away. After COVID, I did not want to be in New Mexico because it happened during my junior year, so I didn’t have a normal senior year since it was basically online and the world was shut down completely. My grandpa lives in Amarillo, and I came here before, and I fell in love with the campus because it was super cute, and the people were so nice.”

One unique opportunity that WT has given Greer was the chance to shadow Ronald Ting.

“I would say one of the biggest was shadowing for athletic training,” Greer said. “That’s not something I don’t feel like you could do just anywhere like just taking a class that we did for extra credit. So we just get to go into the training room, and you get to sit there and watch. I’m not even an athletic training student, and I was able to do that, and I’m still doing that now. I like being able to just go, and everybody’s so welcoming. I shadow athletic training for boy’s soccer and softball. I remember last semester when I went to shadow before one of their games, and they walked in and high-five Ronald and his students came up to me and acted like they had been there all semester; they were just so nice to me. So I would say that’s one of the coolest things that I’ve been able to do, and it helped me decide what I want to pursue.”

One aspect of WT that Greer enjoys is making unexpected relationships.

“I’ve met some pretty cool people here,” Greer said. “I would say the friendships here have been pretty awesome. My first semester, I met my roommate, and we’re best friends now. We both picked a room at random and didn’t know each other before, but now she’s my best friend. So I would just say the friendships and relationships are one of my favorite parts here.”

Around campus, Greer enjoys playing intramurals; however, she worked hard to start a new sports team.

WT’s men’s volleyball club team at their scrimmage against New Mexico State University. (RyLeigh Greer)

“I put the team together to play volleyball with people that I’ve played with for the past almost two years now,” Greer said. “Then the boys on this team, one of them specifically, joked and he was like, ‘Let’s start a men’s club volleyball team,’ and wanted me to be their coach. So at the beginning of the semester, we made this team and now we have a men’s volleyball club here on campus.”

Since beginning the men’s volleyball team, Greer has found tournaments to play in.

“First, we went to Texas Tech, and we played in a tournament there,” Greer said. “Then we went to New Mexico State to compete against them. Now Tarleton is trying to get us to play. But yeah, I think that’s my biggest contribution to the WT as of now.”

With support from the community, the men’s volleyball club team is overcoming a financial burden.

“We’ve been figuring things out as we go along,” Greer said. “All the guys pitched in some money, and then we went to the Academy to look at jerseys. Then, a GoFundMe go started just to see if anything would happen. We raised around $700, which helped a lot. So people have been super supportive of us, trying to figure it all out. I’m hoping it’ll continue because it’ll give some people something to look forward to. We had like 30 boys come and try out, but we could only take like 15, so we’re only doing one team right now, but we want to work on starting a second team.”

Since the athletic training program that Greer is interested in overlaps with the WT semester, once Greer graduates from WT, she’ll be taking a year off to work, save money, and help with the men’s volleyball club team. Aside from academics, Greer enjoys watching shows, hanging out with her roommates and having date nights with her boyfriend.

Greer believes you should dedicate time to study and get to know people.

“Make sure you study,” Greer said. “Set a time aside to study and use it. Outside of that, nobody cares. So have fun and talk to people to make friends.”

To keep up with the WT men’s volleyball club team, check out their Instagram! @wtamumvb

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About the Contributor
Kaelin Collar
Kaelin Collar, Junior Reporter, Associate Editor-in-Chief
Hi everyone! My name is Kaelin Collar, and I'm a sophomore majoring in biology on a pre-medical track from Oregon. I've been with The Prairie News for one year and am the current Associate Editor. Although I'm not pursuing a career in journalism, The Prairie News continues to improve my interpersonal, interviewing, writing, research and leadership skills that will benefit me in my future career. My career goal is to work in the surgical field, with neurology as my specialty. Aside from academics, I love to read, hike, work, go plant shopping, spend time with friends and family and be on the water. 

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