Master of Science Alumni Profiles
Melissa Ball ‘14, ATC
Major at UE: Athletic Training
Hometown: Greencastle, Indiana
Current Residence: St. Louis, Missouri, Washington University DPT program
Why UE? I chose UE mostly because of the combination of the academics and the campus and town atmosphere. I loved the town of Evansville and the feel of UE's campus, and I was really impressed by the academic programs, specifically the AT program and the opportunities it gave me to work with a variety of high level athletes. Eventually I just fell in love with the campus and the future I saw for myself there!
Career Highlights: As a student in UE’s athletic training program, Melissa worked with the men’s soccer team as a senior, overseeing daily evaluations, rehabilitation, and administration activities. As a junior, Melissa worked at F. J. Reitz High School covering their football team and satisfying UE’s ATP equipment intensive rotation. Melissa has obtained a prestigious clinical placement working at EXOS in Carson, CA working at the StubHub Center. The StubHub Center is home to the LA Galaxy, the US Soccer Federation, USA Cycling and the United States Tennis Association. It is an 85 acre state of the art training center for many of America’s top athletes and future stars. She will begin her clinical there in Sept. 2016.
Quotes from Melissa: I chose UE mostly because of the combination of the academics and the campus and town atmosphere. I loved the town of Evansville and the feel of UE's campus, and I was really impressed by the academic programs, specifically the AT program and the opportunities it gave me to work with a variety of high level athletes. Eventually I just fell in love with the campus and the future I saw for myself there!
Tara Halaby ’07, DPT, ATC, ART, FST 1
Major at UE: Athletic Training with a minor in Spanish; Physical Therapy
Hometown: Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, grew up in Chicago, Illinois
Current Residence: Orlando, Florida
Current Occupation: Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer for WWE
Career Highlights: I ended my education at UE with an international internship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working with BOCA Juniors Athletic Club in pro soccer and volleyball. Upon returning to the US, I decided to leave Chicago and head into warmer weather when I found an internship at ESPN/Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Spring 2008. The Spring Training internship included high school and collegiate spring sports, USA Track and Field and Triathlon Team training (for 2008 Olympics), the Atlanta Braves Spring Training, and Nike SPARQ NFL Combine Training Camp. View More...
It was really during these two experiences that I realized I LOVED being a part of the medical staff for high performance athletes. During the next five years in Orlando, I worked as a PT and ATC contracting with Disney in their Entertainment Safety Department, working with the performers from acrobats to puppeteers and everyone in between. I worked part of my week in a regular outpatient orthopaedic physical therapy clinic. Part of me always missed the Athletic Training Room setting and being surrounded by competitive passion for sports and wellness.
About two years ago I made a career shift back into the sports setting and began working at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, as their only staff physical therapist. The medical team is currently composed of a medical coordinator, two physicians (an MD and a DO), three athletic trainers, and myself. WWE’s developmental system is based here in Orlando, so I have about 70 males and females training here daily, learning what it takes to become the next WWE Superstar or Diva. WWE has about 70 people on its “Main Roster”– the men and women you’d see on TV. We travel all over the US and most of the world, and our athletes have no off-season, so the medical staff certainly stays busy.
Family: I’m in a great relationship and have no children. My parents still live in Chicago along with my mom’s side of the family. My father’s family is still in the Middle East (my father is Palestinian and came to the US for college). My four siblings and I are spread out around the US and Europe. Although we are scattered, we are very close and make it a point to keep in touch and travel to see each other.
UE Alumni Activities: I’ve been back to campus once or twice for Homecoming Weekend, but I mostly come back for my friends in the area – weddings, babies, and AOII girls weekends will always bring me back to Evansville. Maybe one of these years I’ll be home in Chicago to enjoy a UE-Chicago Cubs outing!
How do you keep your life in balance? It’s been a journey for me to realize that a lot of things are out of my control, so I don’t stress about little things. But it’s most important to find an outlet! I grew up playing sports, so I know participating in athletics is my best outlet for energy and aggression. I play softball five days a week all year-round here in Florida. I like lifting weights and working out, but I definitely know when to take a break and unplug from reality and work. The beach is only an hour from home and my family and friends are one plane ride away.
Tough physical challenge you’ve undertaken recently? Have you seen professional wrestlers? Every part of physical therapy or preventative maintenance I do on my athletes is physically challenging for me at 5’6”!
Wellness routine in college compared to now: I’m still an avid weight lifter and I play softball almost daily, but I’ve always been very active and athletic. I was raised with a routine of being active and eating well, but I can definitely say REST has become a huge part of my personal wellness policy. A good night’s sleep can do wonders for stress levels, fatigue, appetite, and metabolism. I also have a hammock in my backyard along to the lake… it’s a great nap spot. Having a balance in my life keeps me sane and in balance – good work, good food, good exercise, good friends/family, prayer/meditation, and sunshine keeps my world going ’round.