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First female sports medicine director serves as role model

Photo Courtesy of Texas State Athletics
Aidan Poole with three of her athletic training assistants before the softball game versus Texas A&M, Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at Bobcat Softball Stadium.

Aidan Poole, Texas State’s first female director of sports medicine, is a leader for athletes, coaches and athletic trainers, and creates a relatable experience for female athletes at Texas State.

Poole, a Texas State sports medicine alumni and Weatherford, Texas native, stepped into the position in November 2023. Poole accumulated five years of previous training experience and a master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin University before returning to Texas State after she earned the Head Softball Athletic Trainer role in January 2023.

“I’m probably one of the youngest directors of sports medicine in the country,” Poole said. “Not only that but being a female, I think the position that I’ve ended up in I would have never been ready for without the things that I have gone through.”

Sophomore catcher Karmyn Bass said having Poole in the position creates a more relatable experience for female athletes.

“She’s someone that we can look up to,” Bass said. “It’s refreshing to be able to see her and know that she is in a high leadership position and does what she can for us.”

Poole said her predecessor, David Gish, is an inspiration for her drive to continue the legacy he left on Texas State athletics.

“He put us in a [terrific] place and had great relationships and did things in the way that was right, and that was right by student-athletes and by coaches and by kids,” Poole said. “That alone is a legacy I want to continue to move forward.”

Since entering the position, Poole has formed closer relationships with coaches and student-athletes and her perspective on leadership has a large focus on serving students not only as athletes but as humans.

According to graduate student infielder Sara Vanderford, having Poole as a leader gives Bobcat softball a deeper level of comfort.

“To have someone who not only cares about your development and rehab, but just you as a person, and checks in, it’s just been nice and I couldn’t have asked [for] anything better from her,” Vanderford said.

Poole said there’s nothing more rewarding about the job than building close relationships with the student athletes.

“That’s the best part of the job is to get to know these athletes as humans and get to provide for them in a way that helps our teams move forward,” Poole said.

March celebrates Women’s History Month and National Athletic Training Month. The celebrations go together with Poole’s decision to hire Texas State’s first female Head Athletic Trainer of Football, Alison Mitchell.

“I don’t think I’d have to look but I don’t know [if] there’s any other division one school that has a Director of Sports Medicine who is a female and a head of football who’s a female,” Poole said.

Mitchell said Poole was a reason for her applying to the position as she wanted to be part of a team led by her.

“I think she is a trailblazer for women in athletic training, but [also] women in sports and athletics,” Mitchell said. “I said that in my interview too, I really felt that way and that was exciting to me about the potential to come here.”

Poole said a proud accomplishment is growing the athletic training department by hiring five new head athletic trainers for programs that previously lacked them.

Mitchell said Poole’s leadership is positively impacting the athletic department and working with her has been a rewarding experience.

“Overall she has created an excellent staff,” Mitchell said. “She is really, really dedicated to Texas State, Texas State’s sports medicine and making this better than it ever has been. She’s just got big hopes and dreams for this program, I feel like me coming in here now I can support her and help her with that.”

As a female leader in the sports world, Poole said she encourages women to believe in themselves no matter what their goals may be.

“I think that’s the biggest thing, is [to] trust yourself, and understand that you will be ready,” Poole said. “And you’ll know when you’re ready, even if every day is a challenge.”

According to Poole, this mindset is something she views as critical to her growth in the profession.

“If I had chosen to say, ‘I’m 27 years old,” Poole said. “I haven’t experienced all the things that previous bosses have experienced, I haven’t experienced X, Y and Z, I haven’t done all these things, I don’t need to be in this position,’ I would have missed an opportunity, not even for me, but to help grow this place,” Poole said.

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