Excercise science program equips students with practical skills, empathic training

Though Ben Moroney came to Trevecca after being recruited to run cross country for the Trojans, he said he had plans outside of athletics from the start. It wasn’t until he got to Trevecca and learned of the exercise science program, however, that he discovered he could combine both his interests in athletics and health care.

“I was originally recruited to run cross country and track for the Trojans, and knew long before then that I wanted to pursue a job in health care. I had so many great physical therapists (PTs) and athletic trainers that took care of me throughout my high school and college athletic career, and seeing the relationships that they were able to build with people each day was what drew me to this field. I love being able to see someone grow and build back their strength and function after being at their lowest of points,” he said. 

Moroney graduated in 2017 with his degree and started to wonder what was next. He and his Trevecca sweetheart, Abbie Alosi Moroney, an education major who also graduated in 2017, got married shortly after graduation, and Moroney started making big plans. He understood the impact an empathic and skillful physical therapist could have on a recovering athlete after being poured into himself by so many PTs, and for him, his path began to seem clear. 

“Both his roles as a decorated athlete and student had a large time commitment and demanded devotion to engagement in training. He was exceptional at balancing his responsibilities to his coach and to his professors. We spent many hours throughout his tenure at Trevecca discussing our course material and how it applied to both his cross country training and his future career as a physical therapist,” said Aaron Hall, associate professor in the department of exercise and sport science. He did not just want to learn a concept without seeing how it would have real-world application to the treatment of his future patients.”

Moroney said it was encouragement and guidance from Dr. Hall that helped him determine that grad school was his next step.

“I was only able to learn from him for one semester my senior year, but being able to have class and then talk regularly with him post graduation about the field of physical therapy and the challenges of PT school was incredibly helpful,” Moroney said. “Dr. Hall has experienced both the trials of a rigorous graduate school program and also practicing in the clinical setting, and he was able to paint a really clear picture of the day-to-day as a physical therapist.”

Hall added that Moroney’s commitment to understanding the practical application of the classroom work as well as his desire to care for others is what really propelled him forward.

“We discussed many times that what we are learning in the classroom will translate roughly to how the body will respond to treatment. He would look at lessons from different lenses, and that is how you have to treat patients. Each individual will respond to treatments differently. You have to know the theory behind your clinical decisions but then have flexibility in carrying through plans of care based on patient responses to treatment, and that’s exactly what Ben brings to the table,” he said. “College years are the most transformative years for many individuals, and being able to work so closely with Ben was incredibly fulfilling for me as a professor.”

Moroney finished his graduate program and passed his boards in May of 2020 -- right in the midst of the pandemic -- and shortly after, he landed a job with a local physiotherapy clinic. Since he started in that position, he said he has found even more to be grateful for about his time at Trevecca. 

“The relationships that you make on a day-to-day basis are incredible and lasting, and Trevecca really taught me empathy and how to communicate to other people in a loving way, like Christ has called us to do. There’s no doubt in my mind -- if given the chance to go back, I absolutely would choose Trevecca all over again.” 

To learn more about Trevecca’s exercise and sport science majors, visit www.trevecca.edu/academics/department/department-of-exercise-sport-science

Media Contact: Mollie Yoder, meyoder@trevecca.edu