Q&A: Emmaus alum Shaniece Jackson speaks on journey to becoming assistant athletic trainer for the Philadelphia Eagles

Photo+courtesy+of+Shippensburg+University+Athletics.

Photo courtesy of Shippensburg University Athletics.

Greta Miller, Features Editor

Shaniece Jackson, who graduated from Emmaus High School, became the first black woman to be hired as a full-time assistant athletic trainer for the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year after interning with the team during the 2020 season.

Jackson graduated from Emmaus in 2012 and initially pursued exercise science with a minor in psychology at Shippensburg University, while also playing on their basketball team as a reserve guard and forward. However, after working with Shippensburg’s Department of Sports Medicine under a work-study program, she found her passion: athletic training. 

She switched her studies to sports medicine, and after graduation, she enrolled in Florida International University’s masters program in athletic training. During her time at FIU, she landed an internship with the Minnesota Vikings. Although she enjoyed working with a variety of sports, she found that football was the perfect environment for her, considering the exhilarating atmosphere and the players’ passion for the sport. 

As she begins her career with the Eagles, she hopes that her story serves as an inspiration to women and minorities to pursue their dreams. 

Stinger: What inspired you to switch to sports medicine after studying exercise science for your undergrad? 

Jackson: While at Ship, I had the opportunity to work with our sports medicine staff with a variety of sports, and it was around my sophomore year when I decided that I wanted to pursue athletic training for sure. During my senior year, I completed my internship with our sports medicine staff, working with Wes Mallicone, Becky Fitz, Miranda Fisher, and Tanya Miller. They really allowed me to ask questions, learn more about the ins and outs of athletic training, and see what day-to-day life consisted of. Wes was extremely helpful in the process of helping me decide what university I would go on to attend for my Master’s in Athletic Training. Ultimately, I decided to attend Florida International University after graduating from Ship. 

Stinger: What interested you in being an athletic trainer for football above other sports?

Jackson: I grew up watching a lot of football with my dad and uncles, so I always had an interest in it. While at Ship, football was one of the primary sports I would cover until basketball season started, and while at FIU, I became even more interested in the sport. There’s just something about the atmosphere and energy that football has along with the passion that comes with the game. 

Stinger: What is an experience that made you fall in love with being an athletic trainer?

Jackson: While I was at FIU during my first clinical rotation, I was covering a variety of sports at a preparatory school, and just seeing how appreciative not only the athletes were, but the parents were too really just sealed the deal for me. That’s why I chose this profession: to provide compassionate care for all.

Stinger: How did you get your internship with the Eagles?
Jackson: I first had experience in the NFL working with the Minnesota Vikings in the summer of 2017 for their summer training camp while I was at FIU. After expressing my interest and desire of wanting to continue working in the NFL, I was thankful enough to be selected as the seasonal intern for the Philadelphia Eagles for this past season. 

Stinger: What ultimately made you decide to accept a full time position for the team?

Jackson: After working with the Eagles this past season as the Seasonal Athletic Training Assistant, I was offered the full position in February. I knew the organization and sports medicine staff were a great fit for me, and the culture of the organization is something that correlates with me personally.
Stinger: As a high schooler, did you ever imagine you would be an assistant athletic trainer for the Eagles, let alone be the first black female to do so?

Jackson: As a student in high school, I had an idea that I wanted to become an athletic trainer. I didn’t know at the time that I would specifically want to work football, but I knew whatever sport I covered, I was going to do it to the best of my abilities. It is an incredible honor and privilege to work for the Philadelphia Eagles today. My hope is that this opportunity opens the doors for other minorities and females to see that they are capable of achieving any goal they set out to accomplish.