The University of Dallas has recently made several notable changes to its athletics department, including the hiring of new athletic trainer and assistant athletic trainer, Monica Heckman and Monica Menchaca. While the hiring of several new coaches for UD’s sports teams is essential, this duo of new athletic trainers also is crucial to keep all student-athletes healthy and strong in their respective sports.
Monica Heckman is one of the newest additions to the UD athletics department.
“I chose UD because I like the division three atmosphere and the welcoming sense of community that this school offers,” Heckman said.
Heckman was a student-athlete herself, having played basketball from 2011-2015 at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio where she was a 2-time captain. She also worked as a sports information intern in 2013.
She has served in numerous other roles, including a position as a first aid responder for the Girls Basketball Association, Summer Olympics Basketball Tournament, Canter Run, Alpha Testing/Wrestling from 2013-2014, and Saint Charles High School. She is also a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Heckman worked as a graduate assistant at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. as well.
“I am hoping to keep students healthy this year and keep them active in their sports programs,” Heckman said.
Heckman replaces Robb Leibold, who took a job at John Paul II High School in Plano after three years as UD’s head athletic trainer.
Heckman’s partner in crime, Monica Menchaca, serves as the athletic trainer assistant.
“I chose UD because I love the campus,” Menchaca said. “I love where it is located. Everyone I came into contact with was so nice and welcoming.”
Menchaca served the Texas A&M men’s lacrosse program, providing coverage for games and tournaments, coordinating student-athlete care with physician and physical therapist skills, communicating with the coach on health statuses, and presenting techniques for preventing, managing, treating and reconditioning student-athlete injuries.
“I went to school at the University of Missouri, where I got my degree in nutrition and exercise physiology,” Menchaca said. “After Missouri, I went to graduate school at the University of Arkansas, and I got my masters in athletic training there. Once I graduated there, I worked with the St. Joseph Hospital in College Station, Texas where I was in charge of working with the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and men’s lacrosse. I worked there for two years as an athletic trainer.”
Menchaca looks forward to working with Heckman to ensure student-athletes on all teams are well cared for.
“I really hope to grow myself as a professional,” Menchaca said. “Monica [Heckman] and I are working with all the sports, so I’ll be able to see different injuries with everyone, not just a specific team, and learn about different injuries with each sport, as well as how to rehab with them, making them better student-athletes.”
When Athletic Director Dick Strockbine was asked about the new hirings, he commented, “I think they’re both well qualified for the position, and I’m hopeful they will be able to promote the service the athletic trainers have in the past.”
When asked about the high rate of coaching and athletic trainer turnover, Strockbine answered,
“Generally speaking, the University of Dallas is not a destination for coaching, but it is a stop on the way to the destination,” Strockbine said. “When you have a career and you’re on your way to your goal, UD is usually a stop, not a destination in a coaching career. The coaches here are young, and are looking to further their career while moving toward their career goals. That is our goal. We are here to help them on their career paths.”
Strockbine’s words echo in the UD community, which has had successive new coaches and athletic trainers throughout the years. While UD may not have an athletics department that young professionals look at as the goal of their career, it manages to foster an exciting division three atmosphere that attracts coaches, athletic trainers, and student-athletes alike.