Meet Dr. Brian Zeller, a professor in the Health, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences Department at Winona State University.

He got into athletic training because he wanted to work in health care and be part of patients’ recovery journeys on a daily basis. Dr. Zeller believes watching someone heal and return to their passions is an amazing feeling.

And through his own passion, Dr. Zeller helped develop an outstanding Athletic Training program for students.

Dr. Brian Zeller

Who Is Dr. Brian Zeller?

Dr. Brian Zeller has been a professor at Winona State for more than 20 years—and he couldn’t be happier about going into this field because now he gets to teach future athletic trainers.

To Dr. Zeller, the students always come first.

He loves it when students ask him questions about their classes, come to him for mentoring on their future career decisions, or simply say hi.

Experience Snapshot

Along with being a full-time professor, Dr. Zeller is also:

  • Chair of the HERS Department,
  • Director of the Master of Science in Athletic Training Program, and
  • President of the World Federation of Athletic Training & Therapy.

What Is the Value of This Program?

The Athletic Training program prioritizes getting students real, hands-on experience to prepare them for their careers.

On campus, Athletic Training students practice their skills in state-of-the-art lab spaces and use cutting-edge technology. Then they go out in the field and work with a wide range of clients around the nation through clinicals and immersive experiences.

The reward for all this training is clear to Dr. Zeller: “One of the coolest parts of my job is watching students utilize the knowledge they gain in the classroom and apply it to actual patients.” 

Some of the most touching memories that Dr. Zeller has include witnessing the program’s successes in readying graduates and the impacts they’ve made in their positions.

Hear from a few alumni who have gone on to do some impressive work after graduation.

Alumni Shoutout: Jeff Winslow

My most useful takeaway from my time at Winona State was that the Athletic Training staff taught me how to perform skills while explaining the philosophy of why certain treatments should be performed. I also got to work hands-on with Warrior student athletes to learn proper techniques and figure out what worked best for me. 

I always admired Dr. Zeller’s willingness to promote the profession of Athletic Training and give back through his work with various professional organizations. Dr. Zeller has been a shining light to the profession of Athletic Training and continues to be a resource for me. 

Today, I provide direct clinical medical care for the UMN Men’s Hockey team. I also supervise a staff of Associate and Assistant Athletic Trainers and even students like Bailey Luna. I collaborate with our Medical Director and Team Doctors to develop policies and procedures to keep all UMN student athletes as safe and healthy as possible. 

I enjoy working with students like Bailey because I get to witness first-hand their ‘light bulbs’ go on when they’re able to connect something in clinical practice to something they learned about in a textbook.

Jeff Winslow '05

Head Athletic Trainer for Olympic Sports, University of Minnesota

Student Shoutout: Bailey Luna

As an Athletic Training student working under Jeff Winslow, I get a lot of opportunities to practice my skills and knowledge in treatments, orthopedic evaluations, emergency care, taping, and more. I even get to create some fun rehabilitation exercises for the Men’s Hockey team! 

I also work with UMN doctors and physicians, including Dr. Brad Nelson, who works with the Minnesota Wild. Creating the relationships I have with the players, coaches, and other staff has been remarkable, and it continues to show me just how much I love what I do. 

As soon as I expressed my interest in working with the UMN Men’s Hockey team to Dr. Zeller, he was instantly on board and willing to help me get there. No matter what, he’s always looking out for me and will do whatever he can to help me achieve my personal and professional goals. 

The MSAT program has helped me become more confident in my skills and knowledge because I practice my skills every day, which benefits not only me, but also my patients. I feel beyond prepared for when I’m on my own.

Bailey Luna

Second-Year Masters Athletic Training Student, Winona State University

The Professor Pop-Up blog series explores WSU’s academic programs through the eyes of talented professors, ambitious current students, and thriving alumni. Read more stories from the Professor Pop-Up series.

– Edited Nov. 1, 2023