Athletic Training Program Earns Accreditation
WARRENSBURG -03/22//2007 - Dedication to the preparation of highly qualified athletic training professionals has paid off for faculty, staff and students in the UCM's Department of Health and Human Performance. The department's Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training Education program has received national accreditation.
Accredited for Five Years
Brian Hughes, director of Athletic Training Education at UCM, said the Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education's initial stamp of approval for the next five years is important for the success of the program. Only graduates of accredited Athletic Training Education programs can take the crucial Board of Certification Examination.
BOC Trainers Works in Varied Settings
"For the athletic trainer, this is like taking the Bar exam to become an attorney. If you don't pass the BOC, you're not a certified athletic trainer," Hughes said. BOC certified athletic trainers are medical professionals who are experts in injury prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. They may work in settings such as high school and university athletic departments, rehabilitation clinics, corporate fitness centers, the military, professional sports, and other professional and industrial areas.
On-Site Visit Conducted
Before notifying the university of its decision this month, CAATE conducted a comprehensive on-site review for two days in October 2006 to ensure that nationally recognized standards for entry level Athletic Training Education were being met. The team looked at curriculum, student numbers, clinical opportunities, faculty, facilities and more to ensure students were getting the type of preparation they need to be successful in the field. Standards adopted by CAATE are supported by organizations such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society for Sports Medicine, and the National Athletic Trainers Association, Inc.
Program Initiated in 2003
The university received approval from the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education in 2003 to offer the program, and begin recruiting students, which was necessary to apply for accreditation. At least 17 individuals are currently pursuing the degree, and the university can currently enroll up to 24.
"We owe a lot to the students. They put a lot into this," said Jim Moore, clinical coordinator for the program and a certified athletic trainer.
Moore noted that students who enter the program, not only have to take an intense course load, but they will also complete 900 clinical hours by the time they graduate.
"I think it takes a very unique student to become a certified athletic trainer," he said. "It's not for everybody. It's a lot of discipline and hard work."
Hughes added, "We are an allied health care provider so we want to ensure to the public that we are graduating a high-caliber individual who can respond to any situation, whether it be an emergency life or death situation or a minor injury. We can do everything from initial evaluation all the way through rehabilitation and reconditioning the individual."
Dedication to Program Results in Success
Hughes and Moore expressed their gratitude to Ronald Van Dam, a professor emeritus of physical education who is known throughout the state for his work in athletic training. He began initial discussions about creating the program with faculty in the department nearly a decade ago. They also stressed that accreditation would not have been possible without the support of the department chairs since that time, as well as deans of the former College of Education and Human Services, the Athletic Training Education faculty, and the commitment of students who have selected this degree path.