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Athletic Trainers Celebrated in March

University Relations

ATEPIf you think athletic trainers just help athletes exercise, think again.

March is National Athletic Training Month, and their focus is that Every Body Needs an Athletic Trainer.

In addition to working with athletes on the professional, collegiate and high school level, athletic trainers work with any active population that has a possibility of injury, such as the military, law enforcement, Disney, Broadway dancers, Cirque du Soleil, Boeing, NASCAR and more.

NATMDr. Philip Ford, associate professor of kinesiology/athletic training and athletic training program director, and Brian Smith, instructor of kinesiology/athletic training and clinical education coordinator, are working to educate the campus and the public about the value of an athletic training degree.

Smith said, “Athletic training is about the recognition, prevention, evaluation and treatment of injuries. The reality is athletic trainers are the front line for prevention.”

At a minimum, athletic trainers must have a bachelor’s degree from a Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education accredited institution. Currently, 48 states, of which South Carolina is one, require state licensing to practice. “The state certification says what athletic trainers can and can’t do,” said Ford.

In addition to classroom work, athletic training students must complete about 1100 clinical hours. Charleston Southern athletic training students complete about 80 percent of their clinical hours on campus working with CSU athletes. Other clinical sites for CSU athletic trainers are Summerville and Cane Bay high schools, S.C. Sports Medicine and the S.C. Stingrays. Ford said the athletic training program is unique in that it gives back to the University by serving CSU athletes.

“Our program is very strong in producing students with a first-time pass rate on the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Board of Certification exam,” said Smith. The small size of the CSU program allows for interaction with the faculty and one-on-one training. Smith said, “There is a closeness, we become like a family.”

Ford, in his first year at CSU, has found the Charleston Southern program to be strong on orthopedic issues. “The injury and illness evaluation courses are strong,” he said.

Ford and Smith agree that there is tremendous growth potential in the field. Athletic training is recognized as an allied health care profession by the American Medical Association.

For more information on Charleston Southern University's athletic training undergraduate degree program, click here.

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