March is National Athletic Training Month

CHS Athletic training student helps stretch the leg muscles of a UWM Women's Basketball player before a big game.
CHS Athletic training student helps stretch the leg muscles of a UWM Women's Basketball player before a big game.

The National Association of Athletic Trainers (NATA) kicked off their tenth annual National Athletic Training Month in March with the theme, “Sports Safety is a Team Effort.”

This year’s goal is to build awareness of the important role that athletic trainers play in taking care of our nation's athletes at all professional levels and how instrumental they are in promoting safety at an early age with student athletes. 

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) has an active Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) leading to a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training. Athletic trainers are skilled health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity.

The demands for services have expanded beyond traditional "sport-related" roles to include exercise and re-conditioning, on-site occupational health, on-site injury prevention and fitness and wellness. As our society continues to age and increase its focus on health and physical activity, the role of the athletic trainer is likely to increase proportionally.

The UWM ATEP program, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, is an innovative program that provides students with a rigorous curriculum, as well as a variety of clinical experiences. Offered by the Department of Human Movement Sciences (HMS), in cooperation with the UWM Athletics Department and Norris Student Health Center, it is quite selective. Only about 15 students are admitted each year.

Why is the ATEP Program catching on? Program Director and HMS Associate Professor Jennifer Earl-Boehm, Ph.D., LAT, explains, “We offer our students a well-rounded curriculum with classes in human movement sciences and in injury prevention, care and rehabilitation. And we make sure that each student has the individual attention he or she needs. The student to instructor ratio is less than 16:1.”

Graduates qualify for the national athletic trainers’ certification examination and have a 80% first-time pass rate (national average is approximately 36%). Within one year of graduation, 90% of students have either been accepted to graduate school or become employed in the athletic training field. UWM grads have already found exciting jobs with such teams as the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Chargers and numerous universities and sports medicine clinics.

Courses and clinical education experiences are delivered by Certified Athletic Trainers, including Ph.D. and M.S. prepared instructors, as well as physicians, physical therapists and certified strength and conditioning specialists.

Students’ learning is enhanced with state-of- the-art facilities and equipment. The brand-new 5800 sq. ft. athletic training room opened in 2006 and has a Biodex isokinetic dynamometer, Swim-Exercise pool, athletic training student study area and locker room.

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