Athletic Training: A Change in Culture

The University of South Florida Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) recently relocated its Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) to the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in the College of Medicine. Previously housed in the School of Physical Education and Exercise Science in the College of Education. USF’s ATEP is now amongst a few in the country located within a College of Medicine and the only one housed in an orthopaedic department. Currently, athletic training is the only undergraduate degree in USF’s College of Medicine and leads to a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training.

The placement of this program in the Department of Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine provides exceptional educational opportunities for athletic training students to connect with the professionals they will work with during the rest of their careers. The ATEP offers learning experiences in a variety of clinical and community settings and daily collaboration between athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, orthopedic residents, primary care, and musculoskeletal medicine physicians. Students also benefit from the resources within the College of Medicine including the gross anatomy laboratory, the Center for Advanced Clinical Learning, medical simulators, and the USF Health Library. The placement also provides an opportunity for USF to be a leader not only in athletic training education, but to also educate the medical community.

Athletic training faculty members participate in the instruction of medical students in the musculoskeletal content areas in the MD curriculum. The USF Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine also houses the Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma Institute, a state-sponsored sports safety outreach program that has provided certified athletic trainers to high schools across the Tampa Bay region.

Dr. Robert Pedowitz, Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, is excited about having the ATEP within the department. “The long-standing relationship between athletic trainers and orthopaedic surgeons makes this a perfect learning environment for students. It also provides unique collaborative opportunities for faculty, clinicians, and residents. We have a chance to shape the future of the athletic training profession and will encourage other institutions to follow in our model. ”

The move has increased the popularity of the ATEP amongst students as approximately 250 pre-athletic training majors will compete for 30 admission slots yearly. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), and successful completion of the major qualifies students to sit for a national certification examination as well as meet all state practice requirements. Graduates from USF’s program have established successful careers as certified athletic trainers in secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports programs, sports medicine clinics, and other athletic health care setting. For more information click here