Possible athletic training major benefits ISU students

Sami Polson, sophomore in athletic training, wraps up running back Jeff Woody’s Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Jacobson Building. Students in the athletic training major spend time with athletes practicing the skills needed for the job. “I love it,” Polson said. 

Aimee Burch,.Com

Prospective and current ISU students may soon have a new option to choose from in the multitude of undergraduate majors currently offered to them.

A proposal currently on the Faculty Senate docket for the Nov. 8 meeting seeks to create a Bachelor of Science degree program in athletic training.

“We’ve always been on campus as a presence,” said Mary Meier, athletic training program director. “This is something we have to have for our external accreditation.”

The external accreditation Meier refers to is from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. According to the current proposal, CAATE mandated that all current accredited schools must have athletic training as its own degree program by 2014-15 in order to keep their accredited status.

While Iowa State has had athletic training as an option in the department of kinesiology and health since the 1980s and initially received CAATE accreditation in 2001, Iowa State risks losing it if the proposal to create a Bachelor of Science in athletic training is not passed.

Losing the CAATE accreditation may have serious implications for students. According to the Faculty Senate proposal, CAATE says that “graduating students cannot become a candidate to sit for the National Athletic Trainers Association certification exam and become a certified athletic trainer and licensed until they complete an accredited program.”

Iowa State stands in good position should this proposal pass.

“Nothing really will change,” Meier said. “The classes and faculty are already in place.”

Meier said the program currently averages between 120-130 students, with 60-70 of those being pre-athletic training students and the rest classified as full-fledged athletic training students. These students work with all the ISU athletic teams, or they may get sent to Drake University or Ames High School.

Should this pass in the allotted timetable, Meier said that students graduating in athletic training after May will receive the proposed Bachelor of Science in athletic training. However, Meier said she is currently unsure if those students who graduate before this date will receive this degree or a bachelor’s in kinesiology and health.

One of these students is Nicholas Sparacio, a senior from Geneva, Ill. Sparacio works with the ISU volleyball team alongside Meier.

“Right now, [my degree] will say Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and health,” Sparacio said.

Sparacio does not see this hindering his future ambitions regarding graduate school and employment.

“They’ll know my option was athletic training and that I took the classes and passed the boards,” Sparacio said. “This program is exceptional in terms of classes and clinicals. I was doing the job while still in school.”

Sparacio does see some benefits to introducing the athletic training program here at Iowa State.

“This will help promote the profession,” Sparacio said. “Athletic training is a unique and up-and-coming profession.”