About Our Program

Program Highlights

  • Housed in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine in the Morsani College of Medicine 
  • Formal inter-professional education with students within USF Health, including Physician Assistant, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Pharmacy, and Medical programs 
  • 26-weeks of immersive clinical experiences integrated throughout the program  
  • All students obtain clinical experiences in the high school, small college, major college, and general medical and rehabilitation clinic settings. Additional opportunities exist within the various professional sports teams in the Tampa Bay region.

Overview

The USF Athletic Training Program is a limited access program designed to prepare students for a successful career as an athletic trainer, educated and experienced in the management of health care problems associated with the physically active. 

The program is an intensive and continual 24-month program, with clinical experiences included across the curriculum.  All clinical experiences include immersive periods, where the student has no didactic responsibilities for weeks at a time and is fully integrated into their assigned clinical setting for that rotation.
   
If selected to the program, students must successfully complete required criteria set forth by the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, in addition to completed the regular university application process. Successful completion of the major qualifies students to take the Athletic Training profession's Board of Certification examination, as well as all relevant stare practice requirements.

The USF Athletic Training Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Graduates from our program establish successful careers as athletic trainers in secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports programs, sports medicine clinics, and other athletic health care settings.

Expectations

For any athletic training education program to be successful, each of the stakeholders involved with the educational process must commit to a standard of excellence. The following contributions are expected from our stakeholders.

Faculty

  • Provide current, evidence-based information in preparation for students becoming entry-level certified athletic trainers
  • Encourage students to be critical thinkers in an effort to become life-long learners
  • Engage students in ongoing research and development integrated within the curriculum
  • Model and promote professional behaviors from which students can learn

Staff

  • Support the needs of the faculty, clinical instructors, and students providing for a positive learning environment
  • Recognize Athletic Training Education students as future health care professionals
  • Integrate with the Athletic Training Program stakeholders with professionalism

Preceptors

  • Provide students with sound, evidence-based learning opportunities
  • Supplement classroom knowledge with clinical experience for students, recognizing the importance of both
  • Abide by program, university, and professional standards and policies and procedures
  • Serve as positive working role models for athletic training students
  • Communicate with faculty and students in an effort to provide continuous excellence for learning opportunities

Administration

  • Support faculty, staff, and preceptor program needs to deliver quality education
  • Recognize athletic training students as future health care professionals

Mission Statement

The mission of the USF Athletic Training Program is to provide our students with the most comprehensive and progressive foundation on which to build a career in Athletic Training.  Our educational program encompasses current research and formal instruction in the prevention, recognition, evaluation and treatment of the physically active.  Upon successful completion of this program, our students are eligible to sit for the Board of Certification (BOC) examination.

Vision

The vision of the USF Athletic Training Program is to be recognized as a leader in the field of Athletic Training by contributing to and advancing the knowledge base of injury prevention, injury recognition, injury management, and inter-professional collaboration.  Through the acquisition of evidence-based information and the use of new techniques and research, USF Athletic Training will serve as a model for community partnerships and innovative program delivery.

Goals & Objectives

Goals

  1. Develop the critical thinking, decision-making, and communication skills necessary for success in Athletic Training, allied health care, and a broader spectrum of professions in today's society.
  2. Expose students to hands-on experiences, clinical settings, and professionals representing a wide range of allied and medical health care professions.
  3. Provide a foundation for success predicated on both a didactic and clinical knowledge base.
  4. Provide an effective and interactive learning environment for students wishing to pursue a career in Athletic Training.
  5. Create an environment consistent with quality health care for the athletes/patients in the clinical setting, while achieving the educational goals of the student and the program.

Objectives

  1. Graduates of the Athletic Training Program will be prepared for an entry-level position in athletic training in a variety of settings with a wide range of athletic populations
  2. Graduates of the Athletic Training Program will be able to demonstrate specific knowledge in the field of Athletic Training as demonstrated by passing the national BOC examination for athletic trainers.
  3. Graduates of the Athletic Training Program will be recognized as prepared for entry-level positions or advanced study in athletic training by external constituencies, program faculty, potential employers, and self-evaluation.
  4. Graduates of the Athletic Training Program will find ready employment in the field.




History of Athletic Training at USF

The history of athletic training at the University of South Florida dates back to 1968 with the hiring of Tony Jonaitis as USF's first Athletic Trainer. From the late 1960s to the 1980s, Tony was the primary sports medicine figure at USF, building the foundation of the entire athletic department, including the treatment of student-athletes, intra-mural athletes, staff, faculty, and the Tampa Bay community. The university's "team physicians" were few and Tony provided care to all inter-collegiate athletic teams. His work has been recognized the Athletic Trainers Association of Florida, which inducted Tony into the Athletic Trainers Association of Florida Hall of Fame in 2006.

While our formal academic model in athletic training education spans more than 15 years, it is important to note that even prior to that, numerous students seeking certification from the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification (NATA-BOC) achieved it by way of internships. USF's formal Athletic Training Student Program was initiated in1983. The program began with only two interns and grew to include as many as twenty, averaging ten to twelve students per year.

When changes in the Athletic Training profession and academia established a more formalized education preparation, development of an accredited Athletic Training Program began. After two years of discussion and preparation, the USF Athletic Training Program began, implemented within the USF School of Physical Education. In the fall of 1999, Dr. Dave Klossner was hired as the Athletic Training Program Director. The program was granted Candidacy status by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) for the 2000-2001 academic year due to his exceptional efforts. The accreditation self-study was submitted in September of 2002 with the site visit taking place during the spring of 2003. The USF Athletic Training Program obtained initial accreditation in October of 2003.

The summer of 2007 marked the start of a new era in our athletic training history. In a bold move to further strengthen its role in Sports Medicine and a buildup of sports safety and orthopedics at USF Health, the program was moved from the College of Education to the Morsani College of Medicine. Our Athletic Training Program is housed in the medical school's Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

The summer of 2015 marked the next big milestone in the Athletic Training program at USF, in that we admitted our first cohort of Master's level professional students. The graduating class of 2016 was the last group of students to complete their Athletic Training degree at USF with a Bachelor's degree.

Directors of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainers

Tony Jonaitis
1968 - 1982
Lenny Currier
1982 - 1985
Barry Clements
1985 - 1990
Mary Ellen Williford
1991 - 1995
Holly Karol
1995 - 1998
Mike Estes
1998 - 1999
Kim Smith
1999 - 2000
Steve Walz
2000 - present

Athletic Training Program Director

Dave Klossner 1999 - 2001
Shane Stecyk 2001 - 2002
Micki Cuppett 2002 - 2006
Jeff Konin 2007
Micki Cuppett 2007 - 2013
Steven Zinder 2013 - 2018
Amanda Tritsch 2018 - present

Clinical Coordinator

Joanne Turk
2000 - 2001
Steve Walz
2001 - 2002
Valerie Rich
2003 - 2005
Pradeep Vanguri
2005 - 2008
Barbara Morris
2009 - 2011
Steven Zinder
2012 - 2013
Amanda Tritsch
2013 - 2018
Emily Hall
2016 - present