By Sam Phillips
Youngstown State University will offer a Master of Athletic Training in the fall 2016 semester.
Jennifer Pintar, chair of exercise science, said they are excited to bring this grad program to YSU.
“We started the process about a year-and-a-half ago … because there was so much interest from the community for athletic trainers,” Pintar said.
She and an athletic trainer at YSU began writing the proposal for the grad program, and when Jessica Wallace, assistant professor of exercise science, was hired, she helped write the final proposal.
Wallace said the goal of the program is for people to become certified athletic trainers. After a student graduates, he or she must also get a medical license and pass a national certification exam to practice athletic training.
Wallace said she is anticipating about 15 to 20 applications for the fall 2016 semester.
“I think the first year will be the most uncertain year because it’s brand new, and we have to get the word out,” Wallace said. “As we get up and rolling, we expect the popularity to grow, word to get out and to get much higher admissions.”
A student who is receiving a degree in exercise science has the option of doing the 4+1 program to obtain their bachelor in exercise science and their MAT within five years.
Students not majoring in exercise science will need to enroll in the two-year program.
The program focuses on five domains: anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, healthcare administration, gross anatomy and illnesses.
These comprehensive courses ensure that students will be competent in athletic training as well as treating sports injuries.
“We look at an athletic trainer as a total healthcare professional for people who are involved in sports and people who are physically active,” Wallace said.
There will be a large amount of clinical work and observation, but Pintar said research is also an important component of the program.
“We are going to incorporate research projects as well as opportunities for data collection and evidence based practices within this program,” Pintar said. “Students will do a capstone project and will be involved in a line of research or some type of project that peaks their interest.”
The topics for their research can be anything from concussions, to sickle cell diseases or rotator cuff tears.
“Whatever sparks their interest, they will be able to find that niche and complete a capstone project on that,” Pintar said.
Wallace said there are always job opportunities for athletic trainers within the National Athletic Trainers Association, but students are likely to find job opportunities while completing their clinical rotations.
“They will be placed at a clinical site, where they will gain clinical experience and training,” Wallace said. “So upon that they can find this avenue of athletic training they really like, whether it’s collegiate athletics, professional athletics, high school athletics and follow a career trajectory.”
Ericka Armeni, an exercise science major, is interested in enrolling in the program.
“It will open the doors to higher level jobs,” Armeni said. “After graduation, I would like to find a job as a trainer on a college campus or with the masters be able to run a rec center like ours.”
She said it’s a very hands-on degree. Students will engage in classroom education in the mornings and experience clinical education in the afternoons.
“We’re very excited about this program, and we do believe it’s going to shine a very positive spotlight not only on our department but the university as a whole,” Pintar said.
She said the plan is to engage the community with the program.
“You’ll see our MAT students working with high school students, working with college athletes, so it’s going to be great for touchpoints all around,” Pintar said.