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October 7, 2004 - Aquinas College is proud to announce that it has received initial accreditation of its Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP). The five-year accreditation was granted by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) during its recent meeting. Aquinas' program development began six years ago in anticipation of the education reform in the athletic training profession and is a result of a team effort between the School's athletic and academic departments.

Aquinas employs four Certified Athletic Trainers (ATC), two of whom are full-time faculty members and two intercollegiate Athletic Trainers who teach in the ATEP part-time. Students interested in becoming Certified Athletic Trainers must graduate from an accredited athletic training curriculum, such as Aquinas', and are required to pass a national certification exam sponsored by the Board of Certification (BOC).

Phil Hatlem, assistant professor and chairman of the Health, Physical Education, Recreation Department, says the accreditation "greatly enhances career opportunities for students in the program." Alissa Jackson, a senior from Colon High School in southern Michigan who wants to become a certified athletic trainer and a physical therapist, is both excited and relieved by the news.

"It helps to affirm the quality of the athletic training curriculum here (at Aquinas)," she said. "This means I can take the certification exam immediately after graduation and begin pursuing my career."
Among the required courses are: anatomy, human physiology, exercise physiology,
kinesiology, nutrition, psychology, pharmacology, pathology, athletic training and health care administration, prevention of injuries and illness, assessment and evaluation of injury/illness, emergency care, therapeutic modalities and therapeutic exercise.

Classroom learning is enhanced through clinical education experiences. Under the supervision of a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC), students further develop their knowledge and skills in a wide range of settings, including scholastic sports, intercollegiate sports, health centers, hospitals, sports medicine clinics and professional sports

All students complete an internship experience off-campus which has included AQ students working with the Rampage, Grand Rapids Community College and Forest Hills Northern High School. However, the majority of the students' clinical experience comes from working with the Aquinas athletes.

Typical ATC duties include: practice or competition preparation including taping, bandaging and bracing, evaluation of injuries, rehabilitation of injuries, development of conditioning program, treatment of injuries. By graduation, the athletic training student is expected to be able to perform all listed duties.
ATCs work at secondary schools, colleges and universities either on the service side assigned to the athletic department or the academic side as faculty members or a combination teacher/trainer, professional sports, sports medicine clinics, corporate health programs, health clubs and industrial health care programs.