In this month’s post, we want to highlight the recent re-design of the Athletic Training Program at William Woods University since Dr. Steve Middleton began his role as the new Program Director of the Athletic Training Program.
In conjunction with the Athletic Training Strategic Alliance’s decision to raise the professional degree level of athletic trainers from a bachelor’s to a master’s degree, William Woods is offering an accelerated track to obtain both a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and a Master of Science in Athletic Training in just five years.
During their junior year, exercise science majors concentrating in sport medicine and pre-athletic training can apply to be accepted into William Woods master’s in athletic training program. If accepted, students will start on master’s level courses during their senior year of the bachelors in exercise science program, earning dual credit.
Dr. Steve Middleton also recently established a new physical therapy and sports medicine clinic on campus. This new facility offers a space where all students, faculty, and staff on campus can seek treatment. This not only provides a great resource to the William Woods community, but also opportunities for athletic training students to obtain clinical education and gain additional experience outside of class.
Strong clinical focus
The athletic training program places strong emphasis on gaining hands-on experience through completing clinical education at off-campus locations. Students will have the opportunity to complete their clinical education in a wide range of workplace settings across Missouri. Some of the clinical settings students have been assigned to in the past include:
- The Missouri Military Academy working alongside nurse practitioners
- Columbia Public Schools working with high school athletes alongside a supervising athletic trainer
- Fulton Medical Center working with physical therapists and physicians to observe surgeries, perform screenings and help patients recover
- Various other outpatient physical therapy clinics, walk-in clinics, urgent care units and more
Earlier this year, in celebration of National Athletic Training Month, The Woods Today highlighted the clinical education of a few seniors, sharing case studies of their experience working with unique patient populations as part of their senior capstone.
A strong competitive edge
With a background in athletic training, physical therapy, and rehabilitation science, Dr. Middleton believes in the importance of students gaining hands-on experience early on in their education. He feels it is also important for clinicians to be aware of the latest tools and techniques currently being utilized in the field. This can help new graduates with obtaining positions. More experienced clinicians are better equipped to provide patients with an educated opinion about seemingly “fad” techniques.
Of the 239 entry-level athletic training programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, William Woods University is proud to be one of only 23 entry-level program in the country that offers certification in Graston Technique, which is typically offered only as a continuing education course for certified athletic trainers. The athletic training program at William Woods also offers kinesiology taping courses, which is rare for entry level courses.
Dr. Middleton has restructured the application-based learning portion of this program based on the constantly evolving needs of the athletic training profession to give students a sound scientific foundation.