Coming Soon! Brenau Jumps Sports Training Curve

With the growing awareness of sports-related injuries for all age groups, Brenau envisions new career path possibilities. Soon, says College of Health Sciences Dean Gale Starich, the university will offer an undergraduate degree program in physical training. It will serve as an academic feeder program for the physical therapy and the occupational therapy graduate programs, says Starich, who is also dean of the Sidney O. Smith Jr. Graduate School, but it will also provide necessary undergraduate credentials for those seeking to enter the sports training world.

“We’re really starting to see the consequences of sports injuries, particularly concussions from soccer, football and cheerleading – those are the big three,” she says. “There’s a greater awareness of those longterm effects. Early intervention, particularly early stabilization of the injury before medical treatment, is so important that most states have started mandating that every high school have a physical trainer on staff. That’s going to open up a lot of job possibilities in the future, along with the needs of sports teams, for anyone who wants to work with athletes.”

Mike Clanton, an athletic trainer employed by Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville to oversee the programs at Brenau and at other colleges and high schools in the region, agrees that the Brenau program, which would be only the sixth of its kind in the state, is ahead of the growth curve in the profession. “When I first came to Brenau 10 years ago, there were only 40 athletes on campus. Now we have 185 and are still growing, so there’s a need.”

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