My program is called Sports Medicine. In this program, I have strived to combine my background in exercise science and pre-sports medici
ne with the prerequisites required of Plymouth State University’s Master of Science Professional Athletic Training Program. I’m choosing to create this program for several reasons. At this point in my education, Interdisciplinary Studies makes the most sense because I am working to pull together two associates degrees and credits from my first year of college to move towards my goal of becoming a certified athletic trainer.
In combining the classes I have taken from both institutions I have attended, I believe I have laid the foundation for a program that supports the knowledge needed to be successful in a Master’s Degree program and in my future career.
By definition, “Sports medicine is an umbrella term that encompasses both clinical and scientific aspects of exercise and sport” (Hall, 2012, p. 3). Athletic training is a profession that is included under the ‘umbrella’ of sports medicine, which also includes several other disciplines I have taken the time to study.
Before returning to Plymouth State this fall, I previously attended Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Massachusetts (2013-2016). Many of the courses in my contract are transfer credits from Northern Essex. In my three years there I completed two Associate’s Degrees: General Studies, and General Studies with a focus in Exercise Science/Pre- Sports Medicine. Prior to transferring to Northern Essex, I was an athletic training major here at Plymouth State (2012-2013). The first year of my college education planted the seed for the continued growth of my passion for athletic training and future goals.
The courses on my contract primarily come from Athletic Training, Health Education, and Physical Education disciplines. While these disciplines are in the same departments, Health and Human Performance, they differ giving me a fully rounded interdisciplinary contract.
Prevention and Care of Injuries in Active Populations (AT2250) provided insight into the basics of athletic training concepts. With a major focus on mechanisms of injury and creation of an injury notebook/taping man
ual, a cohesive overview of several aspects of athletic training made prevention and care one of the most important classes I’ve taken to date.
The knowledge gained in this class has built a solid base of information that I can draw from in my future education. The ability to analyze statistical data on injuries, athlete predisposition, injury prevention and exercise routines associated with injuries is a crucial skill in the athletic training world. As an athletic trainer, the main goal is to keep athletes healthy. By knowing what injuries can occur to athletes in different sports and practice routines, the athletic trainer is given an upper hand in preventing and treating these injuries.
In most every health/medical professions, the population being cared for is referred to as ‘patients.’ In athletic training, since the main populations being cared for are athletes, they are always referred to as such. Introduction to Patient Care (HE1999) aims to prepare health care professionals for dealing with patients (or athletes) that may be in crisis or pain. Athletes that suffer season or career ending injuries need to be treated with a different kind of compassion than those suffering from a less serious or acute injury. All athletes must be treated with respect, but certain changes in tone of voice and body language must be taken into account. First Aid and CPR/AED (HE2500) is a critical set of skills associated with athletic training. In the event an athlete goes unconscious, has a catastrophic injury, or goes into cardiac arrest, an athletic trainer would be on scene to perform a potentially lifesaving response. First Aid and CPR Instructor (HE3660) will provide a sturdier base of knowledge and the ability to instruct others on life saving techniques. Understanding HIPAA and athlete’s rights are just a few of the many competencies Health Care Law and Ethics (HE2999) taught me. Ethical and moral obligations of health are a huge part of any allied health profession, athletic training included.
Many aspects of sports medicine interest me, not just athletic training. As a former athlete and coach, the psychology of sport has been in the forefront of my interests. As an athletic trainer, there is the opportunity to not only care for an athlete’s physical health, but also taking the time to ensure they are mentally well. Mental Health Issues (HE3210) gives insight into several different mental illnesses as well as warning signs and how to get help for those who may be suffering from any sort of mental distress. Mental health can be greatly impacted by physical health. That being said, athletes with
severe injuries are at a greater risk for developing mental health issues like depression or anxiety. This class will provide information that is pertinent to recognizing behavior changes in athletes and the signs of a developing mental illness. Similar to mental health, Exercise and Health Psychology (HE4010) will delve deep into the psychology behind all different activity. My hope is that this class will provide a better understanding of the theories behind the mental stresses athletes face. Drug use and abuse in athletes is a topic that should not be taken lightly. Drug Behavior (HE3700) will give an overview of controlled and illicit substances, also signs and symptoms of abuse. Drug use and abuse among athletes is not totally uncommon and the class will provide information to help me recognize the difference between use, abuse, and misuse of certain drugs.
Rigorous exercise is an undeniable major aspect of most sports. With intense exercise, proper care of the body is imperative. Functional Anatomy (PE2750) provided a base of knowledge about corrective exercise that will further help with the creation of prehabilitation and rehabilitation routines. Kinesiology (PE3570) teaches the basic biomechanics of human movement. Understanding these concepts gives an athletic trainer a better understanding of mechanisms of injury and forces exerted on the body. An exercising body requires several things in order to function properly. Exercise Physiology (PE3580) goes in depth in the needs of muscles and bodies before, during, and after exercise. Athletic trainers need to know how the body makes and consumes energy in order to educate athletes on how to properly care for themselves.
Exercise Prescription (PE4780) and Strength and Conditioning (PE2831) discuss similar aspects of maintaining overall physical health. Both courses provide strength training and conditioning routines that keep athletes game ready during the season. Also, both courses provide overviews on how to stay in shape without over training during the off season. Special Topics Applied Strength and Conditioning (PE3710) will give me an opportunity to work with athletes and create fitness programs on and off season training. This will add to my ability to create prehabilitation and rehabilitation routines. One major factor in athletes’ overall health and physical fitness is their diets. Human Nutrition and Health (HE3220) discussed topics of macro and micro nutrients, importance of vitamins and minerals and also how the body converts food into viable energy.
The knowledge I have gained or plan to gain from the courses in my
contract are supported by all the other courses on my transcript. These courses work together to create a concrete foundation of knowledge that will support me in my future endeavors in graduate school. Interdisciplinary Studies has given
me the opportunity to take not only the prerequisites for the graduate program I have chosen, but also supporting courses that have or will further educate me on topics pertinent to athletic training. Plymouth State University’s Master of Science Professional Athletic Training Program is unique because it accepts students with any educational backgrounds. This program is one of the main reasons I returned to Plymouth State and why creating my own major was right for me.
The ability to apply existing PSU credits along with transfer credits to create my own degree program is unrivaled by any existing program I could have chosen. Every course I have taken or plan to take has pointed me in the direction of my goal, becoming a certified athletic trainer.
Hall, S. J. (2012). Basic Biomechanics. (6th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill Education.