The clinical experience involves assignment for coverage of 2 athletic teams throughout the entire year under the direct supervision of one of the staff athletic trainers (students keep these same team assignments for two years). Additional practical experience is provided through assignment of approximately 4-6 hours/week in the athletic training clinics and physical therapy clinic staffed by the Campus Health Services’ Division of Sports Medicine. Students are also assigned to work in the athletic training clinic for Intramural/Recreational Sports Program.
Team coverage assignments for incoming first year students for the next academic year are made subsequent to completion of the admissions process for new graduate students. The assignments are determined by the athletic training staff. An effort is made to assign each student to a sport with which they have little or no experience. The student’s personality and individual team travel responsibilities are also taken into consideration.
The University of North Carolina sponsors 28 varsity sports:
- Cross Country
- Indoor Track
- Outdoor Track
- Cross Country
- Indoor Track
- Outdoor Track
- Field Hockey
* The Athletic training staff is also responsible for the cheerleading and dance squads.
With the exception of football and men’s basketball which are handled a little differently, each of the other sports is assigned one orthopedist, one family practice physician, one staff athletic trainer, one second year graduate student, one first year graduate student, and potentially professional immersion students and/or an undergraduate students participating in the observer program. Thus, the amount of time required of the graduate student, as well as the amount of responsibility assumed by the staff athletic trainer assigned is variable between sports. Students are encouraged to be present at as many practices and games as scheduling permits. However, it is critical to understand that because all of our teams essentially practice year round it is necessary to adjust the schedule so that a student can spend some time with each of their teams, giving priority to that team which is currently “in season”. The key to the successful operation of our program is close daily communication between all members of the sports medicine team so that everyone remains appraised of what is going on with each individual injured athlete.
Despite the fact that our athletic training staff here at UNC is quite large, a conscientious effort is made to provide graduate students with opportunities to assume some of the administrative responsibilities associated with team coverage. Each student is instructed to meet with the supervising athletic trainer to discuss the type of working relationship that should exist in team coverage. There is some variability from one team to the next, however the graduate students are given responsibility for the following:
- Setting up and conducting preseason orthopedic screenings for members of their individual teams prior to the beginning of official practices.
- Obtaining completed medical history forms for each athlete on the team and arranging for each incoming freshman or any upper-class person who has never done so, to get a physical from the Sports Medicine Physicians.
- Students should be responsible for injury evaluations and implementation and follow-up of treatment plans for any athlete on their team, under the supervision of the staff athletic trainer.
- Maintaining accurate and up-to-date injury records in the appropriate team injury logs.
- Arranging for team travel with regard to necessary supplies and equipment.
- Supervising the undergraduate athletic training students and observational students.
Physical Therapy Clinic Coverage
The Division of Sports Medicine has been charged with the responsibility of providing physical therapy to any enrolled student requiring such services. In addition, the sports medicine staff also treats private patients from the community in the Physical Therapy clinic located in the James A. Taylor Campus Health Service.
In an effort to prepare our students for potential employment in a clinical setting, during their second and third semesters, graduate student are assigned to work one full afternoon each week seeing patients in the Physical Therapy Clinic. This experience is directly supervised by a staff ATC/ PT.
Graduate students are also responsible for staffing the athletic training clinic during the Intramural/Recreational Sports Program which operates Sunday afternoons and between 6 pm-11pm Monday through Thursday. Coverage is assigned on a rotating schedule so that each student covers that program approximately once every two weeks.