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Program Highlights

  • Cutting edge coursework & immersive clinical experiences with emphasis on neurotrauma/concussion, return to sports, musculoskeletal rehabilitation, & manual therapies
  • Collaborative & caring mentors, preceptors, supervisors, and faculty
  • Research opportunities with direct impact to clinical care & to athletic training
  • Opportunity to work as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer in our Sports Medicine Program and assist with providing care to Tar Heel athletes
  • Graduate assistant stipend, tuition assistance, & health care coverage opportunities available
  • Additional certification options (e.g., Performance Enhancement Specialist)
  • Work collaboratively with a variety of health care professionals & experts in injury prevention, management & rehabilitation
  • World class clinical setting & facilities in the collegiate sport/Division I environment

Program Description

The Department of Exercise and Sport Science in cooperation with the Division of Sports Medicine and the Department of Athletics offers a specialization in athletic training at the graduate level which was initially approved as a Graduate Post-Professional Athletic Training Education Program in 1975.  The graduate program prepares individuals to function as clinicians, scientists, and educators, in exercise and sport science. The mission of the department is further enhanced through interdisciplinary cooperation and by departmental faculty securing competitive extramural funding in the form of contracts and grants. These endeavors enable the department to advance knowledge and thus the discipline.

The Division of Sports Medicine at the University of North Carolina was established in 1972 to provide for all the health care needs of the student-athlete, in addition to first aid, athletic training, and follow-up care for physically active, intramural, and free play athletes injured during normal operating hours. As the student-athlete population expanded and the need for Sports Medicine care became greater, the Sports Medicine Section started providing Physical Therapy care for all students. Since the opening of the Campus Health Service in January 1980, the Sports Medicine Section has operated a physical therapy clinic that is available to all students upon referral by a physician.

The Division of Sports Medicine is housed administratively in the Campus Health Service. An original charge of the Campus Health Service was to provide educational and clinical opportunities and experience to a variety of health care professionals including medical students; residents in orthopedics, family practice, and pediatrics; athletic trainers; and physical therapists. The Division worked cooperatively with the Department of Physical Education and the Division of Physical Therapy to establish a graduate program in Athletic Training. This graduate program gained initial approval from the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) in 1975 and is now administered through the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. The Athletic Training specialization shares close ties with a number of units on campus including the Department of Athletics, the Campus Health Service, the Department of Orthopedics, the Intramural Program, and the Club Sports Program. This is a unique arrangement relative to most of our peer institutions.

The graduate specialization in Athletic Training provides additional cognitive knowledge as well as clinical experiences to students who have demonstrated continuing interests in Athletic Training as a chosen profession. An academic curriculum dealing with prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation of athletic injuries is supplemented by clinical experiences in the athletic training clinics and physical therapy clinic staffed by the Campus Health Services’ Division of Sports Medicine. Additional practical experience is provided through assignment of students to coverage of two athletic teams during the school year. Clinical experiences are under the direct supervision of a highly qualified staff.

The Athletic Training specialization is comprehensive and challenging and is designed to provide maximum academic and practical preparation for the professional Athletic Trainer.