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About the institute

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ATSU’s commitment to youth sports safety

ATSU is committed to enhancing the quality of America’s youth sports by promoting health, safety, and wellness through education and research for the benefit of coaches, parents, and athletes.

Our Athletic Training program focuses on the unique healthcare needs of youth athletes suffering from sport-related injuries (SRI). According to estimates, more than 12 million adolescent athletes suffer sport-related musculoskeletal injuries, and between 1.4 and 3.9 million suffer from sport-related concussions.

Left untreated, SRI can interfere with or prevent participation in athletics and physical activity, both of which have significant physical and mental health benefits. The lack of physical activity decreases the likelihood of exercise as an adult, leading to obesity.

ATSU’s Athletic Training program addresses this social need through a solid curriculum that targets health conditions suffered by this patient population. Established in 1997, the Master of Science degree program in Athletic Training is an accredited, two-year residential curriculum designed for the post-professional preparation of advanced practice athletic training clinicians. This is the only program of its kind in Arizona and one of just 16 nationwide.

Three distinct areas characterize our approach to athletic training education:

  1. Advanced knowledge and clinical practice skills in physical examination and diagnosis, orthopedic rehabilitation, and pediatric athletic training;
  2. The provision of patient-centered whole person healthcare services emphasizing evidence-based clinical practice, clinical outcomes assessment, and healthcare informatics; and
  3. Professionalism as a healthcare provider with knowledge of key healthcare dynamics in the United States and advanced knowledge and skills in athletic training leadership, administration, and management.

Providing access to care, engaging the community

Our students are immersed in our local community and beyond, providing athletic training services to secondary schools, community colleges, and universities. They serve in places facing significant deficiencies in the delivery of athletic healthcare services. Thanks to their efforts, thousands of Arizona high school students receive access to athletic training services.

ATSU is also conducting pioneering research in this area. Dr. Tamara McLeod has cultivated a well-established line of research into the diagnosis and management of pediatric sport-related concussions in youth athletes. She and her team have provided baseline neurocognitive testing for more than 10,000 high school athletes across the Greater Phoenix area.

Our Athletic Training program is the first and only secondary school practice-based research network in the country, accredited by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Through this network, the Athletic Training program provides free electronic medical records to secondary school trainers across the country, while collecting data on the clinical practice of athletic training that will lead to improved patient care.

Your support changes lives

Dwight Patterson Youth Sports Scholarship is a life-changer. It not only inspires scholarship recipients to promote youth sports safety but also allows them to pursue research in important areas like the study of concussions.

Take the example of Richelle Mayfield, AT, ’13, our 2012 Dwight Patterson Youth Sports Scholarship award winner. Richelle became attracted to ATSU primarily through recommendations from other alumni who graduated from the school and through a personal interest in concussion research led by Dr. McLeod.

She is very thankful for the scholarship and urges ATSU alumni to support this initiative.

“If alumni support this scholarship, I think it would help current students with financial comfort. I know most current students are paying their own way through graduate school by taking out loans.

The scholarship has helped me financially with some expenses for graduate school. I am paying my way, so a little help from this scholarship added a lift of weight off my shoulders. I would recommend ATSU to many other students. It is a well-rounded program and offers a lot.”