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WCU Athletic Training: Winning!

Neil Curtis, Coordinator of Athletic Training Education,
Department of Sports Medicine

Faculty, students and alumni in the University's undergraduate Athletic Training (AT) program in the Department of Sports Medicine have been earning some high profile recognition lately.

At the Eastern Athletic Trainers Association (EATA) January meeting, Neil Curtis, WCU's coordinator of athletic training education, won the Presidential Recognition Award. A previous winner of the National Association of Athletic Trainers (NATA) Athletic Trainer Service Award (2010), he was honored for his service, among which are his various roles on EATA committees, his mentorship of students and graduates, and his professional commitments to those organizations.

Senior Rebecca Dubas of Mechanicsburg, Pa., won the NATA District 2 Charles Thompson Scholarship and was also selected and funded by the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society to attend NATA's iLEAD Athletic Training Student Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas. Dubas has accepted a graduate assistant position at UNC Chapel Hill.

Faculty member Nicole Cattano MPH'04 won EATA's 2015 Graduate Student Outstanding Poster Presentation Award for her presentation "Biomarker Response after an Acute Running Bout in Participants with and without an Acute Knee Injury History."

Paula Sammarone Turocy '82 gave the EATA's prestigious William "Pinky" Newell Memorial Address. Turocy is director of the Pre-Medical and Health Professions Program and one of the founders of the athletic training education program at Duquesne University.

Also in January, Kevin Hyland '94 was awarded the 2015 Secondary School Athletic Trainer Award for NATA District 2. Hyland has worked at Manasquan (N.J.) High School for 20 years.

And we previously reported on junior Amy Toner of Rock Hill, S.C., who won a free ride to NATA's June convention in St. Louis in a social media contest. Their success reflects the quality of WCU's AT program. According to the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), WCU boasts the country's second largest AT program based on the number of students graduating each year and the number who pass their certification exam. Over three years (2012-2014), the CAATE reported a 97 percent pass rate for the 93 WCU students who took the exam in that time period.

This distinction is one of the elements that make WCU's AT program unique, notes Curtis. Also differentiating WCU's AT program from the 356 other accredited programs are the facts that freshmen enter directly into the program and WCU faculty are active athletic trainers.

"The interaction with our athletic training majors while we're providing care for our student athletes and while we're supervising clinical rotations for the majors allows us to really get to know them," Curtis says.

On March 26, the Sports Medicine Department will bring two noted athletic training alumni to campus in a new annual speaker series: Vincent Hudson '83 PhD, DPT, MBA, ATC is chief operating officer for the Orthopaedic Associates of Allentown, and Rose A. Schmieg '85, DHSc, ATC, PT, OCS, CSCS, is associate professor and Program Director of the Divisions of Athletic Training and Physical Therapy at Shenandoah University in Virginia. The program will include case study presentations from current AT students.