10-year accreditation for USF Health’s Athletic Training Program

Amanda Tritsch, PhD, ATC, CSCS, had a busy 2018. The director of USF Health’s Professional Athletic Training Program and her team spent months making sure they met all 110 standards required by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Their diligence paid off in January when the program received full accreditation for the next 10 years.

Having that designation is important, Dr. Tritsch said, because “when athletic trainers sit for the board of certification exam they have to graduate from an accredited program.”  The program received its initial accreditation in 2003.

Athletic trainers are vital for assessing and treating orthopedic and general medical conditions of patients. Often noticed only when seen running onto the field to treat an injury, athletic trainers also are deeply involved in practice and conditioning sessions as well as helping patients rehabilitate those injuries later.

“We care for the physically active (with) immediate treatment, long-term rehab, prevention of injury (and) assessment,” Dr. Tritsch said. “The goal is to keep our patients as healthy and active as they can possibly be.”

The need for board-certified athletic trainers at sporting events and on practice fields is often tragically apparent. For example, heat was the largest cause of weather-related deaths nationwide last year, according to National Oceanic

and Atmospheric Administration, and athletes are often at risk.

“If we appropriately treat exertional heat stroke, death is 100 percent preventable,” Dr. Tritsch said. “Certified athletic trainers are the first line of defense for the majority of high school and collegiate athletes.”

Students seeking a Master of Science in Athletic Training degree from the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine must complete an intensive, 24-month program. In addition to normal coursework, the students spend whole weeks in clinical settings, Dr. Tritsch said.

“People who generally get involved in athletic training are people who want to help keep people healthy or get people healthy as quickly as possible following an injury or illness,” she said.

Laura Lee “Dolly” Swisher, PT, MDiv, PhD, FAPTA, the associate dean of USF Health and director of the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, congratulated the Athletic Training Program for achieving and being able to continue partnerships in education, practice, and research.

Amanda Tritsch, PhD, program director of the Professional Athletic Training Program, smiles recently in one of her classrooms. USF Health Athletic Training Program recently received a 10-year accreditation.

“Athletic training faculty and students are outstanding partners in interprofessional education, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with them,” Dr. Swisher said.

USF Health’s Athletic Training Program is part of the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, one of the few programs nationwide to be housed in medical school.

“This gives us many amazing opportunities to work with other professions in the College of Medicine,” said Anne McGrath, a second-year student in the athletic training master’s program.

Like many athletic training students, McGrath has experienced a clinical rotation with Tampa’s numerous professional, collegiate, and high school teams.

McGrath said she was attracted to athletic training because of her desire for a career in medicine. Also, she said she enjoys being part of a profession she describes as a “tight-knit community.”

“I have always loved playing and watching sports so working with athletes is a lot of fun for me,” she said. “I also love to solve problems and be creative, which you have to do a lot of in this field.”