At this year’s National Athletic Training Association Conference, The University of Toledo had the largest number of research presentations of any institution for the second year in a row, making up almost 8 percent of the content reported.This also was the first conference in which UT’s Graduate Athletic Training Education Program was recognized by the association as accredited. The UT program was accredited in March, making it the 16th program of its kind in the nation.
“The accreditation was a long time coming and a great accomplishment for the University,” said Dr. Phillip Gribble, UT associate professor in kinesiology.
Coming from an accredited athletic training graduate program, Gribble wanted to see Toledo take a similar route when he came to the University 10 years ago. UT already had an accredited undergraduate program in athletic training, and faculty members wanted to see the program grow.
“We started in 2004 with four students,” Gribble said. “We currently have 20 students in the program. We’ve exponentially increased the number of students we have in the program. It’s been a lot of fun to see that over almost a decade we’ve built the program to what it is now.”
The accreditation of the program was through the National Athletic Training Association, the professional organization of athletic training. The association took an investigative look at the program’s curriculum, research and involvement of the students in clinical settings in order to determine whether it was fit for accreditation. Representatives then came to UT for a November site visit last year to study the facilities, students and faculty.
“Overall, they were extremely impressed with what The University of Toledo has been able to produce,” Gribble said. “They had no major concerns at all about our program. For being a first-time application to the accreditation process, I’m really proud of that.”
Gribble was joined at the National Athletic Training Association conference this summer in St. Louis by Dr. Brian Pietrosimone, UT assistant professor in kinesiology, and 19 students from the Graduate Athletic Training Education Program.
“This solidified us as one of the strongest programs in the country in athletic training and sports medicine research,” Pietrosimone said. “Our success is largely due to the fact that we have some of the best students.”
The faculty and students gave 26 presentations on lower extremity injuries, such as those in the knee and ankle. Topics discussed by other institutions were concussions, sudden death and shoulder injuries.
Gribble said that although concussions are more serious and deadly, research on lower extremity injuries is just as important because they are much more common and can have negative, long-lasting effects. Research on these types of injuries is a main focus at UT and is pertinent to athlete health at the adolescent, collegiate and professional levels.
Another great accomplishment was Gribble’s induction into this year’s class of fellows. He has been attending the conference since 1996, when he began presenting as a student. Pietrosimone has been attending and presenting research for seven years.