CMU's History of Educating Athletic Trainers


Central Michigan University has supported athletic training education since 1972.   Due to the work of our founders, Ken Kopke and Ron Sendre (shown at right) and others, an athletic training minor was approved by the university academic senate in January 1973 and first appeared in the 1973-1974 university bulletin. The Board of Directors of the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) approved this education program on July 23, 1973 leading the way to a long tradition of preparing students to become certified athletic trainers (ATC).

As the athletic training profession transformed from a trade to a profession, and curricula and accreditation evolved in the 70's and 80's, so did the education program at CMU. In 1979, the faculty and staff at CMU supported the NATA Professional Education Committee (PEC) resolution to develop athletic training education programs as academic majors and formulated a 64-hour sports medicine major. As published in the 1981-82 bulletin, CMU was proud to offer students the choice of either a major, known then as the Sports Medicine major, or an athletic training minor, as programs of study to achieve national certification. In the spring of 1984, the NATA PEC evaluation team conducted a comprehensive on-site visit. CMU's undergraduate sports medicine major (leading to athletic training certification) was the first program in the country evaluated, by the PEC, as an undergraduate academic major. On June 12, 1984, the NATA Board of Directors continued its approval of CMU's athletic training education programs. Since 1984, many curriculum revisions and accreditation visits have taken place, maintaining the strong tradition of education. Each visit resulted in continuing approval or accreditation of CMU's athletic education programs. The athletic training minor was eliminated in 1989, so faculty and staff could focus its resources and energy on the advancement of the 75-hour athletic training/sports medicine major for the preparation of entry-level certified athletic trainers.  The athletic training program's most recent on-site evaluation occurred in the fall of 2014. In February 2015, the Commission of Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) awarded CMU's program continuing accreditation with the next comprehensive evaluation scheduled to occur during the 2024-2025 academic year. The Athletic Training Program was compliant in ALL 109 accreditation standards!  The Athletic Training Program faculty, staff and preceptors, as well as the CMU administration, remain committed to excellence for delivering an athletic training program that exceeds the Standards for the Accreditation of Entry-Level Athletic Training Programs adopted by CAATE.  In 2011-2012, CMU began offering a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training (BSAT), with a single major, Athletic Training. The BSAT is the first degree in athletic training in the state of Michigan.  In addition, the Athletic Training Program relocated to the School of Rehabilitation and Medical Sciences, within The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions.

The percentage of students passing the Board of Certification Athletic Training Examination for the last three years is 98.6%.  Our percentage is well above the national average.  Students who graduate with an athletic training major are sought after by employers and accepted into graduate programs. Graduate programs include athletic training, nutrition, kinesiology and exercise science. Professional programs include physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, and medical schools (i.e., allopathic, osteopathic and chiropractic).  Graduates entering the workforce are employed throughout the country in hospitals, clinics, industry and corporate facilities, high schools, colleges, professional sports, as well as in performing arts.   Furthermore, employer surveys conducted by the Athletic Training Program reveal that graduates possess a vast majority of skills and experiences desired by employers and do so at a level consistently equivalent or superior to graduates from other Michigan institutions.