About Our Program
History of Athletic Training at USF
The history of athletic training at the University of South Florida dates back to 1968 with the hiring of Tony Jonaitis as USF's first Athletic Trainer. From the late 1960s to the 1980s, Tony was the primary sports medicine figure at USF, building the foundation of the entire athletic department, including the treatment of student-athletes, intra-mural athletes, staff, faculty, and the Tampa Bay community. The university's "team physicians" were few and Tony provided care to all inter-collegiate athletic teams. His work has been recognized the Athletic Trainers Association of Florida, which inducted Tony into the Athletic Trainers Association of Florida Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 1982, Lenny Currier was hired to assist Tony Jonaitis in the athletic training room. Lenny advanced to the position of USF Head Athletic Trainer when Tony joined the faculty of the USF School of Physical Education. In the fall of 1983, Lenny recruited Barry Clements and Gwen Hoffman, who joined the team as USF Assistant Athletic Trainers. During his tenure, Barry has held numerous positions in the Department of Athletics, including Assistant Athletic Trainer, Head Athletic Trainer (1985), and Assistant Athletic Director (1992). Since 2001, Barry has served in the role of Associate Athletic Director for Programs and Sports Services.
Steve Walz joined the team in 2000 as USF's Head Athletic Trainer and was promoted in 2002 to Assistant Athletic Director/Director of Sports Medicine for USF Athletics. Steve has the distinction of serving as the USF Football Program's first Head Football Athletic Trainer when it began in 1996.
While our formal academic model in athletic training education spans more than 40 years, it is important to note that even prior to that, numerous students seeking certification from the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification (NATA-BOC) achieved it by way of internships. It was Barry Clements who initiated USF's formal Athletic Training Student Program in 1983, during his tenure as Head Athletic Trainer. The program began with only two interns and grew to include as many as twenty, averaging ten to twelve students per year.
When changes in the Athletic Training profession and academia established a more formalized education preparation, Barry Clements and Steve Walz began to develop an accredited Athletic Training Program. Steve focused on a feasibility study and Barry began discussions with the USF School of Physical Education to house the new Athletic Training Program. After two years of discussion and preparation, the USF Athletic Training Program began, implemented within the USF School of Physical Education. In the fall of 1999, Dr. Dave Klossner was hired as the Athletic Training Program Director. The program was granted Candidacy status by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) for the 2000-2001 academic year due to his exceptional efforts. In the fall of 2000, Joanne Turk was hired as the Clinical Coordinator. In August 2001, Shane Stecyk was hired as the Interim Program Coordinator and visiting Instructor. In July of 2002, Dr. Micki Cuppett was hired as the Program Director, tasked with the responsibility of ushering the program through the next level of accreditation. The accreditation self-study was submitted in September of 2002 with the site visit taking place during the spring of 2003. The USF Athletic Training Program obtained initial accreditation in October of 2003
Our Athletic Training Program continued to grow each year with an average incoming class of 20-25 students. In 2003, Valerie Rich was hired as a doctoral graduate assistant and served as Clinical Coordinator. Valerie finished her PhD, and is now employed in the Athletic Training Program at the University of Montana. In 2006, Dr. Cuppett was recruited away from the Athletic Training Program to teach in the USF Morsani College of Medicine, and Dr. Pradeep Vanguri became the program's Director.
The summer of 2007 marked the start of a new era in our athletic training history. In a bold move to further strengthen its role in Sports Medicine and a buildup of sports safety and orthopedics at USF Health, the program was moved from the College of Education to the Morsani College of Medicine. Our Athletic Training Program is housed in the medical school's Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Dr. Jeff Konin served as the Director of the Athletic Training Program during the fall of 2007 to oversee the transition to the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. In January 2008, Dr. Micki Cuppett returned to the Athletic Training Program and once again took over as Director.
In May of 2013, Dr. Cuppett accepted a newly established position as the Executive Director of the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. In August of 2012, Dr. Steve Zinder was hired as the program's Clinical Coordinator, and assumed the role of Director of Athletic Training with the departure of Micki Cuppett. Dr. Gianluca Del Rossi, and Dr. Rebecca Lopez join Dr. Zinder on the Athletic Training Program faculty. In July of 2013, Dr. Amanda Tritsch joined the faculty as Clinical Education Coordinator. The program also utilizes many affiliate faculty for both instruction and clinical supervision of our students.
The summer of 2015 marked a big milestone in the Athletic Training program at USF, in that we admitted our first cohort of Master's level professional students. The graduating class of 2016 will be the last group of students to complete their Athletic Training degree at USF with a Bachelor's degree. This is a big step forward for the USF program and the profession of Athletic Training.
In August of 2016, USF Athletic Training welcomed Dr. Emily Hall to our faculty. She will join Amanda Tritsch at co-Clinical Education Coordinator for our Professionl Program.
Directors of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainers
Mary Ellen Williford
1968 – 1982
1982 – 1985
1985 – 1990
1991 – 1995
1995 – 1998
1998 – 1999
1999 – 2000
2000 - present
Athletic Training Program
| 1999 - 2001
2002 - 2006
2006 - 2007
2007 - 2013
2013 - present
| 2000 - 2001
2001 - 2002
2003 - 2005
2005 - 2008
2009 - 2011
2012 - 2013
2013 - present
The USF Athletic Training Program is a limited access program designed to prepare students for a successful career as a qualified health care professional, educated and experienced in the management of health care problems associated with the physically active. If selected to the major, students must successfully complete required criteria set forth by the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, in addition to completed the regular university application process. Successful completion of the major qualifies students to take the Athletic Training profession’s Board of Certification examination, as well as all relevant stare practice requirements.
The USF Athletic Training Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Graduates from our program establish successful careers as athletic trainers in secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports programs, sports medicine clinics, and other athletic health care settings.
For any athletic training education program to be successful, each of the stakeholders involved with the educational process must commit to a standard of excellence. The following contributions are expected from our stakeholders”
- Provide current, evidence-based information in preparation for students becoming entry-level certified athletic trainers
- Encourage students to be critical thinkers in an effort to become life-long learners
- Engage students in ongoing research and development integrated within the curriculum
- Model and promote professional behaviors from which students can learn
- Support the needs of the faculty, clinical instructors, and students providing for a positive learning environment
- Recognize Athletic Training Education students as future health care professionals
- Integrate with the Athletic Training Program stakeholders with professionalism
- Provide students with sound, evidence-based learning opportunities
- Supplement classroom knowledge with clinical experience for students, recognizing the importance of both
- Abide by program, university, and professional standards and policies and procedures
- Serve as positive working role models for athletic training students
- Communicate with faculty and students in an effort to provide continuous excellence for learning opportunities
- Support faculty, staff, and preceptor program needs to deliver quality education
- Recognize athletic training students as future health care professionals
Mission StatementThe mission of the USF Athletic Training Program is to provide our students with the most comprehensive, progressive, educational and clinical foundation on which to build a career in Athletic Training. Our educational program encompasses current research and formal instruction in the prevention, recognition, evaluation and rehabilitation of the physically active. Upon successful completion of this program, our students are eligible to sit for the Board of Certification examination.
VisionThe vision of the USF Athletic Training Program is to be recognized as a leader in the field of Athletic Training by contributing to and advancing the knowledge base of injury prevention, injury recognition, injury management, and inter-professional collaboration. Through the acquisition of evidence-based information and the use of new techniques and research, USF Athletic Training will serve as a model for community partnerships and innovative programming.
Goals & Objectives
- The program seeks to develop the critical thinking, decision-making, and communication skills necessary for success in Athletic Training, allied health care, and a broader spectrum of professions in today’s society.
- The program desires to expose students to hands-on experiences, clinical settings, and professionals representing a wide range of allied and medical health care professions.
- The program works to provide a foundation for success predicated on both a didactic and clinical knowledge base.
- The program seeks to provide an effective and interactive learning environment for students wishing to pursue a career in Athletic Training.
- The faculty, clinical athletic trainers, and athletic training students strive to create an environment consistent with quality health care for the athletes/patients in the clinical setting, while achieving the educational goals of the student and the program.
- Graduates of the Athletic Training Program will be prepared for an entry-level position in athletic training in a variety of settings with a wide range of athletic populations
- Graduates of the Athletic Training Program will be able to demonstrate specific knowledge in the field of Athletic Training as demonstrated by passing the national certification examination for athletic trainers
- Graduates of the Athletic Training Program will be recognized as prepared for entry-level positions or advanced study in athletic training by external constituencies, program faculty, potential employers, and self-evaluation.
- Graduates of the Athletic Training Program will find ready employment in the field