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Future Southwest Baptist University sports medicine graduates will have the opportunity to pursue a new degree —  a Master of Athletic Training — thanks to recent partnerships with both Culver-Stockton College in Canton and Truman State University in Kirksville.

“Our partnerships with both Culver-Stockton College and Truman State University give our students an avenue to a quality educational experience and preparation toward being a well-prepared Certified Athletic Trainer,” TJ John, SBU athletic training department chair and professor, said in an SBU news release.

Beginning in fall 2019, SBU will offer a Bachelor of Science in sports medicine, “as the university phases out its athletic training undergraduate degree,” the release said. 

The change is a result of a graduate degree mandate from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, which is transitioning all accredited athletic training programs from the undergraduate to the graduate level across the country, starting in 2022, the release added.

Upon completion of the sports medicine degree, SBU graduates will be able to “seamlessly enroll in the Culver-Stockton or Truman State master of athletic training program, as well as receive priority consideration upon application,” the release said.

The partnership “also demonstrates continued efforts to both expand student opportunities and provide a workforce for athletic trainers in Missouri,” the release added. 

Only 51% of Missouri secondary schools have access to athletic training services. In comparison, that statistic is 79% in Iowa and 61% in Illinois, according to the Kory Stringer Institute and the Atlas Project.

“While we are disappointed to see high-quality undergraduate degree programs like SBU disappear, we support the growth and direction of our medical profession and education,” Jay Hoffman, chair of athletic training and health sciences at Culver-Stockton, said in the release. “SBU has a rich tradition of producing high-quality AT professionals at the undergraduate level. This partnership will really enrich our MAT at C-SC.”

SBU, Culver-Stockton and Truman State have 100% first-time pass rates on the national Board of Certification exam for athletic trainers, the release added.

“Studying sports medicine at SBU equips students for success in athletic training, physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant programs that require graduate degrees,” the release noted. “As a sports medicine major, students will experience coursework and clinical experiences to help them pursue their goals and explore a variety of professional opportunities.”

Students in the Culver-Stockton or Truman State Master of Athletic Training program will complete two years of graduate study, including a variety of clinical experiences in both athletic and hospital/clinical settings, that will hone their knowledge and skills within the Canton, Hannibal, Quincy, Illinois, and Kirksville medical communities, the release added.

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