HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi
The 2015-2016 academic year marks the 40th anniversary of the Athletic Training Program offered by The University of Southern Mississippi's School of Kinesiology.
In celebration, the Southern Miss Athletic Training Alumni Association will host a tailgate prior to the homecoming game Oct. 17 from 2-6 p.m. at Pride Field on the Hattiesburg Campus. All alumni of the program, professors and current athletic training students are welcome to attend. Admission is free.
"This tailgate is all about fellowship, food, and fun," said Shawn Robinson, a 2009 alumna helping plan the anniversary tailgate. "Our hope is to bridge the gap between the past, present, and future alumni. We also aspire to assist the current students in the athletic training program in making valuable contacts."
Before the tailgate, the Athletic Training Club is hosting the 20th annual Homecoming 5K at 8:30 a.m. at Pride Field.
"The 20th annual Homecoming 5K is our way to interact with some members of our community, while fundraising to send us to our biggest educational conference," said Alex Pfefferle, senior athletic training major and president of the Athletic Training Club. "We enjoy putting on this run every year, and we are excited to have the support of the School of Kinesiology, alumni, friends, and family."
Proceeds from the Homecoming 5K will benefit the Athletic Training Club and support students attending the Southeastern Athletic Trainers' Association's Athletic Training Student Symposium, where they will have an opportunity to learn and prepare for the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification exam. The national certification exam is required to become a certified athletic trainer. The 2014-2015 graduating class boasts a 100 percent first time pass rate, surpassing the national average of 82 percent.
"I have only recently joined this great tradition but quickly recognized the rich history and tremendous importance of the Athletic Training Program at Southern Miss," said Dr. Bill Holcomb, professor and director of athletic training. "Doc Harrington had a great vision over 40 years ago and brought in Jim Gallaspy to take the program forward.
"Today, the athletes in Mississippi are well cared for by the many graduates of this fine program. And now these graduates are giving back as preceptors who are helping us to educate future Mississippi certified athletic trainers. Homecoming will be a great day."
The Athletic Training Program provides a challenging learning environment comprised of traditional classroom experiences, diverse clinical settings and emphasizes the importance of quality health care. Alumni from the athletic training program are employed at local and national orthopedic and physical therapy clinics, high schools, colleges and professional settings.
"As a graduate of the 2005 class, I attribute my professional successes to foundation characteristics of academic and clinical excellence, life-long learning, selfless service and unyielding perseverance that were instilled and nurtured during my years as an athletic training student at Southern Miss," said Karen Sinclair, assistant professor of athletic training and women's volleyball athletic trainer at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. "I am extremely grateful for the multi-disciplinary curriculum and the diversity of clinical experiences of my Southern Miss education."
Robinson, a certified athletic trainer at Hattiesburg Clinic Sport Medicine, said the Athletic Training Program was three of the most difficult yet rewarding years of her life.
"The National Athletic Trainers' Association was founded in 1950," said Dr. Scott Piland, professor and director of the School of Kinesiology, also a certified athletic trainer. "I find it monumental that a degree awarding educational program was formed at Southern Miss within 25 years of the establishment of our guiding professional organization.
"Southern Miss faculty and staff anticipated the value of providing a standardized educational program to meet the rising requirements to enter the profession. It was quite visionary. That vision continues, as our program is the only one in Mississippi. As with each of our programs, the School of Kinesiology is looking forward to a Golden Future."
To register for the 20th annual Homecoming 5K, visit www.usm.edu/kinesiology/homecoming-5k. For more information about the School of Kinesiology's Athletic Training Program in The University of Southern Mississippi's College of Health, visit www.usm.edu/athletictraining.