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Overview and History
Athletic Training has been an integral part of the University of Central Oklahoma for over 45 years. Through those years, UCO has produced over 40 Certified Athletic Trainers. There are 10 currently working within a 50 mile radius of the University of Central Oklahoma. The alumni have chosen different settings of practice to include professional baseball, professional hockey, professional rodeo, universities, high schools, clinics and hospitals. Many have held or hold professional committee positions at the state, district and national levels. Students from the program that chose other professions have also been successful in their own fields. Some of those professions include school administrators, business managers, chiropractors, physicians, media specialists, business owners, coaches and many other job settings.
In 1967, Odes Massey, a former athletic trainer, was one of the first individuals to organize a ‘formal' athletic training department. In 1971, "Doc" Massey was followed by one of his former student athletic trainers, John "Skip" Wagnon, ATC who held the position for seven years, during which time athletic training national certification became a reality. From 1979-1980, a former Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer, Bill Walls held the position. The very next year, Jeff McKibbin, ATC/LAT, former student athletic trainer at UCO, took over at the helm. The year was 1980, the same year as the Oklahoma Athletic Training Practice Act was enacted. Jeff held the title of Head Athletic Trainer till 2004 during which time several student athletic trainers successfully completed the "internship" route to certification, one of those being David Gonzalez, ATC/LAT. In 2004, Lane Parks, ATC/LAT, was appointed as the Head Athletic Trainer only to step down after three years. In 2007, David Gonzalez, ATC/LAT was hired and is currently serving as the Head Athletic Trainer for the University of Central Oklahoma. Michael Brobston moved up from a graduate assistant position to the newly created full-time assistant athletic training in the fall of 2008. In 2011 Ms. Jessica Cates was hired as an assistant athletic trainer for the Athletic Department bringing the total to three full-time certified athletic trainers. In addition to the full-time staff, three graduate assistants are hired annually to help provide care for the athletes.
In 2004, the University of Central Oklahoma began researching the possibility of offering an Entry-Level Master of Science in Athletic Training Degree. This was a marketing decision, as this degree option was not available in Oklahoma and there are only three universities in a seven state region that offered this option. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved this proposal in 2005. In 2007 Ed Sunderland was hired as the program's clinical coordinator. UCO achieved full accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) in 2010. Student who graduate from UCO's GATEP are eligible to take the NATA-BOC certification examination to earn the credential "Certified Athletic Trainer" (ATC). Also in 2010 the students organized the UCO Athletic Training Student Association, UCOATSA which is a recognized student organization on campus which is eligible for student activity funds. Monthly meetings are held to discuss student issues and activities. At this same time the program secured a charter in the NATA's Students Honor Society, Iota Tau Alpha. Student graduating from the program with a 3.5 GPA will be eligible to graduate with honors from the University!
Currently the GATEP has a 50 Percent First-Time pass rate, and a 100 percent Second-Time pass rate of graduates taking the BOC Certification Examination.
In addition to the University's Athletic Training Department, the program utilizes six local high schools, two universities and four physical therapy clinics as clinical sites along with the USOC Paralympics Training Center located on campus. The clinical program's strength is directly related to the 15 experienced Approved Clinical Instructors that supervised our students! The Oklahoma City Metro area offers a wealth of clinical opportunities. The program is consistently developing new sites based on the students interests and requests.
Beyond the course required clinical opportunities, the program supports supervised service-based learning activities such the OKC Memorial Marathon, Red Man Triathlon, the Susan G. Komen 3Day Breast Cancer Walk, and UCO Paralympics / Disability Athletic Events. As a program we help provide service to community events.