MU Waits for New Athletic Training Degree Approval

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COLUMBIA - MU's Athletic Sports Medicine director said Wednesday MU students seeking a profession in sports medicine could see a new athletic training degree as early as next year. 

The UM Board of Curators approved the program at its meeting in Kansas City last week. Now, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education must approve the degree proposal in February before the College of Health Professions can add the degree. 

Health Profession Dean Richard Oliver said he has had to turn away many students interested in a athletic training program.

"Right now, we don't offer a pathway for students to become certified athletic trainers," Oliver said. 

He added the new degree program will add new faculty positions to the college, as well as a new director position. 

Director of Sports Medicine Rex Sharp helped build the sports medicine program when he arrived at MU in 1996. He said he only had eight students working in the sports medicine office and now he has 45 students interns. He expects the number to rise to 60 by next year. 

"This program will give students the practice inside the classroom," said Sharp. "It is the classroom education they've been lacking this whole time."

Sharp said he will continue his role as a clinical educator if the degree is added. 

If the degree program is approved, students will be able to take classes a part of the athletic training degree in fall 2013. 

Student trainer Kevin Chervitz said the program will draw more students to the university because they want to practice sports medicine at a big school. 

"We are going to get more people interested not only in Mizzou, but those who want to further their learning," Chervitz said. "It's a huge profession and people want to go to big schools with better athletics. 

Oliver said the degree program will need 60 students enrolled to make it financially.