First Master of Science in Athletic Training Cohort to Graduate

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - UNC Wilmington’s athletic training degree program, housed in the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences, transitioned from an undergraduate degree program to a graduate degree program in February 2019. The first cohort of students in the newly established Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) degree program started classes in the summer of 2020 and will graduate May 14.

Master of Science in Athletic Training students participate in a simulation with Nursing studentsThe Master of Science in Athletic Training prepares entry level professionals to enter the field of Athletic Training. The degree is built around 60 credit hours of required coursework to satisfy the eligibility requirements for the students to sit for the national Board of Certification examination. Graduates establish successful careers as athletic trainers in secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports programs, sports medicine clinics, performing arts and industrial settings.

Program coordinator Dr. Steve Zinder reflects on the evolution of this first cohort, pointing out that, “I’m a teacher at heart and a curriculum designer. This stuff gets me excited. I've enjoyed seeing the program grow from a successful undergraduate program to a robust graduate program. We're so proud of this first cohort, they have provided the foundation moving forward."

Graduate Danielle Broman believes that this decision changed her life forever. “I think it was challenging, but it was the most rewarding experience that I've ever been through,” she says. “Dr. Zinder always asked ‘why’ to every question a student would ask. And it's funny, I came out of this program and I kind of know my ‘why’ in life now. I'm just so thankful to the faculty and staff of UNCW.”

With just eight students, the small cohort provided an intimate setting for fostering individual contact with faculty as well as ensuring a strong sense of community among fellow students. Khalid Al Abid is a proud member of the cohort, and he believes that this environment was instrumental to his success. “It’s such an easy-going atmosphere for learning. I feel like when I go to my classes, I’m not bored, I’m not stressed out to be there,” he says. “I feel like I’m engaged and ready.” Al Abid already has big plans for his future career. He accepted a job with AEK Athens Football Club, the most successful football team in the history of Greece.

Reflecting on the future of the program, Broman believes that the school’s purpose and mandate will be an intrinsic factor to its growth. “Everybody's common goal in this profession is to help people. That's what we do. In athletic training, you have your traditional roles of helping athletes, but it's also grown into non-traditional roles. You can be in a physician's office, you can be in a rehab clinic, you can do a hybrid position. We all come in with common goal. We want to help people.”
Photo: Athletic Training students Marcus Jones (left) and Erin Kelly (right) participate in an emergency medicine simulation with the School of Nursing students.