Innovations and Opportunities
Theoretical and Practical Coursework
The material covered in the human performance and athletic training programs is approximately half theory and half practice to give you a working knowledge of not only the hows of athletic performance but the whys.
"In the athletic training program, it's required that students be shown how to use an ultrasound, for example," says James Day, athletic trainer and instructor of exercise science. "What we emphasize is not only how to use the machine, but also what it's doing down to a cellular level. If you're using an ultrasound to treat patellar tendonitis, you're introducing an external energy through sound waves to stimulate the cells that lay down scar tissue and remove waste to become more active in the healing process. You can be a much better clinician if you understand how the body and treatments works so you can think creatively about these things."
Exercise science programs also offers unique courses on specialized topics. Liability in Sports, which is taught by a practicing lawyer, explains how individuals and organizations can minimize legal liability. The Psychosocial Dimensions of Sport discusses motivation and theories of sports psychology. The History, Philosophy and Ethics of Sport explores current ethical debates and controversies in sports, such as the baseball steroid scandal.
Athletic training students regularly attend the annual conferences of the Mid-American Athletic Trainers' Association (MAATA) and the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA). These conferences allow students to speak with athletic trainers, students, and potential employers from around the region, nation and world. Students have the option to present their original research at the regional conference. Ten thousand athletic trainers attend the national convention.
Exercise science and athletic training programs employ a variety of standard equipment in addition to embracing new technologies (when appropriate) to help in therapy, including light therapy wands and the Nintendo Wii. Exercise science has also offered the course Playing Video Games, which explored video games' similarities to sports and the games' potential applications in athletics.
Projects with Real-World Results
Projects within the School of Education & Exercise Science often aim to achieve real-world results. For example, the Advanced Sport Management class organizes a yearly charity event that also helps students gain experience in event preparation. In 2007, students organized a five kilometer walk/run called "Stride for the Cure" to benefit ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) research, raising $6,400 for the cause. In 2009, the class organized a charity bean bag tournament.