the nicholls worth

Athletic training program will be phased out by 2018


The athletic training program is being phased out due to low enrollment and budget issues, but it may be a big hit to the school and community.

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) set new standards, which require a master’s degree in athletic training. This will be set in 2022. Since Nicholls does not offer a master’s program and only graduated 40 students over the past five years, Nicholls decided that the $12,000 accreditation was unnecessary. The program is accredited until 2019.

Gerard White, assistant professor of athletic training and clinical education coordinator, is sad that Nicholls will no longer have athletic training as an option for students. White was the start of the program on Nicholls campus.

“I have been at Nicholls since 1992. We’ve had the program since 2001. Obviously it is a personal thing for me because not only did I start the program, but I, along with other faculty, brought it to what it is today. Seeing it being phased out is not something I wanted to see. Really, I’m more concerned for the students,” said White.

Kyle Guidry, student president of the athletic training program, explained how Nicholls sports are not the only athletics that would be affected.

“With clinicals, we help every sport on campus and assist the athletic trainers of those sports. Not only do we cover the sports of Nicholls, but we also cover sports in the region. We have clinical sites at seven high schools in the area. With the cutting, those high schools that rely on our help each semester will not have that assistance,” said Guidry.

The students are all trained in first aid, CPR and AED. They are readily available for any athlete who needs immediate care. When the program is done, the University may need to spend money to hire extra assistance.

“We have an average of at least eight students on the field for Nicholls football at all times. They only have two full-time athletic trainers on that field. With the cut of the program, there’s no longer going to be those extra hands on the field to help provide medical care for those athletes,” said Guidry.

“You can look in any news outlet and see how proficient and prolific athletic injuries are in society now,” Cary Berthelot, instructor of athletic training, said. “Athletic trainers are the first line of defense in athletic healthcare. My fear is that not only will this be an elimination at Nicholls, but professionals in high school in our area will be short changed because they may not have the opportunity to hire athletic trainers, potentially endangering students.”

The faculty in the department has begun the process of being phased out. Two teachers will be laid off, one being phased out at the end of this academic year. The program will continue on with one athletic trainer and one Allied Health instructor to complete the two years of the program.

The athletic training program has faculty who are professionals in their field. White is currently the president for the state association. He was recently elected to a vice president position for the district association, which is at the national level.

Berthelot has been executive officer for the state in the athletic training association.

Freshmen that have been recruited to come to Nicholls for the athletic training program now have to figure out their options. These students have been advised to either change their major to health sciences and eventually enter a master’s program for athletic training at another school, or to transfer and get a bachelor’s degree in athletic training elsewhere. Ana Arias, freshman from Morgan City, was considering joining the athletic program and was disheartened when she found out the program would be phased out.

“At the time I was debating about switching majors anyway, but the thought that being an athletic trainer was no longer an option was upsetting,” said Arias.

Louisiana is one of only two states with a Board of Certification (BOC) which is an exam pass rate above the national requirement and Nicholls is one of only two programs in the state. For 2014-2015 Nicholls has an 80 percent passing rate. The requirement is 70 percent.

There are currently 115 undergraduates enrolled in the program. The sophomores will be the last graduating class in athletic training.

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The student newspaper of Nicholls State University
Athletic training program will be phased out by 2018