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Athletic Training at Purdue:
Rich in History and Reputation

William E. "Pinky" Newell
William E. "Pinky" Newell
Purdue Athletic Trainer, 1949-1976

Purdue University has a long and rich history in health care for the student-athlete and in athletic training education. William E. "Pinky" Newell was the Purdue athletic trainer from 1949 to 1976. He was a founding father of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) and his foresight and commitment to the profession and to Purdue student-athletes placed Purdue among the leaders in the care of athletes and the education of athletic trainers.

Mr. Newell served as Executive Secretary for the NATA from 1955 to 1968 and saw the profession triple in size and become recognized as an allied health profession by the American Medical Association.  He was a strong advocate of formal education for athletic trainers and stressed this ideal long before the concept of an “accredited curriculum” became a reality.  It was no surprise then that Purdue University was early to initiate the formal educational process for athletic trainers.  Purdue received initial NATA approval for the Athletic Training Program in 1973 and was re-approved in 1978, 1983, and 1988.  Initial CAAHEP accreditation was granted in 1995 with continuing accreditation awarded in 2000 and 2007. The program is currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).  In 1986, the program was officially recognized as an academic major within the Department of Health & Kinesiology.

Doug Boersma, MS, LAT, ATC, is the Director of Sports Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer.  Mr. Boersma is a 1997 graduate of the Purdue Athletic Training Education Program and received his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky.  This is his fifth year after taking over from Dennis Miller, ATC, PT.  Mr. Miller held the position of Head Athletic Trainer at Purdue from 1973 to 2012, and continued to teach in the AT program after retiring from clinical practice from 2012 to 2017.  He is a past-president of the NATA, serving in that office from 1992-96 and is also a member of the NATA Hall of Fame. Currently, Mr. Boersma supervises a staff of thirteen staff athletic trainers and three graduate assistant athletic trainers. 

The current Program Director of the Athletic Training Program is Scott Lawrance, DHSc, LAT, ATC, MSPT, CSCS.  Dr. Lawrance started in this position in 2017.  He currently serves as President of the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association (GLATA) and a member of the Indiana Athletic Training Licensing Board.  He is a past-president of Indiana Athletic Trainers’ Association, and a member of the Indiana Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame.  Dr. Lawrance takes over the position previously held by Larry Leverenz, PhD, LAT, ATC.  Dr. Leverenz was at Purdue from 1991 to 2017 and currently holds the title of Professor Emeritus of Health and Kinsiology.  He is a former member of the NATA Education Council, is a past-president of CAAHEP, and a member of the NATA Hall of Fame.  He currently serves as President of the World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy (WFATT) and is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the GE/NFL Head Health Initiative. 

For 2017-2018, the Purdue University Athletic Training Program has 46 students enrolled in the three-year professional preparation program. The program consists of academic coursework offered by the Department of Health & Kinesiology and clinical education experiences with the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA), the Division of Recreational Sports (RSC), Purdue University Student Health Center (PUSH), as well as several off-campus sites.  Purdue is a member of the Big Ten Conference and offers nine men’s and nine women’s sports at the NCAA Division I level.

Purdue University Sports Medicine utilizes on-site daily care by the athletic training staff and team physicians, as well as consultants in orthopedics, dentistry, ophthalmology, neurology, and other medical specialists in Lafayette/West Lafayette and Indianapolis. With a staff of 16 athletic trainers and more than 20 physicians and other health science professionals, the Purdue student-athlete's health is well cared for.

Purdue attracts some of the finest athletic trainers in the country.  The athletic trainers on the Purdue staff were drawn here by the reputation of the athletic training program.  Every athletic trainer at Purdue is highly qualified; each has a master's degree, a physical therapy degree, or PhD.  Every Purdue sport has its own staff athletic trainer, along with a complement of athletic training students, to care for Boilermaker student-athletes.

The reputation of Purdue's athletic training education program reaches nationwide.  Graduates of the program are head and assistant athletic trainers in the NFL, the NBA, the Big Ten, and the Pac-10, as well as other conferences across the country.  Alumni are employed in high schools, rehabilitation clinics, industry, performing arts, and in physician offices in all parts of the United States.



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