History of the Program

William E. "Pinky" Newell

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, 2007, and 2017. 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.

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.

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.