The 10 Best Colleges for Sports Medicine

Thousands of people nowadays are interested in entering the field of sports medicine, an exciting and fascinating area of healthcare. Healthcare providers in sports medicine have received special training that can restore function and mobility to injured patients. Additionally, they are incredibly adept at preventing injury and illness in physically active people.

Many people think of sports medicine specialists as individuals who tend to work with professional athletes. However, this is not always the case. They also work with adults who exercise on their own for personal fitness of purposes and teens and children who are involved in sports at school. Additionally, in some cases, they will treat individuals with very physically demanding jobs that can cause injuries.

Many people might be interested to know that sports medicine is not its own medical specialty. The majority of sports medicine providers are certified in another specialty, such as family medicine, internal medicine, or emergency medicine. For sports medicine, they will receive additional training. Some of these specialists will focus on treating injuries and teens and children, which is somewhat different from treating adults because growing bodies will need to be treated differently in some cases. Additionally, some sports medicine healthcare providers have surgical training as well, typically in orthopedic surgery.

Anyone interested in entering the field of sports medicine might want to know about the great sports medicine colleges out there. Colleges with sports medicine majors can help students learn all about the field and prepare for a great career in sports medicine.

For this list, we examine 10 schools with cutting-edge curricula, high-level faculty, hands-on clinical experience, and favorable career outcomes. The following are our picks for 10 of the best sports medicine colleges in the US.

Logan University (Chesterfield, MO)

Logan University
Midnightcomm, Logan College of Chiropractic, CC BY 3.0

Logan University offers a Master’s in Athletic Training that providing students the ability to provide proactive and evidence-based care to many types of patients. As a student in this graduate program, one will experience state-of-the-art science facilities as well as regional partners who will give them exposure and experience in clinical settings. In fact, about 80 to 90 percent of the time spent as a student will be spent working in the field with athletic trainers rather than simply spent in the classroom.

In addition, students can benefit from a rigorous curriculum and research opportunities. Logan University also offers two options in terms of start dates every year, meaning that you will benefit from smaller class sizes and you won’t have to wait as long to start your MAT training. The program director, Stephen Nickell, is the department’s chair and the celebrated director of the program. He is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

University of Michigan
AndrewHorne, University of Michigan Dental School, CC BY-SA 3.0

In its School of Kinesiology, the University of Michigan offers an Athletic Training graduate program that allows each student to grow a body of expertise in preventing and treating different types of injuries in athletes and other individuals. Students will be able to take advantage of clinical experience in the field, in addition to rigorous and challenging coursework. The students also benefit from a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Students in this esteemed program also work with some of the best medical practitioners and researchers in the country. They will help prepare them to do well on the Board of Certification Examination to start a career in sports medicine. Ninety-four percent of the students in this accredited master’s program will pass the exam on their very first attempt.

Boston University (Boston, MA)

Boston University
Brian Chang-Yun Hsu, Marsh Chapel, CC BY-SA 3.0

At Boston University, there is a Master of Science in Athletic Training that students can take at Sargent College. This is a full-time, two-year program with rigorous coursework. Students will spend most of their time in the classroom during the first year, with some clinical experiences. There are over a dozen clinical education sites in the area to gain excellent patient care experience, particularly during the second year. 

During this second year, students will participate in three full-time clinical experiences so that they can be immersed in athletic training and its practice. Students will have the opportunity to learn from many outstanding physicians, as well as world-class researchers.

McNeese State University (Lake Charles, LA)

McNeese State University
Kingfish27, Kirkman, CC BY-SA 3.0

McNeese State University is an excellent option for anyone entering their undergraduate years and is interested in a sports medicine major. They offer the option of a concentration in sports medicine. Impressively, students who choose to do a sports medicine major or some other health and human performance major in one of these pre-professional program concentrations will have approximately a 90 percent chance of being accepted into a professional school after college.

Students majoring in sports medicine here will leave knowing exactly how to prevent and treat athletic injuries, as well as how to train clients when it comes to physical fitness. Students here learn about the capabilities and functions of the human body and the nutritional and physiological needs of patients.

Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, TX)

Sam Houston State University
Larry D. Moore, Austin hall huntsville tx 2014, CC BY-SA 3.0

Sam Houston State University is home to a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. However, it is important to bear in mind that admission is competitive, and students will need to finish a pre-professional athletic training curriculum and other requirements to apply for the program. 

Students who are placed into the program will acquire valuable clinical experience with not only hospital sites, but also high school and intercollegiate athletics. The students who meet all of the requirements of this program will be able to sit for the National Board of Certification Exam, and they will be eligible to apply for Texas State licensure as well.

University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA)

University of Northern Iowa
Madmaxmarchhare, UNI Campanile, CC BY-SA 2.5

Students can choose to complete a Bachelor of Arts in athletic training and rehabilitation studies at the University of Northern Iowa. This program has a focus on the pre-health professions. Students interested in entering a graduate program within some facet of the healthcare system, including physical therapy, athletic training, or occupational therapy, will vastly benefit from this program.

Students will have the chance to apply knowledge and clinical skills by engaging with all sorts of people in the profession, including strength and conditioning specialists, athletic trainers, physicians, chiropractors, and many more. There are wonderful facilities on campus, including a hydrotherapy room, training clinics, and more.

In particular, if you are interested in becoming an athletic trainer, this degree will be a great foundation for the Master of Athletic Training at the same school. The combination of these two programs can help you become certified as an athletic trainer, so you can do this for a career. This was the first university in the state of Iowa to offer its students the accredited master’s level degree that is now required for this type of certification.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities (Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN)

University of Minnesota
Ben Franske, UMN-NorthrupMall, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities has been a prominent name in primary care sports medicine education, practice, and research for over two decades. The program provides sports medicine courses not only to sports medicine majors, but also to medical students and residents who are looking to take electives in sports medicine. Additionally, the department sponsors a sports medicine fellowship every year.

The University of Minnesota Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is also served by orthopedic surgeons in family medicine faculty at the University. The world-class sports medicine faculty at the school also serve as team physicians and provide medical assistance for different athletes at high school, collegiate, professional, and even Olympic levels.

University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

University of Georgia
Coxonian, UGA Main Library, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Georgia offers its students a BSEd in Exercise and Sport Science that involves a beneficial combination of coursework, experiences, and research opportunities to allow students to specialize based on their own goals and interests.

Students who successfully graduate from this program have a high placement rate when it comes to Doctor of Physical Therapy programs. Additionally, this department has been ranked at Number 7 by the National Academy of Kinesiology.

University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

University of Southern California
Padsquad19, Zumberge Hall of Science, CC BY-SA 3.0

The University of Southern California is home to a Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy. It now offers students a Master of Science in Biokinesiology, with an emphasis on Sports Science. This program will teach students all about the biomechanical, physiological, and neurological basis of movement. 

Students will also learn all the skills necessary to excel in a specialized area within sports medicine. Students will acquire a practical and theoretical understanding of concepts that are used in sports performance assessment when it comes to injury risk, dealing with injury, and optimal performance. They will then be able to apply all of this knowledge to practical settings and work as part of multidisciplinary teams focused on athletes’ performance and health.

University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)

University of Pittsburgh
Crazypaco, PittCampus, CC BY-SA 4.0

At the University of Pittsburgh, there is a Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition known for its visionary program. Scientists here are using state-of-the-art techniques to potentially extend careers of athletes everywhere. They are conducting research that could benefit not only athletes, but also people in the military and normal individuals. They collaborate with many regional partners, as well as national and international ones. They also receive quite a bit of funding from organizations such as NASA, the US Department of Defense, and the National Institute of Health.

Students can potentially take advantage of a variety of different programs at this school. These include a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Science or Athletic Training, a Master of Science in Sports Science or Sports Medicine, a Dietitian Nutritionist Program that can be done at either the Bachelor’s or Master’s level, and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science.

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