Curry School Graduates First Master of Science in Athletic Training Cohort

The Curry School's first class of MSAT graduates: (top left) Terius Grandison, Nathan Jones, Daniel Takata, Breanna DuFour

When UVA announced its first athletic training program in 1975, it wasn’t just a first for the university – it was one of the very first post-professional athletic training programs in the country. This year, the program continues its trailblazing legacy as it graduates its first class of students in the revised professional athletic training master’s program.

The new Master of Science in Athletic Training program, instead of offering advanced education for already certified athletic trainers, is designed to prepare students for certification through a rigorous schedule of academic courses and clinical training. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national board exam to become certified athletic trainers.

Four students pioneering the program will graduate as the first UVA students with an MSAT in May.

Breanna DuFour

Breanna’s interest in athletic training included a unique perspective. During her program of study, she participated in an internship in dance medicine where she addressed the physical toll of working in the arts.

Why did you choose to be a member of the first class of MSAT students in Kinesiology?
 I was always interested in the human body. What makes it go? How does it heal itself? How is it so resilient? That led me to Kinesiology in undergrad. My desire to work with athletes and a personal athletic injury led me to athletic training. As soon as I heard that UVA was providing a professional-level Athletic Training program I had to look into it. As an undergrad, some of my favorite professors were a part of the Athletic Training staff. Their dedication to the profession, to education and to research proved to me the first class would be worth it. It is an honor to be in the inaugural class of the Master of Science in Athletic Training here at the University of Virginia.

Describe your internship in dance medicine at UNC’s School of the Arts.
I interned at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under Jenna Lynn Evans in the Fall of 2018. UNCSA is a unique school that allows artists to gain a college degree while becoming immersed in their art. I was given the opportunity to not only work with dancers, but also painters, musicians, script writers, wig makers... the list goes on! When people hear "Athletic Training" they think of sports. However, athletic trainers are prepared to deal with most any physically active person. UNCSA recognizes the importance of Athletic Trainers and dedicates a space in their student health clinic towards treatment and rehabilitation of their artists. From the musician with muscle imbalances from playing the cello, to the design and production student presenting with back pain after spending hours creating a set, we saw it all. It was a great opportunity to see the traditional ideas of athletic training in a performing arts setting. Performance medicine provides the same opportunities for their artists as sports medicine does for their athletes. It is a fast-growing field of study.

What are your plans after graduation and how did this program prepare you for them?
Entering this program, I thought I wanted to just follow performing arts, however, my various clinical rotations have led me to interests in multiple different settings. The staff has been sure to cater this clinical experience to my personal interests, even as they changed semester to semester. With the support and encouragement to step outside of my comfort zone, I have seen myself grow as a student, clinician, and adult in this short time. No plans are set in place yet, but I can see myself happy in traditional or nontraditional athletic training settings. 

Terius Grandison

As a student in the master of science in athletic training program, Terius was selected to participate in the National Athletic Training Association’s student leadership conference, iLEAD.

Why did you choose to be a member of the first class of MSAT students in Kinesiology?
 The idea of being the first to go through this program and help make it better for future students was a pretty cool opportunity to me. Also, I really wanted to learn from some of the greatest minds and clinicians in the field of athletic training. UVA has a long and rich history in the athletic training profession and being a part of that history really intrigued me. To top it all off, the idea of being able to say that I was a “Double Hoo” sounded awesome!

Would you please describe your experience at the ILead conference?
I had a really great time at iLEAD. I got to learn about the qualities of a good leader and the negative aspects of leadership. I was able to have conversations with current and future leaders of the profession. Every single person there, students and professionals, were all so excited about athletic training and that energy was very contagious! I got to meet a lot of new people from all over the country who had a tremendous amount of passion for the profession. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to do a video testimonial for the conference and got the opportunity to speak about why I was enjoying the conference and why other students should come. 

What are your plans after graduation and how did this program prepare you for them?
After graduation, I hope to find a job in the secondary school setting as an athletic trainer. This could not be a possibility without UVA. This program provided me with the knowledge and skillset to be a successful athletic trainer anywhere regardless of the setting! Thank you, UVA! 

Nathan Jones

During his course of study, Nathan Jones served as an intern with UVA Athletics.

Why did you choose to be a member of the first class of MSAT students in Kinesiology?
In my undergraduate career at UVA, I had the opportunity to work with the amazing athletic training faculty and staff in both the academic and athletic departments. The opportunity to continue working with them was something I just couldn't pass on.   

Describe your experience providing healthcare services to UVA Athletics as part of your studies.
I played a lot of sports in high school, and really wanted a way to stay connected to athletics and the team atmosphere that sports foster.  Being able to help provide medical care to these great people was worth its weight in gold.  Here at UVA, there's a high level of both commitment and competition, and the demands of the lifestyle can't be understated.  Working with such motivated and fantastic athletes was really a blessing.   

What are your plans after graduation and how did this program prepare you for them?
After graduation, I hope to work in a collegiate setting as an Athletic Trainer.  Having the opportunity to work so closely with the athletic teams here at UVA has helped to prepare me for the demands of the profession and the setting I hope to work in.  I can't wait to apply the skills I've honed.  

Daniel Takata

Daniel Takata’s internship took him south to work alongside the athletic training staff of the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers.

Why did you choose to be a member of the first class of MSAT students in Kinesiology?
I chose to come back to UVA to be part of the first MSAT class because of the great faculty and the opportunity to work with Power 5 sports teams. Throughout the process of applying to grad school all of the other programs I considered were gushing about the reputation of UVA and how impressive it was to have already had a degree from them. With my career aspirations that reputation is extremely valuable, and after talking with some of the professors it felt like a great fit to come back.

Describe for us your experience during your internship with the Carolina Panthers.
My internship with the Carolina Panthers was an awesome experience. Being around elite athletes all day and learning from an extremely knowledgeable staff of athletic trainers helped prepare me for my second year here and the future. As a big football fan, it was exciting to work with players like Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, and Christian McCaffrey on a daily basis. Working 17+ hour days and balancing online classes with that was definitely difficult but I think it made me become a better student. The whole experience certainly helped make it easier to come back and work with our football team this fall.

What are your plans after graduation and how did this program prepare you for them?
After graduation I am hoping to work a season-long internship with an NFL team again, but if that doesn't pan out, I will be pursuing a job in Division-I athletics preferably with either a football or lacrosse team. The program has prepared me for this by allowing me to work with our football team each of the past two fall seasons and with our men's lacrosse team this spring, giving me the opportunity to see what day-to-day life is like in these environments and helping me realize this is what I want to do. Networking through our football staff helped me get the Panthers internship last year, and I am hoping that something similar will work out again. I'm most likely moving out of Virginia, but whether I move closer to home in the Midwest or not remains to be seen.