Athletic Training and Sports Medicine

The faculty in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine focus on research that relates to the delivery of clinical health services to physically active individuals including the pathoetiology, prevention, assessment, and treatment of common athletic and orthopaedic injuries.


Specific themes of research include: the mechanical and functional instabilities of joints, the role of proprioception and neuromuscular control in orthopaedic pathology, the development of functional assessment protocols for injured athletes, the control of pain and swelling after injury, skeletal muscle physiology and injury, clinical modalities, athletic training education, and sports injury epidemiology.


Graduate students become actively involved with research projects under the direction of faculty members. Collaborative arrangements exist with faculty and clinicians in other areas of the University including the Penn State Center for Sports Medicine, the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Didactic course work in athletic training and sports medicine is complemented by courses in biomechanics and locomotion studies, motor control, exercise physiology, and statistics and research design. Students applying for graduate studies in the Athletic Training and Sports Medicine area of Kinesiology need to be NATABOC certified.


The Athletic Training Research Laboratory was founded in 1999 and serves as an area for data collection and analysis as well as graduate student offices. Equipment includes a wet lab space for biochemistry and histology, an electromyography and electrogoniometry system, a force plate, an isokinetic dynamometer, and other clinical assessment tools. A physical exam and treatment area, a functional testing area, and extensive computer equipment are also located in the lab.

The Athletic Training Education Laboratory serves as the location of clinically based undergraduate athletic training courses and contains educational resources such as physical examination and rehabilitation equipment, anatomical models and computer simulation programs, and a gross cadaver lab. Extensive physical examination and treatment areas also complement this area and make it a frequent site of research activities.

Graduate students and faculty also have access to a wide variety of clinical populations and research equipment in other areas of the University such as the Penn State Center for Sports Medicine and the campus athletic training facilities.

Athletic training graduate assistantships are available for BOC certified athletic trainers who are eligible for an athletic training license in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These assistantships are supported by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and interested applicants need to go through a two-stage application process:

  1. First, students must apply for academic admission to the graduate program in the Department of Kinesiology. Please see our Application & Admissions page for details on that process. Of note, our graduate program is mentor-based so it is critical for applicants to identify prospective mentors in their application materials (mentors do not have to be affiliated with the Athletic Training and Sports Medicine program and can be from other programs within the department). To facilitate that process, we have identified graduate faculty in different specializations of the department who are (1) interested in mentoring students with more clinical interests and (2) will to accommodate the time demands imposed by clinical responsibilities for students with Athletic Training Graduate Assistantships. View brief descriptions of these faculty members and their interests.
  2. Second, students must apply to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for one of the Athletic Training Graduate Assistantships. Please visit their website ( for details on that process.

Students must be admitted to the Graduate School before a clinical assistantship can be awarded.


Learn more about the faculty members who mentor Athletic Training and Sports Medicine graduate students at Penn State:‚Äč

Additional faculty

Additional faculty who have an interest in this area:

  • Neil A. Sharkey, Interim Vice President for Research; Professor of Kinesiology, Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation
  • Click here to view brief descriptions of additional faculty members who have expressed interest in mentoring students with clinical interests in athletic training.