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History of Athletic Training in Iowa

 

Formation of State Universities

The three state universities were in the 1800’s, the University of Iowa in 1847, Iowa State University, 1862, and in 1876, the University of Northern Iowa. Iowa students began playing football in 1872.  An intercollegiate group was formed in 1889, with track & field competitions starting in 1902 and Big Ten Conference competition in 1909. Almost 100 years ago, Iowa was the center of the intercollegiate wrestling world and has remained so throughout that time period.  While it was football as a sport that influenced the advancement of athletic training and modern development of sports medicine, it was wrestling and track with the scientific principles of the day (antiseptic procedures, physical work output, and muscle physiology) that expanded the background training of these early practitioners and the careful scientific examination of the athlete.  These applications could also be applied to our military veterans and to neurologic disorders, such as polio.

Beginning of Athletic Training

Society has a strong influence on institutional behavior so it was not surprising that the popularity of sport and the ravages of several wars culminated in the development and the hibernation of athletic training in the early 20th century.  The war effort organized some designated physical education programs to retool for professionally prepared nurses so that they could treat and rehabilitate the returning war veterans.  These programs gave rise to the physical therapy profession by the late 1940's also in response to the polio epidemics and world wars.  That program of training took musculoskeletal exercise, a common thread with athletic training, and applied those clinical concepts to re-establishing normal function or prolonging the quality of life for those affected by these two devastating calamities. Between WWI and WWII, the athletic training pockets of professional development grew from the experiences of those working in this field and from the growing educational programs for physical education and corrective therapies.  It was in 1925 at the Drake Relays in Des Moines IA that the first national organization of athletic trainers was developed.  Their first secretary and executive director was the athletic trainer at Iowa, Bill Frey.  Frey later worked with a young internal medicine specialist, William D. "Shorty" Paul, as the sports medicine team.

Both Iowa and Iowa State had courses developed for coaches by the early 1900's called athletic training.  In 1910 Frank "Skipper" Mann was hired at Iowa having spent four years at Indiana University and prior to that he studied athletic training at the University of Chicago.  Mann was followed by Lloyd "Snapper" Stein in 1914.  It was Stein who developed the athletic training room at the Field House in conjunction with C.H. McCloy in the developmental disabilities laboratory.  The first major textbook for athletic training was by Dr. S.E. Bilik's, "The Trainer's Bible" published in 1916.

NATA and State of Iowa Licensure

Although the modern organization we now know as the National Athletic Trainer's Association was established in St. Louis MO in June 1950, athletic training was a present and a steady feature of the three state universities in the form of a group of staff, physicians, and students laying the foundation of the current services to athletes and professional preparation programs.  At the state institutions in the 1960's were  Arno Buntrock at Iowa who started in 1960 and took over from Doyle Alsop, who succeeded Bill Frey; C.R. Biggerstaff at Iowa State who started in in 1961; and Elmer Kortelmeyer at UNI who started in 1965.  The emphasis on professional development, education, and science from the state universities established education programs specifically for athletic trainers starting at Iowa in 1974. By this time nationally, a certification process was in place to standardize the preparation of athletic trainers.  Education programs had been established in the late 1960's in just 12 institutions, and state licensing was the next step.  Ed Crowley's background was in physical therapy, having graduated from the Iowa Physical Therapy Program, and in athletic training, having worked with William E. Newell at Purdue and Ed Pillings at Army.  Ed and several others, Frank Randall at Iowa State and Terry Noonan at UNI among them, worked relentlessly to obtain licensing in Iowa.   Eventually a strong state organization was developed in 1983, headed at that time by Lonnie Clark at Drake University.  Education programs in the state were moving in the direction of a major or degree program for athletic training in the 1990's so that by 1994 the State Legislature approved licensing for title protection and 10 years later approved the revised practice protection act.  Since that time over 800 athletic trainers have been licensed in the state. 

Athletic training in Iowa was strongly influenced from the beginning by sport and sportsmen.  We now have a strong team of sports medicine specialists throughout Iowa that bring together athletic trainers, sports medicine trained physicians, sports physical therapists, and other health care providers, all playing important roles in the care of the active hard-working people of Iowa.


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