Sports Medicine and Performance Mission Statement:
To ensure best practices regarding the health, safety, and wellness of all involved parties.

Key initiatives to assisting the accomplishment of the Athletic Training/Sports Medicine and Performance Mission include:

  1. Continual education of Athletic Training Staff and Clinical Preceptors in order to utilize the current knowledge, research, and resources in the management of athletic injuries.
  2. Endeavor to pursue state of the art and quality Athletic Training facilities.
  3. Command within the resources of the Department of Athletics adequate injury care.
  4. Insist upon timely and efficient delivery of the needed services in athletic injury care.
  5. Educate our Athletic Department Coaches and Staff about medical limitations of our injured student athletes.
  6. Mandate well educated Athletic Training Students by providing quality and variable education opportunities and an evidence-based educational environment.
  7. Resolutely maintain a drug free experience for student athletes through education and testing.
  8. Steadfastly work on the traditional and innovative approaches to fund raising for programmatic needs.                     

The Profession of Athletic Training

Athletic training is a major specialty in the field of sports medicine where active daily involvement with athletes, patients, physicians, administrators, and coaches affect the safety, well-being, and health care of the competitive and recreational athlete. Through a combination of medical specialists and the active commitment of the athletic trainer, the sports medicine and performance team at Michigan State University covers a broad entity of healthcare. Michigan State University’s Sports Medicine and Performance Team incorporates on-site daily medical and health care needs by the athletic training staff, athletic training Interns, and team physicians and medical consultants including orthopedics, neurology, family medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, dietetics,  optometry, dentistry, mental health consultants, and a wide variety of medical health care professionals local and nation wide.

Michigan State University Athletic Training Program History

Michigan State University has a long and proud history in Athletic Training, medical health care, and Athletic Training Education.  Michigan State University's Athletic Training Program has been supervised and directed by five head athletic trainers throughout the past ninety years. The head athletic trainers are Jack Heppinstall, who worked from 1914 until 1959, Gayle Robinson, who was the head athletic trainer from 1959 to 1973, Clint Thompson from 1973 until 1985, and Jeff Monroe from 1985 through 2013. Sally Nogle was appointed in July, 2013 as the current head athletic trainer at Michigan State University. Gayle Robinson continued his work in the athletic training room at Michigan State as a full time staff athletic trainer from 1973 until 1982.

Michigan State University’s rich and proud Athletic Training history includes eight inducted members into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Hall of Fame. They include:  Jack Heppinstall (1962), Gayle Robinson (1976), Duke LaRue (1990), Ronnie Barnes (1999), Clint Thompson (2004), Sally Nogle (2012), and Dr. John Powell (2012), and Dave Carrier (2015).

Jack Heppinstall approached the Michigan Agricultural College in 1914, as a 23 year-old British immigrant, to become the first head athletic trainer in its history. Jack left Michigan State temporarily in 1948 to return to his native England as an athletic trainer for the United States boxing and wrestling teams in the Olympics in London. Jack Heppinstall worked at Michigan State for a span of 45 years serving under the guidance of six MSU presidents, five athletic directors, and three team physicians. Heppinstall was selected president of the National Athletic Trainers' Association in 1939 and inducted into the National Athletic Trainer's Association Hall of Fame in 1962 as one of the 26 charter members of the NATA.

Gayle Robinson became the only assistant athletic trainer to Jack Heppinstall in 1946, prior the becoming the head athletic trainer at Michigan State University in 1959. He was named Michigan State's head athletic trainer until 1973, whereupon he remained as a staff athletic trainer until 1982. Gayle worked the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany and was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame in 1976.

Clint Thompson served as an assistant athletic trainer under Gayle Robinson from 1964 to 1970 before moving to Colorado State University. Clint returned to Michigan State University in 1973 as the head athletic trainer until 1985.  Clint's staff consisted of three full time assistants, four graduate assistant athletic trainers, and thirteen undergraduate students.
The full time staff began the integral mission of developing the apprenticeship program's educational preparation with clinical skill development for the undergraduate and graduate athletic training students preparing for the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Certification Examination. Clint’s professional experiences with the NATA Journal of Athletic Training initiated a clinical environment for research, inquisitiveness, and professional development among his full time staff, graduate students, and undergraduate athletic training students.

Jeff Monroe was hired in 1985 to supervise the Spartan athletic training program, while working directly with the Football program. Jeff completed his supervision and leadership of the Athletic Training Program in 2013.

Sally Nogle was appointed as the current head athletic trainer in July, 2013. Under her guidance as an Assistant Athletic Trainer, the Spartan athletic training student program prior had begun to incorporate an aggressive clinical philosophical emphasis involving hands-on therapeutic rehabilitation and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation techniques. During the late 1980's and early 1990's, the undergraduate and graduate athletic training student programs recruiting efforts and educational course structure were increased, standardized, and implemented. Michigan State University's internship program's educational philosophy continued to emphasize critical thinking, academic course work, competency based education, clinical exposures, hands-on experiential learning, and diverse clinical rotational opportunities. In the late 1990's, Sally began to structure the preparation and review of Michigan State's educational course requirements per NATA/CAAHEP guidelines, while evaluating the self-study structures needed for the transition to an educational accredited student athletic training program. The athletic training staff was increased to 7.5 full-time certified athletic trainers, 4-8 certified graduate students, and 45 undergraduate athletic training students completing the NATA athletic training internship requirements.

In 2003, Michigan State University's educational athletic training program received CAHEP accreditation and began as a specialization under MSU's Department of Kinesiology's major. Shortly thereafter, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training (CAATE) began requiring all Athletic Training Major's to be identified on a student's transcript in order for an undergraduate athletic training program to become and remain accredited.

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training (CAATE) in 2006 initiated the requirement that an Athletic Training major involved in undergraduate educational institution must be identified on a student's transcript in order for an undergraduate's athletic training educational program to become and remain accredited. Initial CAAHEP accreditation was secured at Michigan State University in 2004. However, it was initially designated as a specialization under Michigan State University's Department of Kinesiology's major. Therefore, in the spring, 2007, Dr. Tracey Covassin, Program Director of undergraduate Athletic Training Education Program, completed all the necessary evaluations, requests, forms, and curriculum committee's approvals to establish the Michigan State University athletic training student with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Athletic Training.
As a result of a comprehensive evaluation in 2018, including a self-study and on-site visit, CAATE voted to award Continuing Accreditation to the Athletic Training Program at Michigan State University. As a result, Michigan State University's Athletic Training Program's next comprehensive CAATE review is scheduled to occur during the 2028-2029 academic year. Michigan State University is a CAATE Accredited Athletic Training Program. For more information, please visit The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training (CAATE).
Michigan State University's Undergraduate Athletic Training Program Transition to the Master's Degree of Athletic Training Program

National governing bodies (i.e., CAATE: in the field of Athletic Training have established that future athletic trainers will be required to have a Master's of Athletic Training to enter the profession. Therefore, all Bachelors Degree of Athletic Training must transition to Masters' level programs by 2022. This transition is being made in response to changes within the athletic training profession and in order to maintain a higher-quality educational experience for athletic training students. Michigan State University is pleased to immediately move forward with this transition to ensure the best professional preparation of our students. The final class of Bachelor's Degree candidates began as freshmen in the Fall Semester of 2017. If you are applying to Michigan State University for the Fall Semester, the option available will be pursuing the Bachelors of Science Degree in Kinesiology which will best prepare you to be a competitive applicant to the Master's Degree Program in Athletic Training.

The Athletic Training Master's Degree Program will begin in the summer of 2020. Please visit our new Athletic Training Master's Degree and College of Education website for more information.

If you have any questions regarding this educational transition, please contact the Athletic Training Program Director, Dr. Tracey Covassin at










Undergraduate/Graduate Athletic Training Program
105 IM Circle
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824