Sports Medicine & Athletic Training
The Sports Medicine/Athletic Training program serves several functions at the New Mexico Military Institute. The primary purpose is to provide comprehensive services for NMMI’s 25 athletic teams. Additionally, it provides services in support of other Corps groups such as ROTC, the Academy Prep programs, and various elements of our physically active population. The SM/AT staff has developed a partnership with the Marshall Infirmary that allows for consulting in appropriate cases, effectively extending the availability of AT Services to the entire Corps of cadets.
Another key mission is its academic program, which is designed to align with the athletic training education programs at certain four-year universities. As a part of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) program at NMMI, the Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) offers several classes, allowing interested cadets to take some of their required lower division coursework, right here at NMMI. As part of a partnership formed in 2008 with New Mexico State University and Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, students who enter into NMMI’s ATEP can transfer seamlessly into NMSU’s program and finish their degree in athletic training.
The director of the SM/AT is Lieutenant Colonel Jose Barron. He’s been the main force in the program’s development and progression during recent years. Barron is a Certified Athletic Trainer with over fifteen years of experience in a wide variety of practice settings, including rehabilitation clinics, high school, collegiate and even professional-level sports programs. Surveying the need for NMMI’s increasing number of athletic teams, and a growing number of students participating in the ATEP program, Barron secured the funding for a second, full-time staff member in 2006. In 2008, Captain Grace Pineda joined the staff, and has been instrumental in the continuing success of the SM/AT program.
Perhaps the single, most important addition to the SM/AT program has been the Athletic Training Center. Funds were appropriated by the New Mexico State Legislature during their 2006 session and construction of the new facility, located in the basement of Godfrey Athletic Center, began. The new 1,800 square foot addition, which opened in the Fall semester of 2007, more than tripled the amount functional space afforded by the original facility, still in use, in the Cahoon Armory.
This new facility has office space for Barron and his staff, a private examination room with medical and diagnostic equipment, and offers a variety of modern rehabilitation modalities including electrical stimulation, ultrasound, LASER therapy, and tubs for both hot and cold immersion. A classroom was also constructed adjacent to the AT Center, allowing for students to quickly transition from the laboratory setting that the AT center provides, back into a classroom environment.
“Within the state of New Mexico, only the Division 1 universities possess greater capabilities than those available at the NMMI Athletic Training Center,” says Director Barron. “The facilities, staffing increases, and program development will go a long way to help fulfill our current mission and allow for continued growth.”