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Taken/adapted from the NATA Education Council Guidelines

History and Rationale:

The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, P.L. 101-336 (“ADA” or “the Act”), enacted on July 26, 1990, provides comprehensive civil rights protections to qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA was modeled after Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which marked the beginning of equal opportunity for persons with disabilities.

As amended, Section 504 “prohibits all programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance from discrimination against individuals with disabilities who are ‘otherwise qualified’ to participate in those programs.” With respect to post-secondary educational services, an “otherwise qualified” individual is a person with a disability “who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the recipient's education program or activity.”

Given the intent of Section 504 and the ADA, the development of standards of practice for a profession, and the establishment of essential requirements to the student's program of study, or directly related to licensing requirements, is allowable under these laws.

In applying Section 504 regulations, which require individuals to meet the “academic and technical standards for admission,” the Supreme Court has stated that physical qualifications could lawfully be considered “technical standard(s) for admission.”

Institutions may not, however, exclude an “otherwise qualified” applicant or student merely because of a disability, if the institution can reasonably modify its program or facilities to accommodate the applicant or student with a disability. However, an institution need not provide accommodations or modify its program of study or facilities such that (a) would “fundamentally alter” and/or (b) place an “undue burden on” the educational program or academic requirements and technical standards which are essential to the program of study.

The following guidelines embody the physical, cognitive, and attitudinal abilities an Entry-Level Athletic Trainer must be able to demonstrate in order to function in a broad variety of clinical situations; and to render a wide spectrum of care to athletes and individuals engaged in physical activity.

The guidelines serve to recognize abilities essential to the development of these Entry-Level abilities. Further, the guidelines reflect the necessary and required skills and abilities identified for the Entry-Level Athletic Trainer as detailed in the NATA Athletic Training Educational Competencies and the BOC, Inc., Role Delineation Study.

Enrollment & Retention

The Athletic Training Program (ATP) at James Madison University is a rigorous and intense program. Students complete a professional education program that is both intellectually and physically challenging. The purpose of these Technical Standards is to articulate the demands of this program to students applying for admission to the program so they may compare their own capabilities to these demands. Secondly, it serves to articulate the requirements needed for retention once admitted to the program.

Applicants to this program are asked to verify that they understand the demands of the program and that they understand they will be required to complete the tasks, with or without reasonable accommodations, associated with performance as an athletic training student. Reasonable accommodation refers to the way in which James Madison University can assist students with disabilities to accomplish these tasks (i.e. providing extra time to complete an examination, enhancing the sound system in a classroom or providing a push cart for a student who may not have the strength to carry a heavy item for moderate distances).

Reasonable accommodation does not mean that students with disabilities will be exempt from certain tasks; it does, however, mean that the athletic faculty/staff will work with students with disabilities to determine whether there are ways to assist the students towards completion of these tasks while continuing to maintain the integrity of the Athletic Training Program and protecting the safety of all involved.

After acceptance into the professional phase of the program, a student who needs reasonable accommodation for disability must make a formal request to the ATP Director and must be prepared to provide documentation substantiating the claimed disability to the Office of Disability Services. A student may be administratively withdrawn if it becomes apparent that the student cannot complete essential tasks even with stated accommodation/s, the accommodations needed are not reasonable and would cause undue hardship to the program and institution, or that fulfilling the functions would create a significant risk of harm to the health or safety of others.

Students who have questions about this document or who would like to discuss specific accommodations should make an inquiry both with the Athletic Training Program Director and the James Madison University Office of Disability Services.

The following are considered Essential Tasks required for ATP Students to complete the Athletic Training Program:

Intellectual & Communication:

  • A student must have sufficient intellectual competence and communication skills to complete the following essential tasks:
  • Students must meet class standards for course completion throughout the curriculum.
  • Students must communicate honestly.
  • tudents must be able to read, write, speak, and understand English at a level consistent with successful course completion, having the ability to communicate with athletes and successfully complete medical records.
  • Students must complete readings, assignments, and other activities outside of class hours.
  • Students must gather decision-making pieces of information during an injury assessment activity in class or in the clinical setting without the use of an intermediary such as a classmate, Graduate Assistant, or certified athletic trainer.
  • Students must perform treatment and rehabilitation activities in class or in the clinical setting by direct performance or by instruction and supervision of intermediaries.
  • Students must apply critical thinking processes to their work in the classroom and in the clinical setting, and must exercise sound judgment in the class and in the clinical setting.
  • Student must possess the ability to make and execute quick, appropriate and accurate decisions in a stressful environment.
  • Student must be able to assimilate, analyze, synthesize, integrate concepts and problem solve to formulate assessment and therapeutic judgments and to be able to distinguish deviations from the norm.
  • Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and colleagues, including individuals from different cultural and social backgrounds; this include, but is not limited to, the ability to establish rapport with athletes, communicate judgments and treatment information effectively.
  • Students must be able to record the physical examination results and a treatment plan clearly and accurately

Motor Function & Sensory:

A student must have sufficient motor function, neuromuscular strength, coordination, sensory awareness, and stamina to complete the following essential tasks:

  • Students must be able to sit and stand for long periods on a daily basis.
  • Students must be able to ambulate indoors and outdoors over various terrains.
  • Students frequently stand and walk while providing support to an injured patient.
  • Students must frequently independently lift equipment or provide lifting support to an injured patient.
  • Students frequently exert force to push or pull objects, sometimes while ambulating long distances.
  • Students must be able to frequently twist, bend, and kneel on the floor for extended periods.
  • Students frequently coordinate verbal and manual activities with gross motor activities.
  • Students must use auditory, tactile, and visual senses to receive classroom instruction and to evaluate and treat injured patients.
  • Students may work within an electrical field.
  • Students must have adequate vision to correctly see activities across the field, mat, or court.
  • Students must have basic neurological function to perceive hot, cold, change in contour of surface/body part.
  • Students frequently need bladder and bowel control to perform assigned duties.
  • Students must have sufficient postural and neuromuscular control, sensory function, and strength and coordination to perform appropriate physical examinations using accepted techniques; and accurately, safely, and efficiently use equipment and material during assessment and treatment of patients.

Behavioral & Emotional:

A student must possess the ability to act professionally and have the emotional and mental health required to complete the following essential tasks:

  • Students must maintain professional standards set in place by James Madison University and the JMU Athletic Training Program in addition to State and National ethical and professional standards of conduct.
  • Students must follow safety procedures established for each class and clinical setting.
  • Students must attend classes and clinical assignments punctually.
  • Students must have the capacity to maintain composure and continue to function well during periods of high stress.
  • Students must be able to remain focused and demonstrate emotional stability in the academic and clinical setting.
  • Students must have the perseverance, diligence, and commitment to complete the athletic training program as outlined and sequenced.
  • Students must demonstrate affective skills (i.e. emotions and attitudes) and appropriate demeanor and rapport that relate to professional education and quality patient care.
  • Students must be able to maintain professional relationships with program constituents (patients, fellow students, faculty, staff, preceptors, graduate assistants, etc.).
  • Students must respect the rights, welfare, and dignity of all program constituents and not display discriminatory practices.
  • Student’s behavior during class and clinical education must not be a distraction to other program constituents.
  • Students must maintain a professional personal appearance and hygiene representative of a healthcare provider in the classroom and clinical setting.
  • Students must be substance free when attending all classes and clinical assignments.

Annual Requirements:

A student in the professional phase must complete the following essential tasks annually:

  1. Students must annually demonstrate passing competency in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the Professional Rescuer Level.
  2. Students must annually complete OSHA-regulated Blood borne Pathogen Exposure Training and complete the Hepatitis B Vaccine Series or have a written denial on file.
  3. Students must annually complete HIPAA and FERPA Training.
  4. Students are required to comply with clinical site requirements (i.e. obtaining finger printing, background checks, TB tests, completing necessary paperwork, etc.).

It is the policy of James Madison University that all opportunities are to be made available to qualified individuals on the basis of merit and without discrimination against any employee, applicant for employment, student, or applicant for admission because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, age, national origin, or sexual orientation.

Candidates for selection to the Athletic Training Program will be required to verify they have read and understand these technical standards and that they believe that they can meet (with or without accommodation) the technical standards tasks as outlined above. Compliance with the program’s technical standards simply allows continued enrollment in the ATP and does not guarantee a student’s eligibility for the BOC’s certification exam.

All technical and academic standards must be met throughout enrollment in the Athletic Training curriculum. It is the student's responsibility to notify the Athletic Training Program Director if, during enrollment, circumstances occur and he/she can no longer meet the technical standards or needs reasonable accommodation, at which time he/she will be referred to the Office of Disability Services. Failure to continue to meet the Technical Standards, with or without accommodation will prevent the student from continuing in the Athletic Training Program.

Reviewed and approved by J.W. Myers, Associate Vice President for Academic Resources 12/3/2015 (signed original on file in Athletic Training Program office)

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