James Madison University

Program History

JMU was awarded an undergraduate athletic training curriculum by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 1982.  This program was part of both the physical education and athletics departments. 

Herb Amato was hired in 1988 to serve as the program’s first full-time director of the undergraduate athletic training curriculum.  As a result of the growth, JMU benefited from the addition of new staff and graduate assistant position to support the needs of athletic training services.

The next couple of years continued to reflect times of growth in athletic training at JMU.  The athletic training curriculum received national accreditation in 1997, and hired Dr. David Knitter as the first formal Medical Director for the program in 1999.  An advisory board was also first established during this time to provide feedback to the program so that athletic training students are provided with the best opportunities for learning.

In 2001, The Health & Human Services building was opened.  As part of the College of Integrated Science and Technology, this building that serves as the largest academic facility in the state of Virginia became the new home for the athletic training curriculum classrooms and labs.

Over the course of the next few years, the athletic training programs saw significant growth in the number of graduates both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Many of these individuals were accepted to academic programs at a graduate level while others have gone on the have productive careers in athletic training and other health-related fields.

In 2003, the athletic training academic program continued to flourish, receiving the highest level of re-accreditation that is offered in the profession. 

In 2006 we saw another changing of the guard at JMU as Herb Amato announced that he would be stepping down as the Athletic Training Education Program Director after 18 years in order to become the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at JMU.  Paula Maxwell was hired as the new Athletic Training Education Program Director. In Spring 2011 the ATEP underwent its re-accreditation evaluation. As a result of that evaluation, the ATEP was awarded the maximum 10 years of re-accreditation.

Asof the fall 2011, Dr. Maxwell began serving as the Interim Academic Unit for the Health Sciences Department.  Dr. Jamie Frye stepped in as the Interim Program Director while concurrently serving as the Clinical Education Coordinator.

Together the JMU Sports Medicine Staff, AT Program Faculty, Preceptors, and students seek to continue to “Set the Standard” that has been established at JMU.


  • May 4-6
    Commencement Ceremonies
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PHOTO: Herb AmatoHealth is one of the most important disciplines in today’s world. Given the current and future global demand for well trained and passionate health professionals, now is an ideal time to study in our department. We urge you to learn about our programs to see where your future ambitions fit. More >