James Madison University

JMU Alumnus named Chairman of Governor’s Advisory Board

By: Dina Manco
Posted: February 26, 2015

PHOTO:Michael  Puglia

Athletic trainer Michael Puglia (’11) graduated from JMU with a desire to help others.  He began his career as an athletic trainer with Bon Secours Sports Medicine in Richmond, and he is currently employed at Powhatan High School. His position calls for helping student athletes with evaluations, rehabilitation, and emergency and preventative care. Puglia contributes further to his field by working part-time for two other employers: the Richmond United Soccer Team and the rehabilitation clinic for Springfield Medical Center in Glen Allen, VA. He acts as an athletic trainer for the soccer team, while his duties at the medical center include seeing patients, and performing evaluations and rehabilitation services.

Puglia is also involved with the Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association (VATA) in government affairs. At the association’s advocacy day in February of last year, he learned there was a vacancy on the Governor’s Advisory Board for the secondary school position. Soon Puglia had two letters of recommendation from political delegates and an application in hand.  In July of 2014, he was named to a four-year term on the board.  Puglia also serves as chair of the board.

The board is responsible for regulating athletic training licensures and ethical practices across the state. Puglia says, “We are the experts in the field [who report to the] Virginia Board of Medicine.” The advisory board has one representative for each different sector: college, secondary schools, outside of school practice, a citizen representative, and a physician. Puglia speaks for the secondary school level.

On the Advisory Board, Puglia reports to the Virginia Board of Medicine on issues in the field. The board meets three times a year, but remain on call when needed. “We sit down and talk about [issues] and figure out how to best regulate them. We are protecting people from those who are practicing out of their scope and are not being ethical.” He adds, “For example if a complaint was put in to the [Virginia Board of Medicine] that someone was practicing as a Certified Athletic Trainer but does not hold a license to practice Athletic Training by the Commonwealth of Virginia, that person would face disciplinary action by the Board of Medicine. The Advisory Board on Athletic Training would be called in to assist in the disciplinary process of that individual, thus preserving the integrity of the Athletic Training profession and keeping the public safe from someone who may not even be a Certified Athletic Trainer.” As Chairman, Puglia oversees the AT board meetings and serves as the main communicator between his board and the Board of Medicine.

Puglia attributes his success to the education and support he received from JMU and his instructors. “It was the teachers and professors in the program that have really set me on this path. The professors are so passionate about the profession and getting [students] to the next level; they instilled it in me and now I’m sitting on the [Governor’s Advisory Board].” Puglia has professors he continues to receive mentorship from and praises JMU as a true institution for higher learning and professional development. “Being in the high school setting [at Powhatan], they ask me about JMU and other institutions. I always talk about the things that make JMU special…[The professors] gave me an opportunity to see other things in the profession that are important about development and being active in health care since it changes so much.” He continues, “JMU is the main source of all my accomplishments…Nothing makes me happier than when one of my students chooses JMU.”

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