Professor Jack Ransone Honored for his Contributions to Athletic Training
He was already headed to the Olympics to serve as a medical coordinator for the U.S. Track and Field Team during the 2008 summer games in Beijing, China.
Then, Dr. Jack Ransone, director of the athletic training program at Texas State, learned he had received the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) — a prestigious national honor second only in status to induction into NATA’s hall of fame.
“It is an honor and an affirmation of years of hard work,” Ransone says. “Particularly since my nomination for Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award was initiated by a past student.”
Olympic Experiences Ransone accepted the NATA award in St. Louis in June 2008, and two months later he was off to China for three weeks. His Olympics assignment: assist with the U.S. team’s training camp, help with practices, administer medical treatments to athletes before and after training, and ensure athletes are properly hydrated and prepared for competition.
The trip to Beijing was not Ransone’s first opportunity to work with world-class athletes. He served as an athletic trainer for the 2000 U.S. National Wrestling Team’s Olympic Qualifier and its 2002 Tour of Europe, the 2003 Pan American Games, the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, the 2009 World Cross Country in Mombasa, Kenya, and the 2009 World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan.
“Getting to know the people — the athletes and the coaches — was by far the most enjoyable part of my past Olympic experience, and that’s one of the things I’m looking forward to about this trip,” Ransone said. “Even though the athletes are the best of the best in the world, they’re human beings. You form friendships with them in the two to three weeks before the Olympics, then watch them perform at the highest level — most of them getting close to personal bests — it’s impressive.”
His Day Job When he’s not accepting an award in another state, speaking in another country, or preparing Olympic athletes on another continent, Ransone leads the popular athletic training program at Texas State.
Founded in 1971, the undergraduate program was the first one in the state accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. It is housed in the College of Education’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, the second most popular academic department on campus, boasting 1,900 students.
“Our program is one of the oldest, most recognized athletic training programs in the United States,” Ransone says, adding that many students complete the program as preparation for other professional programs, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and even medical school.
Ransone has taught courses in the athletic training program since 2003, but his experience with it goes back to the early 1980s, when he earned his own undergraduate degree in athletic training from the program.
“When I left here, this was my measuring stick,” Ransone says. “When I was at the University of New Mexico in graduate school, at Adams State College for my first job, at Stanford or Oklahoma State, I always compared those programs to this program. So when the opportunity to come back came up, I ran back.”
He returned to Texas State as a tenured full professor charged with developing a graduate program in athletic training. The master of science in athletic training program at Texas State, launched in 2009, is the only one of its kind in the state and one of only 15 in the nation.
Advanced Athletic Training “[The graduate program] is a research- and evidence-based program that emphasizes therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation,” Ransone says. “Our national organization is going toward specialty certificates, and our students will be prepared to become specialists in therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation.”
The graduate program is off to a great start with 15 students and spots for another five in 2008-09. “The faculty within the program are known nationally, and I think that helps in recruiting graduate students,” Ransone says. “And the students in the undergraduate program also benefit from interacting with these graduate students who are already licensed and certified to practice athletic training.”
With Ransone’s game plan and leadership, the athletic training program at Texas State is sure to continue to enhance its golden reputation. “[We can be successful] by hiring and maintaining good faculty and staff,” he says. “And by creating an environment in which not only the students continue to grow and improve, but the staff and faculty continue to grow and improve.”
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