Ole Miss Athletics Creates Health And Sports Performance Division

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Head Athletic Trainer Pat Jernigan
Head Athletic Trainer Pat Jernigan

July 10, 2012

OXFORD, Miss. - In building upon a foundation to provide the very best student-athlete experience, Ole Miss Athletics has created the unit for Health and Sports Performance, which combines all of the necessary services for optimal health performance into one complete collaborative department.

In this unique and cutting edge approach, the Health and Sports Performance department includes strength and conditioning, athletic training, team physicians, physical therapy, massage therapy, sports psychology, counseling services and sports nutrition.

"Our student-athletes deserve the very best health and sports care, and through this innovative, holistic model, we are providing them with an innovative edge both in competition and in their development as men and women," said Athletics Director Ross Bjork. "I want to thank (Senior Associate A.D.) Shannon Singletary for his leadership in our Health and Sports Performance division, and all of the health care professionals that are part of this exciting partnership."

"Our team of Health and Sports Performance professionals strive to provide quality health and sports performance services based on the latest research in their respective discipline," Singletary said. "By creating this model, we hope to not only provide our student-athletes with a better chance of winning on the field but also give them an opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle."

For orthopedic services, Ole Miss Health and Sports Performance will utilize Oxford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine as well as the University of Mississippi Medical Center Department of Orthopedics in Jackson, in addition to UMC's world-class treatment in neurology, cardiology and multiple other specialties. Athletics also has strong working relationships with student health services, local physicians and Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, which is located just miles from the Oxford campus.

Ole Miss' athletic trainers begin treatment and rehabilitation as early as 6 a.m. and are available until the last student-athlete is finished with practice or competition. There are currently six athletic training facilities on campus with the two main athletic training rooms located in the Starnes Athletic Training Center and the Indoor Practice Facility. In addition, there are four satellite athletic training rooms located in Tad Smith Coliseum, Basketball Practice Facility, Gillom Sports Center and Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

Heading athletic training for the football program is new addition Pat Jernigan, who spent more than a decade in the NFL as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' assistant athletic trainer. The Valdosta State graduate also spent time as an athletic trainer at Middle Tennessee and has earned Performance Enhancement Specialists (PES) certification.

"Pat Jernigan demonstrates a passion and excellence in athletic training which comes from 10 years of experience in providing health care and aiding sport performance at the highest level," Singletary said. "With praise from players such as Ole Miss great Michael Spurlock and NFL All-Pro Derrick Brooks, it was very clear he is what Ole Miss needs. Not to mention that he worked alongside both Tony Dungy and John Gruden.

"Ultimately, Pat proved to embody three characteristics we strive for here at Ole Miss: competency, accountability and integrity."

The main athletic training rooms are stocked with equipment such as digital x-ray systems, stationary bikes, laser therapy equipment, therapeutic modalities, underwater treadmills and Biodex testing equipment. Each component is strategically designed to not only give the student-athletes the best care but also aid in returning them to competition as quickly and safely as possible.

From a nutrition standpoint, Ole Miss Athletics boasts the services of a certified sports dietitian to assist student-athletes in proper eating habits. In addition, plans are in place for the construction of a full service dining facility, which will specialize in performance sports nutrition and is set to open in the summer of 2013.

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