Certified Athletic Trainer Residency

Emory Sports Medicine Center is one of only nine athletic training residency programs in the country that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).CAATE

The Emory Athletic Training Residency is a one-year position starting the fourth week of June and concluding the first week of July the following year. There is a $30,311 per year stipend for the position, which also includes medical and dental benefits, retirement matching, and professional dues and fees. The athletic training residency consists of clinical, surgical, and possible community outreach opportunities.

The ATC resident will rotate between three surgeons and a group of non-operative physicians on a monthly basis. Once state licensed and certified as an Orthopaedic Technologist, the residents will complete a course in aseptic technique, learning how to work in a sterile environment. 

Through their experience working as a first assistant in the operating room, they will learn operating room skills from sterile techniques including assisting the physician with patient positioning, positioning of the arthroscopic camera, tissue retraction, suturing, and sizing/preparation of previously harvested grafts. Other responsibilities will include conducting and presenting research, working closely with staff radiologists to understand and interpret imaging studies, and attendance at journal clubs and grand rounds. There are also opportunities to work with Emory Physical Therapy to understand step-by-step clinical rehabilitation, and a variety of PRN community outreach opportunities working with local high school and collegiate athletics for additional compensation.

Current ATC Residents

Cooper Padgett, ATC Cooper Padgett, ATC: Cooper grew up in the small town of Tobaccoville, NC. She received her Bachelors of Science in Athletic Training from the University of South Carolina in 2012. In 2014, Cooper received her Masters of Science in Athletic Training from the University of Kentucky where she worked as a graduate assistant in the outreach program at Berea College. For the past 4 years she has been working at Lenoir-Rhyne University. In her free time, Cooper enjoys competing in Olympic Weightlifting, coaching CrossFit and paddle boarding. 
Paul Rucci, ATC Paul Rucci, ATC: Paul is from Millinocket, Maine and received his Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from University of Maine at Presque Isle. He went on to earn his Master's Degree in Athletic Training from California University of Pennsylvania in 2012. Immediately following his Master's he worked for a short time at Fort Kent Community High School where he oversaw all athletic training responsibilities for the student-athletes. Paul has spent the last 6 years at Colby College working with several teams including but not limited to men's ice hockey, football, softball and the men and women's crew teams. Paul has also had the opportunity to work several USA women's hockey development camps and has been to three IIHF World Championships with the U18 Women's USA Hockey Team.
Erica Taylor, ATC Erica Taylor, ATC: Originally from Michigan, Erica received her BS in athletic training from Michigan State University & MS from Georgia State University. She worked as a graduate assistant at The Westminster School, has been employed at all NCAA levels & also worked with the US Soccer youth national teams. She comes to Emory after working in the physician setting for 2.5 years with Andrew Gottschalk, MD at the Ochsner Sports Medicine Institute in New Orleans. Erica enjoys doing crossword puzzles, cooking, & spending time outdoors with her fiancé Dan & their dachshund, Izzo.
Ashely THomas, ATC Ashley Thomas, ATC: Ashley Thomas hails originally from Lansing, Michigan but has lived in the south in various states since her family left in 1995, currently residing in Atlanta, GA. Ashley completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia in Athletic Training and continued her schooling at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to receive her master's in Sports Management. While she was there, she worked with the Tennessee Women's Tennis and Football teams. Ashley enjoys being outdoors, playing pickle ball, and trying new recipes.
Brooke Toress, ATC Brooke Torres, ATC: Brooke was born and raised in Marietta, GA where she attended Pope High School. Brooke received her bachelor of science degree in Athletic Training from Georgia College & State University in 2015.  In 2017, she received a master of science in sports medicine from Georgia State, where she also worked as a graduate assistant with GSU’s football, softball, and tennis teams. This past year, Brooke worked for the orthopedic trauma surgical team at Emory John’s Creek Hospital. In her free time, Brooke tries her hand at cooking meals, reading, exploring the city with her friends, and petting as many dogs as possible.  


To become the optimal educational program aimed at providing certified athletic trainers the opportunity to provide quality patient care within a sports medicine or orthopaedic setting within the orthopaedic clinic and operating rooms, enhancing their knowledge in musculoskeletal examination and diagnosis.


To establish a culture of learning through various structured didactic and clinical educational opportunities for the athletic training resident (ATR). The program emphasizes a professional and team oriented approach that allows for efficient clinical management and understanding of musculoskeletal injuries within the sports medicine and orthopaedic setting.

Residency Program Goals

  • To provide the AT resident the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in musculoskeletal examination and diagnosis within an orthopedic and sports medicine clinic setting
  • To expose the AT resident to the operating room environment and provide the opportunity to advance in the role of surgical first assist with orthopaedic and sports medicine surgeons
  • To educate the AT resident across the spectrum of musculoskeletal radiology and other diagnostic tests associated with the field of orthopaedics to aid the clinical exam and diagnosis process
  • To expose and allow the athletic trainer to assist in outcomes based research within an orthopaedic setting

Emory sports Medicine Athletic Training Residency (2013-2018)

Completion Rate: 100%

Employment Rate: 92% (within physician pratice setting)

Residency Year

Number of Residents

Completion Rate

 Employment Rate

Employment within Physician Practice Setting

2017-2018 5 100% 100% 100%
2016-2017 5 100% 100% 100%
2015-2016 5 100% 100% 80%
2014-2015 5 100% 100% 100%
2013-2014 5 100% 100% 80%


Admission Requirements


To Qualify for Admission to the Emory Sports Medicine Certified Athletic Training Residency, applicants must have:

  • Certification from the NATABOC 
  • Certification from the NBCOT or are eligible to sit for the exam in June during the year of application (Read tab below for more information about the NBCOT requirement)
  • Athletic Training Licensure (or eligibility) in the State of Georgia
  • Completed a Master’s degree in a related field or intend to graduate from a Master’s program during the year of application
  • Current certification in CPR/AED
  • Two years experience as a Certified Athletic Trainer is preferred

Orthopaedic Tech Certification Requirement

You do not have to be a certified orthopaedic tech to be admitted to the Emory Sports Medicine Certified Athletic Training Residency, but it is preferred.  Our recommendation is to submit your application materials for this exam once you are accepted into the residency.  Residents are informed of their acceptance into the program by the end of April or beginning of May.  This allows for enough time to register for the June test date.  If you register for the August test date, your ability to start the OR section of the curriculum will be delayed.  A test date after August could compromise your position within the residency.

Certified Athletic Trainers who have been working in orthopaedics under the supervision of an orthopaedic physician are eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam with a physician's signature on the test application.  For more information on the NBCOT exam and/or applying to take the exam, please go to www.nbcot.net .

Residents must obtain certification from the NBCOT or are eligible to sit for the June exam during the year of application

  • If unable to successfully pass the June test, the ATC resident will begin with an administrative rotation
  • If ATC resident is unable to successfully pass the exam for the second time, the second rotation for the ATC resident will be the support rotation, which is a clinic only rotation
  • If  by the third attempt, the ATC resident does not successfully pass the NBCOT exam, they will be unable to complete ESMATR program, as they will be unable to meet all educational goals set for the program
  • If an ATC resident is unable to complete the program, human resources will be contacted to initiate and assist with termination of this position
  • Staff  athletic trainers will support in clinic and OR when needed to ensure that the remaining ATC residents may successfully complete each educational rotation

Requirements for Emory Sports Medicine Resident

The primary goal of the residency is to train the certified athletic trainer (ATC) to work as a physician extender.  As a physician extender, an ATC assists the physician in providing appropriate professional orthopedic care to patients.  The daily demands of the residency will vary according to specific schedule and the physician who is working in the Emory Sports Medicine Clinic on each day.  It is critical that the ATC resident is aware of the specific demands of each clinic in accordance with the specific requirements of each physician. The schedule of daily activities and expectations of the ATC resident will come directly from the physician supervisor or the residency program director.  Below is a partial list of the clinical and academic activities and expectations of the Emory ATC resident. 

  • Greet patients in waiting area in a kind, courteous, and professional manner. Escort them to the proper exam room, obtain patient history and physical exam, organize previous medical studies/reports, and present patient to the supervising physician.
  • If applicable, obtain diagnostic data for that patient i.e. follow-up X-ray prior to the supervising physician seeing patient. Consult with the clinical coordinator, resident or supervising physician if you are uncertain of specific timing or needs of tests.
  • Be present in room whenever possible while the supervising physician is interacting with the patient to further your education and understanding of orthopedics and sports medicine and to assist the supervising physician in expediting the necessary steps of continued care, for example; MRI, bracing, physical therapy, etc..
  • Be present in clinic for post-operative dressing changes and education of patients.
  • Assure that proper billing of the patient encounter is accomplished by directing the patient or escorting the patient to billing/check-out prior to the patient’s leaving clinic. Assure that patients are satisfied with their visit and have no further questions regarding care, future plans, follow-up appointments, or other matters prior to leaving clinic. Encourage patient to schedule follow-up appointment prior to leaving clinic.
  • Assure that the exam rooms are completely stocked with all supplies at the end of the day and throughout the day.
  • Answer and take care of necessary patient phone calls, follow up on requests for medication refills and medical leave forms. Assist ancillary clinic personnel with other errands and miscellaneous tasks when possible.
  • Give the optimal care and attention to detail while in the operating room. Greet patients in pre-op and make sure they leave with all appropriate information. Assist the surgeon and circulating nurses to optimize efficiency for each case.
  • Residents must attend all Emory Sports Medicine staff meetings/training.
  • Residents are expected to complete one full year of training on a full-time basis, with exceptions being time off for holidays, continuing education conferences, and sick time as designated in Emory Sports Medicine’s time off policy.
  • ATC Residents are to adhere to all clinic policies and procedures at all times. 
  • Residents must attend at least 90% of the educational programming, including Journal Club, Grand Rounds, Radiology Case Reviews and other lectures set up by Program Director. Must remain involved with the residency and make steady progress towards the program goals by completing all required assignments. 
  • Residents must complete 4 radiology quizzes, 3 case study presentations, surgical instrumentation quiz, and present one journal article review during the Emory Sports Medicine Journal Club Symposium. 

The Ideal Applicant Will Possess:

  • A commitment to provide first-class, orthopaedic care to patients as a physician extender in the clinical setting.
  • A strong desire to learn and grow within the field of Sports Medicine.
  • The fellow will uphold and abide by the highest standard of professionalism during the fellowship.
  • The ability to work efficiently on their own but also as a part of the bigger sports medicine team

Educational Programming

  • Emory Sports Medicine Journal Club: Bi-weekly lecture or journal article review starting in September and running through the end of June.  This occurs every other Friday morning from 6:30-7:30am.  Participants include ATC residents, attending MDs, MD fellows, orthopaedic residents, physical therapists and ATCs from local colleges and high schools.
  • Residency Conference: ATC residents will attend Residency Conference along with the orthopaedic residents on Thursday evenings throughout the academic year.  Content includes cadaver dissection, case study presentations, and basic science lectures.
  • Grand Rounds: Weekly orthpaedic lecture by visiting physicians.  This occurs Tuesday mornings from 6:30-7:30am from September through June.
  • Case Study Presentations: ATC residents are required to present three case studies throughout their year of residency.  They will work closely with their physicians and present to attending MDs, orthopaedic residents, and MD fellows.
  • Radiology: After obtaining 40 hours of observation/study with the musculoskeletal radiologists, residents will complete a radiology quiz each trimester.
  • Professional Conferences:  ATC residents are invited to attend the Annual Emory/SEATA Sports Medicine Symposium.  They are also given the opportunity to attend either the AAOS annual conference or the NATA annual conference
  • Research:  ATC residents are required to select a research topic within their first month of the fellowship.  They will work closely with their attending surgeon to obtain IRB approval and present the work they have completed towards the project at the end of the residency year.

Residency Application Materials

  • Letter of application (cover letter)
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Reference List
  • Three letters of Recommendation
  • $25.00 Application Fee (Checks Payable To:  Emory University) 

Please submit application materials to:

Athletic Training Residency Director
 J'nai Pittman M.Ed, LAT, ATC OTC
1968 Hawks Lane, Suite #200
Brookhaven, GA 30329
Office: 404-778-7176
Fax: 404-778-7170

Applications are accepted from January 1 through March 1st each year.
Once applications are received, applicants will be contacted for two phone interviews and references will be checked. Approximately 12 candidates will be invited for a formal interview in mid to late April. This is done in a group interview format and will last approximately 6-7 hours and will include dinner. Final decisions are made by the end of April and applicants are contacted. Only mailed in applications will be accepted. Please note, incomplete applications will not be considered.
If there are any questions regarding the program, feel free to contact J'nai Pittman at jnai.pittman@emoryhealthcare.org

Meet the Team

Program Director

J'nai Pittman, MS.Ed., LAT OTC, ATC – Clinic Lead at Emory Sports Medicine, supporting 7 sports medicine physicians and 9 full time Athletic Trainers. J’nai completed the Athletic Training Residency program in the class of 2014-15, after which time, she was hired by Emory Sports Medicine to support Dr. Michael Gottschalk, a hand and upper extremity surgeon. She remained in that position for 2 years before being promoted to Clinic Lead of our Sports Medicine clinic in Smyrna, GA. J’nai serves as clinical staff supervisor, preceptor to the residents, as well as maintains CAATE accreditation.

Athletic Trainer Preceptors

Brian Baer, MA, ATC, OTC – Athletic Trainer to Dr. Sam Labib, Sports Medicine and Foot & Ankle specializations in Orthopaedic Surgery.

Megan East, MA, ATC, OTC – Athletic Trainer to Dr. Kyle Hammond, fellowship-trained Sports Medicine Orthopaedic surgeon. Megan completed the Athletic Training Residency program in the class of 2012-13, after which time she was hired by Emory Sports Medicine to support Dr. Hammond full time. She has remained a part of the residency program while working at Emory, further developing the didactic learning program, as well as working alongside former residency program directors to achieve accreditation by CAATE.

Regina Hash, MS, ATC, OTC – Athletic Trainer to Dr. John Xerogeanes, fellowship-trained Sports Medicine Orthopaedic surgeon. Regina completed the Emory Residency program in the class of 2014-15.

Christopher Welch, MA, LAT, ATC, OTC  – Athletic Trainer to Dr. Spero Karas, fellowship-trained Sports Medicine Orthopaedic surgeon. Chris completed the University of Iowa Athletic Training Residency program in the class of 2017-18.

Physician Preceptors

Sameh (Sam) A. Labib, MD
Specialty: Sports Medicine, knee, foot and ankle surgery

Spero G. Karas, MD
Director, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program
Specialty: Sports Medicine, knee, shoulder and elbow reconstruction

John "X" Xerogeanes, MD
Chief, Sports Medicine Service
Specialty: Sports Medicine, shoulder and knee reconstruction

Physician Mentors

Orthopaedic Surgeons

Michael Gottschalk, MD
Specialty: Hand and upper extremity surgery

Kyle Hammond, MD
Specialty: Sports Medicine, hip, knee and shoulder surgery

Non-Operative Sports Medicine Physicians

Neeru Jayanthi, MD
Specialty: Sports Medicine (Family Medicine), MSK ultrasound, sports medicine injuries, Tennis Medicine, pediatric / youth sports medicine

Lee Kneer, MD
Specialty: Sports Medicine (PM&R), MSK ultrasound, sports medicine injuries

Amadeus Mason, MD
Specialty: Sports Medicine (Family Practice) MSK Ultrasound, orthobiologics

Ken Mautner, MD -
Director, PM&R Sports Medicine Fellowship Program
Specialty: Sports Medicine (PM&R), hips, pelvis, low back, concussions, MSK Ultrasound, orthobiologics

Brandon Mines, MD
Specialty: Sports Medicine (Family Practice), sports medicine injuries

Jeff Webb, MD
Specialty: Sports Medicine (Pediatrics)