What is the DAT – Doctorate of Athletic Training

Is the DAT the right choice for your advanced degree? Should you pursue your Ph.D. or maybe an Ed.D.?

Dr. Matthew Drescher, a PhD candidate, already earned his DAT from ISU and joins me to answer some of my questions. In the next two podcast we will discuss the Ph.D. and Ed.D. and compare them.


What is the DAT

The DAT is a post professional degree program. It's a clinical doctorate stands for Doctorate of Athletic Training.

Most of the programs that are currently across the country are focused on clinical education, advanced clinical education and clinical leadership, but I kind of looked at in a different light so I tend to look at it as a metaphysical idea

It's a mindset to meet the gap is a commitment to the profession to be the leader and push forward.

  • Promote advanced practice leadership
  • Promote us as a profession as healthcare providers
  • Helping lead the profession forward

We understand that's a hard thing to do, but we can do hard things and the DAT is a commitment to that mindset to continue doing what's right for the profession and moving it forward.

– Dr. Matthew Drescher

What would I expect out of my DAT education?

The beauty of the post professional degree, is that it can be marketed to the market. So, all of the programs, hit on the same central tenets, but they all do them in a different way.

When you're thinking about going into this level of education, it's really about aligning that with your values.

Part what I learned in the ISU DAT was really how to be a clinical leader, what it looks like to be that person, the person who does hard things, the person who asks the hard questions.

Promoting yourself as a lifelong learner, that's something that I value immensely. Some other programs focus on different aspects.

At ISU we focus a lot on manual therapy and advanced manual therapy skills, some programs focus on more of the leadership aspect. Or they focus on what we call practice-based research, but each program has a little bit of a nuance.

What you would expect from a DAT program is that mindset of thinking differently.  

The DAT should help make changes at the system level. How do you think that that helps me get Athletic Trainers into the intermediate setting?

I think you make a really good point. I guess you could call it the clout, having that title of Dr. Jackson would bring.

But part of that mindset of the DAT is that it's not really about the degree to the outside world.

It's, an easier concept to understand that you're a doctor versus You're not a doctor but when you're with,

The concept is not necessarily the clout, but it's the skill and the knowledge to be able to make the changes to know the steps to how those changes have to be made. You can't just run in and say, put an athletic trainer here, please. It's knowing how to line up all of the blocks to work with you and that's what I mean more about a systems level change.

Because at that level, the systems are dynamic, and they're complex, so being able to know how to speak that language to align the blocks to prove that value and worth. That's something, those are skills that the DAT degree can give you.

On top of the confidence and credibility that the degree itself carries, I would argue that your experience carries a lot, but you are also going to have to explain what that means to someone who's not familiar with athletic training, whereas the degree on top of your experience and then on top of that, those skills are going to help you carry that effort.

I look at it more of like a medium to carry the skill versus a be all end all.

Check out the podcast or video for more questions and answers about the ISU DAT program.

Contact Us:

Matthew – Email: mdrescher@sycamores.indstate.edu 

Twitter: @Matt_Drescher

IG: @Dreschem


IG: @indianastatedat

Twitter: @isuathltraining

Jeremy: @MrJeremyJackson

These people LOVE ATs and help the SMB pay the bills:

Frio Hydration – Superior Hydration products.

MioTech – meeting all of your sports medicine supply needs

PhysicalTherapy.com – use promo code “1FREECOURSE” to start for free

Donate and get some swag (like Patreon but for the school)

DragonflyMax – one-stop EMR

HOIST – no matter your reason for dehydration DRINK HOIST

MedBridge Education – Use “TheSMB” to save some, be entered in a drawing for a second-year free, and support the podcast.

Marc Pro – Use “THESMB” to recover better.