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Oak Leaves

November 11, 2016

Dougal, Zach

Professor Zach Dougal




MU Professor Zach Dougal Pursues DAT


Brenden Damron

One of the largest growing programs at Manchester University is the Athletic Training degree. One of the reasons this program is so successful at MU is because of Professor Zach Dougal, an athletic trainer who is pursuing his doctorate in athletic training (DAT). After completing it, he will be the only person in the area who will have a degree like this.

“I want to lead by example,” Dougal said. He decided to get his DAT to pass down his knowledge to other students and people in his field. However, it won’t be an easy task for him. Dougal will be taking 57 credit hours in two years, which is the equivalent to four years as a Manchester athletic training major. 

Dougal is following this program through Indiana State University, which is one institution out of four in the country that offer the degree. However, ISU is the only accredited institution. “It’s not necessary to be accredited, but it’s certainly nice to have those credentials,” he said. If all goes as planned, he will achieve his degree by the summer of 2018. 

Dougal expects his accomplishments to be a common occurrence eventually. He described how physical therapy went from a profession with an undergraduate degree, to a master’s degree, until finally all physical therapists are able to obtain their doctorate. He hopes that other area trainers will follow in his footsteps, resulting in the expansion of institutions that offer these programs. 

When he earns his DAT, Dougal’s day-to-day tasks will not be any different. Instead, he hopes to learn new information about athletic training to make Manchester’s program better for students by giving them information they would not learn elsewhere. “Since I’ve started, I’ve learned about patient-related outcome tools, understanding healthcare informatics and advanced knowledge and skills,” Dougal said. He has gone over these topics in depth, and hopes to apply it to the students at Manchester and strengthen the degree offered by MU. 

As Dougal continues his journey to acquire his doctorate, look for changes in the athletic training program.