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Arnold School of Public Health

Athletic training graduate to work with professional, pre-professional athletes

April 15, 2024 | Erin Bluvas,

“USC has an incredible reputation for their sport science programs, and the athletic training program has diverse clinical opportunities with a final spring semester immersion allowing you to go anywhere in the world to complete,” says Kimberly Nardi, who graduates in May with an M.S. in Athletic Training from the Department of Exercise Science. “Some of the hundreds of sites offered include professional, collegiate, high school, orthopedic or specialty clinics, industrial etc. Other programs cannot match the widespread network that USC Athletic Training has created.”

Kimberly Nardi
Kimberly Nardi graduates in May with an M.S. in Athletic Training.

Nardi experienced a diverse array of these clinical placements during her program – including USC Women’s Soccer and the Savannah Ghost Pirates’ professional ice hockey team. She also conducted research with Prisma Pediatric Concussion Clinic – circling back to the reason she entered into sports medicine in the first place.

Growing up in Maryland, Nardi experienced concussions as a high school athlete, leading her to study neuroscience at Christopher Newport University. As an undergrad, she discovered the athletic training profession, which ticked all of her boxes for a career in sports and health care and opened her eyes to how she could make an impact on patients.

During her master’s program, Nardi found mentors in exercise science/athletic training faculty Jim Mensch, Amy Fraley, Zachary Winkelmann and Ph.D. in Exercise Science student Courtney Meyer.

“I do not know if I can pick one and talk about just them because I would have too much to say; they all care about their students, and I never once felt like a number or that I was alone,” she says. “When I was struggling one semester, I reached out and they all immediately were by my side helping me stand back up. I have a lot of love and appreciation for the USC Athletic Training program. They are incredible mentors and professors who have pushed me to become the best version of myself.”

She also loved living and learning at a university located in South Carolina’s capital city.

“It was easy to get around campus and make friends along the way,” Nardi says. “I will miss game days and the feeling of the entire city shutting down to support the university.”

We rehabilitate our patients from various injuries/surgeries and build powerful connections with our patients while working hard to provide them with the best care possible.

Kimberly Nardi

After graduating in May, the Professional Athletic Training Student Above and Beyond Award winner will begin working with professional and collegiate athletes at a performance-based sports complex in Georgia. She feels well-prepared for this role, particularly from her immersion experience with the Ghost Pirates that she is completing this semester.  

It’s the perfect path for Nardi, but it’s also one that many people are not familiar with. She’s discovered that people often confuse athletic training with personal training or other professions and has learned first-hand about the uniqueness of this career.

“We are there before, during and after injuries; this means we are the first responder to a scene sometimes, and we evaluate the patient to determine the next steps,” Nardi says. “We rehabilitate our patients from various injuries/surgeries and build powerful connections with our patients while working hard to provide them with the best care possible.”

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