James Clover

Degree: Doctor of Athletic Training

College: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Veteran. Practitioner. Entrepreneur. Educator. Family man. These are the real triumphs of James “Jim” Clover, who at 67 years old, graduates from FIU with a Doctor of Athletic Training. 

Jim parlayed his G.I. Bill from serving four years as a U.S. Air Force crew chief into an athletic training bachelor’s degree in 1980. A year later, a meeting with a physical therapist at a conference led to a partnership to open sports medicine clinics in Riverside, California.

While treating high school athletes, Jim saw the chance to make a mark on his own. Noting that Riverside area schools did not have athletic trainers, he founded CEI Sports Medicine in 1995 to put athletic trainers in all 47 high schools. As the pandemic shutdown threatened his employees’ livelihoods, Jim preserved every trainer’s job and value to the school district’s more than 42,000 students by certifying them in telemedicine and COVID-19 contact tracing, developing PPE clearance guidelines and creating “return to play/class” protocols. 

Jim, who still practices while teaching as a university adjunct professor, was encouraged by friend and FIU DAT Director Jeff Konin to pursue the doctorate program. Coming from a time when there was only one book on athletic training, Jim admits overcoming the challenge of catching up on 40 years of academic progress made the FIU DAT experience all the more gratifying. 

Buoyed by the support of his wife of 38 years, children and grandchildren, Jim is certain that having become a student again will make him a better educator and employer for future athletic trainers. 

By Emily Winston
Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences