DAPHNE, Ala. – Successful athletic trainer, television production teacher and United States Sports Academy alumnus Dr. Joseph Underwood has added to his long list of accomplishments by being named to a prestigious fellowship from the National Education Association (NEA).
Underwood was recently named an NEA Foundation Global Fellow, where he will serve in a year-long professional development program designed to enhance global education and competency in grades K-12 in the United States. The program culminates with an international field study in South Africa in the summer of 2018.
Underwood earned his Master of Sports Science degree in sports medicine from the Academy in 1987. He has worked at Miami (Fla.) Senior High School since 1985. He worked as the school’s head athletic trainer between 1987 and 2000, while also serving as the television production teacher, a position he still holds.
Underwood’s Academy degree allowed him to become the head athletic trainer at the high school, where he has helped a host of notable athletes achieve success. These include numerous college athletes, as well as NBA players Udonis Haslem and Steve Blake and NFL players Roscoe Parish and Andrew Johnson, to name a few.
“I appreciate the Academy because my education there gave me the opportunity to care for and train some great athletes over the years,” Underwood said.
“I owe my career in athletic training to the Academy because it gave me a wealth of knowledge to use in caring for all of these athletes over the years. I was very fortunate to find the Academy. Things went very well for me after I earned my degree.”
As a newly selected NEA Foundation Global Fellow, Underwood is developing a national curriculum for eleventh grade students that will focus on global issues including poverty, the environment and development. Only 45 teachers nationwide were selected to participate in the program.
“This is a great honor,” Underwood said. “We recently met in Washington, D.C., with Dr. Fernando Reimers from Harvard to start developing this curriculum. It is very important for our students to really understand what is happening around the world. I’m very excited to be part of this great program.”
In 2000, Underwood developed the ARTEC (Arts Related Technology for Entertainment Careers) Academy, which expanded Miami High’s television production curriculum to include movie making and entertainment law. The program has developed into one of the most successful in the nation. Students in his classes are involved in producing daily live newscasts, averaging about 160 live shows per year.
Underwood earned the Disney American Teacher Award in 2004 and the USA Today All-Star Teacher honor in 2005. In 2006, Underwood traveled to the Galapagos Islands as part of the Toyota International Teachers’ Program and the following year he was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kansas. He has also visited Japan as a Japan Fulbright Scholar and was named the 2010 Florida Education Association Teacher of Excellence. That same year, the NEA Foundation invited Underwood to travel to China as a member of the Pearson Foundation Global Learning Fellowship.
Underwood has spoken around the country on numerous educational and athletic training issues, including at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Annual Conference and Symposium in Atlanta on Return to Play protocols related to concussions. For his work, he was awarded the NATA Public Relations Award for the Promotion of Athletic Training in 2009. In 2011, Underwood was inducted into the Athletic Trainers Association of Florida Hall of Fame.
In more than 30 years at Miami High, Underwood earned 12 basketball state championship rings as the team’s athletic trainer. In addition to his teaching duties, Underwood also works as a promotions officer for the school’s athletic programs.
A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Underwood is also a dedicated football official with 25 years of experience. He has worked with the Greater Miami Athletic Conference Football Officials Association since 2004 and also works as the television liaison “red hat” official where he is responsible for signaling television commercial timeouts on the field during University of Miami home football games. He’s also an actor, having acted in commercials, several episodes of Miami Vice and in the Oliver Stone directed football film, “Any Given Sunday.”
Underwood earned his bachelor’s degree in speech and theater from Tennessee Technological University in 1975 and his Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2006.
The Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.