PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Arnold High School is now home to one of just three Sports Science Academies in the State of Florida.

Students that are part of the testing group for the program said the Sports Science Academy helps them feel more connected to their school.

“We get to be interactive with like the school and the older athletes like we found athletes when they were here and it was crazy you know because I saw familiar names and one of our teachers here, she was in the weightlifting program,” said Arnold High School Freshman, Maggie Mendheim. “Her last name was different but it was crazy because we didn’t know it.”

Other students who are athletes said the classes help them to think differently about their sports.

“At practice, we’ve had some incidents where someone got injured and now I’m like, woah, maybe if I take this class more, I would be able to diagnose or like help them if I could,” said Arnold High School Freshman, Maggie Speck.

The program offers career technical education courses which put students on a path to becoming personal trainers after graduation.

Students can also take courses in sports psychology and have the option to do hands-on research on topics related to sports.

“Whether you’re talking about anatomy and physiology, or you’re talking about preventing injuries, but even how does this affect businesses, how does this affect the law, there’s so much that goes under sports sciences,” said Research and Clinical Coordinator, Dr. Frank Merritt. “That’s why we wanted to incorporate that and kind of let the kids with their own passion drive this.”

Arnold High School Athletic Director, Rick Green, said this program is for everyone, not just athletes.

“It might be for those kids who are out there that love athletics but just can’t perform at that high school level and this gives them a chance to be involved and be involved personally with our athletes,” Green said.

Green said they are looking forward to enrolling freshmen and sophomores in the sports science program academy for the upcoming semester.