Finalist: Melissa Black

February 22, 2017

Training & Conditioning, along with School Health, were swamped with deserving nominees for our 2017 Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award! In the spirit of celebrating athletic trainers during National Athletic Training Month, we’re highlighting our five deserving finalists each week in the month of March. This week’s honoree is Melissa Black, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer at Goochland (Va.) High School. 

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The administration at Goochland (Va.) High School knows how lucky they are to have an athletic trainer, as other schools in their district do not. Even luckier is that they have Melissa Black, ATC, as Head Athletic Trainer and sports medicine instructor. Black has firm beliefs on the importance of sports medicine and makes it her mission to share her knowledge and time with student-athletes, the school, and the community.

As an athletic trainer, she has been steadfast in her desire to make sports safer for student-athletes. She has taken charge of the Concussion Management Team for the county, where she organizes, leads meetings, and even developed a countywide concussion policy. Black has also been involved in training EMTs in managing sports injuries, providing CPR and AED training for coaches, and has served time on the Goochland High School Crisis Committee.

Her caring attitude doesn’t stop with Goochland’s student-athletes, though. “It is not uncommon for other schools to request her assistance when visiting for away games,” wrote Goochland Athletic Director Bryan Gordon in his nomination letter. “Her professional assistance is valued by schools across the district.”

“It is not uncommon for other schools to request her assistance when visiting for away games,” wrote Goochland Athletic Director Bryan Gordon in his nomination letter. “Her professional assistance is valued by schools across the district.”

And in that vein, Black extends her efforts beyond her immediate area. She was directly involved in the January 2014 Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Hit-the-Hill day, where she met with Congressman Tom Garrett and Delegate Lee Ware. The focus of this event was to earn legislative support for bills that would affect the abilities of athletic trainers in emergency situations, as well as expand awareness of concussions.

As an educator, Black’s passion for teaching and caring for students and athletes is apparent in her accolades and accomplishments, which include 2006 Goochland High School Teacher of the Year and 2014 Region 1 Virginia CTE (Career and Tech Ed) Creating Excellence Award for Orthopedic Evaluations and Modalities for Student Athletic Trainers. Further, she created the sports medicine program at Goochland and served on the Virginia Department of Education Curriculum Review Team for Sports Medicine I and II. Her sports medicine students have attended the William & Mary Medicine Workshop and HOSA (Health Occupations Student Association) state competition, where one student placed in the top five.

Outside of school, Black’s other initiatives have a solid foundation in helping those in need. She created a club at Goochland called C.A.R.E. (Cancer Awareness Reaching Everyone) that supports local cancer patients and those suffering from other serious medical issues. She also supports Stop Hunger Now events at her church and acts as the sole caregiver for her mother who has been battling a rare form of cancer for eight years.

The 2017 winner of the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award will be revealed in the May/June issue of T&C.

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