Feb 28, 2017
Finalist: Emily Gaddy

Training & Conditioning and School Health were swamped with deserving nominees for our 2017 Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award. In the spirit of celebrating National Athletic Training Month, we’re highlighting our five deserving finalists each week in the month of March. This week’s honoree is Emily Gaddy, MS, LAT, ATC, PES, Head Athletic Trainer at Orange (N.C.) High School. The 2017 winner of the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award will be revealed in our May/June issue.


As the Head Athletic Trainer at Orange (N.C.) High School, Emily Gaddy, MS, LAT, ATC, PES, has gone above and beyond in her efforts to help coaches and players. Athlete health and safety is always her top priority.

Her efforts began shortly after taking the position at Orange in 2012. Gaddy successfully petitioned the Orange County Board of Education for funds to purchase an ultrasound and electrical stimulation machine. She has also gotten a local orthopedic group to provide free physical therapy services to the school’s athletes. This has allowed athletes to get valuable treatment without having to miss school or be limited by the financial costs. In addition, the orthopedic group now provides an additional athletic trainer and physician on the sidelines during football games.

As concerns about concussions in football mounted, Gaddy worked with the Duke University Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic to provide Orange student-athletes with free online baseline concussion testing. Further, this past year, Gaddy worked with a local university to install sensors in the Orange football team’s helmets as part of ongoing concussion research. She also helps train the local EMS on football equipment removal and working with athletic trainers on the field.

Whether it’s a small gesture or major contribution to player safety, Gaddy often goes beyond the standard duties of an athletic trainer.

This work ethic and commitment has helped Gaddy gain the respect of student-athletes and peers alike, and her work has not gone unnoticed. In 2015, Orange earned the NATA Safe Sports School Award for excellence in safety, care, injury prevention, and treatment. Just a year later, Gaddy received the Orange County Schools Employee Excellence Award in recognition of the life-saving assistance she provided to an opposing football team’s player.

In her day-to-day work at Orange, Gaddy has earned the respect of players and coaches by ensuring that athletes will return to play as safely and quickly as possible. One way she does this is by making sure she is always available. She is typically the first person to show up before a game and the last one to leave. Even during the summer, Gaddy makes herself available to the teams that hold camps and offseason training. Her athletic training room remains open to players so that they can receive treatment during lunch and can use the space as study hall after school. She also works with teams on the weekends whenever she’s needed.

Whether it’s a small gesture or major contribution to player safety, Gaddy often goes beyond the standard duties of an athletic trainer. She lends a helping hand whenever she can, from working the ticket stands at games to setting up fields and keeping score. This past fall, she even stepped up to help the football team when they were penalized during games for having holes in their jerseys that exposed their shoulder pads. Gaddy sewed up all the holes herself so that the players could get back on the field.

Thanks to her hard work, Gaddy has inspired students to follow in her footsteps. Since 2012, the number of athletic training student aides at Orange has grown from one to 10. These students have reflected Gaddy’s level of dedication by being the first to show up at practices and games, as well as working on Saturdays and over the summer.

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