Jul 31, 2017
On Display

This article first appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Training & Conditioning.

There are many ways to promote the athletic training profession. The North Carolina Athletic Trainers’ Association (NCATA) recently pursued a new avenue by creating an exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History.

The idea for the exhibit, which was displayed outside the museum’s North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame wing from February 26 to April 16, 2017, came last August from NCATA Public Relations Co-Chair Kevin King, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS, an Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Carolina Panthers. The first step to making it a reality was gaining approval from the museum’s directors.

“They were so welcoming and appreciative of the concept,” says NCATA Vice President and Public Relations Co-Chair Nina Walker, MA, LAT, ATC, CSCS, Staff Athletic Trainer at the University of North Carolina. “They liked what athletic trainers stand for and thought it was a perfect match for the Sports Hall of Fame.”

From there, Walker and a special NCATA subcommittee spent about eight months talking with the Sports Hall of Fame’s curators about the information they wanted to present to the public. They decided the exhibit would consist of 10 banners, designed by Walker and the subcommittee, each with a message about athletic training.

“We included material on what an athletic trainer is and described the various settings where athletic trainers work,” says Walker. “Other banners described what concussions, heat illness, and cardiac conditions are and the value of athletic trainers in diagnosing and treating them.”

Two final banners commemorated the NCATA’s own Hall of Fame and highlighted athletic trainers in the state who had saved lives over the previous two years. “We are really proud of those people,” says Walker. “We showcased them so the public would understand that having athletic trainers not only helps athletes-some of the lives saved were spectators or other community members.”

The exhibit, which was funded by the NCATA, also included an interactive element that gave visitors an opportunity to take information home. “The Sports Hall of Fame was interested in educating youth about pursuing athletic training as a career,” says Walker. “So, the banners had QR codes printed on them that led to the National Board of Certification Exam and to the NATA website, where accredited athletic training programs are listed.”

Having such a plethora of information to share made it difficult to create an exhibit that was both eye catching and exciting. Walker and the subcommittee met this challenge by utilizing pictures, bright colors, and intriguing artifacts borrowed from the sports medicine departments at East Carolina University and Appalachian State University.

“We had an old-school ultrasound and e-stim machine on display,” says Walker. “We also had the first taping book that was written in the 1970s, pictures of athletic trainers in action, an old ambulance that looked like a pickup truck, and other items that tied the exhibit to the historical theme of the museum.”

Their strategy worked, as visitors young and old found the exhibit both informative and enjoyable. “One of the coolest things was when a featured NCATA Hall of Fame member told me, ‘I can’t wait to bring my grandchildren here so they can see me,'” Walker says. “And kids were looking at pictures of athletic trainers helping football and soccer players saying, ‘Oh, this is so cool’ and ‘Look at that!’

Although the exhibit’s time at the Museum of History is over

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