Feb 28, 2018
Serving on Boards
Timothy Neal

I entered Ohio University as an athletic training student in 1975 because of NATA Hall of Fame Member Larry Starr, EdD, ATC. Growing up in Ohio, I regularly watched the Cincinnati Reds on TV. During the telecasts of the games, I kept noticing this man who would provide health care to the players. I did some research and discovered Larry was an athletic trainer and an Ohio University alumnus. I dedicated myself to being accepted into the school’s Athletic Training Program, the third oldest athletic training program in the United States.

When I arrived at Ohio University, the two full-time staff athletic trainers were Head Athletic Trainer Skip Vosler, MA, ATC, and Ken Rusche, PT, ATC. The education and experience they and Kenneth Wright, DA, ATC, another future NATA Hall of Fame member and Ohio University assistant athletic trainer from 1976-1978, provided me was outstanding and became the foundation of my professional practice.

Little could I have imagined that more than 40 years later I would be reunited with Larry and Ken as a member of the Ohio Alumni Association (OAA) Board of Directors. In 2017, Larry nominated me for this honor, and I am excited to be selected to serve on this board. I am committed to giving back to my alma mater, while working alongside Larry, Ken, and many other fine professionals on the OAA Board of Directors and in the Alumni Relations Department who share their expertise and passion for Ohio University.

The athletic trainer professional possesses many skills that make them effective health care providers. Some of these valuable skills in caring for patients and athletes include knowledge, communication and anticipation, attention to detail, creative thinking, and collaborating with a wide-range of individuals towards a common goal. This developed skill set is also beneficial when working with groups outside of the athletic training profession. Serving on a board of directors, whether in the corporate, not-for-profit, or university setting can be very rewarding.

Working with fellow Ohio University alumni on the OAA Board of Directors has been a great experience for me. With Larry as my official mentor and Ken offering his vast insights, my initiation onto the OAA Board of Directors has been seamless. Besides receiving Larry and Ken’s help, OAA chair Ron Teplitzky, Esq., and David Bambrey, Interim Assistant Vice President, Alumni Relations/Executive Director, Ohio University Alumni Association, have been great in welcoming me onto the board.

It is interesting that the OAA Board of Directors has three athletic trainers serving on it for 2017-2018 year. The skill set of the athletic trainer can provide insights for university boards in particular because of our experience in interacting directly with and understanding the needs of university students.

I have also been fortunate to be a member of advisory boards for Training & Conditioning Magazine, College Athletics and the Law, The Jed Foundation, Cramer Products, and for other organizations and publications. I have discovered that my input based on my experience as an athletic trainer has been appreciated and used in educating the public on issues such as mental health and risk management in athletics.

Just as I did as a student in the 1970’s, I am continuously working with and being mentored by Larry and Ken in order to make my own contributions to the success of Ohio University. Forty years after starting down my path as an athletic trainer, I continue learning from these two accomplished athletic training professionals, as well as other highly successful members of the OAA Board of Directors. It feels great to serve alumni and highlight the value of the athletic trainer at the same time.


Timothy Neal, MS, AT, ATC, CCISM, is Assistant Professor and Program Director of Athletic Training Education at Concordia University Ann Arbor. Previously, he spent more than 30 years at Syracuse University, serving in a variety of sports medicine roles. Neal is also a member of the Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors. He can be reached at: [email protected]


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