January 3, 2024 at 2:19 pm
Nominee
Alexis Martin
from The Key School
E: [email protected] | W: 410-263-9231 | C: 301-904-3327

Alexis is not just our Athletic Trainer, she is the heart and soul of our Athletic Department. In addition to her duties as ATC, Alexis is also our Assistant Athletic Director, working to make the department better in every way. She works all day, every day with students from grades 6-12 to create rehab and prehab strategies, while simultaneously, using her training room as the safe space to have open and honest conversations with student-athletes about what is and is not going well for them and the department. In times of stress or when major injuries occur, no one exudes calmness and confidence the way she does, always helping to calm all of those around her. She is the trainer that other schools’ trainers call for advice time and time again, and in her ‘spare’ time, she can be found helping at local clinics and camps at the Naval Academy. I cannot express how much Alexis means to the Key School community. She is beloved and respected by all as the hardest worker one can find and someone who understands what it means to make a community better.

Nominated by
Brian D Boyd
from The Key School
E: [email protected] | W: 2024875733 | P: 2024875733


November 30, 2023 at 2:49 pm
Nominee
Alyse Grillot
from Greenville High School/Wayne HealthSports
E: [email protected] | W: 937-548-5714 | C: 989-763-4228

Alyse has done a great job here at Greenville High School. She works well with athletes across our entire athletic department, including our middle school and high school students. She has worked tirelessly to improve our athletic training department. This includes improvements to our athletic training room (tables, equipment, supplies and aesthetics), developing a yearly purchasing program to improve our budget efficiency, implementing innovative rehabilitation strategies with limited resources, and worked with the athletic department in the design and implementation of a new athletic training room in our recently built fieldhouse. Alyse’s knowledge of the needs of an athletic training room allowed our district design team to provide a modern, quality athletic training room for our athletic programs.

Alyse has worked with various youth camps throughout the summers. She has worked with our school-based team camps as well as the yearly Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp that is presented yearly by the Light Foundation. The Matt Light All-Conference camp is a free camp that works with over 240 second through sixth grade students on the fundamentals of football, as well as teaching leadership skills. She has also been the lead athletic trainer for our Treaty City Cross Country Invitational. This meet has over 1000 runners, in eight races. She does an excellent job of coordinating with EMS to ensure that the athletes have appropriate medical supervision during the event.

Alyse has mentored several new and incoming trainers in her time with us. She is currently working with a second-year trainer and has done an excellent job of teaching some of the very important skills in communication, preparation, and is a valuable resource for a young athletic trainer. As we were looking to fill the vacancy, Alyse was very helpful in the interview process. She was able to evaluate potential candidates and asked questions that helped to narrow down the candidates. In general, Alyse provides a warm and welcoming demeanor, and this helped with the transition process for our new hire and the athletes.

Alyse is also working with a young student who has recently begun her educational journey to become an athletic trainer. This student is shadowing our athletic training department on a daily basis. I’ve seen Alyse work with this student in a hands-on setting and in a textbook setting. She is patient and understanding when the student has questions and will allow the student to learn from mistakes. Alyse is a great mentor for this young student and by doing so this young student will likely become a quality athletic trainer that will one day be willing to help grow the athletic training profession as Alyse is.

Alyse has earned the respect of coaches, administration, parents and students in our athletic department. Her calm and caring personality has allowed her to build relationships with everyone she works with. She is able to effectively communicate with coaches and student-athletes, building trust with all involved. She is able to work well with coaches as it pertains to injuries, rehabilitation, and returning athletes to play because of the level of trust she has built over time.

We are very fortunate to have Alyse Grillot as our athletic trainer. Her professionalism is second to none. She cares about our school, our community, and most importantly our student-athletes. Alyse is very deserving of recognition as a Most Valuable Athletic Trainer.

Nominated by
Aaron Shaff
from Greenville High School
E: [email protected] | W: 937-548-3185 | P:


November 14, 2023 at 9:05 pm
Nominee
Alyss Hart
from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System/ Union County High School
E: [email protected] | W: 330-646-7081 | C: 330-646-7081

Alyss has worked at Spartanburg Regional going on 15 years has severed in a several roles as she has moved up the leadership ladder. Alyss has always been someone that our staff trust and reaches out to for assistance as well as mentorship. Alyss is as much as apart of our community as she is apart of our organization. Alyss’ current position is Athletic Training Supervisor over Secondary Schools where she over sees 14 athletic trainers covering 9 different sites. Alyss also has started a mentorship program for all of the new hires. Alyss is looked up to by many of our staff in all settings and is seen as someone that they can reach out to for guidance.

Nominated by
William Christman
from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System/ Wofford College
E: [email protected] | W: 864-597-4114 | P: 864-809-8832


November 14, 2023 at 9:57 pm
Nominee
Alyss Hart
from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System/Union County HS
E: [email protected] | W: 3306467081 | C:

Alyss is someone that has been a mentor for me even before she took on her new supervisory role. She is someone that works hard even no one is watching, and overall makes any institution, office, setting a better place than the way she found it. She cares harder than others and is truly a game changer on any team that she works with. She has a passion for advancing the profession by mentoring young ATs, and she is also involved in our state organization.

Nominated by
Jordyn Knapp
from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System/ Wofford
E: [email protected] | W: 8645974449 | P:


December 3, 2023 at 5:14 am
Nominee
Arthur De Mello
from Felix Varela Senior High School
E: [email protected] | W: 3057527900 | C: (954) 682-2638

When I read about this award, I immediately knew that Arthur would be the best person for this award. He easily meets all the criteria for this award. Receiving respect always starts with giving it. He respects and treats his student athletes and patients with so much respect and love. Everyone that works at our school sees how much he cares and how much work he puts in. He works beyond the hours he is required and helps people at the school who are not under his responsibility. For example he saw a custodian cleaning an area by the gym and he was limping. Arthur offered to stay late and help rehab the custodians trouble a knee. Couple weeks later the custodian was better and was singing Arthur’s praise. He talks with the coach’s and offers his help to create a workout plan to help athletes do preventative workouts for injuries. His level of commitment, care and hard work has earned the entire school’s respect. From athletes to coaches to staff. One of the main reason he has so much respect he has is how much he goes above and beyond his job description. He helps run the honors society for athletic training. He takes teaching the next generation of athletic trainers very seriously. Helps and is always willing to help teach students during the school day on athletic training. Our test chairperson is always in need for test proctors. No one wants to do it but Mello is the first one willing to come before required and help out in testing. He always does things like this. Many times his day is supposed to end at 9:00pm but one of our teams is coming back late from an away game. Arthur stays anyway to make sure he checks the players and see if they need any treatment. Arthur has used his honors club and student trainer program to mentor many students. Many of them have gone off to college and pursued a career in athletic trainings. Many of them coming back to ask for help or mentorship. He also has taken on students from college and allowed them to do internships and job shadowing. He continues to study and advance his knowledge in the field. He continues to pursue advanced academic degrees. Arthur has won multiple athletic trainer of the year awards in all of Miami Dade county public schools. Arthur is a big believer in community service. He shares that belief with his students and teaches them the impact of community service. He has done many projects but one stands out the most. He helps clean our vet academies horse areas. The program was short staffed and he saw the horse area was full of horse manure and trash and decided to help clean it up with his team. I mean it was a project no one wanted to help. But Arthur loves animals and people and knew he had to help. That’s the kind of man Arthur Mello is and it’s someone that deserves this recognition. My son attends his school and plays sports for the school. He had a bad Injury and was terrified. Arthur not only helped him physically but more importantly helped him with the mental side. My son was scared and worried about his future. Arthur Mello talked to him with care and knowledge that you can see how it helped my son. My son felt so much better when he saw Arthur. Arthur Mello really deserves this award and writing this nominations has been the something I feel strongly about. Please consider Athtur Mello for this Award.

Nominated by
Arthur Mello
from Felix Varela Senior High School
E: [email protected] | W: 3057527900 | P: 9546822638


November 30, 2023 at 2:18 pm
Nominee
Barbara Wilson
from Wesley Chapel High School
E: [email protected] | W: 352-467-0292 | C: 352-467-0292

Barbara has been an athletic trainer for a very long time. Barb spent the past 24 years as the head athletic trainer at Saint Leo University and last year switched positions to work for PT Solutions and work at Wesley Chapel High School, When Barb started at Saint Leo she was the only athletic trainer on staff. BY the time she left she was the associate athletic director and still overseeing the athletic training staff which was now up to 6. During her time their she worked with many teams, developed mental health education for athletes, became a “mom” for athletes that no longer had their parents near by and cultivated an atmosphere of family. Barb emersed herself into the university and the athletic program. This past year she switched jobs to start working as an athletic trainer for PT Solutions and is responsible for all athletic training needs at Wesley Chapel High School. Barb continues to take care of athletes and provides outstanding, professional help to all her athletes. Barb’s care of their injuries and genuine care for the athletes makes life so much easier for them, coaches and administration. Barb’s years of service and dedication to the field make her a great candidate and I recommend her without hesitation.

Nominated by
David Wilson
from Wiregrass Ranch High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8135450622 | P: 8135450622


December 21, 2023 at 3:17 am
Nominee
Brendon Jonsson
from UNC Pembroke
E: [email protected] | W: 910-522-5801 | C: 716-397-7640

Brendon has been instrumental in the overall success of UNCP Athletics with his day-to-day care of the student-athletes. He was a significant piece of the medical team that insured student-athletes were safe and testing was done daily during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brendon has stepped up in a huge way over the last six months and has been promoted to the Assistant AD/Athletic Training and Sports Medicine. Brendon has taken matters into his own hands to make sure all teams are staffed with medical personnel for games and practices. Brendon has covered multiple teams while the department is in the hiring process of other athletic trainers. Brendon works constantly to insure that all student-athletes are receiving proper care and continues to build relationships with our team doctors to

Nominated by
Morgan Sheehan
from UNC Pembroke
E: [email protected] | W: 910-775-4353 | P: 910-340-6350


October 27, 2023 at 1:25 pm
Nominee
Brian Cronin
from Oswego HS
E: [email protected] | W: 6306362022 | C: 630 212 3738

Brian Cronin has been with Oswego HS for the last 23 years. Brian has grown the OHS sports medicine and training department into one of the top programs in the state during his tenure. In my 32 years as both a coach and athletic administrator, Brian is the finest trainer I have had the pleasure of dealing with. His commitment to excellence and his passion for his program and the students that he both develops and takes care of is second to none.
Since I arrived at Oswego eleven years ago, Brian has been instrumental in working with me on a number of projects in our athletic department. He and his staff have worked diligently to improve our processes and procedures to the degree that we were awarded the Safe Schools Award for school years 2014-2023. Our Sports Medicine program and Athletic Training program have also won the prestigious District 230 competition in the last few years.
Brian has been the cornerstone in developing our concussion protocol, return to play protocol, emergency procedures, lightning and tornado detection systems and procedures, athletic training handbooks for coaching staffs and parents, informational sheets and data for parents on concussions and protocol. He also continues to serve on our concussion protocol team as well as being a valued member of the community.
Brian is also a valued member of the teaching staff at OHS. He has developed and teaches a sports medicine class that has both a classroom component as well as an internship requirement which places students in live situations at both practices and games. Brian’s work assures that we have training coverage at every practice and event that we host all during our school year as well as during our summer camps, which is certainly not the norm at most high schools in this state or country.
Brian has a passion for working with our students as well as our student athletes. He spends countless hours at our events, even when he is not scheduled to be there. Not only does he work our home events, but he quite often will travel to road games which he is not required to be at because he wants to be sure that our athletes feel safe and get the very best of care during those unfortunate occurrences when injuries do occur.
On numerous occasions Brian has traveled with a student athlete to the hospital in the ambulance when they are hurt and a parent is not available at the game to go with the injured athlete. Brian is outstanding at communication with the families and the athletic office and he always makes it a point to follow up with injured players and their parents to be sure all is going as well as it possibly can.
Oswego High School has seen a huge growth in student population, athletic activity and athletic offerings in the last decade or so. We have grown from a school of fourteen hundred students to our current enrollment of just over twenty eight hundred and we are projected to grow to thirty two hundred in the next decade. Along with that we have added sports to put us at our current offering of twenty nine varsity sports with 2 to 3 lower levels in each of those sports. This growth has only added to the expectations and responsibilities of our athletic training staff. The schedule of daily practices and home events is often overwhelming and the coverage needed in the athletic training arena is certainly stretched to the maximum on most days. Brian uses his years of experience as well as his organizational skills to place both his certified staff as well as his sports medicine interns in key positions and by his use of technology such as radios, cell phones, on-line sports medicine tracking, i-pads, and cellular serviced lightning detection systems he keeps all our fields, courts, tracks, etc. covered for the entirety of our practice and game times.
In my role as athletic director, I am often in the position to receive the complaints of parents, opposing teams, coaches, etc. that come with any position of leadership. However, I am also often in the position to receive the credit and compliments when things go well and for the outstanding work of our staff. On multiple occasions I have received praise for the work and actions of the training and sports medicine staff for their outstanding work and actions in times of crisis and injury. Obviously it makes me very proud of what we all do, but especially of Brian Cronin and his staff and students.
It has been an honor to work with Mr. Cronin and I am honored to nominate him for this award which I feel he is more than deserving of. Thank you for your time in reading and accepting this nomination and also for providing the platform to allow me to make this nomination.

Sincerely,

Darren Howard, CMAA
Athletic Director
Oswego High School

Nominated by
Darren Howard
from Oswego HS
E: [email protected] | W: 6306362022 | P: 6304308500


December 12, 2023 at 8:30 pm
Nominee
Caitlin Bender
from Grayslake North High School
E: [email protected] | W: 847-986-3100 | C: 847-656-6155

Caitlin Bender is an incredible athletic trainer who goes above and beyond every single day. Our alumni stay in touch with her and visit when they are home from college and bring their children back to visit as well. She has mentored students in our student athlete training program and is currently mentoring one of our graduates as she is in grad school to become an athletic trainer. Caitlin is currently mentoring our new athletic trainer who is a new grad in the field. She creates schedules and meets weekly if not daily with him. Caitlin is a leader on our district concussion team. She helped create our original plan and most recently worked on our plan updates. She is extremely well connected and knowledgeable in the area of concussions and is able to refer our student athletes to a top-notch physician in our area for their safety and care.
As for the care of student athletes, she goes above and beyond every single minute of every single day. Last weekend, Caitlin was finished working last Saturday afternoon when one of our students broke his leg at an away wrestling match. She immediately contacted the athletic trainer at the hosting school, contacted the parents and has stayed in contact with them every day this week through surgery. Not only does she stay in contact with the athletes and families, but she also works to inform our nurses, counselors, coaches and administrators about situations as they arise. We had an athletic trainer from our area pass away last weekend as well. Caitlin immediately contacted other trainers and offered to sacrifice the help we had in order to serve the school who was in need. Another recent example happened during volleyball season when a visiting athlete tore her ACL. Caitlin connected this athlete and her family with a physician and helped the athlete pre-surgery even though she attends another school. She is also a leader on our district concussion team and has connected our student athletes with a concussion physician on the North Shore team to ensure quality care.
We have a student leadership group called Knights United at our school. We had the student athlete leaders write Gratitude Grams to staff in the school who care for them and go above and beyond in their positions. Many students wrote their notes to Caitlin because of her selfless care of others. Our foreign language department has the students write out Turkey Grams to thank staff members and Caitlin receives Turkey after Turkey each and every year.
Caitlin travels with our teams for playoffs and state competitions. She has had the opportunity to travel with our cheer team to the state finals. She takes care of our team and due to her compassion and connectedness, many other cheer teams contact her while we are 3 hours away from our home school to care for their student athletes. She drives to their hotels, goes to the competition venue hours early or stays late to take care of anyone and everyone she can.
Caitlin is an incredible athletic trainer and an incredible person who cares for others and who goes above and beyond for everyone she comes in contact with. I cannot think of an athletic trainer out there who deserves this recognition more than she.

Nominated by
Tina Woolard
from Grayslake North High School
E: [email protected] | W: 847-986-3171 | P: 847-845-6328


December 14, 2023 at 8:26 pm
Nominee
Caitlin O’Mara
from Rock Hill High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8039811300 | C: 5164744687

Caitlin has brought new life to our athletic training department. In just one year, Caitlin has built a program that has become a reputable organization of trust, in not just our school, but in our community.

Caitlin has put Rock Hill High School Athletic Training on the map. The program has been recognized at the district and state level, becoming a first-time recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School Award.

Her support and actions have extended outside the walls of Rock Hill High School Athletics. From heightening on campus safety, restoring patient-athletic trainer culture, and advocating for district wide development. Prior to Caitlin starting at RHHS, there was only 1 publicly accessible AED in a building that houses athletes 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. Along with the additional of a new wall mounted AED for the athletics building, Caitlin has also helped with acquiring new AEDs for the rest of the campus.

Her attention towards the personal well-being of staff and students is always evident. This has cultivated an environment where people feel heard, and that they’re seen and treated as an individual and not just an injury.

Caitlin operates beyond her job description and works towards protecting student athletes outside of her own clinic. Caitlin has developed a district wide staffing remodeling project. With this implemented, Rock Hill School District has the opportunity to take their athletics programs to the next level and provide high quality healthcare to middle and high school student athletes.

The growth of the RHHS Athletic Training Program is genuine evidence of many days and nights of hard work that have been put in by our athletic training staff.

Nominated by
Eric Rollings
from Rock Hill High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8039811342 | P: 7046222130


December 6, 2023 at 5:17 pm
Nominee
Carla
from Pasquarelli
E: [email protected] | W: 5182075522 | C: 5182075522

Carla goes above and beyond the norm of an athletic trainer. She mentors, advises, and in some cases saves, the students she works with. She has become more than the person student athletes need to see and is the person the student athletes want to see.

Nominated by
Rebecca Cozzocrea
from Amsterdam High School
E: [email protected] | W: 518843-6492 | P: 5188486338


December 26, 2023 at 3:13 pm
Nominee
Carla
from Pasquarelli
E: [email protected] | W: 518-207-5522 | C: 518-207-5522

Carla goes above and beyond in her role. While keeping the kids healthy and safe she also supports them while they are injured. She encourages them to keep fighting and working hard. Carla is there before the kids and ends her day way after the kids leave. She has a true passion for helping the kids. There is not a time of the day that her room is not full with kids looking to rehab, or just bounce things off of Carla to get feedback. The kids go to Carla for life advice or when they need a shoulder to lean on she is there for them. Carla is at every game to ensure the safety of the students. Our school district is beyond grateful for her!

Nominated by
Amber
from Amsterdam High School
E: [email protected] | W: 518-774-2955 | P:


November 30, 2023 at 7:29 pm
Nominee
Carla Pasquarelli
from Greater Amsterdam School District
E: [email protected] | W: 5188434932 | C: 5182075522

Carla embodies all of the aspects in your criteria and beyond:
Criteria

Has earned the respect of the staff that they work with and the student-athletes or patients they care for
Goes beyond their job description to support their student-athletes or patients
Mentors other athletic trainers in terms of career development
Has taken action to advance the athletic training profession
Prioritizes community service.

She is the first line of defense in all aspects of health care throughout the district. She works outside her designated hours to assist school nurses and id a direct line of communication between healthcare providers and the school. The coaches and teachers depend on her 100%.

Nominated by
Stephen J Nolan
from Section 2 of the NYSPHSAA
E: [email protected] | W: (518) 608-1013 | P: 5182248399


December 6, 2023 at 4:11 pm
Nominee
Carla Pasquarelli
from Amsterdam High School
E: [email protected] | W: 518-843-4932 | C: 518-207-5522

Despite having known Carla for a mere five months, I can say with utmost confidence that no one I have ever met embodies the qualities reflected in the above criteria more than she does.

If you were to make a visit to Carla’s athletic training room, you would find a facility that is not only outfitted with the best tools of the trade to assist individuals in their recovery and rehabilitation, but a veritable gallery of motivational expressions, photos of current and former student-athletes, and a plethora of awards and recognitions that speak to her value to her community. Everything in her space reflects not only 15 years of professional development, experience, and expertise, but the innumerable connections she has made with those she has (and does) serve. Simply put, her work is her life.

While Carla has been employed in our district for nearly her entire career, it was not until last year that she was brought on as a full-time member of the educational community. When the Board of Education entered discussion to bring her on full-time, a number of student-athletes and staff attended the meeting to passionately defend the need to make Carla a permanent fixture in the district. Board meetings are not typically well attended, but I am told that the room was full on this particular night, and that speaks volumes about the impact that our athletic trainer has on those with whom she works.

In addition to her training duties, Carla is a certified CPR/AED/First Aid and Stop the Bleed instructor. In that role, she has led multiple district-wide trainings for her peers, all in an effort to increase the overall safety of, and decrease the response time in, our buildings. She has also served as a mentor to other local professionals in the field, and is currently working toward being able to teach an introductory athletic training class at our high school. It is also common to find Carla working with athletes who are no longer Amsterdam students, whether they’re members of the Amsterdam Mohawks collegiate summer baseball team (who play locally), or former graduates of the high school.

Ultimately, Carla does what she can, not what she must. She is the prototypical team player and an incredible leader, and she is the most important person in my professional life. I am only able to do my job because of the manner in which she does hers. For all of these reasons (and no doubt many more that I have neglected to mention), I sincerely hope that you consider her for your award.

Nominated by
John Salls
from Amsterdam High School
E: [email protected] | W: 5188434932 | P: 5183121446


December 7, 2023 at 3:13 pm
Nominee
Carla Pasquarelli
from Greater Amsterdam School District
E: [email protected] | W: 518-843-4932 | C: 518-207-5522

Ask anyone in the Greater Amsterdam School District and beyond, Carla always goes above and beyond for her athletes as well as anyone that may need help. I have been with Carla where she has taken action if someone is in need. I am not given enough space here to describe how Carla deserve this.

Nominated by
Jennifer Swart
from Greater Amsterdam School District
E: [email protected] | W: 518-843-3180 | P: 5182292929


January 8, 2024 at 7:08 pm
Nominee
Carrie Shortridge
from Tri-Central Middle/High – Tipton IU Health
E: [email protected] | W: 765-675-2663 | C: 765-860-6498

Carrie is an outstanding athletic trainer. Not only doing her daily duties as a PT at IU Tipton Hospital, but she does a tremendous job of keeping our athletes on the field/court. Carrie helps with our athletes in grades 6-12. She has developed an amazing student trainer program making them study and learn various athletic training methods to help her with her load and to help our athletes. She does an outstanding job of keeping our training room organized and stocked so that our athletes are well cared for. Carrie’s training and teaching protocol, along with her dedication and commitment, have influenced many of our past students to enter into the physical therapy, nursing and medical fields. We have been blessed to have her as our athletic trainer.

Nominated by
Gary Rhew
from Tri-Central Middle/High School
E: [email protected] | W: 765-963-2560 | P: 765-432-8493


November 30, 2023 at 2:57 pm
Nominee
Casey Reed
from CHRISTUS® Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute, Longview
E: [email protected] | W: 903.323.6582 | C: 903.219.2614

I just cannot say enough greAT things about Casey Reed; she is not only a conscientious and caring Athletic Trainer but has also volunteered to advance our profession both locally, for Texas and NATA (SWATA).
Casey serves as the Sports Medicine Coordinator for CHRISTUS Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute (Longview), overseeing the healthcare coverage of countless student-athletes, coordinating schools, athletic trainers, physicians & executive management.

Ms. Reed’s leadership roles not only include healthcare administration, athletic training coordinator but also Texas State Athletic Trainers Association (TSATA) Director of Region 5 where she serves with passion, dedication and even revamped the newsletter increasing vital communication and member participation. As the Region 6 Director, I saw first hand her level-headed determination to serve the Texas Athletic Training Profession and patients while we worked towards the updated athletic training healthcare legislation. Casey exemplifies professionalism and strong ethics; I am blessed that she also volunteered to replace me on the SWATA board as Texas Representative when I termed out this past summer.

Please consider Casey Reed for this Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award; her advocacy for our profession, mentoring of young student-athletes and Athletic Trainers while building meaningful relationships, cooperative partnerships and providing exemplary care is the hallmark of what this award and Casey represents.

Nominated by
Catherine Marr
from Tomball Memorial High School
E: [email protected] | W: 281-357-3220 | P: 281-831-0330


November 2, 2023 at 1:36 pm
Nominee
Cat Marr
from Tomball Memorial HS
E: [email protected] | W: 2813573230 x1189 | C: 2818310330

In passing conversation, Cat let me know that she will be retiring after 30+ years of dedicated Athletic Training service and I wanted to nominate her for this award before she retires (I cannot believe she has not been nominated previously!).

Cat has been employed in several settings, in several states and has served our Athletic Training Profession on various committees, but her passion is the Secondary School Athletic Trainer. Currently, she is an Athletic Trainer in Tomball ISD where she plans on retiring this year. Formerly she served as an Athletic Trainer at Klein Collins High School in Spring, Texas. In her ten years at Klein Collins, Catherine built a well-known, local program that was renowned for its rigorous and high demands; those long-standing expectations enabled her students to outperform many of their peers across all categories at our annual, local student athletic trainer workshop and maintain a presence (and dominance) in all contests. Furthermore, by the end of her tenure, she was solely responsible for the ongoing, annual revisions of their district’s physical forms, drafting Sports Medicine and Athletic Training lesson plans for the district, creation of the district’s Concussion Packet for parents and initiated a Sports Medicine III class, instituted a National Honor Society’s Sports Medicine recognition and mediated between her school and the NATA to enable Klein Collins to become a member of the Safe Sport Schools.

In addition to her involvement and dedication in the high school setting for the past two decades, Cat invested herself locally and nationally and remains an outspoken proponent for Secondary School Athletic Trainers and our profession. Catherine joined the Greater Houston Athletic Trainers’ Society (GHATS) and gradually elevated herself, eventually becoming President from 2012-2017. In 2014, Catherine was appointed to the NATA District 6 (SWATA) Committee on Professional Ethics. And was the NATA Host City Representative for the Houston NATA Symposium and AT Expo 2017, where her leadership and piloting ensured that the Volunteer Office ran smoothly and covered all programming and events.

Again, Cat’s dedication and devotion to the profession of Athletic Training and High School Athletic Trainers along with her ongoing work and service to GHATS, TSATA, SWATA and the NATA particularly qualify her for this award. She may be retiring after a long distinguished career but I know that she will continue to serve the Athletic Training community for more years to come- that is just who she is!

Nominated by
I want to be anonymous
from anonymous
E: [email protected] | W: 888-888-8888 | P:


December 13, 2023 at 4:35 pm
Nominee
Chard Dybdahl
from Greater Atlanta Christian School
E: [email protected] | W: 7707579170 | C: 7707579170

Chad Dybdahl is an unsung hero of our entire school and athletic department. He covers events seven days a week, with the exception of a few weeks in the Summer. He typically is the last person to leave campus every night, and comes in every day to treat athletes during his lunch period. He never says no to a request, and always finds a way to do what is best for the athlete. He quietly completes his job at a high level without letting anyone know how much he sacrifices to make the entire department run efficiently.

Nominated by
Dr. Garrett Granberg
from Greater Atlanta Christian School
E: [email protected] | W: 6786824666 | P: 6786824666


November 13, 2023 at 4:38 pm
Nominee
Chase Paulson
from Diamond Bar HS
E: [email protected] | W: (909)594-1405 | C: (909)917-3578

Chase has implemented procedures that far surpass the normal job description of an “Athletic Trainer”. From school emergency plans to the implementation across campus of AED’s and the funding to procure the AED’s. Chase is an outstanding teacher, mentor and AT. Diamond Bar HS is lucky to have such a great example of what HS athletics is all about.

Nominated by
Kurt Davies
from Diamond Bar HS Athletic Director
E: [email protected] | W: (909)594-1405 | P: (714)809-4823


January 3, 2024 at 3:52 pm
Nominee
Chris “Doc” Valdez
from St. Thomas High School
E: [email protected] | W: 7133415554 | C: 7133014241

Chris has been an integral part of our growing and ver successful athletic department. He has served as our head and only trainer for 15 years. Managing the health, safety and rehab for a large athletic program at our all boys Catholic high school. The hours he works, time spent caring for our athletes and relationships he has developed with our coaches and student-athletes is truly remarkable. He has built the finest student trainer program in our association, sending many students to college who continue as student trainers. He’s also had a number that have gone on to med school due to the foundation he has laid with them. It’s really special. Chris is also a vital partner for me as an Athletic Director in policy development and facility enhancement for our department. He personally designed the build out of our 2500 sq foot athletic training facility which has made a significant impact in how we care for our athletes. Due to his hard work and professionalism, I was able to budget for a 2nd full time trainer to work with Chris next school year. This is huge for our department and school. I can think of nobody more deserving of this award than Chris Valdez. He is a true professional and great representative of our school and the athletic training profession.

Nominated by
Mike Netzel
from St. Thomas High School – Houston
E: [email protected] | W: 7133415554 | P: 7133854254


December 14, 2023 at 3:11 pm
Nominee
Crystal Rabiipour Shirk
from Charles D. Owen High School/ Pardee Sports Medicine
E: [email protected] | W: 828-989-8192 | C: 828-989-8192

– Earned respect of all our staff members by being there for our athletes 24/7/365 at Owen High School. She works everyday to provide what our athletes need. She is always looking for better ways to treat our athletes and to get them back i the game sooner than later.
– Started her own mentor program for future trainers. She has 5-10 students in that program throughout the season that assist her with multiple task and jobs in the training world. This program has helped advance the profession of athletic training.

Nominated by
Chris Collins
from Charles D. Owen High School
E: [email protected] | W: 828-686-3852 | P: 828-974-4267


November 30, 2023 at 3:00 pm
Nominee
Dan
from Kaplan
E: [email protected] | W: 7708878151 | C: 9542580726

Dan’s love for the students and his determination to see them succeed helped athletes thrive to accomplish achievements they may never have known otherwise. His passion and commitment leaves athletes with greater understanding and preparedness. He is a very knowledgeable AD, with sound discipline and good instruction. He is the sort of AD that cannot only motivate players and coaches, he also knows how to help them improve. He is a great teacher. He always tried to implement the newest and greatest teaching techniques. Dan always took the initiative to make sure his work was done exceptionally well. The work Dan did was exemplarity. He continually works long hours to motivate and inspire student athlete success.

The time and effort Dan put into the programs at the school is hard to quantify. When I needed extra things done in the athletic program, I would ask Dan and he would be willing to jump in. He puts in great effort and endured immense struggle relentlessly because of his love and devotion to the school and athletic department. He is fueled by a desire to help all.

Nominated by
Franklin Hepler
from Riverdale HS
E: [email protected] | W: 9548125259 | P: 9548125259


December 12, 2023 at 2:34 pm
Nominee
David Mark Herbele
from Walsh Jesuit HS/Cleveland Clinic
E: [email protected] | W: 330-929-4205 | C: 330-310-2195

Trainer Mark is a caring, compassionate, and extremely competent Athletic Trainer. His first concern is always for student safety and care. He works endlessly and tirelessly to ensure that all our student athletes are physically well and able to perform at their peak. Not only does he care for our athletes at home events, he also travels with our teams to away events. An invaluable member of our Athletic Staff, he puts Warrior Athletics first — many times staying late to lock gates and turn off lights. He schedules appointments for athletes who need to be seen by a doctor and assists them with physical therapy and rehab. He spends hours talking with and updating parents on student athletes’ care and condition. He is patient and kind with recovering/injured athletes and works very hard to get them “back into the game.” Trainer Mark is an integral and important part of our Athletic Department staff.

Nominated by
Barbara Salata
from Walsh Jesuit HS
E: [email protected] | W: 330-929-4205 | P: 216-218-0106


November 13, 2023 at 1:51 pm
Nominee
Del Nance
from Castle High School / Pro-Rehab
E: [email protected] | W: 812-568-0928 | C:

Del Nance is the leading high school athletic trainer in our area. He has mentored and taught many student trainers from the local colleges throughout his years at Castle High School. If there is anyone that puts in more hours than the Athletic Director, it’s our Athletic Trainer Del Nance. He is at nearly every home varsity contest the entire school year and often times fills in for other large events at other schools and in the community. He is a very selfless person, as evident by his time served as a United States Marine. He would do anything for anyone that needs to be done regardless of what it is. Del does an amazing job with our student-athletes. He takes care of them when needed and works on getting them back on the competition surface as quickly and safely as possible. There is nobody more deserving of this award than Del Nance.

Nominated by
Brandon Taylor
from Castle High School
E: [email protected] | W: 812-853-3331 | P:


January 2, 2024 at 9:19 pm
Nominee
Del Nance
from Castle High School / Pro-Rehab
E: [email protected] | W: 8125680928 | C:

Del Nance is second to none in Southern Indiana when it comes to Athletic Trainers. He’s tireless commitment to Castle High School athletes is unparalleled. He’s the leading ATC in our are serving as a mentor to many other trainers in the area and has hosted numerous student trainers for the last 18 years. He also volunteers his time for other community events on top of his commitments at his full time job and his athletic training duties at Castle HS.

Nominated by
Brandon Taylor
from Castle High School
E: [email protected] | W: 812853331 | P: 8124839217


January 12, 2024 at 2:20 pm
Nominee
Delbert Lark
from Dowling Catholic High School
E: [email protected] | W: 5153602419 | C:

Del Lark has been the athletic trainer at Dowling Catholic for 46 years. The amount of compassion and life guidance in addition to medical care he has given his athletes is unmeasurable. The athletic training room is a safe space in the high school. Del doesn’t care if you are the starter or last string, he will give everyone the same time and attention they deserve. He has inspired many student athletic trainers to go into athletic training/the medical field. He is the person I would want around in any emergency, I’m not sure panic is a word he even understands. He also has a deep love of his family and faith that helps keep him rooted. He is respected by all the coaches (which is saying a lot in the high school world). He has touched thousands of lives, and he probably doesn’t even know it. He believes he is simply “doing his job”. Del is the reason I became an athletic trainer and I can only hope to be half the athletic trainer he is.

Nominated by
Rachel Adkins
from Mcfarland Clinic
E: [email protected] | W: 5154805347 | P:


January 8, 2024 at 7:31 pm
Nominee
Dennis Munk
from Haysville Campus High School
E: [email protected] | W: 316-2212236 | C: 316-214-1866

Dennis Munk is the complete Athletic Trainer for Haysville Campus High School. He is also the Department Chair for the Physical Education Department, an International Baccalaureate instructor in sports science, yearly creates a team of student athletic trainers who help the students in multiple sports throughout the year and is the lead negotiator for the school district teacher union. With over twenty years of experience in the position of Athletic Trainer at Haysville Campus High School, Dennis is highly regarded in the profession throughout the Wichita area. His relationship with the local medical professionals has allowed him to have the connection s to get a student seen quickly by a physician if needed and to then help with any prescribed follow-up treatment. Working in a school that has many low income students, Dennis is more than willing to offer , before school, after school and even during school treatments to students after injury, for no cost that saves the parent, who may be uninsured or not able to afford outside professional therapy, the opportunity to have the proper therapy for recovery.
Not only has Dennis taken care of his own athletes from Campus, but he is also always the first out to help with any injured athlete from any team. I have seen other trainers allow Dennis to consult and offer help to opposing athletes, this is a direct reflection of the level of respect that Dennis Munk has from his peers.
It does not matter what the situation is. A few years ago, we had a teacher, immediately after school, have a massive heart attack. Dennis had known the teacher for years and had collaborated with him on different teams and projects. When the teacher was found, Dennis immediately came and gave aide (CPR) to the teacher until and even during the time that emergency services were called. It was an extremely unfortunate situation as the teacher did not survive and that was an extremely demanding situation for the school and the teachers around the situation. Dennis was a rock; he could have crumbled but he worked on the teacher until the very end, doing everything possible that he could. Afterwards he still stayed strong for all of those around him.
In my opinion as a career educator who has over 26 years as a high school principal in larger schools, you will not find a better candidate who exceeds and exemplifies the standards set for this award than Mr. Dennis Munk.

Nominated by
David Morford
from Retired Principal from Haysville Campus HIgh School
E: [email protected] | W: 316-633-6267 | P: 9139679410


November 10, 2023 at 5:59 pm
Nominee
Dr. Emily Giorgi
from Purdue University Fort Wayne
E: [email protected] | W: 260-481-6656 | C:

Dr. Emily Giorgi has vastly improved the standard of care for Purdue University Fort Wayne, and developed a high level of trust with the coaching staffs that she works with. As a bilingual athletic trainer, she has been able to use this ability to translate documents and information into Spanish for our population of Spanish speaking international student-athletes. This ability has also helped build a confidence in the sports medicine department by Spanish speaking student athletes, as she is able to bridge that language and cultural gap.

Serving as the Associate Head Athletic Trainer, Dr. Giorgi provides mentorship to the assistant athletic trainers on staff. She leads by example and encouraged the staff to seek additional professional certifications, specifically in dry needling which has greatly benefitted the student-athletes. She regularly works long hours to assist our staff when needed and is quick to lend a helping hand.

Finally, Dr. Giorgi advocates for decreasing the cultural barriers to healthcare. She actively seeks in further expand Spanish speaking international student-athlete knowledge of medicine and the U.S. Healthcare system. She has increased the accessibility and understanding of university staff to the challenges that non-native English-speaking students face when seeking medical attention.

Nominated by
Daniel Rosselli
from Purdue University Fort Wayne
E: [email protected] | W: 260-481-6624 | P:


January 3, 2024 at 4:08 pm
Nominee
Emily Renna-Beers
from Danbury (CT) High School
E: [email protected] | W: 203-830-6588 | C: 203-512-7381

January 3, 2024

Dear To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to offer my nomination of Emily Renna-Beers for the Training and Conditioning 2024 Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award. I have the distinct pleasure of working with Emily in my role as the Director of Athletics for the Danbury (CT) Public Schools. Emily is currently the Head Athletic Trainer at Danbury (CT) HS and I have known her in a professional capacity for over 15 years.

Emily has a wealth of experience as an athletic trainer. She is not only very adept at working with the high school athlete; she handles the coordination of Impact Testing and the concussion management for Danbury’s 1,300 athletes, manages the budget for the athletic training program, handles all the communication with parents of injured athletes, and handles all the medical insurance claims for athletes. In addition Ms. Renna created the existing return to play protocol used by the Danbury Public Schools for athletes who suffer a concussion. Emily has also been credited with the following initiatives while serving as athletic trainer at Danbury HS.

Implemented the Emergency Action Plan for the athletic department.
Implemented the Heat Policy for the athletic department.
Partners with area physicians to make return to play decisions for Danbury HS Athletes.
Implemented the concussion management policy for the athletic department.
Created a coverage schedule for the Danbury HS Athletic Training Staff.
Developed a student mentor program for aspiring athletic trainers

I believe Emily is the best athletic trainer in our conference (Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference) and clearly has the ability and the acumen to be a high performing athletic trainer at not only the high school level; but also at the college or professional levels. Emily holds the following memberships and certifications; Delta Epsilon Sigma, National Scholastic Honor Society for Catholic Colleges and Universities, National Athletic Trainers Association, American Red Cross, CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer, and the American Red Cross Instructor, Lay Person CPR, AED, First Aid and Professional Rescuer.

Emily is an extremely compassionate and caring person when working with her athletes. She is very attentive to detail and has a never ending work ethic. Emily is a competent self-starter who can take charge of a situation and see it through to a successful completion. She is of the highest ethical standards and I would recommend her without reservation as an exceptional candidate for the Training and Conditioning 2024 Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award.

If I can be of further assistance with Emily and her nomination for this award, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Chip Salvestrini

Nominated by
Chip Salvestrini
from Danbury (CT) High School
E: [email protected] | W: 203-797-4853 | P: 203-948-5279


December 12, 2023 at 2:59 pm
Nominee
Eric Peterson
from Weston High School
E: [email protected] | W: 203-221-6529 | C:

Eric goes above and beyond every day for our student athletes and our athletic program. All trainers work long, thankless hours and Eric is no exception. He handles the every day aches and pains with care and personalized attention for each athlete who needs him. He is consistent, fair, nurturing, and tough which can be a hard duality to pull off and Eric pulls it off with ease. It is the way that Eric handles the major injuries and crisis with such poise and positivity that truly sets him apart. We are so fortunate to have Eric at our school and I am thrilled to nominate him for this award.

Nominated by
Mark Berkowitz
from Weston High School
E: [email protected] | W: 203-221-6520 | P:


November 9, 2023 at 5:48 pm
Nominee
Erin Leaver
from Waynesburg University
E: [email protected] | W: 724-852-3309 | C: 412-526-2654

Erin is an integral part of our team. She is a consummate professional in all of her clinical and administrative duties and then goes above and beyond our expectations to support our team, our department, and our institutional mission. She serves as our Head Athletic Trainer bringing a calm presence, a can-do attitude, and stability to every task she is involved in.
Recently, Erin was appointed as a sitting member of our institution’s “Care Team” which is charged with identifying students of concern and intervening as early as possible. As a member, one of Erin’s key accomplishments thus far has been the attention she has brought to student-athletes’ mental health challenges as well as being an advocate for our profession and the education and skills ATs possess. Being engaged on the front-lines with student-athletes on a daily basis, she understands the challenges they face first-hand. Through this lens, she has been integral in the creation and refinement of a robust referral process that has opened lines of communication on campus ensuring individuals are receiving the proper care they need in this arena.
Additionally, I have consistently observed Erin selflessly deliver health care to a multitude of student-athletes over the years assisting them and their families in navigating their care to ensure optimal outcomes. She truly puts people and patients first and always eliminates their fears and anxieties about their current situation. This extends to mentoring countless students as a Preceptor for our athletic training students. Her infectious demeanor exudes empathy. Coupled with an easygoing personality Erin creates a caring and understanding healthcare environment where the primacy of student-athletes reverberates through the walls of the entire athletic department.
Finally, Erin breathes our institution’s motto of “faith, learning, and service”. She is a leader in our service contributions as a department. She manages our yearly “No Sew Blanket Day” for our department where we create blankets for Project Linus. She has also engaged in institutional mission trips, the most recent being a trip to Puerto Rico assisting with construction of a house and a school classroom. She is always giving back to both our institutional and local communities. She never asks for anything in return and I want to take this time to show her that we all see what kind of person she truly is and that’s an amazing one. Simply put – I don’t know what I would do without her!

Nominated by
Andy Palko
from Waynesburg University
E: [email protected] | W: 724-852-3306 | P: 814-341-2530


November 21, 2023 at 2:42 pm
Nominee
Evelyn E. Tandy
from Saint Xavier High School
E: [email protected] | W: 5026342175 | C: 859 582-9966

Evelyn works hard daily to ensure that the student athletes are healthy and able to participate in their activities.

Nominated by
Danny McDonald
from Saint Xavier High School
E: [email protected] | W: 5026342175 | P: 5025481517


November 1, 2023 at 1:53 pm
Nominee
Frank Millan
from American Heritage School Plantation
E: [email protected] | W: 9544720022 | C:

I would like to highly recommend our Head Athletic Trainer, Mr. Frank Millan as the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer. There are many reasons to submit his name to you but most recently had a football player collapse and go into cardiac arrest on the sideline during an away game. This is every parent, coach, trainer’s nightmare. Our Head Athletic Trainer, Frank Millan, observed the collapse and immediately sprang into action. He rushed to the athlete and quickly determined the player was no longer breathing. Mr. Millan began performing CPR and he along with his assistant athletic trainers continued lifesaving actions while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive and give additional assistance. In addition to CPR, the athlete needed the use of an AED to be revived which Mr. Millan provided. There was no hesitation to ponder what to do. Frank Millan was methodical and in complete charge of this very scare scene immediately. The paramedics that arrived on scene as well as the ER physician stated this young man’s life was saved due to our trainers quick, lifesaving actions. He and his staff were acknowledged by our community and also our state athletic association for his swift and competent actions to save this child’s life.

Frank Millan takes his profession seriously. He discusses nutrition and hydration and makes sure all student athletes understand the effects of not following this will have on them. He and his staff also oversee and make sure that all participating student athletes have completed annual physicals. He’s made a connection with many physicians so our student athletes are seen quickly if needed in cases of any type of injury. Mr. Millan also implemented a program to ensure that all of the football team’s linemen wear appropriate knee braces to reduce the number of ACL, MCL, etc. injuries and this has dramatically improved the players abilities to avoid these devastating occurrences. Frank has helped our school build a state-of-the-art athletic trainer’s room and put together schedules for student-athletes to receive the therapy needed to enhance their well-being and get them back on the field as quickly as possible. His mind is constantly thinking of ways to improve and function at a large athletic program. Every single team at our school is covered.

Mr. Millan goes above and beyond by encouraging students to join his athletic trainers club at school (that he started) and has grown this program immensely. At any given athletic event, you are sure to see several of our school’s students assisting Mr. Millan or one of his Athletic Trainers on the field. They are receiving valuable training and lessons and many have decided they want to pursue a medical career. Previously, Mr. Millan was a professor at a nearby university where he was teaching other athletic trainers in the University’s Master’s program. We are so grateful that he “chose” our school to be our Head Athletic Trainer. This athletic trainer has a great “bedside manner” but also demands respect that is rightfully deserved. He’s always calm no matter the situation. Mr. Millan has great knowledge and if there is ever something new, he’s the first to research and speak to professionals about how to implement or improve something.

Mr. Millan is highly respected in the industry and our community. He is beloved by all of our coaches, student-athletes, parents and staff. He goes the extra mile in everything he does and no job has ever been too small for him even if it is not related to his area.

I am beyond proud of this man and so thankful to see him at our school. It’s comforting to know that any situation will immediately be addressed no matter how big or small to protect our student-athletes and coaches. He is so deserving of this prestigious award and I hope you will consider Mr. Frank Millan as your recipient.

Nominated by
Karen Stearns
from American Heritage School Plantation
E: [email protected] | W: 9544720022 | P: 9544489475


January 8, 2024 at 6:44 pm
Nominee
George Zito
from Freeport HS
E: [email protected] | W: 5168675330 | C: 516-849-0190

Mr. Zito has been the Athletic Trainer for 22 years and has served as a physical education and health teacher in the district for 23 years. In that time, he has made a significant impact on thousands of our students and their families. George has a skill set that very few educators on Long Island or New York possess. As a long time Certified Athletic Trainer, he has the educational background, experience and empathy that has served our student athletes and coaches well in their most vulnerable and critical moments. His knowledge of human physiology, concussion management and sports injury/preventive care is astounding. He treats each of our student athletes as if they were his own children. His assessments and recommendations are usually right on the mark and have become trusted by our coaching staff and families.

While most school districts struggle to find a qualified trainer or are forced to hire inexperienced per diems, we are fortunate enough to have our trainer working in our buildings every day and invested in our school community. Any day of the week he can be found treating students, wrapping ankles, calling parents, contacting physicians, speaking to coaches, icing, heating and the list could on and on. He works weekends and evenings, often putting in 12+ hour days, yet remains positive and never complains.

I could write pages more, but it is for these reasons, that I would like to nominate George Zito for this award.

Nominated by
Jonathan Bloom
from Freeport High School
E: [email protected] | W: 5168675330 | P: 516-849-0190


November 27, 2023 at 2:45 pm
Nominee
Gini Fite
from Smithville High School
E: [email protected] | W: 816-532-0405 | C: 816-351-5491

Gini does an awesome job with our student athletes. She makes sure our students have the care they need during the season and offseason as well. We ask Gini to work with our high school and middle school as well, it’s a tough schedule to keep and she does it. Gini is a strong candidate for this award in my opinion.

Nominated by
Darren Shaffer
from Smithville High School
E: [email protected] | W: 816-532-0405 | P: 816-213-6461


October 27, 2023 at 2:56 pm
Nominee
Haley
from fraser
E: [email protected] | W: 904-635-0702 | C: 904-635-0702

Haley has done outstanding work with our student athletes. She has initiated a program with the University of South Florida who will be providing us with intern trainers that she will be working with mentoring them in the profession. She is very dedicated spending countless hours here at our school. she is very deserving of being recognized for her outstanding work.

Nominated by
Don Dziagwa
from Tampa Catholic HS
E: [email protected] | W: 813-870-0860 | P: 813-817-9002


November 1, 2023 at 2:24 pm
Nominee
Hallie Burkhardt
from Eastern High School
E: [email protected] | W: 812-967-3931 | C: 812-390-5141

Hallie has been our athletic trainer for approximately one year now. She is very dependable and knowledgeable in her area. She covers all our home events as well as practices every day.

Nominated by
Scott Newcomb
from Eastern High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8129673931 | P: 8128962499


November 30, 2023 at 3:13 pm
Nominee
Jacob Culbertson
from Fountain Inn High School
E: [email protected] | W: 864-452-1800 | C: 864-436-1883

Jake is the only trainer at a brand new high school (3rd year open) and has done a tremendous job of supporting our athletic department. We have 1184 students in the building that has 21 varsity sports and 16 subvarsity sports that Jake is the trainer for. He supports the mission of the school by providing amazing care for our student athletes to make sure that they are looked after and back on the playing field as safely/quickly as possible. He covers alot of practices all year, games, and tournaments for all our different events as well as supporting other local school athletic trainers when they need assistance with events. We are very lucky as a new school to have an experienced trainer that does an amazing job caring for our student-athletes.

Nominated by
Robby Bell
from Fountain Inn HIgh School
E: [email protected] | W: 864-452-1817 | P: 864-395-9558


November 30, 2023 at 3:01 pm
Nominee
Jaime Debenedictus
from Park Ridge BOE
E: [email protected] | W: 2015736000 | C: 2018193384

For the past 10 years Jaime has been the Athletic Trainer at Park Ridge Jr/Sr High School. She does a tremendous job working with our student athletes to help them train, recover and return to play in the sports. She does this in a professional and courteous manner. Our student athlete, coaches, and families absolutely love Jaime and appreciate her so much. She is probably the most respected member in our athletic community, and we would be lost without her. She is truly most deserving of this honor, and I would be happy to discuss further if needed

Nominated by
Chris Brown
from Park Ridge BOE
E: [email protected] | W: 2015736000 | P: 5514043666


January 8, 2024 at 2:45 am
Nominee
Jaime Lemieux
from Golden High School
E: [email protected] | W: 303-982-4200 | C:

Jaime works with all staff and students in a professional manner, even staff not part of athletics. She sees all injured athletes and sees them through the PT to get them back participating. She also communicates with the coaching staff regarding injuries and progress. With concussions, she has continual follow up with school staff to ensure a concussed athlete receives the proper treatment in the classroom for proper recovery. The athletes trust her assessments and follow her protocol for their injuries. This may sound bad, but is actually a good thing: sometimes athletes don’t like to see her because they don’t want to be held out even though it is the correct thing for them and they know they should be held out.
Jaime sees athletes any time of the year. If an athlete is injured during the club season, she has no problem helping them recover to get back competing. She will work with athletes and coaches that need PT, like after surgery or an injury. She is present when ever needed. For example during the summer workouts or youth camps the different programs host.
I have seen other trainers in her office, I believe she was mentoring them. She happily talks with athletes and students interested in becoming an athletic trainer, pyhisical therapist, occupational therapist or other professions. Students see her as a mentor and that helps them when they are considering a career as an athletic trainer or similar field.
Jaime assists during youth camps for all sports and other community service events. She is in total support for all community service events in all school sponsored events.
The kids appreciate and have total respect for Jaime. Us coaches support her and are always glad to see her present during practice and competition. She is very valuable to the school!

Nominated by
James Montijo
from Golden High school
E: [email protected] | W: 303-587-2746 | P:


January 12, 2024 at 9:44 pm
Nominee
Jasmine DeBose
from Bush High School
E: [email protected] | W: 281-634-6199 | C: 832-202-4361

Dr. Jasmine DeBose is a phenomenal High School Athletic Trainer that puts her students above all else. I would describe her top qualities as being perseverant, possessing a superb work ethic, staying involved in the community, desired to continue learning (including encouraging others in process), advancement in her career and leading the profession. She is enthusiastic and passionate about athletic training and ensuring that students are provided with the best quality of care. She works to make sure that all athletes have what they need not only at school in their sport, but what they need in the classroom as well as home. Many athletes, that tend to be single parented homes, that my need “other” help, she is always the first in line and helping organize what is needed for her athletes or the middle school athletes.
She is actively involved in creating policies and procedures not only for her campus, but for all of the district. She takes a systematically approach when developing procedures, which allows her to be a great resource for not only her coaches at Bush High School, a large 6A High School in Texas, but for the second largest school district in Texas, Fort Bend ISD. She serves as an ATLAS Ambassador, a NATA Secondary School Liaison Representative on the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) board and serves on the SWATA EDAC committee. She is exceptionally proactive in teaching strategies to prevent injuries to young athletes and coaches as well as being professionally reactive to an emergency. Jasmine takes great pride in cultivating the next generation of medical professionals with her sports medicine program. In addition, she is a mentor to several incoming Head Athletic Trainers as well as serves as a preceptor for newly Graduated Athletic Trainers. She started and continues to serve on the district committee for Student Trainer Olympics as well as leading educational events such as Student Trainer Camp and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). She serves as the District CPR and First Aid Lead that ensures certification for all school District employees (including Coaches and Sponsors). Jasmine also helps provide medical coverage for local youth club events to ensure their safety at many community events.
Dr. Jasmine DeBose is not only a great friend and colleague of mine, but the thousands of lives that she strives to make an impact daily. With great pleasure, I would like to nominate my friend and colleague for the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award.

Nominated by
Kara Sylvester
from Kempner
E: [email protected] | W: 2816342363 | P: 8324347246


January 3, 2024 at 4:27 pm
Nominee
Jenn Cook
from Kansas State Univerity
E: [email protected] | W: 16307125366 | C:

I work as Jenn’s Strength and Conditioning Coach and see her multiple times a week to train. Every single session she discusses continuing education she’s participating in, what she’s doing for the students and classes that she advises, mentors, and instructs for at Kansas State University, and the multiple sports she covers for regional high-school sports teams (football, volleyball, and wrestling).

Jenn cares deeply about her students and athletes and goes above and beyone for them. Additionally, during our training sessions she gives incredible effort and shows up consistently. She is a good role model for her students in the pursuit of strength and performance and herself has an incredible working knowledge of the body, treatment methods, injury mechanics, etc. I can think of no one more exceptional or who I would trust to care for me on the field if I were injured.

Nominated by
Anneliese Spence
from Kansas State University
E: [email protected] | W: 7853419034 | P: 785-341-9034


November 6, 2023 at 3:47 pm
Nominee
Jennifer Beardslee
from Miami University (OH)
E: [email protected] | W: 513-529-4777 | C:

Beyond the general work of the day:
> She will make food for Student Athletes who are unable to make dining hall times because of Schedule demands (own funds / time)
> Extra after training shakes (making – funding) to help athletes recovery
> After Hours, none related to Athletic time – late night help with SA’s who get sick or injured, even taking them to Emergency Room & sitting with them till released (all else needed in the situation)
> Walk parents through insurance issues – aid in phone calls etc.
> serves on cross campus committees for the general help to move University forward in service to Students, Families & Staff improvement
> New Hires moving to the area, she has opened up her home to them to stay till they find a place / or her garage – basement for storage
She has been in service for well over 25yrs & has done so much more than this small write up could do her justice – Very humble & caring with no focus ever on her or ever expected from her. She is very deserving of this award.

Nominated by
James Carsey
from Miami University ohio
E: [email protected] | W: 5135299033 | P:


December 19, 2023 at 9:08 pm
Nominee
Jennifer Benedict
from Western High School
E: [email protected] | W: 5177407990 | C: 3135900081

Jenn has gone above and beyond her role of high school athletic trainer to better the community through community involvement and professional development for her athletic training colleagues in the area. She has taken on responsibilities in the community, including booster club event planning and community education in the form of educating coaches and parents about concussions, heat illness, emergency action planning, and more. She has been involved in multiple Michigan Athletic Training Society roles, including representing the region on the Secondary Schools Committee, and matriculating through the LEADs program. She has taken on adjunct teaching multiple Health and Exercise Science classes at a local university to share her passion for the area of study and the profession. She also planned for this past summer, and is planning for next summer, an educational day for all of the athletic trainers in our health system. Past topics have included joint reductions, concussion management, documentation, and mental health; and have included speakers from multiple disciplines and different educational backgrounds. Overall, she has put in a ton of work in advancing the profession and I feel she deserves to be recognized.

Nominated by
Christopher Benedict
from Spring Arbor University
E: [email protected] | W: 5177454670 | P: 2487603641


November 5, 2023 at 3:59 pm
Nominee
Jennifer K Mag
from Otsego High School/ProMedica
E: [email protected] | W: 4196545401 | C: 4196545401

I feel I have definitely earned the respect of the staff that I work with and the student-athletes that I care for. I am the go to person for many things in the school community besides athletic training information. I am at the point in my career where I am seeing the children of former athletes come through the school system.
I go beyond my job description to support my student-athletes by showing up to their events outside of athletics. (musicals, choir concerts, graduation ceremonies/parties, to just name a few)
I mentor other athletic trainers in terms of career development as a clinical preceptor for a local university and mentor newer athletic trainers at work.
I have taken action to advance the athletic training profession by starting what was once Athletic Training Week in Ohio, which led to National Athletic Training Month.
I am a big advocate of community service. There are many organizations at the school that I have helped with and am in the process of creating a community service club for high schoolers in our school district to help community members with household tasks/chores.

Nominated by
Jennifer K Mag
from Otsego High School/Promedica
E: [email protected] | W: 4196545401 | P:


November 30, 2023 at 3:30 pm
Nominee
Jenny Ruano
from Ben Davis High School
E: [email protected] | W: 3179887191 | C: 216-392-1652

Jenny has earned the respect of the coaching staff and the athletic administration at Ben Davis High School through the application of her knowledge, compassion, individual attention, and teamwork. The student-athletes that she provides care for absolutely adore and respect her as a medical professional and mentor.

Jenny willingly takes on high school student assistants enabling them to learn about and experience what the field of Athletic Training is all about. She also serves a a preceptor to college students enrolled in Athletic Training programs.

Jenny takes advantage of every opportunity to participate in athletic training courses, to speak on/about the field of athletic training, and to promote the profession.

Nominated by
Heather K McGowan
from Ben Davis High School
E: [email protected] | W: 3179887184 | P: 3175139313


November 8, 2023 at 9:45 pm
Nominee
Jeremy Howard
from Florida Army National Guard
E: [email protected] | W: 904-827-8623 | C: 239-898-9131

Jeremy Howard is the Florida Army National Guard’s (FLARNG) State-level Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) Integrator and Chief of Training serving over 10,000 Army National Guard Soldiers. His work in managing a state-level program has earned the recognition and appreciation of various Executive Leaders, not only in the FLARNG, but also within the entire H2F Leadership of the National Guard Bureau’s (NGB) 54 States, Territories, and the District of Washington; as well as the Active-Duty Army’s H2F Leaders. His efforts in improving the health and fitness of the force have earned the state two-years running as the 5th healthiest National Guard force of the 54 and of the four states above the FLARNG, none are close in size of their force. Further, his efforts in improving the health of the force resulted in the State earning recognition from the American Heart Association (AHA) as a Silver Award Recipient for the Workplace Well-Being Award, demonstrating that his efforts in his role have created a positive and productive work environment that champions healthy practices and behavior change. The FLARNG’s H2F has been repeatedly recognized by the NGB-level H2F for their various lines of effort to improve the culture around health hand wellness in the Army. Though Jeremy Howard operates at the State-level he has aided efforts at the NGB-level and Active-Duty Army-level; including developing H2F training and learning content for the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Readiness Domains for the Army National Guard’s Professional Education Center (PEC) to be distributed across the 54 States, Territories, and District of Washington; working with the Army’s H2F Program to redesign doctrine for Pregnant and Post-Partum Soldiers to ensure the doctrine is more inclusive for all components of the Army (Active-Duty, National Guard, and Reserves); and working in conjunction with the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) program to design deliverable training models and improved course curriculum across all the branches of the Armed Services. Jeremy also developed an academic partnership between the 211th Regional Training Institute’s (RTI) Basic Leader Course (BLC), Air Defense Artillery Non-Commissioned Officer Education Courses (ADA NCOES), and Officer Candidate School (OCS) programs to deliver health and fitness content to the Service Members in attendance of the courses. With the BLC program, he created a program to certify all 600 graduates per year in the Army Body Composition Program’s Circumference Methodology to ensure each graduate can better support their home unit’s Soldiers with nutritional and fitness advise. With the ADA NCOES program, he created course content in conjunction with the industrial partnership his program has with the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) to deliver higher quality program of instruction on Strength & Conditioning programming to the 96 annual graduates of those programs. With the OCS program, he developed a relationship to come in and instruct the future leader on running form and nutrition for ruck marching to decrease injury and increase graduation rates. He also develops multiple programs within the state for Soldier education including the historic first Spiritual Readiness Domain Leaders Course, which received accolades from NGB and focused on improving help seeking behaviors for Service Members that had been exposed to trauma. To date, his program has trained over 3,000 Service Members from both the Air and Army National Guards, the Coast Guard, and Active Duty Army. The program he built in the FLARNG has become a flag ship program across the NGB and now the new H2F-Integrators for other states are directed to him for best practices to ensure their success. He has mentored three Athletic Trainers that also serve in the Army National Guard on how they can best meet their professional objectives and how they can get better involved with the military setting of practice. He has connected multiple Florida Universities (UNF, UCF, and FIU) with the Active Duty H2F program’s lead Athletic Trainer to develop as a military clinical setting for their students. Jeremy is a volunteer leader in both the NSCA and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), he has served for five years on the NSCA’s Tactical Strength & Conditioning Professional Development Group (TSAC PDG) as a Leader as well as on Florida’s State NSCA Team as the Tactical Representative. For the NATA he serves as a member of the Council on Professional Development (COPA) for the military setting and is a member of the Athletic Training Association of Florida’s (ATAF) ATsCare Team. As a member of the NATA COPA for military setting, he has worked to improve opportunities for Athletic Trainers to provide care to service members. He also has championed the Athletic Training profession to NGB, demonstrating the value that Athletic Trainers bring to the operation and striving to achieve DA Civilian jobs for Athletic Trainers in each of the National Guard forces. He has had two posters and two papers published for the research he has done on the military setting and population and continues to charge on to help drive healthy behavior change and improve quality of life for the population he serves.

Nominated by
Connor Foy
from Florida Army National Guard
E: [email protected] | W: 904-823-0492 | P: 405-822-0552


January 3, 2024 at 2:17 pm
Nominee
Jessica
from Howard
E: [email protected] | W: 706-368-6335 | C: 706-244-0265

Jessica Howard exemplifies care. Specific to the areas listed in criteria I have listed each of the 5 areas below to specifically address the criteria.

1. Has earned the respect of the staff that they work with and the student-athletes or patients they care for:
Through her gifts of compassion and service, Jess has earned not only the respect of her coworkers and supervisors, but also her student athletes, coaches and even other departments across the Berry campus. Her love for Berry College and the mission of the institution drives her to continually press our department forward every day. She has created programs and initiatives for the student athletes in several areas, but most notably mental health. She also has earned the respect of the 75 student workers that she manages in the sports medicine department.

Jessica has built strong relationships based on trust and mutual respect with staff and athletes. She has demonstrated a calm demeanor, fostering a harmonious environment even in high-pressure situations. She has listened attentively and empathetically to the needs of staff and athletes/patients, earning their trust. She has encouraged open communication, creating an atmosphere where everyone feels valued and respected. She has done this with our staff of athletic trainers by helping to build confidence in others and letting them know that each person’s input matters and is important. She has also done this with the student leadership team she oversees.

2. Goes beyond their job description to support their student-athletes or patients:
She builds strong community by having student work groups over for dinners and team building activities which, in turn, makes our department stronger. She has created several mental health initiatives for our student athletes. She puts in extra time with her coaches to make them feel heard and supported, even when they have rough years with records and injuries. She keeps in touch with past athletes and student workers even after they have departed Berry college. Her student-athletes rave about the care she provides and her coaches express their confidence and trust in her approach.

3. Mentors other athletic trainers in terms of career development:
As one of the more tenured assistant athletic trainers, Jessica has taken the younger ATC’s under her wings to help them learn and grow. She was part of a group that helped develop an athletic trainer growth plan this previous semester. She’s always willing to answer questions for the other athletic trainers and continues to challenge them with our mission and values of the department. She also has a heart for helping them grow personally as well. With her effective relationship and trust-building skills, she has offered constructive feedback, empowering others to excel in their roles. They have received this positively, knowing she is out for their good and genuinely cares about them.

4. Has taken action to advance the athletic training profession:
Jess has spent countless hours researching mental health in athletic training over the past year and implementing strategies and processes in connection with out campus health services to serve students, especially with the heightened mental health concerns in all fields. She has introduced innovative methods and practices to advance athletic training, including the peer-to-peer program mentioned above. She also recently pilot-tested a program for student-athletes who have had to deal with the loss of eligibility due to graduation, injury, academics, etc. She provided a program that included education and practical applications that equipped students to deal with these transitions in a healthy manner.

5. Prioritizes community service:
Jess was part of a group that set up a service opportunity with hunger ministries for our student work staff. She participates in community events and helps initiate community service events established by our department. She mentored the leadership team of student workers who, with her support, developed a strategic plan to organize a community service event with Northwest Georgia Hunger Ministries that included over 50 of our athletic trainers and student workers. She attends West Rome Baptist Church and often helps in the nursery watching smaller kids for services so parents can attend church.

Jess is such an incredible member of our department that a personal statement from one of our student-athletes seemed to be appropriate to showcase first-hand the impact she has made:
Jess is more than just an athletic trainer; she is also the point person when it comes to student-athlete mental health at our institution. She has taken the reigns of this aspect of athletics and has turned it into education, mentorship, and life-saving practices. Jess leads a peer mentorship program for student athletes who have recovered from a specific injury paired with an athlete who has just recently gotten injured. They can walk each other through their injury, be there for support, and even offer a ride to physical therapy. Jess also handles mental-health training for our department. She works closely with our on-campus counseling center to provide our student-athletes premier care as she knows and understands the stressors of being a student-athlete. From personal experience, Jess handled a mental-health crisis with grace, love, and fast thinking for a teammate of mine. I can honestly say that teammate of mine is alive today because of Jess Howard. – Abbey

Jessica’s leadership with her peers, our coaching staff, our student athletes, and our campus partners we are better as a department. We are serving our people better than we could have ever before. But most of all her service shows the importance of a holistic approach to care. As Director of Athletics, it is without hesitation that I nominate Jessica Howard for the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer award as she is beyond deserving of this recognition.

Nominated by
Angel Mason
from Berry College
E: [email protected] | W: 706-236-1721 | P: 706-844-3388


November 3, 2023 at 12:23 am
Nominee
Jessie Loch
from Raytown South High School/Children’s Mercy Medical Center
E: [email protected] | W: 573-823-5447 | C:

Jessie Loch has established a strong rapport with both the staff and student-athletes. Her dedication, professionalism, and caring approach have earned her the respect and trust of everyone she works with. Jessie is often sought after for advice and guidance, showcasing her influential role in the athletic community.
Jessie consistently goes the extra mile in her role as an athletic trainer. She has demonstrated a track record of not just meeting the basic requirements of her job, but exceeding expectations. Whether it’s through late-night treatments, extensive injury prevention initiatives, or innovative rehabilitation methods, she consistently demonstrates her commitment to the athletes’ well-being.
Jessie has a strong commitment to community service. She actively engages in outreach and wellness programs, both within and outside the athletic community. Her involvement in organizing health and fitness events, workshops, or initiatives that benefit not only athletes but also the broader community demonstrates her dedication to giving back.
Jessie serves as a role model and mentor for other athletic trainers in her professional development. She shares her knowledge, experience, and insights generously, helping to elevate the skills and capabilities of her colleagues. Jessie’s mentorship extends to career guidance and support, helping others grow in their roles and make a positive impact in the field. In summary, I nominate Jessie Loch for the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer award because she embodies the qualities of respect, dedication, community service, and mentorship that make her a standout candidate for this prestigious recognition.

Nominated by
Monte Yancey
from Raytown South High School
E: [email protected] | W: 7135143832 | P:


January 13, 2024 at 1:03 am
Nominee
Joanne Goss
from Sheridan High School
E: [email protected] | W: (307) 672-2495 | C: (307) 640-0080

January 12, 2024

Training and Conditioning – Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award Selection Committee:

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I am writing this letter of nomination on behalf of Joanne Goss. Joanne has been the Athletic Trainer for the Sheridan High School Broncs and Lady Broncs since the fall of 2009. She is the only Athletic Trainer at SHS, serving 22 sports and just under 800 student athletes. Additionally, she shares her passion for Athletic Training and her knowledge with students by teaching two sections of an Athletic Training course at SHS and mentoring approximately 10 volunteer student trainers each year. As a football coach and colleague at Sheridan High School, I have had the pleasure to work with and alongside Joanne Goss for the past 15 years. In my opinion, she is a deserving candidate for this award.

During her tenure at SHS, Joanne has continued to grow and make improvements to the services within our Athletic Training area. Through Joanne’s leadership, the SHS training facility provides tremendous care for our athletes and is a place where our local professionals come to assist Joanne in helping our athletes return to their sport as soon as possible. On any given day, the SHS training room is full of people helping our student athletes. In addition to Joanne, there are 5-10 volunteer student trainers, local Physical Therapists and an Orthopedic Surgeon. Because of the growth in the services Joanne has helped facilitate, our current student athletes and athletic programs have the benefit of specialized injury prevention, therapy during injury care, and rehabilitation, all without leaving the walls of SHS.

In addition to Joanne’s leadership, she has proven reliable and trustworthy by always making our teams and the student athletes her priority. As you will read in the comments below, she is trusted and respected by all. Her dedication to the Broncs and Lady Broncs is apparent in how she carries herself and how she manages her duties. And while her training duties are important, her number one priority is helping to mold great young people. She has a desire for each of our athletes to be great people, on the athletic field or court, at home, at school, and in our community. Her contribution in this area is priceless for our programs.

The Sheridan Bronc athletes and staff are very fortunate to have an Athletic Trainer of Joanne’s caliber. The value she adds to our teams is evidenced by the player and staff comments included with this nomination. In her time at SHS, Joanne has created a culture of high expectations and high character within the Bronc training facilities. This supports our teams and assists our programs to experience great success on the field or court. Without reservation, I highly recommend Joanne Goss for the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award. I will gladly speak on her behalf at any time, and you are welcome to contact me at (307) 461-2441 or e-mail me at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Jeffrey J. Mowry
Sheridan High School
Head Football Coach

“Joanne shows up to the training room every day before anyone gets there and doesn’t leave until everyone is gone. She not only takes care of every injury no matter the severity, but she treats us as if we are her own kids. Joanne goes above and beyond with her job and we are super lucky to have her.”

Dane Steel, Sheridan Bronc Senior
Football, Wrestling, Soccer

“Joanne come in everyday spreading positivity and making sure everyone gets back to the activities they love. She is constantly helping others, putting them first by showing up early in the morning and staying up late at night. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Terran Grooms, Sheridan Bronc Senior
Football, Wrestling

“Joanne treats us like we are a part of her family. She listens to all of our issues, big or small, and treats each one of us to the best of her ability.”

Alex Haswell, Sheridan Bronc Senior
Football, Track

“Joanne is always willing to help anyone no matter how severe of an injury. She helps every sports team throughout the year and manages to balance that with also teaching classes and having a family.”

Jackson Lynn, Sheridan Bronc Senior
Football, Soccer

“Joanne has a wealth of knowledge. Besides just wanting to share what she knows with students, she also likes to build relationships with each one of the students she works with. She goes beyond what everyone realizes she does. Working with her, I have learned she gives up lots of her personal time to meet the needs of the athletes. As a student who has spent lots of time with her, she is always willing to answer any questions I have because she believes it is relevant to share all that she knows. She has opened me up to many different career paths because she puts her heart into helping each individual.”

Dani Grooms, Sheridan Bronc Sophomore
Volunteer Student Trainer
Basketball and Soccer player

“As I think about the last couple of years I have spent with Joanne, I think of how forceful her impact truly is. Joanne is a powerful leader in her field as she cares for 300+ athletes every single day! The time that this woman dedicates to her office, training room, and games is immense and is only a small peak of the real work that she puts in. Joanne, from a student’s standpoint, is a reliable and smart woman who genuinely cares for her athletes. As an athlete myself, Joanne Goss puts 100% effort and attention into each student and athlete who needs her help and TLC. Not only does she train in sports medicine, she also teaches classes at the high school. I have never seen a class period of Joanne’s that isn’t thought through and developed. She sets goals for her students and strives to help reach them! The plan and layout of her classes take plenty of her time, yet she continues to balance it with the rest of her life. Joanne dedicates her life to sports, classrooms, and students. She deserves recognition for the blood, sweat, and tears she has put into her profession. After 17 years of athletic training, Joanne continues to love her job and athletes like it was her first day. Fifteen years at Sheridan High School is extremely impressive and it shows her devotion to her work. Though her work is outstanding, that is not the only thing that is exceptional about Joanne. Her amazing personality and humor are what let athletes feel welcomed and cared for when in her training room. She has great stories to tell and humor to laugh with. Her love for her family is prominent and it spills onto athletes she cares for. If you couldn’t tell already, I feel that Joanne is a most deserving person and is a beautiful soul! Thank you to Joanne Goss for caring for Sheridan High School for many years and continuing to care.”

Loralai Ketner, Sheridan Bronc Sophomore
Volunteer Student Trainer
Track Athlete

“Joanne Goss is a mentor for not only her student trainers, but also her athletes. I knew her as an athlete before I knew her as a student trainer. Mostly everyone knows Joanne because of her problem-solving attitude and her dedication to helping athletes. She doesn’t believe in coddling athletes but rather strives to make them tough. Joanne is the first person to drop everything to help someone, but also the first person to be honest and tell someone the truth about their injury. Having a trainer who does not indulge every little ache and pain but still addresses real issues and injuries makes athletes stronger and teaches them when to be tough and when to seek help. It also allows athletes to trust her. Every athlete at Sheridan High School knows that Joanne will tell them the truth no matter what and that because she is straightforward in her approach, they will heal as quickly and as safely as possible. Another thing that makes Joanne a wonderful trainer is her desire to know her athletes. Sometimes injuries root deeper than just what happens on the playing field and Joanne understands this. Rather than just treating them, Joanne talks to her athletes and gets to know them, which allows her to provide the best care possible to each individual athlete. Every athlete that walks into the training room at Sheridan High School is greeted by a trainer that knows more than just their sport and injury, but also their name and who they are. In a school of over 1000 students with 16 sports, it is incredibly difficult for a single trainer to know every athlete by name, yet Joanne does.

Besides being an athlete in her care, I have also known Joanne as a student trainer. Learning to be a trainer, especially for your peers, can be a difficult task; there is a lot to learn and a lot you can get wrong. Joanne made student training one of the best activities of my high school career. She teaches without being hypercritical and allows us to learn in a way that fosters independence. Every trainer learns to tape, fill water, fix helmets, and treat athletes, among other things. Some of the jobs of a trainer are not fun, but they are necessary. Joanne made sure that every student trainer knew how to do each job without her assistance, but also made sure that no trainer was above doing any task. She was always there to answer our questions when needed, but also allowed us to work on our own so that we knew how to act if there ever was a situation where she was not available. Athletic training is a humbling career that requires service to others at all times; this is something that shines through in Joanne. She dedicates every day to her athletes, students, and student trainers and strives to help them be better people above all else. Training under Joanne has taught me many things, but above all else it has taught me how to serve others in a way that is selfless, even when it is difficult to do so; something Joanne Goss achieves every single day. She is one of the only people I have ever met that knows the true meaning of being a servant leader, and because of that, she is a phenomenal trainer, mentor, and teacher.”

Caitlin Rodgers
Volunteer Student Trainer
Track Athlete

“Behind every successful athletic program is an exceptional athletic trainer who works tirelessly to ensure that our student athletes are physically fit, recover from injuries in a safe and timely manner, and is proactive in limiting future ailments. Joanne Goss is one of the key cogs in the Sheridan High School activities department. She continually goes above and beyond in caring for those that she services. Joanne has developed tremendous relationships with her athletes, students, colleagues and all members of Sheridan High School. Joanne is often the first person our athletes see when entering a practice or competition and the last one that they see when leaving. Her work ethic is unmatched and undoubtedly her positive influence has directly affected countless students’ lives. We are very thankful to have Joanne not only for her professional abilities, but also for her friendship and caring personality. Joanne is simply put, one of the best to grace our school with her presence and we are fortunate to have her wear the Blue and Gold.”

Kasey Garnhart
SHS Activities Director

Nominated by
Jeff Mowry
from Sheridan High School
E: [email protected] | W: (307) 672-2494 | P: (307) 461-2441


January 3, 2024 at 6:41 pm
Nominee
Joel Buffum
from Eisenhower High School
E: [email protected] | W: (509) 573-2600 | C: 453-533-3857

Joel Buffum has worked in the Yakima Valley for about 11 years providing care for athletes ranging from middle school to high school to college and professional. He started working as an outreach provider working out of a PT clinic. Joel spent the early part of his career promoting the field of Athletic Training and what it can do for not only athletes but also those that are physically active. He provided sports medical coverage for various sports tournaments, 3on3 tournaments, local races and other events in our valley. Joel has spent numerous hours developing team physician agreements for our local Athletic Trainers as well as developing with the help of local sports medicine doctors, a packet for concussion return to play. Joel currently works at a local high school, teaching health and sports medicine as well as providing coverage for the athletic program which has approximately 2200 students of which there are approximately 800-1000 students that he and his co-AT provide for with medical coverage. Joel and is co-AT, Josh Holliday, were providing medical coverage (at the request of the host school) for state track meet for smaller schools and an athlete went into to a sudden cardiac arrest at the finish line of the girls 4×1 prelims. Joel and Josh worked together as a team to help save the athlete’s life. This incident helped to spread the word about how important Athletic Trainers are as first responders. Prior to his current position, Joel worked at an Orthopedic Clinic as a physician extender as well as continuing to provide outreach care to smaller school in the Valley. Joel had to work hard to prove to the surgeons the value of having athletic trainers working with/for them. It was definitely an uphill battle but Joel’s charm and determination won them over and he was able to add more ATs to the practice. During that time working with smaller schools that don’t have daily access to Athletic Trainers, he did a tremendous job in communicating with parents and coaches which has helped in promoting the scope of Athletic Training. Joel is such an asset for us to have in the Yakima Valley from helping at local community events to mentoring other athletic trainers. Because of the positive impact that he has had on the sport community, more and more people have come to have a better understanding of the role of the Athletic Trainer in Sports Medicine.

Nominated by
Jeannie Martin-Turner
from West Valley High School
E: [email protected] | W: 5099725963 | P: 5097285789


December 4, 2023 at 3:55 pm
Nominee
John
from Yacoub
E: [email protected] | W: 609-909-2666 | C: 609-513-5419

Oakcrest High School administration nominates Mr. John Yacoub for the “Most Valuable Athletic Trainer” award. Mr. Yacoub is most deserving of this honor in more ways than we can share. On a daily basis, he goes above and beyond what is expected of him in his role as Athletic Trainer. Mr. Yacoub’s greatest strength is the personal connections he forms with our athletes. He is often looked at as not only “Trainer J”, but a role model and mentor to our students, someone they feel comfortable with, and can turn to, both on and off the field. He is well known in our school, and has earned the respect of students, parents, coaches, teachers and our entire community at large. Mr. Yacoub consistently explores ways to connect his role as athletic trainer to our own biomedical program, expanding on the student opportunities to further their education in this field. He recently has signed an agreement with Thomas Jefferson, making our school a host site for athletic training graduate students to complete their observation rotations, deepening the partnership with the University. Additionally, he is working to develop a specialized pathway in our science department for students interested in an athletic training career. He has organized multiple planning meetings with school administration to set up additional partnership opportunities for students to gain the hands-on and shadow experience at local professional facilities in the field of orthopedics and sports medicine. He also has planned many opportunities for students to meet with various professionals in the field, taking it upon himself to facilitate the interactions. Mr. Yacoub plays a key role in a variety of school-wide events, making himself visible and available, familiarizing himself with students and parents in attendance. He works hand in hand with coaches, teachers and administration to create an environment where students feel safe, comfortable and motivated to participate and excel in not only athletics, but academics as well. We are so lucky to have an Athletic Trainer like John, who brings his passion for the field to all areas of the school, motivating others to follow his lead. Please consider awarding our “Trainer J” for this wonderful honor so that he can be recognized for his hard work and dedication to our students

Nominated by
David Bennett
from Oakcrest High School
E: [email protected] | W: 609-625-1462 | P: 609-839-0579


November 1, 2023 at 3:07 pm
Nominee
John Stepanich
from York High School
E: [email protected] | W: 630-617-2499 | C: 630-698-7837

Jim Stepanich is the nicest person you will ever meet. He is friendly and passionate about working with young adults. Jim works in secondary school setting at York High School. York HIgh School has 33 sports programs and Jim is almost at every home event and some away events. He has developed professional relationships with student-athletes and our coaching staff. He has earned the respect of the coaching staff that they work with and the student-athletes. Jim goes above and beyond his job description to provide support for student-athletes. Jim also serves as a mentor for our other athletic trainer that is in her first year at our school. Jim provides an unbelievable amount of care and service to our students and community. He is also balances being a parent of two students at York High School.

Nominated by
Rob Wagner
from York High School
E: [email protected] | W: 6306172437 | P: 6306172437


December 8, 2023 at 3:30 pm
Nominee
Jonathan Chang
from Beaufort High School
E: [email protected] | W: 843-322-2000 | C: 704-589-9676

Coach Chang, as we call him, has come in over the past three years and done an outstanding job of gaining the respect of the coaches, players and parents of not only our program, but the middle schools in our area, as well as the parents and athletes of some of our opponents’ schools. He has a tireless work ethic and is always willing to help out at every event we have. He also covers our area middle school events, as well. He never fails to check in on not only our athletes, but the athletes of other schools that may have suffered an injury at our home events. He will check in with the parents and athletes to see how they are doing and make sure they are following through with their protocols and getting the right treatments and care they need. He has also started a student athletic trainer program here at our school and routinely helps out in our Athletic Training classes taught at our school. He has become an integral part of our school, not just as the athletic trainer, but as a beloved part of our staff and he participates in all sorts of activities at our school, beyond his regular athletic training duties. After 42 years of teaching, coaching and being an athletic director, Jonathan is one of the best I’ve had the opportunity to work with in all my years.

Nominated by
Ron Lanham
from Beaufort High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8435069223 | P:


December 20, 2023 at 4:16 pm
Nominee
Jonelle Bein
from John I Leonard HS/Joe Dimaggio Hospital
E: [email protected] | W: 561-6411224 | C: 772-485-0868

She goes above and beyond her job here at the high school. She cares, professional and has a good rapport with the student athletes. Communicates and works with the injured athletes and their parents on a consistent basis.

Nominated by
Jonelle Bein
from John I Leonard HS/ Joe Dimaggio Hospital
E: [email protected] | W: 561-641-1224 | P: 772-485-0868


November 1, 2023 at 1:31 pm
Nominee
Jordan West
from Fountain Central/Franciscan Sports Medicine
E: [email protected] | W: 765-294-2206 | C: 217-474-3466

Jordan has been with Fountain Central off and on for years. After he “retired” he has come back for the last 2 years, as we did not have an athletic trainer under contract. He is the best athletic trainer I have dealt with in 25 years of coaching/admin. Jordan has become an integral part of our programs, and all the coaches enjoy working with him tremendously.
Jordan used his own equipment to make a short video from his drone of our football team taking the field early in the season, and provided several aerial pictures of the field that was freshly painted – it is clear that he takes pride in “being a Mustang.”
When you see Jordan at events, there are always coaches and former and current athletes stopping to say hello to him. His communication with parents is excellent and has handled the occasional disgruntled parent/fan in a calm manner. He is calm in intense situations (injuries, etc.) and helps put parents’ minds at ease when it may appear that their child is injured.
Jordan has been a huge help to me as athletic director in guiding our coaches for extreme weather, return to play protocol, wrestling weight management, and many other safety issues.
Jordan has become more than an athletic trainer at our school. He is a friend to coaches and admin. He is an advisor to coaches, admin, parents, and athletes when it comes to health and injuries. He plays such an important role for us, and even in the years that he was not working for us, he has remained my contact for all sports medicine questions.
Jordan also helps work with our “student trainers” who are managers for our teams, but who also have an interest in the athletic training field. He is a mentor to Fountain Central students.
There are few people with the level of dedication that Jordan has in my field. He is incredibly dependable as a health professional, but also a Mustang. He does far more than is asked of him and he is so good at his job that I unfortunately take it for granted and do not thank him enough. He has become a part of the Mustang Athletic Community and is respected among not only our own staff and athletes but admin and coaches of our opponents as well.
Jordan West is deserving of being considered for athletic trainer of the year.

Nominated by
Jason Good
from Fountain Central Jr/Sr High School
E: [email protected] | W: 765-294-2206 | P: 765-891-0054


December 20, 2023 at 3:52 pm
Nominee
Joshua Wall
from VCU
E: [email protected] | W: (804)828-2321 | C: (336)908-2598

Josh Wall goes above and beyond the bar set by some really good ATC’s here at VCU. He is the ATC for the highly successful men’s basketball team. What sets him apart is his relationships. His rapport with the student/athletes, coaching staff, and colleagues is absolutely second to none. His tempered aggressive approach to return to play is the best I have ever witnessed. His measured approach allows for easy dialogue between players, coaching staff, and parents. He is an integral part of the team.

Nominated by
Daniel Roose
from VCU
E: [email protected] | W: (804)517-6983 | P:


December 20, 2023 at 5:17 pm
Nominee
Karen Carey
from Coe-Brown Northwood Academy
E: [email protected] | W: 603-942-5531 | C: 603-970-0885

Karen is always monitoring our student athletes health and well being. She is a strong proponent of having our student athletes strengthen their weaknesses so to prevent injuries.
She not only teaches courses at our school but also helps tremendously with rehab after school before practices.
She attends all games and when needed she provides superior care. During the times when I have had athletes suffer significant injuries she has always been very helpful at the moment of the emergency as well as during the recover phase. She is always calm and cool in a crisis situation.

Nominated by
DAVID DAIGLE
from Coe-Brown Northwood Academy
E: [email protected] | W: 603-942-5531 | P: 603-781-2979


November 30, 2023 at 2:13 pm
Nominee
Kelsi Huseman
from Southwest Valley / Greater Regional Hospital
E: [email protected] | W: 712-435-0108 | C: 712-435-0108

Kelsi is an incredible athletic trainer who goes above and beyond. She is a shared athletic trainer between the Southwest Valley and Lenox school districts. She works hard to cover both schools. She is a great communicator and someone that not only the students but the parents trust. She works extremely with administration, our school nurse and coaches. She attends every event that she possibly can for both school districts. She is an incredible athletic trainer that I feel very blessed to be able to work with and to know that she is looking out for the students here at Southwest Valley!

Nominated by
Allen Naugle
from Southwest Valley School District
E: [email protected] | W: 641-322-4242 | P: 641-418-1983


November 30, 2023 at 2:35 pm
Nominee
Kelsi Huseman
from Lenox High School/Greater Regional Medical
E: [email protected] | W: 7124350108 | C:

Kelsi is very knowledgeable in the athletic training world. She does a great job of helping our student athletes with their injuries, rehab, nutrition, and strength training. She is always happy to answer questions and help our coaches with anything that they need. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will do research until she finds out the answers. Our students and our coaches respect her tremendously. She not only serves our school district, but another one close by. Then she takes on events outside of high school such as rodeos, club tourneys, and college games. She is very diversified in the athletic training world. This would be a great honor for Kelsi as she is very deserving of this award.

Nominated by
Mandy Stoaks
from Lenox High School – Iowa
E: [email protected] | W: 16413446041 | P:


November 29, 2023 at 1:49 am
Nominee
Kevin Briles
from Delsea Regional High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8566940100 | C:

KB is above all the rest! He takes every students’ individual goals and needs into the equation during treatment. Delsea students are SO lucky to have him on their side at all times.

Nominated by
Jackie McGrenehan Elie
from Delsea Regional High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8568336357 | P:


November 1, 2023 at 1:29 pm
Nominee
Kristen Reynolds
from Titusville High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8148272715 | C:

Kristen was our athletic trainer 15 years ago until she started a family. She substituted, on occasion, when we needed her. This past summer, our previous trainer took a position in another district. We asked Kristen to fill in until we found a replacement. Our goal was to have another trainer in place by September 1. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, that did not happen. Kristen has continued on as our trainer while raising four boys (ages 10-18) and teaching classes at our local university. Her husband is also our head football coach which added to the already chaotic schedule. Along with that, she has mentored our future athletic trainer for the past 2-1/2 months. She has created a schedule for all of our impact testing and weight management for our wrestling teams. She has communicated with our faculty, nurses, administration and coaching staff to keep them informed of injuries and return to play procedures. She has also worked with our local doctors developing a return to play protocol for concussions. The knowledge that she possesses has been instrumental in preventing injuries and allowing our athletes to return to play as quickly as possible. She quickly developed a rapport with the new coaches and athletes and parents trusted her decisions when dealing with their injuries. She went above and beyond to help our athletes, coaches and administration have athletic training services while we are in this transitional period.

Nominated by
SCOTT V SALVO
from Titusville High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8147582004 | P: 8147582004


January 11, 2024 at 3:47 pm
Nominee
Kristina Medinger
from Buford High School /MUSC
E: [email protected] | W: 803-286-7068 | C: 609-352-1938

Dr. Medinger has a terminal degree in her field of study and currently is working as an Athletic Trainer and Sports Medicine Teacher for Buford High School through MUSC Lancaster. Dr. Medinger is the only athletic trainer on staff at Buford and she goes above and beyond for her athletes. Her days are long and her to-do list is even longer. She arrives at work at 7:30 and leaves after sporting events have concluded whether it is 9 pm-11 pm or the special 5 pm (but that does not happen too often). During that time she provides treatments, schedules appointments, conducts exams, and teaches multiple classes. She makes sure to take care of every athlete on an individualistic approach, designing a custom plan for their physical, social, and mental needs. She is a constant for our athletes. They know that she will be there for them not only for help on their sports but for whatever else that may be troubling them. Dr. Medinger is known for the way she takes care of our student-athletes. Parents are constantly approaching the administration and letting them know how amazing Dr. Medinger was when dealing with her son. She treats the athletes as if they are alone and parents (and athletes) know that they can trust her with their children.

Dr. Medinger provides students who are interested in the Sports Medicine field the opportunity to gain internship experience with her as well. She adopts these students; by having them attend, rehabilitation sessions, practices, and games. This provides them with practical application skills and hands-on experience to help them gain critical thinking skills to ensure they excel in their future career paths. She encourages her students to help promote the field of athletic training to community members but showing them what they are capable of and demonstrating their skills during athletic competitions and academic competitions such as HOSA.

Dr. Medinger, does not too often take no for an answer. She is constantly trying to gain resources for her athletes and students and involving the community to help support and grow her program at Buford High School. She is also a leader amongst her peers. She does not mind pitching in and helping cover other events. She will even travel with other teams in the county to make sure her peers and their athletes can have the best support and care possible.

Dr. Medinger actively researches a variety of topics in her field and is always providing feedback to local representatives about the best concussion protocols and modernizations within the field of Athletic Training that should be implemented in Lancaster, SC. She even has been asked to provide presentations to law offices within the State Farm organization discussing the importance of medical background knowledge and SOAP notes for injury law. Dr. Medinger does not stop working. Her rapport with the athletes and coaches at Buford High School helps our athletes strive for the best; we are truly thankful for everything she does.

Nominated by
Michael Eric Funderburk
from Buford High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8032867068 | P: 803-804-1253


January 3, 2024 at 11:11 pm
Nominee
Kyle Geirnaeirt
from Washington HS / Midwest Ortho
E: [email protected] | W: 309-696-4888 | C: 309-696-4888

Kyle has been involved with our high school program for over 10 years here at Washington Community High School. Before we had him we had nothing in terms of athletic training. Our athletes were forced to go to clinics for help. Now we have Kyle in house- he is here everyday the last 2 periods of the day and for practices and games.

In his time here Kyle has worked with our booster clubs and with his connections to improve our facility. As a high school of 1500 students we have 2 designated training rooms. We have two game ready systems, two normatec systems with multiple attachments , muscle stim, and ice tubs as well as a whirlpool.

Kyle does a great job with our athletes and relationships with them and coaches. He goes above and beyond the hours and time required of his job. Kyle has worked to continue to improve out training room at our football complex and in our high school. He has built out training program up from nothing to what it is today. He will come in during his off hours to give treatment and evaluations to our athletes, many times on Saturdays ad Sundays. He also has worked hard to educate and work with our coaching staff. He keeps us all updated on player status and treatments being done. He works with our athletes to provide re-hab at school saving the athletes both time away from school and money.

Kyle also works with high school students exposing them to the field of athletic training. He has a number that will help on game day or for tournaments as helpers. They are taught basics and help with small tasks. From here a number have gone on to pursue college degree’s in athletic training, strength and conditioning and OT/PT.

We have been blessed with Kyle and all that he does for our athletes and our programs. He provides unbelievable service, training and education. He makes our athletic program a champion caliber level in many sports. He cuts down our players time out with his knowledge and care of them. We have one of the best in the state at the high school and even college level.

Nominated by
Darrell Crouch
from Washington Community High School
E: [email protected] | W: 309-826-9593 | P: 309-826-9593


November 1, 2023 at 1:50 pm
Nominee
Lauren Gramegna
from New Milford School District
E: [email protected] | W: 201-693-2139 | C: 201-693-2139

Lauren Gramegna has been with the New Milford School District for more than ten years and over that time has helped grow the athletic department. She collaborates with fellow athletic trainers and school staff as well as help build an informational website and avenue for parents and student athletes to easily navigate. Besides her normal day routine, Lauren has made sure to communicate treatments for student athletes such concussion protocol, first aid and rehab an recovery. She works well with the coaches and everyone associated with the athletic department and has a strong rapport in the community. Lauren is an integral piece in the success of the New Milford Athletic Department and is a major reason why our student athletes succeed both on and off the field.

Nominated by
Joseph Ricciardelli
from New Milford School District
E: [email protected] | W: (201) 262-0172 | P: 201-981-3024


January 3, 2024 at 6:40 pm
Nominee
Logan Post
from Beckman High School
E: [email protected] | W: 7147342900 | C: 9498879165

Logan has been our full-time Athletic Trainer for 11 years now and he is one of, if not the most important staff member we have. Given his educational background, we were able to have Logan begin teaching Sports Medicine courses on our campus, in conjunction with Irvine Valley College, five years ago. Due to Logan’s popularity and teaching, those courses are now impacted each year with disappointed kids unable to get into his class. He has inspired hundreds of our students, not just athletes, to pursue medicine and the Athletic Training field. And that’s just before lunchtime each day.
As for his ATC duties, our athletes are trusting of Logan’s judgments on injuries along with his treatment options. Neither athletes nor parents question his decisions even if it means they don’t return to play in a contest. Besides his knowledge, he also communicates things well and clearly to both athletes and parents.
To add to his resume of treating and diagnosing injuries, he also was quick this past Fall to save the life of one of our Football coaches. Late in a contest, we had a coach collapse on the sideline. Logan rushed over, calmly used the AED and then performed CPR on our coach until the Paramedics arrived which took over 10 minutes. Prior to that event, I would’ve told you that Logan was supremely appreciated by our athletes and families, but that event made him a hero to us all.

Nominated by
Steve Fischel
from Beckman High School
E: [email protected] | W: 7147342900 | P: 6266749414


December 12, 2023 at 3:26 pm
Nominee
Marie Siler-Harden
from University of Missouri
E: [email protected] | W: 5738822375 | C: 3347503476

Marie is the definition of the most valuable athletic trainer. She is constantly evolving the sports medicine department at the University of Missouri. She has taken on the role of Interim Director of Olympic Sports Medicine while providing quality care for the softball team. She has also largely developed the athletic training student immersion program for athletic training students across the country to gain experience in a fast-paced collegiate environment. She puts together learning opportunities not just for those students but for the rest of the staff as well so that everyone is constantly learning. She is always trying to push everyone to be better and do better. She cares deeply for the people she works with both as athletes and co-workers/ mentees.

Nominated by
Chandler Stephens
from Sports Medicine South of Gwinnett
E: [email protected] | W: 7702373475 | P: 7703136702


November 30, 2023 at 8:05 pm
Nominee
Mario Rodriguez
from University of Central Florida
E: [email protected] | W: 7348120753 | C: 7348120753

Mario is the athletic trainer for our women’s track and field team. I work with him daily and have watched him grow and build strong relationships with each athlete and sportsmedicine team member. When he first arrived in 2020, I distinctly saw the change in the demeanor and engagement of the track/field athletes. I remember commenting to him how awesome it was to see the ladies change in such a positive way. His calm, cool and collectedness has had such a tremendous impact on the ladies and they have responded “magically”. Since he joined the team, they have won 4 consecutive indoor/outdoor conference championships. He clearly has had an impact on their performances as he is constantly engaged in best-practice principles. I have observed him put forth so much extra effort in going to continuing education classes and applying new evidence-based treatment techniques in his care of his athletes. He and I interact regularly with theory and concepts of how we can learn, grow and treat our athletes more effectively and get them to their peak performance as quickly as possible. I have worked side by side with athletic trainers for 18 years and can see he is superb in his commitment to excellence and providing the best up-to-date care to his athletes. He truly deserves this recognition!

Nominated by
Sheila Klausner
from University of Central Florida
E: [email protected] | W: 4078230377 | P: 4075875552


November 30, 2023 at 2:21 pm
Nominee
Mary Beth
from Schram
E: [email protected] | W: 315-781-3570 | C: 315-5738783

Mary Beth has been an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Hobart And William Smith Colleges for the better part of 6 years getting promoted to Associate Head Athletic Trainer in 2021. When you talk about someone who cares about everyone, she has been asked to work a majority of our 30 sports at some point in her tenure here at HWS. Working everything from Men and Womens Hockey, to Men’s Soccer, Squash, Football, Baseball and most things in between she has served as a great athletic trainer to over thousands of athletes during her tenure here, she has also recently taken on role of mentor as she helps our Director of Sports Medicine coach up young athletic trainers as our staff has grown.

Nominated by
Chris Gray
from Hobart and William Smith Colleges
E: [email protected] | W: 518-701-6448 | P: 518-701-6448


November 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm
Nominee
Mary Della Volpe
from Enfield HIgh School
E: [email protected] | W: 8605730565 | C: 8605730565

Mary is an athletic trainer who is constantly going above and beyond her normal work duties to provide the best care for her athletes. As her Athletic Director, I have seen Mary grow within her career as she recently was promoted to the role of “Supervisor of Athletic Training Services.” Mary is the first one to show up for practices or games and always the last to leave. She makes sure that every athlete is taken care of before signing off for the day. But even when she is at home or in the clinic doing her other duties she is always a resource. I know that at any time when I call Mary she will answer with an energetic “hello” and eager to help in any way she can. Mary has recently become a preceptor for prospective athletic training students. She teaches our high school students more about the profession and also has become a clinical rotation site for Springfield College’s Masters of Athletic Training program. Mary is a one of kind person. She cares for each individual athlete and not only sees them as what their injury is but who they are as a person and I am thankful she is a part of the Enfield High School Athletics Department!

Nominated by
Cory O Connell
from Enfield High School
E: [email protected] | W: 203-592-1979 | P:


November 14, 2023 at 10:13 pm
Nominee
Mat Lyden
from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
E: [email protected] | W: 864-560-5104 | C:

Mat has bee with the healthcare system for 17-18 years as the Athletic Training Manager. In his time as the AT Manager the the program has more than tripled the number of athletic trainers employed, tripled the number of schools covered, has added sports performance, and has developed into the Sports Medicine Institute. Mat has been at the forefront of developing the Sports Medicine Institute in Spartanburg to make sure this community has appropriate Medical coverage for sports. Mat is an advocate for his staff in making sure they have quality of life as well as fair pay. During COVID Mat fought to keep his Athletic Trainers in roles that allowed them to continue to work and severe the community during the pandemic. Mat is involved with many different organizations committees and boards that have improved the city of Spartanburg to make it one of the top places to live in South Carolina. Mat serves as the District 3 Treasurer and serves on the Third Party Reimbursement Committee for the South Carolina Athletic Trainers Association. Mat is an excellent nominee for this award and his entire staff would not be here if it wasn’t for him.

Nominated by
William Christman
from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System/ Wofford College
E: [email protected] | W: 864-597-4114 | P: 864-809-8832


December 20, 2023 at 12:52 am
Nominee
Megan McKenna
from Osceola High School
E: [email protected] | W: 4077916984 | C: 4077916984

Megan is the quantity ATC. Selfless, hard working, and caring. She continues to set the bar high for ATCs by constantly finding ways to engage her students and student athletes by challenging them to be the best version of themselves. She makes me want to be a better human and always elevates those around her.

Nominated by
Samantha Bachman
from Cora physical therapy
E: [email protected] | W: 2393405338 | P: 2393405338


November 13, 2023 at 3:18 pm
Nominee
Michael Bannon
from Hazleton Area
E: [email protected] | W: 570-459-3221 | C: 267-614-2903

Mike is a tireless worker responsible for over 55 individual teams from Senior high through Jr. High in one of the100 largest high schools in the United States. He oversees a 4 person training staff and additionally mentors college-student intern trainers. He is a true professional who has earned the respect of athletes, coaches, administration and parents.

Nominated by
Fred Barletta
from Hazleton Area
E: [email protected] | W: 570-459-3221 | P: 570-401-5313


October 27, 2023 at 2:08 pm
Nominee
Michael Giordano, Jr.
from Thornton Academy
E: [email protected] | W: 2076024406 | C: 2074505850

It is my great pleasure to write on behalf of Michael (Tony) Giordano, Jr., L-ATC, a candidate for the prestigious Most Valuable Trainer Award. A graduate of South Portland (Maine) High School and the University of Southern Maine, Tony has served for the past twelve years as head athletic trainer at our school. In that capacity, he has assumed a leadership role in sports medicine in the southern Maine region, and his work has benefited scores of young athletes who have performed on the courts and playing fields of this school.

In his work at Thornton Academy, Tony Giordano has a proven record of excellence and dedication to his profession. His greatest asset is his ability to work with young people. He is committed to the safety and well-being of all youngsters involved in the interscholastic athletic program and uses both preventative as well as rehabilitative approaches to that end. A student of his craft, he keeps abreast of the latest methodologies and utilizes a progressive approach in his athletic training practice. He has excellent knowledge of his chosen expertise and demonstrates competence and confidence as he diagnoses injuries and prescribes remedial measures. At all times he employs a highly professional yet friendly approach that is reassuring to students and their parents and inspires their confidence in him.

An excellent communicator, Tony excels at both oral and written expression. He interacts with student-athletes, parents, and coaches in a professional manner and has an open door policy for all. He articulates his ideas clearly and concisely that meets the needs of his audience. His ability to write has made a lasting impact on the Thornton Academy athletic landscape. In particular, he has contributed to the sports medicine program at Thornton Academy by editing a comprehensive athletic training handbook that he makes available to all coaches. In addition, he has worked with the athletic administrator to develop site-specific emergency protocols for all of the school’s facilities. These works are positive exemplars for other athletic trainers to emulate and will form a lasting legacy established by Tony for the school.

Tony’s commitment to the future of his profession is clearly demonstrated by his work with the University of New England’s and University of Southern Maine’s Sports Medicine Programs. Each semester Tony works closely with student athletic trainers from those programs. He oversees their work and provides direct instruction and feedback on a number of areas, including delivery of service, observing all HIPPA and FERPA regulations, and meeting professional standards. In his work in this area, he has served as a positive mentor for young people aspiring to the profession and enhanced the breadth and depth of the athletic training services that Thornton Academy has been able to offer to our own students and those of other schools in the region.

Tony Giordano is a significant contributor to the athletic department at Thornton Academy and to the athletic training profession as a whole in the southern Maine region. The experiences of the student-athletes and coaches has been enriched by his presence and his work at our school. A former student-athlete himself, he clearly understands the importance of athletics to student life in the school and always puts the athlete’s best interests in mind. At all times, he is cognizant of the importance of safety and precaution and lives the mantra that the health and well-being of the youngster is the most important factor in making decisions about his or her ability to participate. He is a trusted friend and colleague who plays a significant role in the lives of the people whom he serves.

I can think of no candidate more deserving for consideration of the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award than Tony Giordano. I encourage your consideration of his qualifications. If I can be of further assistance to you, please feel free to contact me at (207)-671-4578.

Gary Stevens, Athletic Administrator – Thornton Academy

Nominated by
Gary Stevens
from Thornton Academy
E: [email protected] | W: 2076024406 | P: 2076714578


November 30, 2023 at 2:28 pm
Nominee
Michael Witmer
from Dayton children’s hospital and Stealth Hockey
E: [email protected] | W: 9376418010 | C:

Mike exemplifies the true caring nature of an athletic trainer and healthcare provider. He shows what real passion is for the job. He goes above and beyond for his athletes. Mike is well deserving of this award.

Nominated by
Zachary Fienhold
from Dayton children’s hospital
E: [email protected] | W: 9376418010 | P:


November 1, 2023 at 2:31 pm
Nominee
Missy Portela
from Sandra Day O’Connor High
E: [email protected] | W: 623-445-7389 | C: 602-315-5321

Missy Portela is one of Athletic Trainers at O’Connor High School. She has taken the lead role in our AT department. She plays a vital role in our athletic department and in our Career and Technology Education department.
Missy attends our monthly Athletic department coaches meetings. Within those meetings, she keeps our AD and coaches update on processes and procedures relevant to the treatment of student athletes. Missy also connects with in-season coaches through email and face to face conversations.
Missy teaches our Sports Medicine curriculum as well as our NSAM class. In both of those classes she has her students active in the training lab teaching, demonstrating and having students practicing their skills related to athletic training/sports medicine. As well as, her NSAM students in the weight room to put to use their class learning. Students in these classes often want to volunteer hours in the Training room after school and at athletic competitions.
Missy also is a preceptor to GCU Athletic Training students. She takes on 2-3 of the clinical students each semester and provides the opportunities to use their skills and work on the proficiencies. She creates an environment for those students to be successful and debriefs with them after patient care opportunities. Missy instills confidence in her students and interns by the way she gives them instruction and feedback specific to what they are doing.
Speaking specifically for my team, Missy has used her personal time to travel with us to a three day softball tournament. She has shown up early, 6:00 am, to make sure that my athletes get what they need prior to leaving for a game or tournament. Along those lines, she is present in supporting our athletes at state tournament games and championships. Missy also has taken on designing and facilitating mobility workout for injury prevention, strength workouts for performance and recovery workout for our female athletes in Power Training classes. Missy definitely goes above and beyond her duties in the classroom and training room.
When it comes to community service, toy drives, can food drives, Childhood cancer awareness and diabetes awareness campaigns are a part of her culture in her program. She rallies her students to get behind and support these campaigns. Missy also reaches out to our community through her communication with parents of student athletes, connecting them with our team doctors, or The Core medical facility for physicals and treatment beyond the training room.
Missy is an excellent representation of Athletic Trainers.

Nominated by
Melissa Hobson
from Sandra Day O’Connor
E: [email protected] | W: 623-445-7142 | P: 623-210-8141


October 27, 2023 at 1:31 pm
Nominee
Monica Borchers
from Coal City High School/Morris Hospital
E: [email protected] | W: 815-634-2396 | C: 708-738-6736

Monica goes above and beyond as or AT…She builds relationships with our athletes and their families. Monica is very dependable and professional in her duties at the AT at Coal City High School covering our athletic program in a school of approximately 620 students.

Nominated by
Dan Hutchings
from Coal City High School
E: [email protected] | W: 815-634-2396 x1713 | P: 815-651-1608


November 22, 2023 at 3:03 pm
Nominee
Natalie
from Flores
E: [email protected] | W: 9499007880 | C: 8186062925

Natalie has shown tireless resolve and a selfless spirit in providing care and preventive services for workers in the manufacturing environment. In the last year she has seen 60 different workers for a variety of conditions, providing care for them in the work environment while also attempting to drive positive change in the work environment. She works closely with the site’s safety and engineering groups to improve the work environment. Natalie also provides general health-promotion services, driving lifestyle behavior change behavior with workers.

Nominated by
Chris D Studebaker
from Concentra Medical Centers
E: [email protected] | W: 8435769501 | P: 8435769501


November 7, 2023 at 8:57 pm
Nominee
Nicole Lee
from Lincoln East
E: [email protected] | W: 402-436-1313 | C: 402-745-0144

Nicole had to step into a huge role this fall. Our head trainer was sick and had surgery and was out all Fall. Thus, Nicole had to assume the role of head athletic trainer and serve five major sports and rehab all injuries , as well as covering all home sporting events for all levels of play. 14 different levels needed her attention.
She went above and beyond to meet the needs our our student/athletes. She was here early and left late everyday to meet the needs of our kids. Nicole also has two young children, one being only a few months old. She spent many hours at school covering events getting home late on many days. She worked to get athletes back as soon as it was possible following rehab. This also to many hours of her time to meet all the needs of the athletes in all sports. There were many days she did not get home until after midnight. Nicole never complained or asked for any other help. She is well deserving of any award she may receive.

Nominated by
john gingery
from Lincoln East High School
E: [email protected] | W: 402-436-1313 | P: 402-570-5517


December 20, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Nominee
Noah Webster
from Caesar Rodney High School/Premier Physical Therapy
E: [email protected] | W: 302-697-2161 | C: 302-258-7207

To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to formally nominate our Athletic Trainer, Mr. Noah Webster, for the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, DE. In just his 2nd year as our Athletic Trainer he has provided countless hours of service to our coaches and student-athletes. In a school with a population of 2,200 students and nearly 750 student-athletes he has made it a priority to put the health and safety of our student-athletes first.
During his tenure Mr. Webster has made it a goal to HitCheck all of our student-athletes by utilizing, with collaboration with our coaches, to make this a top priority. Mr. Webster approaches each day with a “team first” mentality by which he visits with the nurses as well as stops in my office to stay up to date on any medical concerns that were reported during the school day. Mr. Webster’s approach to our student-athletes well-being is evident in his ability to refer, if needed, to First State Orthopedics within 24 hours after the injury. This saves the families of having to “doctor shop” or search for the correct line of care.
In a school with a very large population, it can become overwhelming, but Mr. Webster handles this in a professional manner with his commitment to our school as well as his organization and injury management tracking skills.
Mr. Webster is an employee with Premier Physical Therapy for which during the summer months he works at the clinic providing athletic training services as well as attending professional development workshops. Mr. Webster has worked at many youth wrestling tournaments and other events not affiliated with our school to provide athletic training services back to their community.
Mr. Webster has a great working relationship with our administrative staff, parents, and the entire Caesar Rodney High School athletic department. I can truly say that the health, safety, and well-being are one of our top priorities and believe whole-heartedly that Mr. Webster exemplifies our goals and priorities. Finally, all our varsity and sub-varsity teams and coaches fully endorse Mr. Webster and believe that he would make an excellent recipient of the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award.
If you have any questions or would like additional information on Mr. Noah Webster, feel free to contact me anytime.

Sincerely,
Bob Beron

Nominated by
Bob Beron
from Caesar Rodney High School
E: [email protected] | W: 3026974417 | P: 3026321511


November 11, 2023 at 1:49 pm
Nominee
Rawely Klingsmith
from University of Colorado
E: [email protected] | W: 3034923523 | C:

He goes above and beyond what is needed and treats the players like pros in teaching habits and discipline. Rawely never complains, gets the job done, and never wants credit. Team player and one of the smartest ATs I have ever worked with!

Nominated by
Stephen Englehart
from University of Colorado
E: [email protected] | W: 8085576815 | P:


December 20, 2023 at 3:05 pm
Nominee
Robert Dill
from Platteview High School
E: [email protected] | W: 402-339-3606 | C: 402-689-9049

Robert goes above and beyond to serve our entire school community to ensure that all students, athletes and staff are healthy. Robert frequently helps out staff members who may be working through various injuries or ailments to help improve their overall quality of life.

Robert is the supportive sounding board that our athletes need in times where they are feeling stresses or overwhelmed. Robert is the caring individual our student-athletes need while also being the honest adult to call things like they are when our athletes need to hear the hard truth.

Robert oversees our Student Athletic Training internship program and coordinates over 10 students who help assist him in covering events while mentoring those who are interested in entering the field of Athletic Training.

Nominated by
Nick Crouse
from Platteview High School
E: [email protected] | W: 4023393606 | P: 4022788325


November 2, 2023 at 5:07 pm
Nominee
Robert O Quinn
from Windermere Prep School
E: [email protected] | W: 3166553716 | C: 3166553716

It’s been a blessing to be able to lean on Rob’s guidance and knowledge to provide the best possible athletic training for our students and athletes. His work has been instrumental in the successes of our teams and also with our overall school community and culture. He spends countless hours for us working to make sure our athletes are as healthy as possible and ready to perform their best. Rob attends almost all games, where he makes sure our athletes are prepared and assists them with post game recovery.

One of the many great qualities about Rob is his ability to make an immediate connection with any young person, teacher or coach he comes in contact with.

Nominated by
MICAH KURTZ
from Windermere Prep School
E: [email protected] | W: 4104198330 | P:


November 2, 2023 at 5:09 pm
Nominee
Robert O Quinn
from Windermere Prep School
E: [email protected] | W: 3166553716 | C: 3166553716

It’s been a blessing to be able to lean on Rob’s guidance and knowledge to provide the best possible athletic training for our students and athletes. His work has been instrumental in the successes of our teams and also with our overall school community and culture. He spends countless hours for us working to make sure our athletes are as healthy as possible and ready to perform their best. Rob attends almost all games, where he makes sure our athletes are prepared and assists them with post game recovery.

One of the many great qualities about Rob is his ability to make an immediate connection with any young person, teacher or coach he comes in contact with.

Nominated by
MICAH KURTZ
from Windermere Prep School
E: [email protected] | W: 4104198330 | P:


January 3, 2024 at 2:17 pm
Nominee
Robert Waller
from University of New Mexico
E: [email protected] | W: 5059255545 | C: 3077602821

Bob demonstrates the true character of a team player, helping all departments not only sports medicine. He helps with operations, game management, nutrition, mental health just to name a few.

Nominated by
Ryan Berryman
from University of New Mexico
E: [email protected] | W: 5059255554 | P: 5052690345


January 3, 2024 at 2:18 pm
Nominee
Robert Waller
from University of New Mexico
E: [email protected] | W: 5059255545 | C: 3077602821

Bob demonstrates the true character of a team player, helping all departments not only sports medicine. He helps with operations, game management, nutrition, mental health just to name a few.

Nominated by
Ryan Berryman
from University of New Mexico
E: [email protected] | W: 5059255554 | P: 5052690345


November 23, 2023 at 4:19 am
Nominee
Samantha Markland
from Appoquinimink HS/Premier PTSP
E: [email protected] | W: 2038167149 | C:

In 15 years working side by side with various athletic training room staff from multiple companies, Ms. Samantha Markland is by far the most motivated and dedicated healthcare professional I have been around. She is more than willing, most of the time before she is asked, to go above and beyond her normal scope of care to provide both the very best medical attention and experience for every student-athlete she is around. Samantha has taken the initiative to complete projects that were unfinished when she came on board in August, and has creatively sponsored multiple new projects that are going to make our athletic training facilities even better than they are currently. Samantha immediately revamped our Emergency Action Plans, daily medical protocols, and improved staff communication her first week on the job. She has expanded our concussion baseline protocols to ALL sports at Appoquinimink HS as well as personally communicated with EVERY Head Coach and their staff in season and out of season to get a head for the current seasons and seasons to come. Not only is she the best example of a consumate professional on the job, but also puts in just as much work out of the office when it comes to her professional development. Last Summer, she spent time with the Houston Texans to learn what it takes as a clinician at the highest level of play for her own personal development. Ms. Markland brings that go – getter attitude to school every day/night, even if she spent 12 hours with our student-athletes the previous day.

It is my pleasure to nominate Ms. Samantha Markland, ATC – Appoquinimink High School/ Premier PTSP for praise and awards in relation to high school athletic trainers who go above and beyond their duties as medical staff.

Nominated by
Chris Muscara
from Appoquinimink High School
E: [email protected] | W: 3026021058 | P: 3026021058


January 10, 2024 at 1:43 pm
Nominee
Samantha Nance
from Wade Hampton High School/Prisma Health
E: [email protected] | W: (864) 608-9961 | C: (864) 275-8951

Samantha has earned the respect of the entire school staff at Wade Hampton, including the coaches. Being the only Certified Athletic Trainer at a school of over 1800 students, including over 500 athletes is a huge responsibility. She is knowledgeable, competent, confident, and builds relationships with athletes and staff build on trust. Athletes and their parents know that she has their best interest at heart and will protect them at all times, while also understanding that she desires each of them to be healthy and able to participate in the activities of their choice. The respect is evident by the number of athletes who come by the athletic training room simply to speak to her. She greets them all with smiles and is genuinely interested in the whole student-athlete. Parents have often complimented her for keeping them informed during treatment, rehab, doctor’s visits and the rare instances where athletes have to be transported or emergency care is needed. In this way, Samantha has always gone above and beyond the job description. She has accompanied athletes to doctor’s visits and even shown up to help comfort and care for families when athletes have been hospitalized. Samantha has attended non-sporting school events to support students in drama productions, musical events, etc. She has even attended away events to support students after completing requirements on our campus. On days off, she often has shown up to just to check in, do some treatments with athletes and assist substitute athletic trainers in setting up for events.

Samantha is currently mentoring a former student from a previous place of employment, who desires to enter the athletic training field. Samantha involves the mentee in the day-to-day decisions and operations of being an athletic trainer. Beyond providing the mentee with hands-on experience, Samantha includes the student in planning, scheduling, ordering supplies and traveling to varsity football games on Friday nights.

Samantha has recently accepted a supervisor role within the network of athletic trainers in our district. In addition to her responsibilities at our school, she now supports several other athletic trainers, and is their first point of contact. While many would shy away from adding another responsibility, Samantha willingly accepted the position in the effort to help keep advancing the profession, advocating for athletic trainers in schools and showing how important these positions are to extra-curricular activities in schools. Prior to coming to Wade Hampton, Samantha was also teaching Health Science classes in addition to her after school responsibilities with high school sports.

Samantha is active in the community through volunteer and service oriented projects at a local university and other projects within our community. She often volunteers to provide coverage at weekend tournaments or other community events, such as local races.

Her passion for the profession and desire to help athletes enjoy the activities of their choice shows in every decision and actions she makes on a daily basis. As mentioned above, previously teaching sports medicine classes and then working until the last team or athlete is finished each night demonstrates her love for the profession, student-athletes and coaches. Thanks for considering Samantha Nance for this award.

Nominated by
Reggie Choplin
from Wade Hampton High School
E: [email protected] | W: (864)355-0125 | P: (864) 304-6152


November 8, 2023 at 2:54 am
Nominee
Sara Smith
from Muskego High School/Ascension Sports Medicine
E: [email protected] | W: 414-416-8719 | C:

In her 12th year in the profession and 6th year as head athletic trainer for Muskego High School, Sara provides outstanding care for her community. She puts in countless hours and sacrifices weekends and holidays to get student-athletes healthy and competing at 100% of their ability. Whether it is an acute injury or something more chronic, she epitomizes the “turning setbacks into comebacks” mantra. This is just one part of her positive mindset she has ingrained into the culture at Muskego.

This past fall season, a vacancy has left Sara as the only athletic trainer on premises for a school of 1,600+ students, taking care of every fall sport. She is single-handedly providing excellent care for all athletes, only scheduling help when she literally cannot be present for two sporting events at once. This is another one of her roles. She is responsible for scheduling athletic trainers from Ascension Sports Medicine to specific events at nearby schools in need, all to ensure that every program has the presence they need to compete safely. She has done this all while preparing for her first child due in January of 2024!

Sarah also serves as a mentor to those entering the profession. Within the past few years, she has allowed Carroll University students to shadow and work alongside her. She prides herself in raising the bar for athletic trainers entering their careers. Sara connects with trainers from other schools too, offering insight and trading advice on best practices to go above and beyond her role. She combines a serious interest and intensity while having the ability to enjoy and love what she does.

Lastly, Sara works diligently to build relationships within the school and larger community. She navigates family relationship constructs professionally and ensures that her communication is top-notch when it comes to injury prevention, injuries, treatment, and rehabilitation. She is passionate about building connections with the younger community as well, getting her start in Muskego by bringing Ascension Sports Medicine to the youth football program. Sara’s efforts at Muskego are irreplaceable, and every coach, player, and parent cannot express their gratitude enough for her.

Nominated by
Matthew Edwards
from Muskego High School
E: [email protected] | W: (262) 971-1790 | P: (763) 248-8884


November 9, 2023 at 12:50 am
Nominee
Sara Smith
from Muskego High School/Ascension Sports Medicine
E: [email protected] | W: 414-416-8719 | C:

In her 12th year in the profession and 6th year as head athletic trainer for Muskego High School, Sara provides outstanding care for her community. She puts in countless hours and sacrifices weekends and holidays to get student-athletes healthy and competing at 100% of their ability. Whether it is an acute injury or something more chronic, she epitomizes the “turning setbacks into comebacks” mantra. This is just one part of her positive mindset she has ingrained into the culture at Muskego.

This past fall season, a vacancy has left Sara as the only athletic trainer on premises for a school of 1,600+ students, taking care of every fall sport. She is single-handedly providing excellent care for all athletes, only scheduling help when she literally cannot be present for two sporting events at once. This is another one of her roles. She is responsible for scheduling athletic trainers from Ascension Sports Medicine to specific events at nearby schools in need, all to ensure that every program has the presence they need to compete safely. She has done this all while preparing for her first child due in January of 2024!

Sarah also serves as a mentor to those entering the profession. Within the past few years, she has allowed Carroll University students to shadow and work alongside her. She prides herself in raising the bar for athletic trainers entering their careers. Sara connects with trainers from other schools too, offering insight and trading advice on best practices to go above and beyond her role. She combines a serious interest and intensity while having the ability to enjoy and love what she does.

Lastly, Sara works diligently to build relationships within the school and larger community. She navigates family relationship constructs professionally and ensures that her communication is top-notch when it comes to injury prevention, injuries, treatment, and rehabilitation. She is passionate about building connections with the younger community as well, getting her start in Muskego by bringing Ascension Sports Medicine to the youth football program. Sara’s efforts at Muskego are irreplaceable, and every coach, player, and parent cannot express their gratitude enough for her.

Nominated by
Matthew Edwards
from Muskego High School
E: [email protected] | W: (262) 971-1790 | P: (763) 248-8884


November 30, 2023 at 2:34 pm
Nominee
Sarah Turner
from Fairfield Community HS/Wabash Orthopedic and Sports Medicine
E: [email protected] | W: 618-847-9446 | C: 618-967-5721

Trainer Sarah puts our athlete’s physical and mental health at the top of her priority list. She is our trainer, but she is also the director of the athletic training department at Wabash Orthopedic Hospital. Sarah leads a large staff of trainers that cover area rural high schools and junior colleges. There is no time in which Sarah is off duty. She fields calls and sees students at all hours of the day. It is nothing for an athlete to be injured on a weekend at a club sports event or just random goofball kid activities, and Sarah will be the first person they call. It is not uncommon for parents to take athletes by her and her husband’s home on a weekend for a quick evaluation. From health care to leading team warmups to programming specific strength training for our female athletes, Sarah does it all. She is our rock star, trainer, friend, and a part of our community we could not do without.

Nominated by
Robert Wells
from Fairfield HS/Illinois
E: [email protected] | W: 6188479403 | P: 6185992104


January 12, 2024 at 3:51 pm
Nominee
Sean Boland
from Mary Persons High School
E: [email protected] | W: 478-9942812 | C:

I am writing to nominate Sean Boland for the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions as an athletic trainer. Sean has consistently demonstrated exceptional dedication, expertise, and commitment to the well-being of athletes under his care.
He has been an integral part of our athletic program. His tireless efforts and unwavering support have significantly contributed to the success of our athletes both on and off the field. Sean consistently goes above and beyond his duties to ensure the health and safety of our athletes, providing them with the best possible care and guidance. One of the key qualities that sets him apart is his ability to establish strong relationships with athletes, coaches, and parents. Sean has a remarkable ability to connect with individuals and create a supportive and trusting environment. This not only enhances the overall experience for our athletes but also fosters a sense of unity and teamwork within our program. Sean possesses a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field of athletic training. He stays up-to-date with the latest research and advancements in sports medicine, constantly seeking opportunities to expand his knowledge and skills. His dedication to professional growth has allowed him to provide evidence-based and innovative care to our athletes. Furthermore, Sean has played a crucial role in injury prevention and rehabilitation. He has implemented comprehensive injury prevention programs and has been instrumental in helping athletes recover from injuries and return to their respective sports. His expertise and guidance has significantly reduced the risk of injuries and improved the overall performance of our athletes. Sean has also partnered with local colleges and universities to allow future athletic trainers to intern as part of his program. This has increased the availability of qualified trainers at our rehabs, practices, and games. He has been instrumental in our partnership with Piedmont Orthopedics/Ortho Atlanta, which provides extra care for our athletes. I firmly believe that Sean is highly deserving of the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award. His unwavering commitment, exceptional skills, and genuine care for the well-being of our athletes make him an outstanding candidate. I recommend Sean Boland for this prestigious recognition.

Nominated by
Brian Nelson
from Mary Persons High School
E: [email protected] | W: 478-994-2812 | P:


January 8, 2024 at 6:13 pm
Nominee
Sely Patrizio
from Oklahoma State University
E: [email protected] | W: (405) 744-3564 | C:

Sely is the fittest individual for this award by anyone I could ever imagine. She is dedicated to her craft and puts the players first.

She truly cares about the individuals and the team to such a high degree.
Her passion and relentless tenacity trumps any other AT in the country.

Should I ever have the pleasure of working with her again, I would never have to worry about a player being ready too soon or taking too long.

She is tough on the players to get them back out on the field but she shows genuine care to each player who comes across her table.

Even as a co-worker, she took care of me when I had some minor bumps and bruises from my training.

She’s a no-BS woman and will make a PHENOMENAL Head AT in the future.

I will nominate Sely every single year in a heartbeat.

Nominated by
Aaron Dugger
from In Extremis Performance
E: [email protected] | W: 9728320380 | P:


January 3, 2024 at 2:48 pm
Nominee
Stacy
from Garceau
E: [email protected] | W: 8606478627 | C:

Stacy is an unbelievable person first and foremost. She has been at East Catholic for 10 years now and does an incredible job with our Eagles. She doesn’t just rehab and “fix” our student-athletes, but educates them on preventative maintenance, healthy eating and hydration, and overall well-being. She even must put on her “sport psychologist” hat to address student concerns and get them to participate at their maximum level. We appreciate all she does, while being a mom of 2 young girls, Ally & Emma. We can’t thank her enough for the long hours, phone calls, texts, and overall care for our athletic department. She definitely deserves this award!

Nominated by
Jon Dahlquist
from East Catholic High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8606478627 | P: 4433886735


November 30, 2023 at 2:55 pm
Nominee
Stephanie Davey
from James Island Charter High School
E: [email protected] | W: 8432889644 | C: 843 693 5005

Dear Athletic Trainer Award Committee,

Ms. Stephanie Davey has been the Athletic Trainer at James Island Charter High School for 11 years. I have been the Athletic Director for 7 of those years and a baseball coach, basketball coach, and football coach for 4 of those years. From the first day I met her she has been the most professional high school Athletic Trainer I have ever had the privilege of working with.
In these 11 years of working with Ms. Davey, you can’t find one person who speaks negatively of her. Her interaction with our community has always been a positive one and this is seen in the number of our past athletes that pass by coaches just to say hey to Ms. Davey first. As the Athletic Director I have received zero, yes I said zero, negative phone calls about Ms. Davey.
When our teams are in the playoffs and many times in the regular season Ms. Davey goes to the away games (not a requirement). Every year she will plan for our coaches and our players to get CPR trained (my job but she does it without me asking) Ms. Davey also makes all teams participate in controlled emergencies so that they practice what to do in an emergency.

In the past 5 years, she has developed a student program that has flourished. When you come to one of our games now you will always see students, in our athletic training classes, who are learning on the field under her watchful eye. The department has grown into 3 full classes during the day and multiple students who have now gone on to college with a desire to be athletic trainers. (She is not a teacher at the school)

Lastly, Ms. Davey has been instrumental in getting athletes with lower-income families to get physical for free and cheap by working with the medical facilities in the area. When the school has big sporting events at the school Ms. Davey will give of her time, at no cost, to be a trainer for the events to help the association make more money to better support our community and athletes. You won’t find many athletic trainers that better exemplify the characteristics you have chosen to be the criteria for this award not only in high school but also at the collegiate level.

Nominated by
Jeremy Holland
from James Island Charter High school
E: [email protected] | W: 843-288-9644 | P: 843-288-9644


December 15, 2023 at 4:12 pm
Nominee
Stephen Tozer
from Syosset High School
E: [email protected] | W: 516-364-5749 | C: 516-816-6046

Mr. Steve Tozer has served as Syosset High Schools Athletic Trainer for over 20 years, as he is one of the longest tenured AT’s in Nassau County. To the students at Syosset High School, “Tozer” as he is lovingly referred to is a fixture in our athletic department as he is beloved by his students, the parents, and coaching staff.

During his outstanding career, Steve has contributed to the health and wellbeing of our school community in so many ways. He creates and modifies emergency action plans yearly, helped develop and oversees all return to play protocols, educated athletes, coaches, and parents in order to ensure student athletes can participate in practices and competitions safely and maximize performance, developed and maintained professional relationships with medical providers of student athletes as well as the school doctor and nurses office, overseen the treatment of athletes both in-season and out-of-season, chairs our concussion management team, serves on the Section VIII (Nassau County) Athletics Safety Committee, has served as both the treasurer and chair of SEATS (Section Eight Athletic Trainer’s Society), and he has developed curriculum and introduced health electives to promote career interest related to sports medicine. He has brought his Sports Medicine classes on various field trips to local orthopedic offices, colleges, and physical therapy clinics. Under his direct supervision, his students work with St. Francis Hospital to promote and organize heart screenings for the students in our high school. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Steve oversaw all of the testing of our athletes, coaches and support staff as we returned to interscholastic athletic participation. He has also mentored numerous athletic trainers including former students who now work alongside him within our district.

Steve is also on the NYS Secondary Schools Athletic Training/Sports Medicine Council along with New York Institute of Technology’s Sports Medicine Department with their Concussion Management program. Additionally, Steve regularly attends the Eastern Athletic Trainer Annual Conference and various local sports medicine symposiums to keep current in his education and knowledge of the field.

Outside of his role as teacher/athletic trainer, Steve has instilled the importance of giving back to the community. His Sports Medicine and Kinesiology classes regularly serve at local soup kitchens and Habitat for Humanity Build projects. He does all of this while balancing his time between his wife, two daughters and career. He also volunteers at his local church weekly and manages and participates in the Northport Pipe and Band as a bagpiper.

Nominated by
Scott Stueber
from Syosset High School
E: [email protected] | W: 516-364-5749 | P: 631-219-1265


December 12, 2023 at 7:34 pm
Nominee
Steve Kinsey
from Baltimore County Public Schools
E: [email protected] | W: 443-809-2328 | C: 410-294-8451

Steve Kinsey has been a Secondary School Athletic Trainer for more than 25 years. He has served the Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) System and Hereford High School as a contracted AT for most of that time. Steve and his wife Karen owned a Physical Therapy Clinic. For many years Steve and other ATs have tried to encourage the school system to hire ATs as full-time employees, to benefit the over health of the student athletes, reduce unnecessary ER visits, reduce student absences from school and to improve recovery times after injury; and like most, he kept hitting roadblocks.

Over the last two years Steve and some of his fellow ATs have really made a push; he researched, educated and lobbied for BCPS to hire Athletic Trainers as 12-month full-time employees. Meeting with stakeholders, parents, community members, area physicians, administrators within the school system and the Board of Education and in the Spring of 2023, Steve got the school system, the Board of Education and the County Council to approve full-time Athletic Trainers. This is a tremendous accomplishment; we have 24 schools with over 12,000 student athletes (49% of high school students participate in HS athletics). BCPS also sports the largest total percentage of female participants in any interscholastic athletic program in the state.
As a county we also have an Allied Sports Program, which was introduced to address needs of our students with disabilities.

After the school system announced that they had approved this measure, Steve interviewed for the newly created position, Supervisor of Athletic Training. Steve Kinsey is currently the supervisor of 12 full-time school system Athletic Trainers and will be hiring 12 more this summer, to complete the 24-member staff.

Steve has always been an advocate of our profession, promoting student athlete health, treating athletes late after a game/practice, or coming in on a Saturday morning. He has attended government affairs meetings and legislative events. He is currently a member of the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) Sports Medicine Advisory Committee; which tries to improve the health can wellbeing of all Maryland student athletes.

He is always looking to improve his knowledge as well as the knowledge of our fellow ATs. Steve is a volunteer Fireman and EMT for Baltimore County and brings those skills to our weekly staff meetings. He is a graduate of Towson University, where he played football, he has worked as an Athletic Trainer in the college setting, professional athletics, physical therapy/physical clinic, industrial setting. He brings a wide range of knowledge and skills to his new position and his goal is to make the BCPS Athletic Training Department a model for the rest of the school systems within the State of Maryland and across the country.

Nominated by
Amy Magladry
from Eastern Technical HS
E: [email protected] | W: 443-809-0190 | P: 4107330217


November 21, 2023 at 1:10 pm
Nominee
susan medeiros
from somerset berkley regional HS
E: [email protected] | W: 5083243100 | C: 15089518560

She is at school for endless hours. Her dedication to all athletes displays her professionalism to student athletes. The bonds she creates allow for the students to display an undying trust and loyalty

Nominated by
chris santos
from SBRHS
E: [email protected] | W: 5089518560 | P:


December 12, 2023 at 2:28 pm
Nominee
Susan Stroud
from Lebanon High School
E: [email protected] | W: 765-482-4764 | C: 317-459-5954

Susan has been working at Lebanon as our Athletic Trainer for the past several years. She provides prevent-injury, rehabilitation and many other services for 22 Athletic Teams from Middle School to High School. In addition, she provides interested students with an opportunity to learn how to become an Athletic Trainer and assist her at competitions. We have recently hired a second trainer who Susan is helping to mentor. Susan works several hours a day and on the weekends making sure our students athletes and coaches medical needs are met. She takes the extra time to communicate with coaches and parents at all hours when needed. Her goal being to make sure the injured student athlete returns to play as soon as possible but in a safe manner. Finally, she represents the Witham Sports Medicine which is our partnership Lebanon has with the local hospital.

Nominated by
Phil Levine
from Lebanon High School
E: [email protected] | W: 765-482-4764 | P: 571-259-0829


January 9, 2024 at 9:09 pm
Nominee
Susan Taah
from Athletic Training Solutions
E: [email protected] | W: 5404463859 | C: 5404463859

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I submit this nomination letter on behalf of Susan Taah for the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award. Ms. Taah exemplifies unwavering dedication and outstanding contributions to the field of athletic training in the non-traditional setting.

Susan has earned the profound respect of her colleagues and the patients she cares for in the industrial sector. Patients consistently express gratitude for her earnest and compassionate care, often noting that they have never experienced such genuine support from a health care provider. She consistently goes above and beyond her job description to improve the health outcomes of industrial, blue-collar workers. For example, she introduced a groundbreaking heat acclimatization program at a tire plant which revolutionized the conditions for plant workers. Her initiatives, including partnering with a construction tool company, demonstrate a commitment to finding innovative solutions to address the unique challenges faced by workers in industrial settings.

Furthermore, Ms. Taah is an exemplary mentor to other athletic trainers, providing guidance and support for their career development. She actively seeks opportunities to mentor athletic trainers entering the industrial setting, assisting them in securing their first job or advancing to better opportunities. Susan’s leadership has led to the growth of athletic trainer teams in various settings, including expanding the number of construction athletic trainers in San Antonio, TX from 0 to 6 within a span of only 7 months.

More notably, Susan has taken significant actions to advance the athletic training profession in non-traditional settings. Her involvement in professional organizations, such as the Industrial Athletic Trainers Society (IATS), demonstrates a commitment to community service and growth within the industry. Through partnerships with industrial companies, teaching, mentoring, and various outreach efforts, Susan has contributed to the unprecedented support and development of the industrial setting.

In conclusion, Ms. Susan Taah’s exceptional contributions to the athletic training profession in the non-traditional, industrial setting aligns seamlessly with the criteria outlined for Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award. Her dedication, innovation, and commitment to mentorship have already left an lasting impact, elevating the quality of life and compensation for athletic trainers practicing the in the industrial sector. I wholeheartedly endorse Ms. Taah for this prestigious award and believe that her achievements merit significant recognition and substantial celebration.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about this nomination, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for considering this outstanding candidate.

Nominated by
Nikki Harris
from A.T. Still University
E: [email protected] | W: 2489436637 | P: 2489436637


January 13, 2024 at 4:36 am
Nominee
Susan Taah
from Turner Construction
E: [email protected] | W: 2398399678 | C:

When I first met Susan Taah, she was transitioning in the workplace and trying to advocate for a pay increase for herself. After doing some research and putting data together, she was able to achieve the adequate pay she deserved. From that moment, I knew Susan was a force to be reckoned with. Susan is an amazing and passionate person and athletic trainer. She has found her niche in the non-traditional athletic training realm. She recently finished her Master’s in Engineering while working full-time and balancing life. She goes above and beyond for her patients and she also mentors other athletic trainers whether they’re in a non-traditional setting or not. She has progressively taken on more responsibilities in the workplace as she has solidified her expertise and knowledge and built a great rapport with her patients. She has completed research in her workplace to provide data on how her patients are doing after having received healthcare from her. She has taken the time to educate her patients on proper biomechanics on the job that can also translate to their everyday lives. Susan makes it a point to get to know her patients so she can determine how to best provide healthcare for each of them. Susan has also provided data on the cost-savings for her employer having her on staff that has decreased worker’s compensation cases. Susan created the Industrial Athletic Trainers’ Society and has given industrial/nontraditional athletic trainers a safe space and platform. She has gone through the process to be able to provide CEUs to athletic trainers that focus more on the non-traditional realm due to the dearth of resources available. Even though I am not in the non-traditional setting, I thoroughly enjoy hearing Susan discuss her day-to-day life at work because she shares the stories in a way that makes you feel you were there helping. Susan has big ideas and plans for athletic training and the forward progression of our profession. Susan advocates for athletic training and athletic trainers just as much as someone with decades of experience. She encourages athletic trainers to not accept low-paying positions and to not be okay with hazardous workplace conditions. Susan inspires the rest of us with her unwavering enthusiasm to thrive in our respective workplaces and live our best lives. She also encourages her patients to do the same. Her advocacy and passion is remarkable in a time where many athletic trainers are experiencing apathy and fatigue. I cannot wait to see what’s in the athletic training future thanks to Ms. Taah!

Nominated by
Dr. Mercedes Himmons
from Southern Connecticut State University
E: [email protected] | W: 2033926008 | P: 2679946161


January 13, 2024 at 11:40 am
Nominee
Susan Taah
from Turner Construction
E: [email protected] | W: 2398399678 | C:

When I first met Susan Taah, she was transitioning in the workplace and trying to advocate for a pay increase for herself. After doing some research and putting data together, she was able to achieve the adequate pay she deserved. From that moment, I knew Susan was a force to be reckoned with. Susan is an amazing and passionate person and athletic trainer. She has found her niche in the non-traditional athletic training realm. She recently finished her Master’s in Engineering while working full-time and balancing life. She goes above and beyond for her patients and she also mentors other athletic trainers whether they’re in a non-traditional setting or not. She has progressively taken on more responsibilities in the workplace as she has solidified her expertise and knowledge and built a great rapport with her patients. She has completed research in her workplace to provide data on how her patients are doing after having received healthcare from her. She has taken the time to educate her patients on proper biomechanics on the job that can also translate to their everyday lives. Susan makes it a point to get to know her patients so she can determine how to best provide healthcare for each of them. Susan has also provided data on the cost-savings for her employer having her on staff that has decreased worker’s compensation cases. Susan created the Industrial Athletic Trainers’ Society and has given industrial/nontraditional athletic trainers a safe space and platform. She has gone through the process to be able to provide CEUs to athletic trainers that focus more on the non-traditional realm due to the dearth of resources available. Even though I am not in the non-traditional setting, I thoroughly enjoy hearing Susan discuss her day-to-day life at work because she shares the stories in a way that makes you feel you were there helping. Susan has big ideas and plans for athletic training and the forward progression of our profession. Susan advocates for athletic training and athletic trainers just as much as someone with decades of experience. She encourages athletic trainers to not accept low-paying positions and to not be okay with hazardous workplace conditions. Susan inspires the rest of us with her unwavering enthusiasm to thrive in our respective workplaces and live our best lives. She also encourages her patients to do the same. Her advocacy and passion is remarkable in a time where many athletic trainers are experiencing apathy and fatigue. I cannot wait to see what’s in the athletic training future thanks to Ms. Taah!

Nominated by
Dr. Mercedes Himmons
from Southern Connecticut State University
E: [email protected] | W: 2033926008 | P: 2679946161


November 30, 2023 at 6:05 pm
Nominee
Trevor Woods
from Yankton High School/AVERA
E: [email protected] | W: 605-661-4384 | C: 605-661-4384

Trevor Woods has worked with AVERA Health Systems and Yankton High School, as well as surrounding High Schools; Gayville-Volin, Crofton, Wagner for the past 17 years. As the head athletic trainer for AVERA Health Systems, Trevor helps the new athletic trainers as their mentor, and advisor and helps them develop as a professional. Trevor also assists with the Summer Performance Program, as a strength and performance coach as well as seeing the needs of all the athletes in the summer; working with over 12 different schools within the region; and over 800 athletes during the summer.
His dedication to the profession, his long hours, willingness to travel to other locations to assist teams and athletes have helped him become one of the best-known names in the area as a top Athletic Trainer.
I can think of NO ONE that would be more deserving of this award. He has done so much to promote the profession with his top skills, integrity and ability to work with all levels and all teams is a boost to all athletic trainers across the country.
Within the past year he has been part of a State Boys Basketball Championship team, a football team that made it to the Championship game for AA in South Dakota, a Boys State Soccer Championship team and worked with a Girls Volleyball team that made it to State this past month; ranked number 14 and beating the number 5 team to make it to State B State Championships.

Nominated by
Mark Roozen
from AVERA Sports Yankton
E: [email protected] | W: 817-219-2811 | P: 817-219-2811


January 10, 2024 at 10:50 pm
Nominee
Tyler Hamilton
from The King’s Academy
E: [email protected] | W: 5616864244 | C: 561-315-1100

In almost 30 years of education and directing athletics, I cannot find a more deserving individual then Tyler Hamilton for this award. Tyler works full time for The King’s Academy (MS and HS) and part time as an instructor at Palm Beach Atlantic University (NCAA DII). Tyler is loved, revered by his students, athletes and colleagues alike. Tyler is excellent in his diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of athletes and they flock to him for care. The coaches rely upon him and have a high regard for his assessments. Tyler mentors high school students providing instruction and experience in our Sports Medicine program along with providing field experience for college students. He is part of ATC state committees and a huge proponent of athletic training , continually developing our program and his continual education and improvement. I tell our President all the time that they can find a replacement for me, but you can’t replace Tyler Hamilton. Our parents have total trust in him and are beginning to receive donations in honor of Tyler’s work with their students. Finally, Tyler’s character is beyond reproach, wise and has no motive bit to honor the Lord and impact his students and athletes through his interaction and care.

Nominated by
Adam Winters
from The King’s Academy
E: [email protected] | W: 5616864244 | P: 561-307-2412


November 21, 2023 at 4:50 pm
Nominee
Vicki Galliher
from Meridian High School
E: [email protected] | W: 703-248-5583 | C: 571-722-6331

Vicki Galliher (Coach G) has been employed in Falls Church City Public Schools for over two decades serving the student-athletes in and out of the classroom. Her skills and expertise in the realm of Sports Medicine are second to none. Her desire and passion in the field is filled with enthusiasm. The ability to relate to the students and help guide their recovery with an individualized plan takes time and a whole lot of commitment. Coach G always puts the students best interest first when determining a plan to help get the students back in the classroom. The communication between Coach G, the student, the parents, and the faculty when it comes to concussion protocols is so thorough it allows everyone to be on the same page.

Coach G goes above and beyond with her ability to incorporate Meridian High School into the newest methods for rehabilitation. This past year she submitted for a grant and was awarded a sum of money where she has included Virtual Reality into the classroom as well as within the training room. Over the past three years while employed in FCCPS I have first hand seen her love of sports medicine and ability to nurture relationships with the students and their families. She teaches our sports medicine classes here at the high school and from that many of her students will go into a career with a head start and great foundation in the field of medicine. Coach G participates in research studies, and looks to provide statistical information to national foundations which look to help in injury prevention for future student athletes. Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention and the NFHS, Co-Sponsor is one example where she worked on providing researchers injury trends within the secondary school setting. Another collaboration came last year with Indiana State University and our sports medicine department on overuse injuries with basketball players and travel teams.

In all, Vicki Galliher deserves recognition for her dedication to enhance the health, safety, fun, and participation in interscholastic sports. It is my pleasure to recommend Coach G for the MVAT Award. Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Brian Parke

Nominated by
Brian Parke
from Meridian High School
E: [email protected] | W: 5717226332 | P: 5717226332


January 12, 2024 at 4:08 pm
Nominee
Vicki Galliher, ATC, VATL, ACSM
from Meridian High School (Falls Church, VA)
E: [email protected] | W: 703-238-5883 | C: 571-722-6331

Respected. Innovative. Mentor. Committed to the School Community.

For the last 20 years Vicki Galliher, universally known as “Coach G”, has been a central figure at George Mason/Meridian High School in Falls Church, VA. The many roles she plays means that in any given year Coach G almost certainly spends time working with virtually all of the school’s 820 students as well as many faculty and staff.

Coach G is perhaps best known as the school’s knowledgeable, innovative, and unflappable Sports Medicine Director and Athletic Trainer. Visible to the community as she provides expert on-field/court care at games and competitions for hundreds of athletes on Meridian’s 41 teams competing in 18 sports, Coach G is also a fixture working with athletes and teams on injury prevention, conditioning, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. In a metropolitan area where physical therapy services can be both difficult to book and expensive to underwrite, Coach G has been a lifesaver for hundreds of families by providing much-needed support out of the MHS athletic training office. This prompt access to high level treatment and support has allowed many Meridian athletes to speed their recovery and get safely back in the game.

When a student-athlete is injured during the course of competition (either from one of our own Meridian teams or from one of our opponents), Coach G follows-up with every family (as well as the opposing school’s athletic trainer) to check on the status of the injury. Sending emails late at night, early in the morning, and connecting with families and outside medical professionals is her standard operating procedure. As a Meridian parent noted, “Having Coach G reach out to our family, to suggest what outside doctors we should visit, and then to follow up with us throughout the recovery process was simply amazing. Her knowledge and compassion made a difficult situation so much easier. We are forever grateful to her efforts on behalf of our children, and our school.”

Coach G is also the revered creator and classroom instructor for Meridian’s well-regarded two year academic program in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training. The Sports Medicine program has experienced tremendous growth since its inception, with enrollment jumping from an initial cohort of just 6 students to nearly 50 this school year, making Sports Medicine a key component of MHS’s Career and Technical Education program. In addition to providing classroom instruction and lectures, Coach G works closely with local sports medicine professionals, broadening the students’ understanding of the field through guest lectures and discussions as well as setting up clinical internships. As noted above, Coach G’s deep network of contacts with the local sports medicine community means she is able to knowledgeably assist injured Meridian athletes and their parents in navigating the frequently confusing process of evaluation and treatment.

Coach G’s expertise has long served the broader high school (and school division) population as the school district’s Concussion Management Specialist and CPR/First Aid Training Coordinator. For both athletes and non-athletes dealing with concussion, Coach G has been broadly appreciated for the careful monitoring, support, and information she provides to students and their families as well as detailed guidance she has provided in personalized programs for return to learning and return to activities/sports. Coach G has spent considerable time educating school staff on implementing accommodations to concussed students return to learning.

Coach G has also worked with MHS Special Education instructors and support staff to help develop adaptive PE programs for special needs populations within the school.

Across these varied roles Coach G has consistently worked to find ways to incorporate new innovations and technologies in sports medicine in ways that will benefit student athletes, particularly in their recovery. In the last three years Coach G has applied for and received grant funding to bring low level laser therapy equipment and virtual reality headsets into Meridian’s training room for use in helping injured athletes with recovery plans. More recently she worked with coaches and PE instructors to receive a major grant for revamping the school’s weight room with equipment and layout that would better meet the needs of both athletes and the broader high school population (including those in adaptive PE programs) for resistance and weight training as a tool for better fitness and injury prevention/recovery. In all cases this adoption of new technology and innovative treatment efforts has the dual benefit of helping improve recovery outcomes for injured athletes and – because Coach G so actively guides her sports medicine students to participate in all facets of treatment – ensuring that students in the sports medicine program are challenged to learn at an unusually high level.

Coach G’s tremendous dedication to the overall field of sports medicine led her to coordinate Meridian HS participation as one of 250 high schools selected for the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study. This comprehensive study helps provide detailed injury data used to identify trends and information which can be used to help reduce rate of injury occurrence as well as identifying injury prevention strategies for high school athletes nationwide.

It is with great appreciation that we as administrators and officials from various school-affiliated organizations come together to support the nomination of Vicki Galliher for the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award:

Peter Laub, Associate Principal, Meridian High School
Brian Parke, Athletic Director, Meridian High School
Mary Asel, President, Falls Church Education Foundation
Paige Greiner, President, Mustang Athletic Boosters Association

Nominated by
Mary Asel
from Meridian High School/ Falls Church Education Foundation
E: [email protected] | W: 703-248-5627 | P: 703-677-6000


November 30, 2023 at 2:24 pm
Nominee
Victor Kutovy
from West Morris Mendham
E: [email protected] | W: 973-543-2501 | C: 908-337-4836

Victor has been our trainer for 22 years. He has implemented the following things for our department from scratch:
1. a procedure for emergency, with booklet, for after school athletic emergencies
2. Concussion protocols
3. rehabilitation periods for injured athletes
4. During the Covid emergency, he and I put together all athletic protocols for our school. We were one of the few schools to remain open for students in our state
5. Implemented an AED test and replacement schedule and has been integral in the purchase of more than 20 new AEDs since the implementation of Janet’s Law in NJ. These AEDs are available for our youth programs to use when on campus
6. He has interacted positively with opponents trainers to better understand injuries for our athletes as well as visiting athletes
7. has instilled a budget that is both cost effective and efficient
8. has stayed to be the trainer for invited Feeder Schools (Middle Schools) when they have played on our campus
9. participates in the yearly conference for trainers to better his efficiency
10. Is able to work with the nurses and coaches without raising his voice, even when he is being confronted
11. He has worked with parents patiently and without confrontation to get the care the athletes needs and to talk the parents and athlete out of an unnecessary rush to return.
12. He suggests to parents capable MDs, specialists, and surgeons to better the recovery process for their athletes
13. I have never heard him raise his voice.

Nominated by
Ned Panfile
from West Morris Mendham
E: [email protected] | W: 973-543-2501 | P: 908-842-6004


November 25, 2023 at 6:33 pm
Nominee
Victor Pulido, PhD, ATC
from West Los Angeles College
E: [email protected] | W: 3102874456 | C: 3106145028

Dr. Pulido has established an AS degree in Athletic Training at WLAC. Provide PTs and interns with sports medicine experience. Trains Orthopedic fellows on spineboarding and catastrophic injury management. Is a consultant to Team HEAL foundation and is a published author in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. He is also an active member of The Puente Foundation. He is also helping establish AT positions and sites at Los Angeles Unified School District.

Nominated by
Victor Pulido, PhD, ATC
from West Los Angeles College
E: [email protected] | W: 3102874456 | P: 3106145028


November 20, 2023 at 10:53 pm
Nominee
Will Ness
from Lipscomb University
E: [email protected] | W: 615-966-7042 | C:

Lipscomb University Athletics has over 265 student athletes among its 17 NCAA DI sports. As Head ATC, Will Ness has led by example for over 15 years at Lipscomb. In addition to all of his leadership and administrative duties, Will also still personally works with our men’s basketball team and golf teams. He has spent countless extra hours working with our students throughout the day, often into the evening, on weekends, holidays and in the summer, too. Will gives back to the profession by constantly advocating for his fellow trainers here and by organizing different continuing education opportunities (dry needling, ART, etc) for our staff and for other ATs in the community, too. Beyond his professionalism and expertise, Will has demonstrated a care and concern for our student athletes that is noticed and appreciated, both during their time here and upon graduation.

Current head men’s basketball coach, Lennie Acuff, the current President of the National Assoc. of Basketball Coaches and a 30+ year veteran of college coaching at four different colleges has been quoted on more than one occasion that Will Ness is the best he’s every worked with.

Perhaps most telling, though, is this. Once a student athlete leaves, they have no obligation or pressure to continue to maintain a relationship with anyone on a campus. That in mind, it is notable how many times when we have student athletes come back to visit campus – before they look for a coach, or administrator or other staff member – they actively seek out Will Ness. Such is the admiration and appreciation our students have for the care and concern he showed for them, both professionally and personally, during their time here.

Will Ness more than checks the box on every criteria mentioned here and there is not one person who knows him who would say any different here at Lipscomb University. (Philip Hutcheson, AD Lipscomb University)

Nominated by
Philip
from Hutcheson
E: [email protected] | W: 615-966-5850 | P:


December 20, 2023 at 11:17 pm
Nominee
Yvette Pomponi
from Cibola High School
E: [email protected] | W: (505) 228-9705 | C:

Even when facing grief, loss and challenges in her personal life Yvette continues to show up and give her 100% for her student athletes. As an AT for over 30 years, a preceptor for both high school and college level athletic training students she inspires and exemplifies the true meaning behind what it means to be a leader within her profession. She has been a mentor to me as a young professional and I (like many others) would not be who I am today. Yvette gives her 110% for her student athletes and her staff, even when she was faced with adversity.

Nominated by
Valerie Mishos
from St. Michaels High School
E: [email protected] | W: 5052505265 | P: