Jun 28, 2018
Jim Berry, Most Valuable Athletic Trainer 2018

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Yesterday, we honored our 2018 winner: Jim Berry from Conway (S.C.) High School. Here, he reflects on what this award means to him.

Back in December, Marion Shaw, Athletic Director at Conway (S.C.) High School, asked Head Athletic Trainer Jim Berry, EdD, ATC, SCAT, NREMT, for his curriculum vitae. The unusual request piqued Berry’s curiosity.

“I asked him what he needed my vitae for, and he said he was going to nominate me for [Training & Conditioning’s] Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award,” Berry recalls. “He didn’t say too much about it after that, so I kind of just put it in the back of my mind.”

A few months later, the memory came rushing back when Berry was informed that he had won the award, which is sponsored by School Health. He was presented with a plaque commemorating the achievement on Tuesday at the NATA Clinical Symposia and AT Expo. He was also highlighted in T&C May/June.

“I was thrilled when I got the call!” Berry says. “I didn’t expect it at all, so it was a total surprise.

“A lot of people that I call friends and colleagues have won this award—Larry Cooper, Brian Robinson, and so no—so it’s really an honor to be included with that group of people,” he continues. “The feedback from the athletic training community has been great and very congratulatory.”

Berry has been recognized with numerous awards from the state, regional, and national level, but one thing that stood out about his most recent achievement is that the nomination came from Shaw, his boss. “It validates all the hard work that you do,” he says. “Athletic trainers are kind of the unsung heroes. We don’t get a lot of recognition, and we certainly don’t seek it out. So when someone other than an athletic trainer recognizes the hard work that you put in, it’s especially nice.”

He also appreciates that the award shines a spotlight on the secondary school setting—which he’s called home for nearly 30 years. “I think high school athletic training is, in a lot of ways, the last frontier in the profession,” he says. “Everyone wants to be a college athletic trainer or a professional athletic trainer, but working in the secondary school setting is extremely fulfilling. Things like this award help to encourage 1) more schools to hire athletic trainers and 2) more people coming out of athletic training education programs to consider the secondary school model.”

From all of us here at T&C, congratulations to Jim Berry on being named the 2018 Most Valuable Athletic Trainer! Click here to read his profile in our May/June issue.

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