Jan 29, 2015
Through the Generations

By Jeff Stone

The October issue of T&C included an article written by veteran athletic trainer and former NATA District One Director Jeff Stone, MEd, LAT, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer at Suffolk University about working on regional and national committees. Here, he shares more of his thoughts on how both the younger and older generations are giving back to the profession together.


During my term as District One Director, my charge to the New England membership was to “cherish the past and embrace the future.” These were words that I took very seriously, and when the NATA began the Involve & Evolve initiative, it was imperative to involve the newer members of our profession, as well as our athletic training students, in hearing this same message.

Involve & Evolve is the NATA’s initiative to get young professionals more involved in the profession of athletic training. Seventy percent of the profession is made up of athletic trainers 32 years of age and younger. Involve & Evolve jump started the creation of the Young Professionals Committee and helped restructure the NATA’s volunteer processes.

As Involve & Evolve launched in 2008, some focus needed to shift to the younger generation, but it was also important for me as a District President to respect our veteran members and see to their needs. As I embraced the future, I certainly was reminded to cherish the past.

I relied a lot on the advice and counsel of the NATA Hall of Fame members in my District. They were a built-in advisory group and not afraid to give their input and offer assistance when needed. They lived the early state licensure battles, and the formations of the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association and our present state associations. It was their work that has preserved our leadership foundations for our future members.

Present members have it easy. This generation did all the hard work for us. What a great support group I had in District One: Frank George, Carl Nelson, Mike Linkovich, Fred Kelley, Carl Krein, Joe Altott, Chuck Demers, Charlie Redmond, Bill Samko, Tom Healion, Kathy Laquale, Jack Baynes, Paul Grace, as well as departed members Wes Jordan, Fritz Massman, Walter Grockowski, Bill Linskey and Koko Kassabian.

Historically, these people have a host of knowledge stored away in their cellars and attics, as well as in their minds. Archiving this history has become my hobby, as well as another opportunity for service to the profession. Cherish the past …

Embrace the future. Past District Two Director Jim Thornton spoke to the EATA Executive Board a while back about the concept of creating an EATA Student Delegation–athletic training student representatives from each state, selected by state presidents from districts one and two.

It was always my intention to have student representation on my Executive Council. After all, the issues I was voting on at the district and national levels would have the greatest impact on those student members who would become certified members within the next three years. This was a win-win situation for everyone.

The student-led consortium, advised by Mary Mundrane-Zweiacker, has met the challenge of hosting, planning, and managing the annual student program at the EATA meeting each year. What a home run!

Mirroring a model set in District Four, the EATA student delegation has flourished. Entering its fifth year of existence, the Delegation has seen record attendance at the EATA (over 400 in 2011), a highly competitive quiz bowl, and a greater level of respect between the athletic training education programs in both districts one and two.

Applications for both EATA and NATA scholarship opportunities have markedly increased, as have deserved recipients. Athletic training clubs are established through student government associations, and several states now hold day-long athletic training student symposiums.

Jeff Stone, MEd, LAT, ATC, is the Head Athletic Trainer at Suffolk University. He most recently served as NATA District One Director (from 2004 to 2010) and was inducted into the Athletic Trainers of Massachusetts Hall of Fame in January. In August, he was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Athletic Trainer of the Year. He can be reached at: [email protected].

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