Research Program

The NATA Foundation Research Committee is charged with reviewing grant proposals for funding and recommending to the Board of Directors candidates for Research Awards.  Part of the NATA Foundation Research Committee is the Free Communications Committee.  The mission of the Free Communications Program is to advance the discovery, dissemination, and application of scientific knowledge in athletic training domains through written and oral forum.

Free Communication program abstract submissions are now closed.  When the program is open; the deadline to submit will be November 23, 2018. Authors will be notified in March 2019.

NATA Foundation past President R.T. Floyd, EdD, ATC, CSCS commented “The support of the NATA Foundation through 266 research grants – more than $4 million – has propelled both new and experienced researchers alike to produce new knowledge that is vital to enable health care professionals to provide the best care for their patients.”  Additionally almost 5,000 presentations (oral and poster) have been provided through the Free Communications program.

Current Research Priorities

The goals of the NATA Research and Education Foundation include advancing the knowledge base of the athletic training profession and encouraging research among athletic trainers who can contribute to the athletic training knowledge base. By identifying research priorities, the NATA Research and Education Foundation hopes to promote research topics that achieve these goals and provide evidence for the effectiveness of services provided by Certified Athletic Trainers. The Priorities listed below are those that will have the highest potential impact on the profession of Athletic Training. By defining research needs in a diverse field, the NATA Research and Education Foundation expects to maximize efficient and effective use of its financial resources.

The order in which the following research priorities are listed bears no significance to their relative potential to meet the previously stated goals:

  1. The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of care provided by Athletic Trainers.
  2. Studies documenting the outcomes of techniques used by Athletic Trainers focusing on patient-oriented and quality-of-life outcomes measures.
  3. Prospective, longitudinal studies of the epidemiology of conditions typically managed by Athletic Trainers which will help establish a firm scientific foundation for care provided by Athletic Trainers.
  4. Studies examining the outcomes of various procedures and approaches used in the education of Athletic Trainers.
  5. Studies that elucidate mechanisms that have applicability to Athletic Training that could serve as a foundation for clinical practice.

The NATA Foundation is pleased to recognize our Research Grant Recipients and we thank our donors; for without your support, this program would not be a success!


2017 Grant Recipients

New Investigator Research Grant Program

Kara Radzak, PhD, ATC
“An Evaluation on the Prevalence and Effectiveness of Care Provided by Athletic Trainers in a Military Population”

General Grant Research Program

Zachary Kerr, PhD, MPH, MA
“The effect of and compliance with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Inter-Association Task Force (NATA-IATF) preseason heat acclimization guidelines in high school football”

Bonnie VanLunen, PhD, MPH, MA
“Characteristics of patient encounters and the impact of clinical experiences for professional athletic training students”


 Education Grant Program

Ashley Thrasher, EdD, ATC, CSCS
“Examining the Onboarding Process for Newly Credentialed Athletic Trainers and its Impact on Transition to Practice”

Cailee Welch-Bacon, PhD, ATC
“Employer Perceptions of the Advanced Clinical Practice Doctorate in Athletic Training”

Lindsey Eberman, PhD, ATC
“Developing, Validating, and Establishing Reliability of a Standardized Patient Evaluation Tool To Measure Competency”


 Doctoral Research Grant Program

Stephanie Clines, ATC
Examination of Athletic Director’s Perceptions of the Utilization of Athletic Training Services in the Secondary School Setting”

 Alicia Pike, MS, ATC
“Organizational Culture’s Effect on Injury Treatment Decision Making”

Caroline Lisee, ATC
“The impact of involved limb quadriceps dysfunction on single leg movement quality after ACL reconstruction”

 Jennifer Hunnicutt, MSc, ATC
“Quadriceps Muscle Size and Function Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction with Quadriceps Tendon Autografts”

 Samantha Scarneo, MS, ATC
“Emergency Action Planning Policy Adoption in Secondary School Athletics”


Masters Research Grant Program

 Shelby Conard, ATC
“The Relationship of Injury and Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Effective Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Fire Fighters”


New Investigator Grant

Lindsey Lepley, PhD., ATC, University of Connecticut awarded $22,998
“Eccentric exercise to promote immediate beneficial adaptations to muscle”


Educational Research Grants

Thomas G. Bowman, PhD, ATC, Lynchburg College awarded $11,500
“Examining transition to clinical practice from the perspective of the professional master’s student”

Sara Nottingham, EdD, ATC, Chapman University awarded $11,500
“An investigation into doctoral preparation and mentorship in the socialization of pre-tenured athletic training faculty members”

Stacy E. Walker, PhD, ATC, Ball State University awarded $11,276
“Mentoring: What are the processes in the development of mentoring relationships in the support of transition to practice?”


Doctoral Grants

Kyeongtak Song, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill awarded $2,000.00
“Influence of Visual perturbation on Static and Dynamic Postural control in chronic ankle instability patients”

Sponsored by PFATS Doctoral Research Endowment

Jennifer A Hogg, MA, ATC, University of North Carolina-Greensboro awarded $2,500.00
“The influence of hip structure and gluteal activation on dynamic knee valgus”
Sponsored by Richard F. “Dick” Malacrea Research Endowment

Jessica L. Rager, MS, LAT, ATC, Ball State University awarded $2,090.00
“Exploring the Development of Athletic Training Preceptors”
Sponsored by James R. Andrews, M.D. Excellence in Athletic Training Research Endowment

Shawn Eagle, MAT, ATC, CSCS, University of Pittsburgh awarded $2,470.00
“Investigating potential neuromuscular and sensorimotor differences between recently concussed athletes and healthy controls”
Sponsored by District 2 Research Endowment

Kyle B. Kosik, MEd, ATC, University of Kentucky Research Foundation awarded $2,500.00
“Chronic Ankle Instability & Aging”
Sponsored by Joe Gieck, EdD, AT Ret, PT Challenge Doctoral Research Endowment

Sunku Kwon, MS, ATC, LAT, Brigham Young University awarded $2,500.00
“Effects of experimental anterior knee pain on knee articular cartilage morphology and composition, lower extremity neuromechanics and blood biomarkers”
Sponsored by Dave Perrin Doctoral Dissertation Research Endowment

Elizabeth Teel, MS, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill awarded $2,440.00
“The Effect of ACTIVE Training on Clinical and Physiological Outcomes in Healthy and Concussed College-Aged Participants”
Sponsored by Cantu-Guskiewicz Research Endowment for Sport Concussion.


Master’s Grants

Monica Soyk, ATC, LAT, University of Kentucky Research Foundation awarded $1000
“Patient Reported Outcomes and Self-Assessed Function after Lateral Ankle Sprain”
Sponsored by NATA Research & Education Foundation District 9 Research Endowment

Teraka Gonzalez, BS, Weber State University awarded $1000
“Is the ThermoStim and Effective Heating and Cooling Modailty”
Sponsored by NATA Research & Education Foundation Ted Quedenfeld Research Endowment

Kelly Leonard, ATC, Ohio University awarded $1000
“Effects of dyad training on jump drop landing technique transfer and retention in female athletes”
Sponsored by NATA Research & Education Foundation Women in Athletic Training Research Endowment

NATA Foundation Faculty Mentor Program


The NATA Foundation Faculty Mentor Program pairs junior faculty members with established faculty who will provide guidance, advice and assistance in navigating the first several years of employment within higher education.

The goal is to form a lasting relationship to help the mentee build a solid knowledge base and acquire an understanding of the balance necessary to becoming a successful researcher and educator. Direction of the relationship and areas of focus will be built upon the mutual interests and goals of the pairings. Each mentor and mentee will work together to set expectations for the relationship.

For additional information, please visit the Faculty Mentor Program Overview. Download a Mentor-Program-Application. (pdf) Applications are due March 15th.


RSVP to the 2018 Research faculty Mentor Luncheon at NATA Convention in New Orleans. (Invitation Only)

The 2018 Luncheon Handout is available (pdf)

2012-2017-Mentor-Program-Outcomes-Report (pdf) for this program it is now available.







Kirk Armstrong Indiana State University
Kim Barber-Foss Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
David Carr Missouri State University
Andrea Cripps Bowling  Green  State  University
Alison Gardiner-Shires West Chester University
Collin Herb Weber State University
Megan Houston Keller Army Community Hospital
Thomas Kaminski University of Delaware
Brianne Kilbourne Emory & Henry College
Laura Kunkel Texas Wesleyan University
Adam Lepley University of Connecticut
Lindsey Lepley University of Connecticut
Blaine Long Central Michigan University
Robert Lynall University of Georgia
Jessica Martinez Northern Illinois University
Melanie McGrath University of Montana
Kyung Min Kim University of Miami
Kelly Pagnotta Temple University
Adam Rosen University of Nebraska, Omaha
Julianne Schmidt University of Georgia
Steve Tucker Univeristy of Central Arkansas
Lesley Vandermark University of Arkansas
Yong Woo An New Mexico State University
Ken Wright University of Alabama

Here is some additional information on the program (ppt)

Research Grant Summaries

General Grant – Richard J. Boergers, PhD, ATC – Seton Hall University
New Investigator Grant – Stephanie Mazerolle, PhD, ATC – University of Connecticut
New Investigator Grant – David Robert Bell, PhD, ATC – University of Wisconsin – Madison
Doctoral Grant – Ryann S. McCann, MSEd, ATC, CSCS – University of Kentucky Research Foundation
Doctoral Grant -Christopher J. Burcal, MSc, LAT, ATC – University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Doctoral Grant – Laura Ann Zdziarski, BS, LAT, ATC – University of Florida
Doctoral Grant – Timothy C. Mauntel, MSEd, ATC, CSCS – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Doctoral Grant – Eunwook Chang, MEd, ATC – Oregon State University
Doctoral Grant – S. Jun Son, MS, ATC, LAT – Brigham Young University
Master’s Grant Proposal – Jason Cline – University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Master’s Grant Proposal – Shelby Baez, ATC, BA – University of Kentucky Research Foundation
Master’s Grant Proposal – Colin Drinkard, ATC – University of Kentucky Research Foundation
Master’s Grant Proposal – Alyssa Stirling, BS – Appalachian State University
Master’s Grant Proposal – Jenna Chinburg, ATC, LAT – North Dakota State University
Master’s Grant Proposal – Ian de Rozario Crossett, BS, ATC – University of Kentucky Research Foundation
Master’s Grant Proposal – A. Purchio,BS, J. Leisinger, BS, and M. Bartoletti, BS – Weber State University

Free Communications Program

Free Communication program abstract submissions are open October 15, 2018.
The deadline to submit is November 23, 2018. Authors will be notified in March 2019.

Student Exchange Track Instructions 2019
2019 Peer Review Track Instructions
You must also download the required Patient Release of Information Form (pdf)


Apply Now


Free Communications, is the first chance an AT often gets to present their research and clinical case studies on a topic during the NATA convention.  To date, almost 5,000 oral and poster presentations have been provided through the Free Communications program. The Free Communications program provides a forum for researchers and clinicians to disseminate research and clinical case studies. Those abstracts selected by the Committee are published in the Supplement to the Journal of Athletic Training and are presented at the NATA Convention via oral or poster presentation.

The Free Communications Committee is a subcommittee of the NATA Foundation Research Committee. The role of this group is to solicit and review abstracts for inclusion in the Free Communications program.


Free Communication Guidelines

Oral Presentation Guidelines
Poster Presentation Guidelines
Rapid Fire Oral Presentation Guidelines
You must also download the required Patient Release of Information Form

Free Communication Moderator Guidelines

Rapid Fire Oral Moderator Guidelines
Oral Moderator Guidelines
Moderator Script

Here is some additional information on the Free Communication Process (ppt)

Sponsor a Research Grant

Support the NATA Foundation Research Program.