Awards

Each year, the NATA Foundation recognizes those that excel in the areas of research and those that lead the way in service to the NATA Foundation and the AT profession.

Research Awards Eligibility Criteria

Research Awards
Service Awards

The Medal for Distinguished Athletic Training Research, The Dr. Freddie & Mrs. Hilda Pang Fu New Investigator Research Award and The David H. Perrin Doctoral Dissertation Research Award are presented annually to deserving researchers among the NATA membership.
Research Awards Eligibility Criteria.

Medal for Distinguished Athletic Training Research
The NATA Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Athletic Training Research recognizes an established researcher who has sustained a prolific body of work that has contributed to research in the field of athletic training and health care.

2024 Award Recipient: Troy Blackburn, PhD, ATC

Troy Blackburn is a Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He currently serves as Department Chair, and served as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research in the College of Arts & Sciences from 2016 to 2023.  He also serves as Associate Director of the MOTION Science Institute and core faculty in the Sports Medicine Institute and Program in Human Movement Science.  He received a BA in Exercise and Sport Science (Athletic Training Concentration) from UNC-Chapel Hill (1998), a MS in Sports Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh (2000), and a PhD in Human Movement Science (Biomechanics Concentration) from UNC-Chapel Hill (2004).  Prior to joining the faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2006, he was an Assistant Professor at Auburn University from 2004 to 2006. 

Dr. Blackburn’s research is focused on understanding neuromuscular and biomechanical factors that influence the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis following ACL injury as well as novel rehabilitation approaches for reducing this risk and the associated disability.  He has published more than 180 peer-reviewed journal articles that have been cited more than 9,300 times in the literature, and has secured more than $12.4 million in research funding including grants from the US Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and National Science Foundation.  Dr. Blackburn has also mentored more than 130 trainees in the research setting.  He was the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research & Education Foundation David H. Perrin Outstanding Dissertation Award (2007) and Freddie H. Fu New Investigator Award (2009), and the American College of Sports Medicine Biomechanics Interest Group Career Achievement Award (2022).  He is also a fellow of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, American College of Sports Medicine, and National Academy of Kinesiology.

Past Winners

2023 Tamara C. Valovich McLeod, PhD, ATC, FNATA, FNAK

2022 Steven Broglio, PhD, ATC

2021 - Due to COVID-19 constraints, at the discretion of the committee, awardees were not announced.

2020 Phillip Gribble, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2019 Gary Wilkerson, EdD, ATC, FNATA

2018 At the discretion of the committee, this was not awarded

2017 Darin A. Padua, PhD, ATC

2016 Thomas William Kaminski, PhD, ATC, FNATA, FACSM

2015 At the discretion of the committee, this was not awarded

2014 Sandra J. Shultz, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2013 At the discretion of the committee, this was not awarded

2012 At the discretion of the committee, this was not awarded

2011 Jay Hertel, PhD, ATC2010 Thomas Weidner, PhD, ATC

2010 At the discretion of the committee, this was not awarded

2009 At the discretion of the committee, this was not awarded

2008 Doug Casa, PhD, ATC

2007 At the discretion of the committee, this was not awarded

2006 Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC

2005 Christopher D. Ingersoll, PhD, ATC

2004 At the discretion of the committee, this was not awarded

2003 Craig R. Denegar, PhD, ATC, PT

2002 Scott M. Lephart, PhD, ATC

2001 David O. Draper, EdD, ATC

2000 John W. Powell, PhD, ATC

1999 David H. Perrin, PhD, ATC

1998 Louis R. Osternig, PhD, ATC

1997 Kenneth L. Knight, PhD, ATC


The Dr. Freddie & Mrs. Hilda Pang Fu New Investigato
r Award
The Dr. Freddie & Mrs. Hilda Pang Fu New Investigator Award (formerly named The New Investigator Award), recognizes a researcher who is likely to continue to make significant contributions to the body of knowledge in athletic training and health care.

2024 Award Recipient: Shelby Baez, PhD, ATC

Shelby Baez, Ph.D., ATC, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science (EXSS). Dr. Baez is a certified and licensed athletic trainer with an expertise in psychology of sport injury and an approved non-certified mentor for aspiring CMPCs through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Prior to joining the EXSS faculty in 2022, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and the Director of the Behavioral Research & Athletic Injury Neuroscience (BRAIN) Laboratory at Michigan State University. Dr. Baez attended UNC-Chapel Hill for her B.A. in Exercise and Sport Science with a concentration in Athletic Training (2013), and the University of Kentucky for her M.S. in Athletic Training (2016) and Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences with a concentration in Sport and Exercise Psychology as a Lyman T. Johnson Fellow (2019).

Dr. Baez’s research examines the impact of psychosocial factors on health outcomes after sport-related injury, with a focus on patients after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Her lab examines the impact of psychosocial factors on biological outcomes, such as neurocognitive function, biomechanical alterations, and secondary injury risk. Her lab also seeks to identify clinically feasible and novel psychosocial interventions to improve health outcomes. These techniques range from graded exposure therapies to virtual reality mindfulness meditation. Dr. Baez has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and other regional and national foundations to support her work. She is a member of AASP, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), was the recipient of the AASP Doctoral Dissertation Award in 2020, and the recipient of the ACSM New Investigator Award in 2023.

The NATA Foundation is grateful for the endowment established honoring Dr. Freddie & Mrs. Hilda Pang Fu.  Read more about the Fu’s endowment and legacy here.

Past Winners

2023 Neal Glaviano, PhD, ATC

2022 Lindsey K. Lepley, PhD, ATC

2021 - Due to COVID-19 constraints, at the discretion of the committee, awardees were not announced.

2020 Dustin Grooms, PhD, ATC, CSCS

2019 David Howell, PhD, ATC

2018 Johna K. Register-Mihalik, PhD, LAT, AT

2017 David R. Bell, PhD, ATC

2016 Jeffrey Driban, PhD, ATC

2015 Brian Pietrosimone, PhD, ATC

2014 Joseph M. Hart, PhD, ATC

2013 Timothy Butterfield, PhD, ATC

2012 Patrick McKeon, PhD, ATC

2011 Steven P. Broglio, PhD, ATC

2010 At the discretion of the committee, this was not awarded

2009 Troy Blackburn, PhD, ATC

2008 Tricia J. Hubbard, PhD, ATC, LAT

2007 Riann M. Palmieri-Smith, PhD, ATC

2006 Darin A. Padua, PhD, ATC

2005 Joseph B. Myers, PhD, ATC

2004 J. Ty Hopkins, PhD, ATC

2003 Sandra J. Shultz, PhD, ATC, CSCS

2002 Jay Hertel, PhD, ATC

2001 Douglas V. Casa, PhD, ATC

2000 Mitchell L. Cordova, PhD, ATC

1999 Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC

1998 Scott M. Lephart, PhD, ATC


The David H. Perrin Doctoral Dissertation Award
The David H. Perrin Doctoral Dissertation Award recognizes outstanding doctoral student research in athletic training and health care.

2024 Award Recipient: Mayrena Isamar Hernandez, PhD, MPH, LAT, ATC

Dr. Mayrena Isamar Hernandez earned her doctorate in Kinesiology with an emphasis in biomechanics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in May 2022. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from the University of Texas–Arlington in 2016. In 2018, she graduated from Kansas State University with her master’s in public health. Dr. Hernandez worked as a graduate assistant athletic trainer for the cross country and track and field men’s and women’s team during her time at Kansas State. During her time at UW-Madison she was a research assistant in the Wisconsin Injury in Sport Laboratory, teaching assistant for various courses, and a University Health Services/UW RecWell athletic trainer for their walk-in clinic. Dr. Hernandez is now an Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University and the director of the Healthy Activity toward Promoting Injury Reduction (HAPIR) lab. Dr. Hernandez’s research focuses on mixed-methods studies that examine how low socioeconomic status and/or minority race/ethnicity youth athlete families are impacted by the negative consequences of sport specialization. Additionally, she is interested in how athletic trainers’ can be at the front line of impacting public health by combating health/health care disparities for populations that are underserved.

The NATA Foundation is grateful for the endowment established honoring David H. Perrin, PhD, ATC. Read more about the David H. Perrin Doctoral Dissertation Award Endowment here.

Past Winners

2023 Allyssa Memmini, PhD, LAT, ATC

2022 Samantha E. Scarneo-Miller, PhD, LAT, ATC

2021 - Due to COVID-19 constraints, at the discretion of the committee, awardees were not announced.

2020 Breton Asken, PhD, ATC

2019 Matthew Harkey, PhD, ATC

2018 Mark Feger, PhD, ATC

2017 Luke T. Donovan, PhD, ATC

2016 Lindsey K. Lepley, PhD, ATC

2015 David Howell, PhD, ATC

2014 Timothy Tourville, PhD, ATC, CSCS

2013 Dorice Hankemeier, PhD, ATC

2012 Lindsay DiStefano, PhD, ATC

2011 Jason Peter Mihalik, PhD, CAT(C), ATC

2010 Erik Wikstrom, PhD, ATC

2009 Patrick McKeon, PhD, ATC

2008 Christopher Mendias, PhD, ATC

2007 J. Troy Blackburn, PhD, ATC

2006 Timothy A. Butterfield, PhD, ATC

2005 Riann M. Palmieri, PhD, ATC

The NATA Research & Education Foundation Board of Directors recognizes those representative of advancing the athletic training profession through the Foundation’s mission, efforts and initiatives.
The awards currently include: the Lifetime Contribution Award; the Rachael Oats Leadership Award (formerly the President’s Award); the Volunteer Service Award; and the Impact Service Award (formerly the New Initiative Award).

 

Lifetime Contribution Award
Awarded for an individual’s sustained exemplary support and contribution to the advancement of the NATA Research & Education Foundation.

2023 Award Recipient: Thomas S. Woods, MEd, MS, ATC
Tom is a long-time valued volunteer, benefactor, and friend of the NATA Foundation.  Tom has 14 years of service as a Foundation board member.  He served as District 6 Chair 1996-2002; Treasurer 2004-2006; and again as District 6 Chair 2016-2022.

During Tom’s volunteer service, he was instrumental in raising significant funds throughout District 6, especially during SWATA’s annual meeting. Tom also represented the Foundation by attending and presenting at many state and regional meetings. Throughout District 6, Tom educated, recruited and engaged Foundation Ambassadors– many of which followed the Ambassador experience by serving as a Foundation programmatic committee chair or committee member.
Tom received the NATA Foundation’s Volunteer Service Award in 2019.  
In addition, he is a long-term financial supporter of the Foundation, and is an original member of the Circle of Champions.

Previous Awardees

2022 Cynthia Trowbridge, PhD, LAT, ATC

2021 Jack Weakley

2020 Robert Kersey, PhD, ATC

2019 Marjorie Albohm, MS, AT-Retired

2018 R.T. Floyd, EdD, ATC, CSCS

2017 William H. Bill Chambers, AT, RET

2016 Steve Bair, AT, RET

2015 Dave Perrin, PhD, ATC, FNATA, FACSM

2014 Chris Ingersoll, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2013 Clint Thompson, MA, ATC

2012 Charlie Redmond, ATC, PT, LAT

2011 Mike Wilkinson, MS, ATC

2010 Ronnie Barnes, ATC

2009 Michael R. Sitler, EdD, ATC

 

Rachael Oats Leadership Award
The Foundation’s “President’s Award” was renamed in 2020 to honor the legacy of the Foundation’s former Director, Rachael Oats – this award allows the President of the NATA Research & Education Foundation to recognize those representative of Rachael’s exemplary characteristics of leadership, selflessness, commitment, and loyalty to the NATA Foundation, its volunteers and its donors.

2023 Award Recipient: Velma Meza
Velma has served the Foundation with the highest level of professionalism and loyalty for over 15 years. She began her career with NATA as “Foundation Associate” (2006-2009), providing support for the Foundation’s fundraising events and programs.  After transitioning to the Knowledge Initiatives department in 2010, she has continued  to provide administrative support and leadership to the Foundation’s Free Communications Committee including: assisting with issuing the annual call for abstracts, receiving and preparing submissions for review by the committee, troubleshooting problems with the submission portal, and notifying applicants of the outcome of review. She also plays an integral role in the scheduling of all free communications sessions during NATA’s annual convention, and coordinating the publication of accepted abstracts in the Journal of Athletic Training. Though Velma’s primary duties are now with the NATA, she has said on several occasions that her work with the Free Communications Committee is one of her most valued roles.

In addition, Velma contributes to the advancement of the Foundation’s mission through her Circle of Champions membership.  All of her efforts demonstrate her long standing leadership and unwavering support for the Foundation’s mission, it’s programs, and it’s volunteers.

Previous Awardees

2022 Brian Conway, LAT, ATC

2021 The Strategic Alliance AT Research Agenda Task Force: Jennifer Earl-Boehm, PhD, ATC, FNATA; Tracey Covassin, PhD, ATC, FNATA; Lindsey Eberman, PhD, ATC; R.T. Floyd, EdD, ATC, CSCS; Esther Nolton, PhD, ATC; Kelvin Phan, MSEd, ATC, PES; Stacy Walker, PhD, ATC, FNATA; Leigh Weiss, DPT, MS, ATC; Alison Snyder Valier, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2020 Richard Ray, EdD, ATC

2019 Rachael Oats

2018 (2 recipients): Rollin Mallernee and Skylar Gorman

2017 Jack Weakley

2016 Charlie Redmond, AT, RET

2015 Jim Thornton, MS, ATC, PES

2014 Mark Hoffman, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2013 Eve Becker-Doyle

2012 Patsy Brown

 

Volunteer Service Award
Awarded to an individual for their exemplary volunteer service advancing the NATA Research & Education Foundation.

2023 Award Recipient: Stephanie Singe, PhD, ATC, FNATA
Stephanie has demonstrated a substantial commitment to serving the NATA Foundation. She has served in numerous roles including: Scholarship Committee member (2009-2015); Free Communications Committee member (2013-2019); Student Writing Contest Committee member (2016-2022); Athletic Training Research Agenda Committee member (2020-2023); Research Committee member (2022-2025).

Most notably, Stephanie has served as the Co-Chair and Committee Chair of the Foundation’s Faculty Mentor Program (2015-2024).  Working closely with Sara Nottingham, she provided exceptional leadership and successfully recruited and matched mentees and mentors. Stephanie also played a critical role in moving this program to the committee level and in recruiting committee members to execute the program, and developing policies and procedures to codify the important work of the committee. During her time with the Faculty Mentor Program, they have matched nearly 100 early career faculty members with experienced faculty members and established researchers to support successful career trajectories for these individuals.

Previous Awardees

2022 Mark Knoblauch, PhD, LAT, ATC, CSCS

2021 Alison Snyder Valier, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2020 Jennifer Earl-Boehm, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2019 Thomas Woods, MEd, MS, ATC

2018 Tom Abdenour, DHSc, ATC, CES

2017 J. Ty Hopkins, PhD, ATC

2016 Pattie M. Tripp, PhD, ATC, LAT, CSCS

2015 Jill Manners MS, ATC, PT

2014 MaryBeth Horodyski, PhD, ATC, FNATA

2013 Bob Casmus, MS, ATC, LAT

2012 Joseph Lueken, MS, ATC, LAT

2011 R. T. Floyd, EdD, ATC

2010 Stephen E. Bair, MEd, ATC

2009 Michael Pruitt, MS, ATC, LAT and Timothy L. Uhl, PhD, ATC, PT

 

Impact Service Award
Awarded to an individual for their exemplary grass roots initiatives which provided significant advancement of the NATA Research & Education Foundation.

2023 Award Recipient: Dawn Emerson, PhD, ATC
Dawn is recognized for her tireless efforts and strong leadership to support the Foundation’s commitment to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). She served on the Foundation’s original DEI task force in 2020,  followed by leading one of 3 board-member workgroups, charged to ensure DEI is thoughtfully considered and applied throughout all of the Foundation’s processes, programs, and volunteer recruitment.

Since 2021, Dawn has led the Foundation’s consolidated DEI workgroup. Under her leadership the consolidated DEI workgroup has developed and implemented training for all  Foundation volunteers including board members, programmatic chairs and committee members. She has also led this group with developing a plan to evaluate barriers to the Foundation’s programs. Dawn’s leadership and commitment to the Foundation’s DEI initiatives will impact the trajectory of the NATA Research & Education Foundation for years to come.

Previous Awardees

2022 Kathryn LaLonde, MS, ATC

2021 Jeff Konin, PhD, PT, FNATA; Randy Cohen, ATC, DPT; Chuck Kimmel, AT Retired

2019 Katie Scott, MS, ATC

2018 Carolyn Peters, MA, ATC, CSCS

2009 Sara D. Brown, MS, ATC and Gail Samdperil, MAT, ATC