Athletic Training Hall of Fame Saturday at UNK Health and Sports Center – UNK News

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The new Nebraska State Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame will be inaugurated during a grand inauguration ceremony at the UNK Health and Athletic Center Saturday.
The new Nebraska State Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame will be inaugurated during a grand inauguration ceremony at the UNK Health and Athletic Center Saturday.

UNK communication

KEARNEY — Denise Marshall calls athletic coaches the “unsung heroes.”

These professionals are an essential part of healthcare, but they rarely get the spotlight.

“It’s important to highlight our profession at every opportunity,” said Marshall, president of the Nebraska State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NSATA), an organization with more than 450 members.

A collaborative effort between the University of Nebraska at Kearney and NSATA is ensuring this profession gets the recognition it deserves.

Dozens of people gathered at the UNK Health and Sports Center on Saturday to cut the ribbon and inaugurate the new NSATA Hall of Fame exhibit at the building’s main corridor. Hall of Famers and their families were also introduced during the home volleyball game against Missouri Western State.

“Having a home for the Hall of Fame has been a vision for NSATA for many years. To see it come to life is absolutely incredible,” said Marshall, who works at Columbus Community Hospital and provides athletic training services for Central Community College-Columbus and several area high schools.

The NSATA Hall of Fame inducted its first members in 1997, but there has never been a physical exhibition honoring these individuals. Last year, UNK was elected the seat of the Hall of Fame.

“The UNK has been very supportive of NSATA and the athletic coaching profession for many years,” said Marshall. “It just seemed like the right place.”

The new exhibit features plaques recognizing the 22 people inducted into the Hall of Fame to date, including UNK alumni Danielle Kleber, Aaron Madsen, Charles Limbach, Douglas Long, Craig Holz and Kathy English, who is also a faculty member and athletic trainer at the University worked.

“We are proud of the long tradition of sports education at UNK. Lots of people across the state who work in this profession have UNK graduates,” said Scott Unruh, professor of physical education, associate dean at UNK College of Education and NSATA member. “It’s exciting for us to host the Hall of Fame and continue to promote this profession.”

Established in the 1960’s, UNK has one of the longest running athletic education programs in the state. The program was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education in 2002 and was first offered as a major in 2007.

UNK currently offers a professional athletic training master’s program as well as an athletic training minor for undergraduate students. Students can complete both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years via a 3+2 structure, or enroll in a traditional two-year post-baccalaureate graduate program.

The program prepares students for employment in athletic training positions in high schools, colleges and universities, professional sports teams, hospitals and clinics, and more.

“The athletic training profession has grown over the years, expanding from universities and high schools to clinical, military and industrial jobs,” Marshall said. “The members of the NSATA Hall of Fame have guided us through gaining accreditation and the ever-evolving nature of healthcare, ultimately laying the foundation for athletic trainers in the State of Nebraska to best serve their patients.”

The next NSATA Hall of Fame class will be inaugurated in June 2024.


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