Gail Weldon Award of Excellence Previous Winners

2011 | 2010 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001



Debra Runkle, MA, ATC, LAT


Julie Knowles

Dr. Julie Moyer Knowles, ATC is a certified and licensed athletic trainer, physical therapist, vocational rehab specialist and educator. Dr. Knowles has a diverse background working in the private practice, corporate clinical, high school collegiate and Olympic settings. Dr. Knowles was a member of the United States Olympic Games volunteer medical staff and the United States Olympic Sports Medicine Committee. Currently, Dr. Knowles owns and operates outpatient sports physical therapy clinics in Delaware, teaches at The University of Delaware and Thomas Jefferson University and is a representative on The National Federation of High School Athletic Associations Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.


Sue Finkham

Sue Finkam is a partner in Ergonomics Plus, Inc., which specializes in providing cost-effective work injury management and prevention solutions for business and industry. Sue is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine, and earned a Master of Science degree in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. Sue is a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association, where she serves as Chair of the Clinical/Industrial/Corporate Committee. She is also a Column Editor for Athletic Therapy Today Journal, and is currently writing a text on Industrial Athletic Training.


Kathie S. Courtney

The recipient of the Gail Weldon Visionary Award must possess a passion for the profession that surpasses the norm. This dedication and enthusiasm can be found in Kathie S. Courtney, the first winner of this prestigious award. Like Gail Weldon, Kathie's career in athletic training has been one of many "firsts." In 1972, Kathie became the first female student athletic trainer at South Dakota State University, earning a bachelor's degree in Physical Education in 1974. Upon graduation, she was selected to receive the only graduate assistantship offered in athletic training at Indiana State University. She obtained her master's degree in 1975 and, a year later, became the first female certified athletic trainer in South Dakota history. A founding member of the South Dakota Athletic Trainers' Association, Kathie has served the organization as Secretary/Treasurer (1979-1982), Vice-President (1982-1984) and President (1985). Last year, she was the first woman inducted into the SDATA Hall of Fame. Kathie earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Health Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1995. Today she shares her love of athletic training with students at Northern State University, where she is a tenured associate professor. Over the course of her career, Kathie has contributed to the field of athletic training through various leadership roles, published works, public speeches and presentations. For more than 25 years she has been an outstanding representative of the profession, proving she is both a worthy nominee for this award, as well as a deserving winner. Congratulations, Kathie, on yet another "first."

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