Five certified athletic trainers inducted into NATA Hall of Fame

Contacts: Robin Waxenberg Ellen Satlof, NATA
  (212) 489-8006 (214) 637-6282, ext. 159


Five Certified Athletic Trainers Inducted into National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Hall of Fame Organization Honors Leaders in Athletic Training Profession at 60th Annual Meeting

DALLAS, June 3, 2009 – The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), a not-for-profit organization representing and supporting 30,000 members of the athletic training profession, will induct five certified athletic trainers into its prestigious Hall of Fame during the organization’s 60th annual meeting and symposia in San Antonio, Texas. The honorees are to be recognized for their significant contributions on the state, regional and national levels at the 2009 Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 19, 2009, at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center.
Nominated and selected by their athletic training peers, all the new inductees have been certified NATA members for at least 25 years. Their professional excellence, volunteer service and community outreach have distinguished them among many fine candidates for this honor.

The 2009 NATA Hall of Fame inductees include Michael Ferrara, PhD, ATC, FNATA (Athens, Ga.); Joe Iezzi, MS, ATC, PES (Downingtown, Pa.); Thomas E. Koto Jr., ATC, LAT (Boise, Idaho); Bill Lyons, MS, ATC (Laramie, Wyo.); and Chad Starkey, PhD, ATC, LAT, FNATA (Athens, Ohio).

“We are delighted to honor the outstanding accomplishments and commitment to the profession of these active and longstanding NATA members,” said NATA Executive Director Eve Becker-Doyle, CAE. “They join the more than 200 other extraordinary athletic trainers in the NATA Hall of Fame who are an inspiration to us all.”
Michael Ferrara has been a professor and program director at the University of Georgia since 1998. He was also appointed by NATA to head a task force examining the status of the athletic training profession internationally in 1998. After two years of research, the task force called for an organization that would allow health care professionals from around the world to share knowledge and information. Thus, the World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy was formed in 2000 -- and Ferrara served as its founding president until 2005. Previously he was professor and program director at Ball State University, in Muncie, Ind., after beginning his career as an assistant athletic trainer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in 1983. Ferrara received a Bachelor of Science from Ithaca College, a Master of Science from Michigan State University and a Doctor of Philosophy from Pennsylvania State University.
Joe Iezzi has been head athletic trainer and teacher of health and physical education at Downingtown High School West in Pennsylvania since 1988. Prior to that position, Iezzi is credited with building from the ground up the athletic training department at Cheyney (Pa.) University between 1975 and 1985. Iezzi’s work for NATA earned him the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in 2005. He was instrumental in garnering legislative changes brought about during his tenure with the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society. At that time athletic trainers in Pennsylvania were members of the Board of Physical Therapy; however, today thanks in part to Iezzi’s efforts, they are recognized as members of the Board of Medical Examiners. Iezzi received his Bachelor of Science from West Chester (Pa.) University and his Master of Science from California (Pa.) University.
Thomas E. Koto Jr. is currently employed at Intermountain Orthopaedics in Boise, Idaho. He previously volunteered as a physician extender at the Genesis Medical Clinic, a free clinic for the homeless and others in need. He worked two Olympic Games, as USA wrestling staff athletic trainer in Barcelona and Team USA staff athletic trainer for the U.S. Olympic Team in Atlanta. He was the driving force in the Boise school district’s hiring of certified athletic trainers. He landed a job after college with the Idaho Sports Medicine Institute and began his volunteer service work in 1985 on the NATA Certification Committee. By 1988 Koto was on the Idaho Athletic Trainers’ Association board of directors and was president of the Northwest Athletic Trainers Association for six years. Koto was also NATA’s Legislative Committee chair when two important pieces of legislation passed in Idaho – registration in 1989 and licensure in 2003. When he is inducted in the NATA Hall of Fame, it will be his 30th annual meeting attended. Koto received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Idaho in 1979.
Bill Lyons is clinical assistant professor and program director at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. In 2001, Lyons, who was instrumental in founding the university’s athletic training education program -- became the program’s first director in 2001. Prior to that position, Lyons served as Wyoming’s head athletic trainer from 1983 to 2001. He previously served as head athletic trainer of Fort Hays State University in Kansas and assistant athletic trainer at the University of Arizona. Lyons has embraced the issue of licensure and has been campaigning for it in his home state of Wyoming as part of the state licensure committee since 1998. The committee’s efforts paid off in March 2009, when the Wyoming Athletic Trainers Licensing Act was approved, after Lyons and the committee dedicated their time over three legislative sessions to reach their goal. The first licenses will be issued in July 2010. Lyons earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wyoming and his Master of Science from the University of Arizona.
Chad Starkey is an associate professor and coordinator of the division of athletic training at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He also serves in several volunteer capacities, including his positions on the editorial boards of three industry publications. He served on the Board of Certification board of directors and was the first chair of the NATA Education Council. He is currently the chair of NATA’s Uniform Terminology Project and a member of NATA’s National Legal Program. Starkey has also been a consultant for the National Basketball Athletic Trainers’ Association since 1986. Starkey has authored or edited 16 textbooks and has authored 11 textbook chapters. He earned his Bachelor of Science at West Virginia University, and both his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy at Ohio University.
“On behalf of the entire NATA, we are pleased to recognize the many contributions and passion for the profession shown by these remarkable inductees,” said Rochel Rittgers, ATC, NATA Honors & Awards Committee chair.
National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) – Health Care for Life & Sport: Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession. Only 42 percent of high schools have access to athletic trainers. NATA members adhere to a code of ethics. NATA supports the right of all patients to have equal access to the services of athletic trainers through the Athletic Trainers’ Equal Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 1137). Visit


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