Update: Services for Rachael will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at First Baptist Church, 316 E. 4th St., Burkburnett, TX 76354.
We are very sad to inform you that NATA Associate Executive Director Rachael Oats, CAE, our beloved friend and colleague, passed away over the weekend. Rachael had been fighting a tough battle with cancer. Although she had small victories throughout her battle, her condition worsened, and she passed away peacefully in hospice.
This is very difficult news for all of us as Rachael has been a staple at NATA for more than 20 years, working in many different capacities. Through the years, she was always dedicated to making the athletic training profession better any way she could. NATA recently named her an honorary member because of her dedication to improving the athletic training profession.
Rachael began her career with NATA in 1997, processing thousands of “green reporting forms” and entering data. Her talent quickly shined through, prompting the creation of a new position for her as a special projects coordinator. Throughout her 22 years at NATA, Rachael has held positions at virtually every level at the association – starting as special projects coordinator, special projects volunteer and engagement manager, NATA Research& Education Foundation director and NATA associate executive director where she led and oversaw strategic initiatives as well as several departments, including Membership/Business Development, Marketing/Communications/Public Relations and Knowledge Initiatives.
“Losing Rachael Oats is a terrible tragedy,” said NATA Executive Director David Saddler. “She was a great friend, outstanding executive and leader. She has been fighting with great strength for some time, but now she has peace. Her legacy with NATA and the athletic training profession is vast and unquestioned. As difficult as it will be, we will continue to advance the mission of the association and profession she loved so dearly with her legacy and spirit helping to guide us.”
“With her thumbprints on a countless number of projects, it would be close to impossible to measure the positive impact Rachael Oats has had on the profession of athletic training,” said NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC. “For that, we are all eternally grateful. We now share in the responsibility to carry Rachael’s enthusiastic spirit forward.”
While we are all grieving, knowing Rachael, she would much rather us share stories and celebrate the successes we have had together, especially the humorous memories.
Therefore, that is exactly what we will do. NATA has created a video tribute in her memory.
Rachael was an advocate, ally and friend of the athletic training profession. Rachael's influence is evident in the progress she pioneered during her time with NATA. Rachael's impact, however, is felt most deeply at the individual level. We know Rachael touched many people during her life, and we want to do our best to encapsulate her legacy with NATA.
Please consider submitting your favorite memory, image or video of Rachael that we can share with her family. We may also use your story or asset publically as we celebrate the amazing life of our beloved friend and colleague. We know Rachael has made a profound impact on this world, and your memories of her are an important part of her legacy.
Plans from the family have not been announced as of yet. We will share them as they become available. If you would like to send a note of condolence to the family, please mail it to 1620 Valwood Parkway, Suite 115, Carrollton, Texas 75006 c/o Rachael Oats.
Donate to the Rachael Oats Memorial Scholarship for Athletic Training (include Rachael Oats Fund in the comments).