Home to athletic trainers throughout their careers, NATA provides its members access to professional growth, support, connection and advocacy. Through this semiweekly blog series, members will share what made them join NATA, the value of membership and how, together, we are NATA. Don’t forget, the deadline to renew your 2021 NATA membership is Dec. 31. Renew or join today and learn more about the benefits of NATA membership.
As a member of NATA for 37 years, Sam Lee, ATC, CSCS, has seen how NATA supports its members. Whether it was through events, such as the NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo; online tools, such as Gather; or resources, such as NATA News, Lee said he has felt supported throughout the years as a member of NATA.
“I think NATA has helped to influence my network and my ability to connect and build community with other athletic trainers in a variety of ways,” Lee said. “The most notable way is through the annual NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo. I love being able to attend. I meet many new athletic training colleagues and acquaintances. I get to catch up with other athletic trainer colleagues and friends who I don’t get a chance to see as regularly through the symposia and through venues such as Gather, serving together in our volunteer professional athletic training communities or through social networking opportunities sponsored by NATA. I feel greatly blessed to know athletic trainers throughout my state and district and even nationally and internationally.”
NATA is the support ATs need, with resources such as ATs Care, infographics, toolkits and resources, revenue and reimbursement, publications, preferred providers and the NATAGEAR store. When an AT needs a to double check their decisions to ensure best practices or just to keep up to date on the latest news, NATA provides a lending hand.
“I’ve been certified for 30 years with the BOC and for 25 years been working full time as an athletic trainer in Hawaii,” Lee said. “I’ve always felt that NATA was my go-to resources when I didn’t have an actual human athletic training colleague or mentor to talk with, yet even if I did have a human mentor or colleague to talk with, they were most likely going to be an NATA member. So be it through human contact or through informational media or resources, I have felt very supported by NATA in many ways, acknowledged, honored sometimes with some different things. I’ve really been most honored with the relationships and resources I’ve been able to have through NATA.”
Building relationships with other ATs is important to NATA just as it is to its members, which is why NATA offers numerous ways for ATs to connect to one another – whether through in-person networking or events, online platforms or volunteer opportunities. These connections support the mission as athletic trainers to provide unique health care to the community. Not only that, but with this support, ATs can advocate for the profession with a team behind them, guiding them.
“I think that being a member of NATA has really impacted my ability to advocate for myself and my profession at large by helping me to better see and understand at a community level, state level, district level, even national and international levels, who we are as health care professionals, what we are capable of doing and what we are worth as unique health care providers,” Lee said. “This has come about through information that has been disseminated in NATA through a range of medias: regular newsletters, NATA News publication – love seeing that when it comes out – various committees’ informational social media postings, as mentioned earlier the annual symposia and all the athletic training professionals I’ve met along the way as I’ve immersed and involved myself in volunteer service to others. It’s not just a part of my job, but a part of my own personal growth and development.”
No matter where you are in your athletic training career, a membership with NATA is the best way to stay connected, grow professionally and help advance the profession. NATA is committed to providing members the same quality level of support that they give to their patients. The benefits provided are designed to equip athletic trainers with the tools they need in order to thrive in the profession, and maybe meet some new ATs along the way.
“I think the question, [‘Why am I a member of NATA?’] is such that I would have to answer in a reverse fashion meaning, ‘Why wouldn’t I not want to be a member of NATA?’” Lee said. “I’ve been given a lot through my athletic training profession. The mission of NATA is to represent, engage and foster the growth and development of the athletic training professions and athletic trainers as unique health care providers. In a very real sense, NATA is a part of my profession heritage. It is a part of my professional family.
“In Hawaii, we have a word, ‘ohana,’ and ohana means ‘family.’ So when I get to know and I get to serve in and through NATA, it is very much getting to know my professional family. It is a chance for me to serve my professional ohana, and I’m blessed because of it. I’ve gained so much because of it that it is a part of my professional identity. That’s why I choose to be a member of NATA.”