In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15-Oct. 15, the NATA Now blog is highlighting some of our Hispanic/Latinx athletic training leaders at the state, district and national levels.
As the District Nine representative to the NATA Early Professionals’ Committee and chair of the SEATA Early Professionals’ Committee, Daniella Eiroa, DAT, LAT, ATC, said she volunteers to advance the athletic training profession.
“My favorite part about giving back to the profession is knowing that the impact I am making now will help those who will come after me,” she said. “It is such a rewarding feeling knowing that the challenges I face today are to better someone else’s future in this amazing profession.”
Learn more about Eiroa’s experience with athletic training service, as well as the importance of representation as a Hispanic woman in the profession, in her responses below.
Why did you become an athletic trainer?
If anyone knew me when I was younger, they knew I was involved in sports at a young age. With sports comes injuries, so I got to spend a lot of time with both of my athletic trainers at my high school. Cristina Vigoa, LAT, ATC, and Olga Malkin, MSEd, LAT, ATC – these two amazing individuals introduced me to the career path I wanted to pursue. Lastly, my uncle Dr. Jorge Cabrera was an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in sports medicine. These three individuals are what I consider to be the gold standard of sports medicine. They all prioritized their patients needs and comfort above all else and treated them with them utmost care and deference – which is what ultimately made me fall in love with athletic training. I wanted to impact others the way they impacted me.
What was your first volunteer role within the athletic training profession and why did you get involved?
My first formal volunteer role within the profession of athletic training was while I was in graduate school. As a first-year graduate student, I was part of the inaugural cohort of the Athletic Trainers’ Association of Florida Student Leadership Enhancement and Professional Success. I was thrown into the fire by my former program director and mentor, Jennifer Doherty-Restrepo, PhD, LAT, ATC.
I was very lucky that my graduate program at Florida International University set an intentional standard about getting involved and advocating for what you believe in. I always knew I wanted to follow the paved road that Doherty-Restrepo, as well as Michelle Odai, PhD, LAT, ATC, worked hard to map out for us. I can’t thank the both of them enough for inspiring me to get involved. I was fortunate enough to have what I consider the best mentors I can ask for because of their examples it has lit a fire in me that has led me to reach new levels in my volunteer journey.
Tell us about your current role as the District Nine representative for the NATA Early Professionals’ Committee and what you hope to accomplish in this role.
I am very fortunate to serve as the District Nine representative for the NATA Early Professionals’ Committee. I get to represent the largest district and, in my opinion, one of the most unique and diverse. As the District Nine EPC representative, I hope to not only help the athletic training profession grow but also serve as a role model for other Hispanics.
What is your favorite part about giving back to the profession?
My favorite part about giving back to the profession is knowing that the impact I am making now will help those who will come after me. It is such a rewarding feeling knowing that the challenges I face today are to better someone else’s future in this amazing profession.
Why is representation important to leadership and how does it impact the profession?
Representation is important to leadership because it can help serve as opportunities for minoritized people to find support and validation. This directly impacts our profession because, as health care professionals, we are not only working with one gender, race, belief – and the list can go on. Often, as athletic trainers, we get to impact our patients’ lives and those around us. I strongly believe everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes.
Why is it important for ATs to get involved in leadership and service?
If not us, then who? It is important to get involved in service and in leadership because if we do not advocate for the change we want to see, then who else will do it? As a Hispanic female in a leadership and service role, I feel that I am helping voice stories that have been untold. By being involved, I am helping make the difference I hope to see in the future.
What would you say to the next generation of athletic trainers about the importance of giving back?
Dear future athletic trainers, I can’t begin to express the importance of giving back. The athletic training profession would not be where it is today if those before us did not give back and get involved. If we want continuous growth and recognition for the work we do, it is imperative to give back!