Early Professionals Committee National Distinction Award: Overview and Criteria

Award Overview

The National Distinction Award is the Early Professionals' Committee’s highest honor to recognize a young professional athletic trainer who has made an immediate and definitive impact on the athletic training profession at the national, district, state or community level. The selection committee encourages the sponsor to review the award and it’s criterion before submitting the nominee as an applicant. Recommendations are limited to one page, as a concise narrative of the nominee as how they relate to the award is necessary to award the best candidate possible. Collaborating with other recommenders is advised to ensure all perspectives and information is included.


Letter should address the following areas:

  • Nominee embodies the ideas, goals, and mission of NATA and the Early Professionals Committee
    • Contributes to the missions and objectives of the Early Professionals Committee, NATA, and the athletic training profession
    • Consistently demonstrates a positive character and responsibility to their, peers, patients, and institution
  • Nominee has demonstrated the highest level of service, professionalism, and competence in their place of work
    • Major contributor to the daily operation of their practice
    • Demonstrates unselfishness in giving talents and time within and outside the athletic training profession
    • Demonstrates interest in work related functions, institution spirit and pride
  • Nominee maintains the highest level of honor, respect, and integrity in their clinical setting and to the community
    • Demonstrates competence, knowledge, and skills in their clinical practice
    • Demonstrates activities and time management skills that incorporate work/life balance
  • Nominee demonstrates leadership abilities
    • Demonstrates initiative and ability to inspire other professionals where the athletic training profession has directly benefited
  • Nominee is active in research and education
    • Utilizes evidence based medicine, and/or contributes to the current body of knowledge through presentations or manuscripts
    • Mentors or educates students, colleagues, or other athletic trainer


Procedure & Deadlines

  • Who can nominate? ATs of any years of experience are encouraged to nominate an AT that is considered an early professional (0-6 years of certification and licensure)
    • Utilize the Award Nomination Form
    • Deadline to Apply is March 31,2023
    • Once the application has been submitted, a representative from the EPC will reach out to the nominator to confirm completion of the application
  • Who is reviewing the award? The award review is being conducted by the Early Professionals' Committee
  • How is awardee notified? The winner of the award and their nominator will be notified by the Chair of the EPC.
    • We anticipate notification to occur in May 2023
    • Those not selected will not be notified 
    • The awardee will be honored at the Annual Convention & Symposia in 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana (in-person attendance is not a requirement of the award)
  • March 31, 2023-  Nominating athletic trainer must complete award nomination form and submit all relevant documents including letters of recommendation
  • May 2023 -  Only award recipient will be notified by the Early Professionals Committee Chair


Award Eligibility

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be within years 0-6 of experience at the time of nomination as an athletic trainer (certification and licensure)
  • Considered to be early in their career at time of nomination
    • Must be within 0-6 years of initial certification
  • Certified member or certified student member of the NATA and in good standing
    • Minimum of one year of experience as a certified athletic trainer
    • NPI Number is required
  • An athletic trainer may not be awarded twice
  • If more than one sponsor nominates the same person, the first sponsor to nominate will be taken
  • Current and previous members of the NATA Early Professionals Committee are not eligible for this award


Award Application Requirements


To be considered for this award, each nominee must have a complete award application:

  • Nominating athletic trainer must complete the online award nomination form

  • One letter of recommendation (one page or less per letter, please).


Winners will be selected by the NATA Early Professionals Committee.  A member of the Early Professionals Committee will notify the nominating athletic trainer once the application is complete.



Contact Tracy White (tracyw@nata.org), NATA liaison to the Early Professionals' Committee for questions related to the EPC Award.