The Art of Athletic Training

March 27, 2019 by Beth Sitzler

By Kim Diggs

Updated April 16, 2019


In celebration of National Athletic Training Month (NATM), the North Carolina Athletic Trainers’ Association (NCATA) curated a public art exhibition of original photographs and illustrations showcasing patient care and AT equipment.

Since the end of February, the photos of a ballerina posing with an automated external defibrillators and illustrations of patient and AT interactions have been at ClearWater Artist Studios in Concord, North Carolina, in a gallery that is open to the public.

Kevin King, AT, LAT, NCATA public relations chair, said the goal of this exhibit is to create awareness about injury prevention and athletic training.

“I hope the general public gains an appreciation and knowledge of elements necessary to prevent sudden death and catastrophic injury in athletics,” King said. “We hope to foster a conversation regarding what is happening in their own communities to prevent deaths from occurring.”

The idea behind the exhibition came from a brainstorming session with Nina Walker, MA, LAT, AT, and Nancy Groh, EdD, ATC, LAT, of the Public Relations committee members. Aiming to find a way to gain the attention of stakeholders, the committee members took to social media and found inspiration.

“We took notice of a visually stunning project on social media referred to as the Ballerina Project,” King said. “This project features ballerinas in provocative poses in ordinary places. An example is a ballerina on a subway in an interesting pose. We figured that these very expressive poses could draw attention to our cause, preventing sudden death and catastrophic injuries in athletics and athletic training.”

They decided to create an interactive art exhibition, providing QR codes that accompanied each piece for visitors to scan. These QR codes would lead attendees to videos that explain the work of various NCATA members and how it relates to what is being depicted in each piece of art.

The committee spent roughly two months to complete this project. Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez, who created the photographs, Robert Bates, who drew the illustrations and model Sarah Lapointe, dancer with Charlotte Ballet, donated their time to be part of the project. The ClearWater Artist Studios art gallery initially donated the space for the opening reception and the exhibit for a month. The committee and ClearWater Artist Studios manager Sarah Gay worked to get the pieces framed and create media buzz about the exhibit.

“I helped Kevin think about size and framing of the prints, brainstormed how to use color in them (the final choice of color 'pop' is all Kevin’s) and co-wrote our press releases for the show,” Gay said. “I also shot photographs for social media leading up to the opening.”

In all, NCATA spent more than $1,000 on the exhibit in hopes that the art will raise awareness about the importance of athletic training.

“As president, I have challenged our PR Committee to make sure that the funds we put into projects are getting a measurable return,” said NCATA President Jim Bazluki, MAEd, LAT, ATC, EMT. “They really stepped up to the challenge and have hit it out of the park again this year.”

For years, NCATA has been finding creative ways to showcase the profession in public settings, such as participation in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. However, this isn’t the first time NCATA has presented an interactive experience for the general public in celebration of NATM.

“About two or three years ago, we reached out to a local hands-on science museum about hosting a sports science day in which we featured the science of athletic training with hands-on demos and interactive stations,” Bazluki said.

NCATA hopes to take the exhibit to the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association meeting in May and take it to a national level later on, Bazluki said.

The exhibit will remain free and open to the public through April 30.

Read more about the exhibit in the May NATA News.