Five Convention T-Shirts With Cari Wood

March 12, 2024 by Kristin Carroll
Five convention T-shirts

The 75th NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo, June 25-28 in New Orleans, is approaching – and registration is now open. As we get ready for convention, NATA Now is looking back at convention history as well as what to know about NATA 2024.

The convention T-shirt has been a much-beloved souvenir from the in-person event for many years. The COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain pressures mean the shirt hasn’t been seen since 2019. NATA is happy to announce that in-person attendees at NATA 2024 will once again have a T-shirt in their registration bags.

To celebrate the return, NATA Now connected with former District Ten Director and NATA Hall of Fame inductee Cari Wood, LAT, ATC, to discuss the T-shirt quilt she made out of past NATA convention, state and district shirts and her favorite memories.

Wood said she and her mother often worked together to make T-shirt quilts for her children and friends. Wood started making them for “special students” at her high school upon graduation and thought it would be fun to make herself one.

“You get so many T-shirts as an athletic trainer, especially in the secondary school setting,” she said, adding that setting up T-shirt, hat or other memorabilia exchanges with other ATs is a great way to build a collection. “The bottom row is one shirt from each state in my district. The top row is all from friends."

Below, Wood answers five questions about her quilt.


A 10x10 quilt made out of t-shirts.


1. Which T-shirt in the quilt is the oldest and why did you save it all these years?

2004, and it’s hard to believe that was 20 years ago. I don’t recall exactly why I started keeping my T-shirts, but I think I got three or four and started thinking I should maybe save them. I couldn’t find 2005, unfortunately. I’m glad I made the quilt because it’s such a fun thing to have as a memory.


2. Of the NATA convention shirts included here, which one is your favorite and why?

2017 was the year I rolled off the board of directors. I figured that would be a good time to stop collecting and make the quilt. It's a memory of my leadership journey, starting in 2004 up to when I rolled off the board.


3. How did 2004 in Baltimore compare to 2016 in Baltimore?

I always love going to Baltimore because we usually throw in a Hit the Hill day and set up meetings with legislators in Washington, D.C. That was always something special to look forward to in Baltimore, getting to head into Washington, D.C.

I love that the convention committee changes it up every year, tries to add something different to focus around the membership. I'm just one of those people who wants to go every year. I always tell people if they've never gone, “Oh, my gosh! You've never gone, you have to go. It's so much fun!"

There’s a lot more social stuff, which is great, because convention is super overwhelming, especially if you’re going by yourself. When they added the district signs at the opening social, it was nice because you can go to your district and find someone to hang out with.


4. What was your favorite convention location that was featured on the quilt?

San Antonio is my favorite place to go; it’s such a cool city and so beautiful. I think NATA has outgrown it, but I would love to go back.


5. What is your favorite thing about convention T-shirts?

One of the things I wanted to point out was how clever the designs got over the years.

I personally like the shirts that are memorable of the city that we were in. You know the New Orleans one is really cool with the jazz band on it, and Indianapolis has black and white flag for the race cars. I think those are cool because it's a good memory of the city that you're in. But, on the other hand, I know a lot of people like the shirts that they did in ’17 and ’18, which were more professional for athletic trainers that they could wear to work.


2024 T-shirts will be available to in-person attendees only. Register and book your housing today!