Students: Apply for Chuck Kimmel Award

April 15, 2024 by Lydia Hicks
Photo of Aric Aritam and Chuck Kimmel, AT Students: Apply for Chuck Kimmel First-Time Attendee Award

Each year, the NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo offers student attendees the opportunity to learn from leaders in the profession during the Athletic Training Student Seminar. To help students attend this valuable, in-person experience, the NATA Student Leadership Committee offers the Chuck Kimmel First-Time Attendee Award, which is accepting submissions through April 20.

When creating the award in 2016, the committee decided to name it after NATA’s 10th president, Chuck Kimmel, who passed away March 19. During his tenure, Kimmel developed several initiatives that have had a lasting impact on the athletic training profession and association, including the creation of SLC and the NATA Young Professionals’ Committee, now the NATA Early Professionals’ and Career Advancement committees. You can read more about Kimmel and his legacy in the May NATA News.

Since 2016, 23 students have attended the NATA convention thanks to the Chuck Kimmel First-Time Attendee Award. One of these students is Aric Aritam, ATC, who received the award in 2022. He shares his story of how the award has impacted his athletic training journey.


“Winning the Chuck Kimmel First-Time Attendee Award made it financially feasible for me to attend the 73rd NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in Philadelphia, which was truly a perspective-changing experience. Before NATA 2022, I didn’t understand just how connected the athletic training community was on a national level. There was so much to learn from the convention, as well as so much networking to be done. I met and had several conversations with some of the legends in our profession. I also reconnected with old friends and mentors while also making new friendships that will last a lifetime. Because of the connections I made, as well as connections I strengthened, I was offered several job opportunities at convention. I came to NATA 2022 with an open mind and a willingness to learn and left with an appreciation of the human side of athletic training as a profession.

Student involvement is important for all AT students. It integrates you into the profession early in your career with other like-minded students, but also affords you the opportunity to build connections you might not have been able to make on your own. These connections can’t be overstated. Additionally, as a student, getting involved with opportunities, such as SLC, at the state, district and national levels allows you to practice and refine your leadership skills early and often. Organizations that hire athletic trainers want to make sure they are hiring professionals who can become leaders not only in the profession at large, but for the patients they take care of.

Students, as someone who was once in your shoes literally less than a year ago, I urge everyone to attend any and all conferences you can, whether that be at the state, district or national level. There are so many opportunities and connections you can only make at these conventions – and they’re a lot of fun! If cost is a limiting factor, explore your options for funding through NATA, district or state association websites for scholarships to attend. Some academic programs may also offer scholarships to students for professional development. They are out there, and they are way underapplied for! This is partially why the NATA Research & Education Foundation exists to help students like you reach your full potential by offering opportunities to change your life. Additionally, try to go with your fellow students in your cohort and split the cost of hotel rooms or travel expenses. And who knows, you might find your next job walking up to talk to you at the next convention you attend.”


Remembering Chuck

NATA has created a memorial form, if you would like to submit your favorite memory, image or video of Kimmel for NATA to share with his family. We may also use your tribute publicly as we continue to celebrate the extraordinary life of our beloved friend and colleague. Submissions will be accepted through May 10.

As we mourn Chuck Kimmel’s passing, any athletic trainer who needs support is encouraged to reach out to the ATs Care Program. You can reach ATs Care through email, or the online contact form.