NATA Hall of Fame Class of 2024: Volunteering

May 7, 2024 by Kristin Carroll
NATA Hall of Fame 2024: Volunteering

The NATA Hall of Fame is the apex of member recognition, celebrating a select group of athletic trainers who have advanced the profession and exemplified what it means to live a life of service.

More than a jacket, plaque and accolades, the NATA Hall of Fame is an honor bestowed on those who have dedicated countless hours honing their skills, mentoring the next generation of ATs and leaving a lasting legacy in the athletic training profession.

The May NATA News features the class of 2024, highlighting their careers and volunteer achievements, while giving insight into their lives as leaders in the profession.

The class of 2024 will be acknowledged and inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame during the 75th NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in New Orleans.

In this article, the inductees share why they started volunteering and the rewards of their experiences.


Douglas J. Casa, PhD, ATC, FNAK

Although I didn’t know until 2001 that Kent Scriber, EdD, ATC, was the athletic trainer who immediately began my lifesaving care after I collapsed due to an exertional heat stroke during a 10K track race, I was always motivated by knowing that someone was working that day for no pay, just to serve this group of youth athletes who may be in harm’s way. I always think of him when I volunteer for any work I do in my profession.


Ray Castle, PhD, LAT, NREMT

When I was an athletic training student, I went to the 1988-90 Southeastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Athletic Training Student Symposium. I was at one of those meetings SEATA had with student senators. I remember having a conversation with the Kentucky student senator, Eric, just learning about what they did at the meeting and their function really began to pique my interest in volunteering.

It really took hold at my first Louisiana Athletic Trainers' Association meeting in 1990, where Louisiana was the host organization for the 1991 NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in New Orleans – my first NATA meeting. The LATA leadership really emphasized that everyone was needed. I realized that for a large organization, I actually could be a part of something and make a difference, stuffing attendee packets, monitoring the meeting door, etc. From there, it just continued during my graduate assistant years at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). Jim Gallaspy, AT Ret., was already involved heavily with the NATA Professional Development Committee as chair, SEATA president and then District Nine director as well as co-chair of the SEATA Athletic Training Student Symposium. I was helping out the SEATA Student Symposium each year as Jim and R.T. Floyd, ATC, CSCS, were co-chairs, and continued from there to various state, district and national committees, and board positions on the NATA Research & Education Foundation and the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Another “spark” was Ken Wright, AT Ret., who was chair of the NATA Educational Multimedia Committee. He invited me to “tag along” to get involved early when there wasn’t a position open.


Darryl Patrick Conway, MA, LAT, ATC

My parents were both longtime elementary school teachers in the public schools in Maryland, but also were very active in the community with youth sports and their alumni associations and other organizations. They were my role models all my life and taught me that you must give back to the community and continuously give of yourself to help others grow and develop. They were great examples to not only me, but also family members and others in the community.

All throughout my career, I have had incredible role models who were active in the community and volunteer organizations. My first full‐time job was with the New York Jets and Joe Patten, ATC, was the model for everyone within the Jets organization and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers’ Society. He was active in so many organizations and gave back to so many with his time, connections and resources. He modeled that you can do both; no matter where you work or how busy you are, there is always something you can do. At the University of Delaware, Mary Zagar, ATC, Keith Handling, AT Ret., Mike King, Tony Decker, ATC, Patricia Grim and others were such great role models as well with their involvement in Special Olympics and other community organizations.

One of my mottos is “Never forget where you came from – have a mentor and be a mentor.” My work as a volunteer and in the community has led to countless friendships, partnerships, skill development and lifelong learning on everyone’s part. Everywhere I go and everything that I am involved in, I learn something and meet new great people. Most importantly, the opportunity to be involved has led to me developing valuable relationships with many whom I consider mentors and even more opportunities to “give back” and develop mentee relationships that span decades.


Kimberly S. Peer, EdD, ATC, FNATA

From my early days in the profession, I realized that I had a passion for education. I met outstanding colleagues through my academic roles and discovered that if you want to facilitate growth and change in a profession, you have to give of your time and energy. My first volunteer activities were at the state level with the Ohio Athletic Trainers’ Association, where I was encouraged by Greg Behrens, AT Ret., to run for an elected office within the organization. During those years of state leadership, I became involved with NATA and the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer, where I really discovered my passion for servant leadership. Contributing to substantive change in the profession during significant educational reform initiatives fueled my desire to continue to work collaboratively with others to advance the profession.


Jiro Shikakura, MS, ATC

In 1996, I founded the Japan Athletic Trainers’ Organization (JATO) as an organization for Japanese ATs to promote athletic training and establish the status of athletic trainers in Japan. I have used the NATA model to spread the profession of athletic training not only in Japan, but also worldwide. Through these efforts, JATO has grown to include more than 400 ATs in 2024. Athletic trainers are now well-known in Japan, and many students are interested in becoming athletic trainers. Similar to what has happened in Japan in the past 25 years, I believe that the profession of athletic training is gradually spreading worldwide.


Craig Alan Voll Jr., PhD, ATC, PT

William E. “Pinky” Newell is the person who inspired me to volunteer. However, I never met Mr. Newell as he had passed away shortly before I started as a student at Eastern Michigan University. During my junior year at Eastern, I was awarded the William E. “Pinky” Newell Living Memorial Scholarship. My first mentor, Gary Strickland, AT Ret., told me that if I was going to win an award named after the father of modern-day athletic training then I had to understand who he was and the significant role he played in the history of our profession. As I researched, I was inspired by the vision Mr. Newell had for the future of athletic training. What I learned from that exercise is that talent enables you to hit a target no one else can hit, but a true visionary leader and change agent, like Mr. Newell, hits targets no one else can see. I made a promise to myself that when I got to a point in my career where I could start serving and volunteering, I would give back to the profession I love and do my best to pay it forward, just like Mr. Newell.


Cari L. Wood, LAT, ATC

I was raised by parents who were constantly volunteering and giving back to the community, so I didn’t really know anything else. There are two types of volunteering: Being part of an organization that gives time, effort and money to help areas or individuals in need; and volunteer leadership to help organize, run and make decisions for organizations that you have a passion for. I choose to do both. Giving back to people in our community who need assistance for a multitude of reasons makes me feel happy and proud – like on Christmas Day, it’s always more fun to watch others open the presents you gave them than it is to open gifts you have received. Volunteer leadership within the athletic training organizations I belong to allows me to give back to a career that I love and that has given me so much. Not only do I enjoy doing it, but I feel as if it is our duty to support our organizations to help our profession continue to grow and thrive. But I feel like I have gotten more out of my volunteer experiences than I can ever give in return. It is so rewarding, and the friendships and memories made are unmatched.