MISSOULA – Students in the University of Montana Athletic Training program recently competed in and won the “Best Student Effort” category of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Public Relations competition for the seventh consecutive year.
March was National Athletic Training Month, and this competition served as one of many ways that NATA worked to promote the profession of athletic training and increase awareness of the role that athletic trainers play in various aspects of work and sports life.
The NATA PR Committee issued a call to NATA members for contest entries and then recognized outstanding public relations achievements by NATA district and state associations, student groups or individuals.
The UM students used social media, set up community fundraisers on campus and in Missoula, created informational bulletin boards and distributed flyers, posters and public service announcements to deliver their message with the theme “We’ve Got Your Back.”
Contest submissions were limited to public relations efforts performed by athletic training groups during the month of March. To be considered, entries had to educate, use proper athletic trainer terminology and could not be self-serving. A significant emphasis was placed on originality.
“Participating in the NATA PR contest each year is an excellent opportunity for our students to gain an understanding regarding the importance of educating others about the athletic training profession at the local, regional and national level,” said Valerie Moody, professor in UM’s Department of Health and Human Performance and director of the Athletic Training program. “It is a great way for our students to connect and collaborate with other health care professionals, coaches, athletes and community members by raising awareness about the importance of having access to a certified athletic trainer.”
The NATA organization currently has more than 35,000 members worldwide and is recognized as the leading professional organization for athletic trainers.
“Winning the National Athletic Trainers Association Public Relations contest is an extraordinary accomplishment for the UM Athletic Training program, considering there are over 350 AT programs in the nation,” said Scott Richter, chair of the UM Department of Health and Human Performance and associate professor of athletic training. “Several AT programs and student groups competing for this award have significantly more students and are located in highly populated regions with greater access to myriad media opportunities, making this winning streak even more meaningful. This accomplishment is a tribute to the superb leadership of Valerie Moody and the high quality of students involved in UM Athletic Training.”
For more information about NATA, the UM Athletic Training program or the UM Department of Health and Human Performance, visit http://www.coehs.umt.edu/ or call 406-243-4211.