Honors & Awards

The Honors and Awards Committee serves the important function of acknowledging those individuals or groups who have distinguished themselves as certified athletic trainers or through their efforts have made a significant contribution to the athletic training profession.

Award Descriptions

TATS Hall of Fame

The induction into the Hall of Fame is an honor conferred upon members who have distinguished themselves in the profession. Each of these people have been members who have worked in the State of Tennessee a minimum of fifteen years and have demonstrated throughout their life’s work the highest level of devotion, professionalism and personal sacrifice to those they have served and cared for. This is the highest award bestowed on an athletic trainer by the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society.


President’s Award of Merit

There are always a small group of individuals in any organization who take on the responsibility of providing the resources and effort for meeting the goals and completion of projects. This is particularly true in TATS as it is in our profession. We have been blessed with good leaders and members who have provided their time and talents in many ways. Many have served their time and then stepped aside to let others continue to build on the foundation they have started. However, there are some special individuals who, no matter what achievements they have reached and no matter how much they have contributed still find ways to be involved in the athletic training profession. The Presidents’ Award of Merit has been created to recognize those individuals who have continued to distinguish themselves beyond the call of duty. It stands for the unselfish dedication and sacrifice that epitomizes the certified athletic trainer and is one of our organization’s highest awards.


Previous Award Winners

2003 - David Adams
2004 - Robert Nevil
2005 - Charles “Chuck” Kimmel
2006 - David Green
2007 - Nicholas A. Pappas
2008 - No Award Given
2009 - No Award Given
2010 - Doug May
2011 - Robbie Williams
2012 - No Award Given
2013 - Regg Swanson
2014 - Representative Debra Maggart
2014 - Senator Jim Tracy
2014 - Therese Sparn
2015 - G. Chase Wilson, MD
2016 - Mark Reeves, TSSAA
2017 - Manney Moore, Cocke County
2018 - Rick Lowry


Sports Medicine Person of the Year Award

Each year, the Honors and Awards Committee is provided by the membership names of special individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to sports medicine with influence on the athletic training profession. The Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society proudly recognizes this person for their service and dedication by honoring them with this award.


Joe Worden Clinic / Professional Athletic Trainer of the Year Award

Joe Worden, former head athletic trainer at Vanderbilt University has been described as the consummate athletic trainer. His regard for each athlete in his care provided a level of compassion and professionalism that was demonstrated both on and off the field. This award is given to that individual who best exemplifies the qualities that Joe Worden demonstrated in his illustrious and unselfish career.


Eugene Smith / Mickey O'Brien College Athletic Trainer of the Year Award

The College Athletic Trainer of the Year Award is named for former head athletic trainers Eugene Smith of then Memphis State University and Mickey O’Brien who served at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. These people were some of the most talented athletic trainers in sports and helped set the model that others have followed in providing care at the collegiate level. This award honors those whose work epitomizes that legacy.


Sandy Sandlin High School Athletic Trainer of the Year Award

Sandy Sandlin was a special person whose tireless work as an athletic trainer at the University of Tennessee — Chattanooga flowed over into the surrounding communities. His dedication to athletes at the high school, collegiate and professional levels set an example for others to follow. The High School Athletic Trainer of the Year is given to those individuals whose effort exemplifies the perseverance and dedication for which this award is named.


Backbone Award

Behind many great leaders there are personnel who demonstrate a work ethic that often goes unrecognized. The professional dedication and personal sacrifice of these individuals allows those with supervisory responsibility to better meet their obligations. The Backbone Award is given to that person whose commitment and enthusiasm exemplifies the unselfish loyalty to their respective programs, staff and athletes. 


Corporate Award

The Corporate Award is presented to individuals or groups who have distinguished themselves by making significant contributions or provided outstanding support of the athletic training profession in the State of Tennessee.


Jerry Robertson Educator Award

The Jerry Robertson Educator Award is named for former head athletic trainer Jerry Robertson of East Tennessee State University for his work in creating, implementing, and establishing the first undergraduate Athletic Training Education Program in the state.  This award is given to an individual who is an Athletic Trainer in the educational setting and who’s dedication and service to Athletic Trainers’ and/or Athletic Training Students exemplifies their desire to learn and/or teach regarding the profession of Athletic Training.


Lifesaver Certificate of Recognition

Following the guidelines of the NATA Lifesaver Recognition Program, TATS would like to recognize when an Athletic Trainer has been directly involved with a Lifesaving event.  A lifesaving event is defined as a situation in which the victim(s) would have or most likely have died had the Athletic Trainer not intervened by providing skilled medical care and assistance.  The Athletic Trainer will receive a Certificate of Recognition at the annual TATS Meeting.