Weber State University received national attention last month as Valerie Herzog, director of the WSU Graduate Athletic Training Program, was named one of the 2015 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainers by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
“The Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer award recognizes NATA members who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to leadership, volunteer service, advocacy and distinguished professional activities as an athletic trainer,” reads the NATA website.
The annual award is given to athletic trainers who have been members of NATA for at least 20 years and are dedicated to many athletic organizations and helping the community at national and district levels. Herzog has been a member of NATA for roughly 22 years.
“I was nominated by a colleague, but had to solicit several letters of support, at least one from an athletic trainer who is in the NATA Hall of Fame,” said Herzog.
In addition to that, she also provided a list of her services to the community, research she has conducted and presentations she has given.
Herzog is the President of the Utah Athletic Trainers’ Association and a board member for the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. She has also worked to help certify athletic trainers and organizing athletic trainer conferences.
Her research has been published in multiple journals. Topics of Herzog’s research has included the effect of salted ice bags on the cooling of muscle tissue and building relationships with clinical instructors.
“It is an incredible honor to be recognized in this way, and I feel very blessed that Weber State University allows me the time and flexibility to serve my profession,” Herzog said. “I want to make sure that I continue to live up to what the award stands for.”
She has also been recognized for many different awards in the past, including the John A. Lindquist Award in 2013 for her commitment to mentoring Weber State University students.
Herzog also encourages her students to volunteer in the community. She contacts local events such as the Dew Tour, Special Olympics and marathons to help them out.
“The students assist with providing medical care for any injuries that occur during the events,” she said. “These experiences give them the opportunity to work with different patient populations and develop cultural competence.”
The title was presented at NATA’s 66th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in St. Louis on June 25. About 12,000 athletic trainers attended the annual conference.
“It felt amazing, and I am so very grateful for all of my colleagues over the years who gave me the opportunity to serve our profession in so many ways,” Herzog said.
This story has been updated to correct the position name to “athletic trainer.”