July 13, 2018
Neil Curtis is one of only 13 athletic trainers (ATs) in the U.S. to be named a 2018 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), which has more than 44,000 members. The award recognizes his outstanding dedication and service to the athletic training profession, demonstrated by service and leadership activities at the national and district level, exceptional commitment to leadership, volunteer service, advocacy, and distinguished professional activities as an athletic trainer.
Candidates for the award must have held the certified athletic trainer (ATC) credential, conferred by the Board of Certification (BOC), and have been a NATA member, both for at least 20 years.
Curtis, who is also a Licensed Athletic Trainer (LAT), joined the WCU faculty in 1993 and is currently associate professor of sports medicine as well as program director for the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)-accredited athletic training programs. He earned both a master of education and a doctor of education at Columbia University; a master of science at the University of Arizona; and a bachelor of science at Boston University.
His primary clinical responsibilities are to athletes on WCU’s soccer teams.
Curtis is on the board of directors for the BOC, the only accredited certification program for athletic trainers. He is a previous winner of NATA’s Athletic Trainer Service Award (2010), which recognized his service on various Eastern Athletic Trainers Association (EATA) committees, his mentorship of students and graduates, and his professional commitments. EATA honored him in 2015 with the Presidential Recognition Award.
His recent professional service includes Curriculum Evaluation Site Visitor for CAATE 1991–2007; and appointed chair, Eastern Athletic Trainers Association Scholarship Committee, 1997–present. Between July 1999 and June 2004, he served as appointed chair for the NATA Education Council Entry Level Education Committee and as an appointed member of the NATA Education Council Executive Committee.
He has been the appointed chair of the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers Society Research Committee since 1996; continuing education column editor for the International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training since 1997 and a member of the journal’s editorial review board since 1995; and guest article reviewer for the Journal of Athletic Training since 2002 and for the Athletic Training Education Journal since 2006.
The award presentation was made in late June during the 2018 NATA 69th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in New Orleans. Curtis (center in photo) shared the stage with Scott Heinerichs (left in photo), professor and interim dean of the College of Health Sciences, and John Smith, AT instructor, both of whom were recognized with NATA Athletic Trainer Service Awards.
The University’s Department of Sports Medicine was well represented at NATA by faculty, students, and alumni who made oral and poster presentations. Among WCU’s NATA scholarship winners were class of 2018 graduates Morgan Dumont and Kelly St. John and current graduate student Jordan Crills. Second-year GA Lindsay Bodine was named a finalist for the Masters Oral Award.