National Athletic Trainers' Association - Oxley College of Health Sciences

National Athletic Trainers’ Association

National Athletic Trainers’ Association inducts Gardner into Hall of Fame

On July 21, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) inducted Chapman Clinical Professor of Athletic Training Greg Gardner into its Hall of Fame. Gardner was actually named to this body in 2020; however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the official ceremony was postponed a year.

man wearing a tie and glassesThe NATA Hall of Fame exists to recognize the very best of the athletic training profession. Induction into the Hall of Fame honors athletic trainers who exemplify the mission of NATA through significant, lasting contributions that enhance the quality of health care provided by athletic trainers and advance the profession. These men and women have shaped the profession through their noteworthy accomplishments and dedication to service, leadership and professionalism.

“I am thrilled that Greg has received this honor,” said Robin Ploeger, the dean of The University of Tulsa’s Oxley College of Health Sciences. “Greg has served the athletic training profession in many capacities during his career, including with program accreditation, international opportunities and in the professional association. During his time at TU, he has mentored approximately 140 students who have graduated from our athletic training program. Many of them have also gone on to successful careers and are also serving the profession.”

Gardner earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming in 1984 and his master’s degree from the University of Arizona a year later. In 1995, he went to the University of Southern Mississippi to earn his doctor of education. Gardner’s first job was as an athletic trainer and teacher at Rockport-Fulton High School. He was there from 1985 to 1988, at which time he shifted into collegiate settings as an athletic trainer and assistant professor at Howard Payne University. Gardner’s volunteer service includes Oklahoma Athletic Trainers’ Association Student Session chair (1996-99), CAATE president (2008-01) and World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy U.S. vice president (2011-18). He presently serves as a member of the Athletic Rehabilitators and Therapists of Ireland accreditation panel, Oklahoma Athletic Trainers’ Association vice president and Oklahoma Athletic Trainers’ Association government affairs chair. 

Scholar, mentor, colleague and friend

Gardner’s induction into the NATA Hall of Fame is a seriously impressive accomplishment. Only one half of one percent of the organization’s members ever make it into that august body. This recognition follows Gardner’s not long after the International Service Award from NATA’s International Committee.

“It’s quite amazing that I am being honored for doing something I’m passionate about,” said Gardner, who received TU’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 2019. “I am so fortunate to work at a university that values professional service and to have a job that allows me to do the amount of work required to join the Hall of Fame.”


With typical humility, Gardner also shines a light on his colleagues and their contributions to his success: “I owe a large part of this honor to people who were both willing and capable of filling in the gaps when I found myself, for example, in Jordan during final exam week or attending back-to-back conference for 14 straight days. I am immensely fortunate to have their support and friendship.”

And those colleagues, in turn, speak highly of Gardner. “I have had the pleasure of learning from, working with, and serving with Greg for 25 years,” commented Ron Walker (BS ‘95, MA ‘96), OCHS’s associate dean and clinical professor of athletic training. “Greg has been instrumental in the success of countless students, myself included, and always provides the example of what it means to be a professional, a servant leader, a colleague and a friend. I am thrilled to be able to celebrate this tremendous honor with him, he is certainly deserving.”

Rachel Hildebrand (BS ’06), the director of TU’s athletic training program, added: “Dr. Gardner has been a rock as a mentor, colleague and friend. As a student of his, he shaped my career path, both as a clinician and educator. As a colleague, he has continued to impart his wisdom, expertise, and love of athletic training. I would not be where I am today without Dr. Gardner’s guidance.”

The need for athletic training professionals who can provide preventive, diagnostic and rehabilitative services is expected to grow 22% in the next eight years. Find your pathway into this exciting, expanding field at TU.




Robinson receives NATA scholarship

Round-offs, back handsprings and cartwheels — Katelyn Robinson grew up on gymnastics. With every twist and turn, she witnessed others’ injuries and made it her mission to study athletic training.

Robinson is a National Athletic Trainer’s Association Research and Education Foundation scholarship awardee. The number of scholarships NATA awards varies annually from 50 to 75 recipients with the amount of the award currently at $2,300 per scholarship.

Her love for athletic training started as early as the eighth-grade when she attended an athletic training day. While attending Oklahoma State University for her undergraduate degree, she interned with the football and wrestling teams.

The “golden” experience

 Robinson with Dean of Oxley College of Health Sciences, Robin Ploeger
Robinson with Dean of Oxley College of Health Sciences, Robin Ploeger

Robinson is a Tulsa native who chose The University of Tulsa to pursue her education in athletic training.

I have always dreamed about going to TU for athletic training,” said Robinson.

Seeing how passionate TU is about giving their students opportunities and teaching is really incredible to me,” explains Robinson.

The athletic training program at TU is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The program was the first accredited athletic training program in Oklahoma and involves an extensive core of academic study combined with in-depth clinical rotations.

We are very proud of Katelyn for earning recognition through the NATA Foundation scholarship,” said Ron Walker associate dean of the Oxley College of Health Sciences.

Walker explained: “She is certainly a very deserving recipient who represents our athletic training program and TU very well because of her experiences and enthusiasm for the athletic training profession.”

Sideline support

For some, sprains, cuts and gruesome injuries make heads turn right away, but Robinson doesn’t bat an eye “You have to be that person that they look to in the situation that to them is the end of the world,” she said.

Robinson volunteered with the Student Leadership Council at TU to help coordinate the Big XII wrestling tournament in Tulsa.

In the master’s program, Oxley College of Health Sciences students are required to assist professional athletic trainers during sport seasons. Robinson has assisted Tulsa-area high schools and the TU Men’s soccer team. This fall, she will be on the sideline assisting the Golden Hurricane football team.

I have loved that relationship with the athletes from the moment they stepped foot on campus through any injuries and battles that they had and watching them play the sport they love,” said Robinson.

The NATA Foundation’s work benefits every athletic trainer and every group associated with the profession, as well as the physically active community at large.

The scholarship was presented during the NATA Clinical Symposia in Las Vegas on June 25.

The requirements for the NATA Research and Education Foundation scholarship are:

  • Be enrolled in a CAATE accredited entry-level master’s program that concludes with a master’s degree;
  • Have a cumulative overall grade-point average of at least 3.2 (based on a 4.0 maximum) for the last 40 credits of his/her undergraduate courses and ALL of his/her entry-level master’s courses including the fall of 2019;
  • Have one academic year in master’s program remaining OR is graduating in spring 2020 and intends to pursue an advanced degree in domains of athletic training.


Athletic Training professor honored with International Service Award

On June 25, 2019, Greg Gardner will be honored with the International Service Award from the International Committee (IC) of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). Gardner is a clinical professor of athletic training in The University of Tulsa’s Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitative Sciences.

Certified as an athletic trainer since 1985, Gardner has wide-ranging experience in the field. Among his many accomplishments, Gardner served as the U.S. vice president of the World Federation of Athletic Training & Therapy. Thanks to his efforts, the WFATT Global Program Recognition Standards were developed and approved.

Advancing athletic training globally

In its announcement, NATA’s International Committee thanked Gardner for his “dedicated service and outstanding commitment to advancing the education and development of athletic training globally. The NATA IC Service Award recognizes your contribution to moving our profession forward.”

“I congratulate Dr. Gardner and I am grateful for his work with this and other international committees,” said Robin Ploeger, the dean of TU’s Oxley College of Health Sciences. “Through his connections with athletic trainers across the globe, our students have benefitted from having opportunities to travel abroad via study abroad trips, interact with professionals from other countries who visit Tulsa and connect with international students through electronic means.”

Upon hearing the news of this award, Gardner, in typically humble fashion, said, “I find it difficult to believe that I get recognition for following a passion. Working to help establish athletic training in other countries has been such a privilege. I have met some of the most absolutely fabulous and dedicated professionals that have also grown to become some of my closest personal and professional friends. The old adage really is true: A labor of love is not a labor at all!”

This has certainly been a memorable year for Gardner. Just a few months ago he was also honored with an Outstanding Teacher Award from TU in recognition of his immense dedication and contributions to students’ success.