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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

At NATA, A Changing of the Guard

Published June 29, 2012 11:07 AM by Jon Bassett

ST. LOUIS, MO -- At the 63rd Annual Meeting & Clinical Symposia of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA), president Marje Albohm, MS, ATC, handed off her presidential responsibilities to her successor, James Thornton, MA, ATC, PES, CES, head athletic trainer and director of sports medicine and athletic training services at Clarion University in Clarion, PA.

Albohm was NATA's president for two consecutive two-year terms. Beginning with Thornton's presidency, NATA bylaws will limit the president's tenure to a single three-year span.

"You've done outstanding work during your presidency," Thornton told Albohm during the ceremony. "Thanks for your time, your personal sacrifices, and most of all your leadership."

One of Thornton's primary objectives as president will be placing athletic trainers in secondary schools, he said. Secondary schools need the skills of a full-time athletic trainer on staff who is compensated with the appropriate salary, he said.

"This is about the health and safety of our youth," said Thornton.

Thornton issued a call to action to his assembled audience of several thousand NATA members, lamenting the fact that just 3 percent of membership responded to a recent NATA initiative to contact legislators regarding CMS' 2005 rule prohibiting certified athletic trainers from performing physician "incident-to" services. "Apathy does not become us," said Thornton, adding that the rule resulted in thousands of athletic trainers losing their jobs, being demoted and suffering pay cuts.

Still, Thornton called athletic training "the greatest profession," adding, "there is none like it." And Albohm, during her "state of the profession" address prior to welcoming Thornton, called 2012 "one of the strongest years in membership retention." She added that athletic trainers are known on Capitol Hill and continue to gain respect among legislators, the medical community and the public.

posted by Jon Bassett

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