The BOC is pleased to celebrate its silver anniversary, or ‘25 Years of Certainty’ for the Athletic Trainer (AT), in 2014. We are featuring BOC Athletic Trainer Director, Frank Walters, PhD, LAT, ATC, who serves as Vice President on the BOC board and also is the Director of the Sports Medicine and Wellness Programs at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
How did you become interested in athletic training?
Between my freshman and sophomore year at Brooklyn College I sustained an ankle injury and my girlfriend (now my wife Anne-Marie) suggested that I go see the AT. That individual was Bill Chisolm. I went to see him and the rest, as they say, is history.
How did you find out about the BOC?
I found out about the BOC as a part of my pursuit of certification. However, more specifically, my involvement with the BOC as a volunteer was gradual over an extended period of time. My early BOC activities were initially limited to serving as an oral/practical model and examiner. I have always been very active within the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) throughout my career. As many of my committee assignments and activities came to an end, around 2006, I took time off to attend to some purely personal matters, and after two years away from any active involvement in either association or BOC activities I decided to pursue becoming a BOC board member.
Why did you become an AT?
I became an AT because helping athletes/people was rewarding to me. Athletic training gave a purpose to my college education, and it also added meaning to what I was doing. I was also very highly influenced by my mentor Bill Chisolm. I continue to enjoy helping people, but my focus appears to have shifted to helping the AT. As an athletic training / healthcare / hospital administrator, I feel that helping young men and women who are entering the profession to gain early positive work experiences is very rewarding to me. Although I am not involved in day-to-day patient care, I live and work vicariously through each of the Athletic Trainers who work with me here at Broward Health as well as the members of the District of Columbia Public Schools Athletic Health Care Services. I believe that I have played a role in the care they provide to their patients, and that in the end is satisfying to me. It’s not the same as actual day-to-day contact with a patient, but it is satisfying in a much broader way. I know that my actions with these men and women have in some way touched and impacted the lives of thousands of individuals in Washington, DC, and here in South Florida.
What does the BOC's 25th anniversary mean to you as a member of the board?
The 25th anniversary of the BOC is significant to me as a board member because it serves as a reminder to me of the importance and sustainability of all that we do. In the end “protecting the public” and ensuring that individuals who work in athletic healthcare and within the mainstream of healthcare as ATs are prepared to provide the highest quality care, in an ethical, caring and professional manner is of the utmost importance. It will always be important and the fact that the BOC continues to exist and thrive is a testament to those individuals who had the foresight and courage to nurture the BOC so that we could become the organization that we are today.
What is your favorite moment/memory of being on the BOC Board of Directors?
I have two favorite moments and both are rather selfish and personal. The first memory relates to my decision to seek out becoming a board member and actually being elected. I really wasn’t sure if I would have enough support to be elected and when I got the call from our Executive Director, Denise Fandel, informing me that I was elected and welcoming me on as a Director-Elect I was very happy and very surprised at the same time. My second memory of being on the board relates to my heart attack in July, 2012, during the summer board meeting. Every member of the board including the BOC staff was so caring and concerned about me that I’ll never forget this. I can say that if I hadn’t been at the board meeting in Omaha that day, I may well have died. I’m forever grateful to my colleagues on the board for their advice and insistence that I seek immediate medical care. Ultimately, their advice saved my life. The care, concern and help that Denise Fandel and Anne Minton provided to me and my family during that time was tremendous. I can never repay them for their acts of kindness. Again, I will be forever grateful to them.
Please share how you've witnessed the transformation of the BOC and the credential for the Athletic Trainer?
During my career I have seen the BOC grow into an organization that is respected nationally and now internationally as the entity whose sole mission it is to assure the public that Athletic Trainers are qualified healthcare providers. The BOC has remained true to this mission while expanding its reach to include a broader focus as the worldwide leader in credentialing Athletic Trainers. In the process, the BOC has moved from being under the auspices of the member organization to becoming an independent entity with capable leadership to become the organization it is today.
What would you like to see happen for the athletic training profession or at the BOC in the next 25 years?
During the next 25 years I would like to see the BOC initiate a program that would focus on continued competence of the Athletic Trainer in a manner that is consistent with its mission but without causing too much consternation amongst the Athletic Trainers within the work place. Additionally, I’d like us to continue our leadership in protecting the public by educating them on athletic healthcare facilities / clinics and developing standards for these facilities. Finally, the BOC should continue to broaden its position as the worldwide leader in credentialing the AT.
In honor of the BOC’s 25th Anniversary, we have created a history microsite, which will launch at the NATA Annual Meeting. We invite you to share your memories and photos through the microsite and review the timeline of the BOC’s history of certifying ATs. You can also help us celebrate this milestone by sharing the microsite and/or memory with the #BOC25 hashtag in the social media platform. To share your memory, visit http://www.bocatc.org/submit-memories.