By Lauren Stephenson, MA, ATC
“Athletic Trainers Save Lives.”
“Every Body Needs an Athletic Trainer.”
“We’ve Got Your Back.”
“We Prepare You Perform.”
“A Safer Approach to Work, Life & Sport.”
“Your Protection is Our Priority.”
Every March Athletic Trainers (ATs) are dedicated to promoting National Athletic Training Month (NATM) and the athletic training profession. At Stony Brook University (SBU), we began a NATM tradition in 2012 with an inaugural trip to the “TODAY Show” in New York City to help kick-off NATM. The first year, there were a total of 30 students, faculty and staff attending all wearing university attire and carrying signs promoting the NATM slogans. The trip was a huge success! We received recognition from the hosts of the show and enjoyed some great group activities. The activities included breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway and a visit to the Body Worlds exhibit. The trip made such an impact that we decided to continue the tradition the following year.
In 2013, our group of now almost 50 including alumni (and we thought 2012 was huge), made the very early-morning, and much colder, trek into New York City for another amazing day. Our group filled an entire side of the “TODAY Show” corral with ATs and AT students. We followed this with breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner s and a tour with Jim Ramsay, head AT for the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
With a couple of years’ experience under our belt, we decided to make an even bigger impact in 2014 by inviting our colleagues from all of District 2. This was the biggest success yet with over 200 ATs and AT students lining the entire “TODAY Show” corral. We held signs with our new NATA logo and were proud to represent all regions of District 2, now this was huge. Our breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner became a networking event for students from varying institutions. Then, the SBU crew followed that with a custom mouth guard workshop at New York City dental school.
In preparing for our 2015 event, we wanted to make our NATM kick-off tradition have an even greater impact Let’s get the word out that March is National Athletic Training Month! So we decided to not only attend the “TODAY Show”, but to also include the audience of “Good Morning America.” In addition, we invited District 1 to join us. In 2015, we gathered 100 ATs and students at each location and gained recognition from Robin Roberts at “Good Morning America.” Our breakfast networking continued at Ellen’s Stardust Diner and several schools attended the Body World Exhibit together.
In 2016, we continued this tradition of attending 2 shows and set an all-time record of over 250 ATs and students! After breakfast, the SBU crew enjoyed an amazing experience with performing arts ATand SBU alumnus, Monica Lorenzo, MS, ATC at Radio City Music Hall. Lorenzo is an ATfor The Radio City Rockettes.
2017 marks our sixth year for NATM in New York City. It has become a tradition, not only for SBU, but for many ATs and AT programs in the northeast. We have over 13 institutions throughout Districts 1 and 2 represented and are looking forward to promoting this year’s slogan: “Your Protection is Our Priority.”
Every year we receive snap shots from people watching their TVs all over the US. They are always excited to see friends and colleagues and our NATA logo plastered across their morning news screens. It has always been our goal to promote our profession. However, our event has evolved into an experience of camaraderie among all those in attendance, sharing an unparalleled experience of professional pride.
Being in New York City, we are lucky we have access to some of the largest morning news shows in the country. However, we recognize that travel to New York City in March is not feasible for ATs across the US. We have found this type of NATM event to be very rewarding, and we hope you join us in seeking out your local morning news show to help promote the athletic training profession in March. Here are some tips for making a successful local event:
1. Find out if your local news station allows visitors for a live audience.
2. If they allow visitors, check in with other local AT programs and ATs to see if they want to attend.
- Local AT associations also can send out a mass email with your contact info.
- The more people the greater the impact.
3. Make a spreadsheet that includes one contact for each interested institution.
4. When you a have general idea of how many will be in attendance, use the NATA PR Toolkit for NATM to create a press release and send it to the news station. You can find the NATA PR Toolkit at https://www.nata.org/advocacy/public-relations/national-athletic-training-month.
5. Create an itinerary for the day and make sure you arrive very early to get a good spot.
- Be detailed so everyone knows where to go and who to direct questions from the producers to.
- Breakfast or a fun event afterward is always a bonus.
6. If you can’t get a large group together, just get started with your own group and it will grow from there.
If you’re interested in attending NATM in New York City or would like some guidance on starting your own event, please contact email@example.com. You can follow our event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NATMinNYC or on the “TODAY Show” or “Good Morning America” on March 3, 2017.
Happy National Athletic Training Month!