2020 ATSNJ Scholarship & Award Winners Announced

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The Athletic Trainers' Society of New Jersey is proud to announce the recepients of this year's scholarships and awards!  These achievements will be celebrated at the annual awards program & brunch on Monday, March 2, 2020 during the 34th Annual ATSNJ Conference & Business Meeting in Somerset, NJ.

Jack Weakley D2 College Scholarship

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Sarah Unger | Rowan University

The Jack Weakley D2 Scholarship - As the Director of the Sports Medicine Group for Johnson and Johnson Consumer Products Company, Jack Weakly,  continuously played a major role in the NATA, the profession of athletic training, and the evolution of the ATSNJ. He has been instrumental in providing leadership, guidance and his support of our organization. The Jack Weakley D2 Scholarship is named for an individual who was a champion of athletic training on a national level and a true friend of athletic trainers in the state of New Jersey who share Jack’s motto “Helping those who help others.”

This year’s recipient is Sarah Unger. Sarah is an athletic training student at Rowan University.  Her nominator and supervisor, Rob Sterner states, “Sarah is able to take what she has learned in the classroom and apply it clinically to the supervision of her patients. She is highly skilled and continues to improve herself all the time.” Sarah was also the recipient of the 2020 EATA Wes Jordan/Henry Schein Scholarship. She hopes that one day third-party reimbursement can be used by all athletic trainers and feels confident, with determination of our state and national organizations, this can be achieved.

Richard Malecrea College Scholarship

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Nicole Thompson | Rowan University

Richard Malacrea College Scholarship - A respected member of the NATA for 27 years, “Dick” Malacrea’s accomplishments were extensive since achieving his Certificate of Physical Therapy in 1957.  Hard work and sacrifice became a way of life for Dick after serving in the US Army. He attended West Chester College as a staff athletic trainer before becoming the head athletic trainer at Princeton University. Dick was a charter member of the ATSNJ and ATSNJ Hall of Fame 1992 inductee. He was a founding father of the ATSNJ and one of the original authors of the New Jersey Athletic Training Practice Act in 1984. Dick has worked to create a high standard for athletic trainers. 

This year’s recipient is Nicole Thompson from Rowan University. Nicole’s supervising AT Colleen Grugan says Niole has excelled in the education program at Rowan. “Nicole gives her all and tries her hardest when helping others along the way in the true spirit of college and the true spirit of our profession”, said Grugan. Nicole was a student delegate for NJ at the NATA iLead Leadership Conference last year. She was the 2020 EATA recipient of the District 2 Joseph Abraham Scholarship Award and the 2019 Rowan University Athletic Training Program Student of the Year. Nicole’s passion for the profession has motivated her to advance her education by obtaining her PhD/DAT to further pursue and teach in the athletic training profession. 

Vito Recine Memorial High School Scholarship

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ChInonye Igwe | Academy of Allied Health Sciences (Union County Vo Tech) | Hillside High School

Victor “Vito” Recine was considered by many of his colleagues to be a pioneer in the field of Athletic Training and in establishing the importance of athletic trainers in high schools in New Jersey.  His career covered over 40 years of service to athletes of New Brunswick and Sayreville High School, as well as Rutgers University. He was an original member of the NATA and was inducted into the NATA Hall Of Fame in 1978. He was a driving force in the registration of athletic trainers and founding of the ATSNJ. He dedicated his life to sports, athletic competition and serving young people. He was a true champion and friend to all who knew him.

This year’s recipient is Chinonye Igwe. Her supervising athletic trainer, James Boyle states “Chinonye is an astounding student who is driven and enthusiastic about her work. She takes each opportunity and creates a positive learning experience. She possesses a unique skill of leadership amongst her peers and teammates. She serves her community in a multitude of ways as a track counselor and looks to further her contribution by becoming a certified EMT.” She is the vice president of the Athletic Training Club and participates in track all year round. Chinonye believes her work ethic and past life experiences growing up around health care professionals have properly prepared her for perseverance in all her life goals including a career in the profession of athletic training. 

ATSNJ Presidential Award

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Mark Bramble, MS, ATC | Marlboro High School (retired)

Chosen by the ATSNJ President each year, the recipient is someone who has made an impact to the Society and its membership.  This year’s recipient is Mark Bramble. Formerly the athletic trainer from Marlboro High School, Mark has now retired and is spending his time as a health care provider at Sports Care New Jersey in Marlboro. Since 2001 he has been a member of the ATSNJ Golf committee, serving as Chairman from 2009-2019. This committee has helped raise over $200K for selected charities and adding necessary funds for our legislative efforts.   

ATSNJ Distinguished Service Award

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Cali Whedon, LAT, ATC | Point Pleasant Beach High School

The ATSNJ Distinguished Service Award (DSA) recognizes ATSNJ members who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to leadership, volunteer service, advocacy and distinguished professional activities as an athletic trainer. The DSA exclusively recognizes ATSNJ members who have been involved in service and leadership activities at the state and district level. 

This year’s recipient is Cali Whedon. Cali has been an ATSNJ Central Jersey Representative,  Executive Council member, and Chairman of the Secondary School AT Committee. She has served on the ATSNJ Public relations, Fun Run, Secondary School, and NJSIAA Sports Medicine Committees. Cali has also volunteered for Special Olympics, NJSIAA State wrestling championships and NJSIAA Gymnastics championships. She was inducted into the NJSCA Hall Of Fame in 2018 and continues to be the athletic trainer at Point Pleasant Beach High School since 2002.

ATSNJ Hall Of Fame

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Christina Emrich, MS, LAT, ATC | Red Bank Regional High School

The ATSNJ Hall of Fame exists to recognize the very best of our profession in the state of New Jersey.  Induction into the Hall of Fame honors athletic trainers who exemplify the mission of the ATSNJ through significant lasting contributions that enhance the quality of health care provided by athletic trainers and advance the profession. They have helped shape the profession in New Jersey through their noteworthy accomplishments and dedication to service, leadership and professionalism. 

This year’s inductee is Christina Emrich. Christina has played an integral part in ATSNJ serving as Central Regional Representative (2001-2004), Treasurer (2013-2015), President Elect (2015-2017), and President (2017-2019). She has been a member of the Governmental Affairs, Golf, Public Relations, AT’s Care New Jersey, and Secondary Schools AT committees.

She has been active in the NATA D2 Executive Board, EATA Sponsorship, and EATA Technology Committees. Currently, Christina is a member of the NJSIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and inducted into the NJSCA/NJSIAA Hall of Fame in 2011. Her most significant contribution has been in educating the public about preventing heat illness. Christina has worked toward legislation for mandating Heat Participation Policies, monitoring concussion return to play, and the implementation of emergency action plans that are now mandatory in all NJ high schools. She continues to be the athletic trainer at Red Bank Regional High School since 1995 and member of Tinton Falls Emergency Medical Services since 1993. 

Timothy M. Hosea Team Physician Award

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Dr. Scott A. Rodeo, MD | The Hospital For Special Surgery / NY Giants

Dr. Tim Hosea was a beloved friend, advocate, and team physician to many athletic trainers throughout the State of New Jersey. We were saddened by his loss in 2014. He was a mentor to many athletic trainers, and he dedicated his life and profession to ensuring the health of athletes worldwide. As the US Olympic rowing team physician, Chair of the Sports Commission for the US Rowing Association as well as the Chair for the NJSIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, he touched many lives. 

This year’s Timothy M. Hosea Team Physician Award is presented to Dr. Scott A Rodeo, MD.  Dr. Rodeo is an Attending Orthopedic Surgeon and Clinician-Scientist at The Hospital for Special Surgery, with appointments in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery (Sports Medicine Institute) and the Research Department (Tissue Engineering, Repair, and Regeneration Program). Dr Rodeo has authored many research studies and books. He has been a speaker for many Sports Medicine programs including the ATSNJ.  His other responsibilities include Head Team Physician for the NY Giants, Chairman of the US Swimming Sports Medicine Committee, Team Physician to the US Olympic Team in both Beijing and Athens, and Team physician for the US Swimming National Team in Barcelona, Australia, and Moscow. He also holds a number of patents and has been honored for his many research projects and presentations.