Article reposted from Grand Valley Lanthorn
Author: Natalie Longroy
Sometimes it takes a career-ending injury to jump-start a career. Now over 30 years later, Grand Valley State’s Mark Stoessner has been inducted into the Michigan Athletic Trainers’ Society (MATS) Hall of Fame.
Stoessner has been an athletic trainer in Michigan for 29 years and recently completed his ninth year as the head athletic trainer at GVSU. Stoessner directly works with the football team and also supervises volleyball, basketball and baseball.
On June 10, Stoessner became the 26th inductee into the MATS Hall of Fame.
“I’m more happy, you know, work a lot of hours and miss a lot of stuff at home so it was good that my wife and kids were there and my parents,” Stoessner said.
Stoessner realized his call to athletic training back in high school, after he suffered a career-ending neck injury that ended his ability to continue playing sports.
“I played sports in high school,” Stoessner said. “When I got hurt, I was in the 10th grade. I went to (Bowling Green State University) in Ohio and got my Bachelor’s degree. Then I went to grad school in Northern Michigan and then passed the national board certification exam for athletic trainers.”
After completing the exam, he was given a chance to work at Northern Michigan by the athletic director.
“If I didn’t start with the job I started with there, I’d be somewhere else right now,” Stoessner said. “I’d be an athletic trainer, I think, but I wouldn’t have followed the path that I did.”
According to the MATS, there are four criteria candidates have to meet to be considered for the Hall of Fame.
First, the individual must contribute to the profession of athletic training.
In 2013, Stoessner helped create law HB 4263, which updates the practice act that defines what a licensed athletic trainer is in Michigan. Finally, two years later in 2015, the bill passed through the House of Representatives and the Senate, and signed by the Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
“MATS was able to put forth legislation that lowered our state licensure fees, and updated our working relationship with physicians in our practice act that could open the doors for future reimbursement for athletic trainers working in the rehabilitation setting, as well as those athletic trainers in physician offices,” said Bill Shinavier, staff athletic trainer at the University of Michigan.
Second, they must contribute to the MATS, Great Lakes Athletic Trainers Association (GLATA) and National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).
Stoessner is a part of all three of the above organizations. He has served as president of the MATS from 2013-15, was the Vice President of the GLATA from 2009-11 and was a Michigan state representative from 2012-13. He is a current member of the NATA College and University Athletic Trainer Committee.
“Not just in athletic training, but in other professions too, people should probably try to give back and help out the next group,” Stoessner said.
Third, they must provide some sort of related profession work, such as a workshop or seminar.
“We teach students in the program all the time,” Stoessner said. “They’ll come to do clinical observations with different teams, supervised by the staff member of mine that’s working with that team and they get different experiences that way. There’s education going on but it’s not ‘Okay let’s put the PowerPoint up’. You teach based on what happens.”
Stoessner gave one of GVSU’s current associate athletic trainers, Jim Winkler, an opportunity back in 1998.
“He took a chance on me in 1998 and hired me as a graduate assistant to work with men’s ice hockey and football, something that has shaped the last 18 years of my life,” Winkler said. “Hiring me back in 2011 at GV gave my family and I an opportunity to get closer to family and ultimately have a better quality of life.”
Fourth, they must do volunteer work in the profession and must be a certified athletic trainer for over fifteen years, and ten years must be spent in Michigan.
Stoessner is going on his tenth year at GVSU as an athletic trainer and has accomplished so much from helping to pass a law to becoming inducted into the MATS Hall of Fame. He won’t think about retiring until his son, 16, completes college.
“My family is pretty tied to this area,” Stoessner said. “My wife’s originally from Grand Rapids and I don’t think we’re going anywhere. I think this is where I’ll stop.”
Though he has no plans of retirement yet, Stoessner say he has only one thing to look forward to after he completes his long storied career that was filled with hard work, long days and many accomplishments.
“A golf cart.”