Western Illinois Professor Receives Illinois Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame Award



Western Illinois Professor Receives Illinois Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame Award

Article reposted from Western Illinois University
Author: Teresa Koltzenburg

This weekend, Western Illinois University Department of Kinesiology Professor Renee Polubinsky received the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA) Hall of Fame Award at the IATA Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposium in Lisle (IL). Polubinsky, who is also the director of the department’s athletic training program, was nominated for the honor by kinesiology department colleagues Jennifer Plos, associate professor and coordinator of clinical education, and Janet Wigglesworth, kinesiology department chair.

In order to be eligible for the award, individuals must be a certified athletic trainer and a current member of the IATA; possess a minimum of 15 years active practice or service to the athletic training/sports medicine profession; and demonstrate a history of quality personal and professional contributions to the profession in the State of Illinois. Polubinsky has been a certified athletic trainer for more than 30 years and an active IATA member since 2002. She also possesses over 30 years of combined experience as a practicing athletic trainer at the high school, college and professional levels, within the sports medicine clinic setting, and as an educator and/or program director for two athletic training programs, Plos said.

“Renee has made significant contributions through service to the IATA and the profession of athletic training,” Plos added.

In her nomination letter, she also explained that Polubinsky deserves the IATA Hall of Fame Award because of her dedication to the field of athletic training and her work as an outstanding and influential athletic trainer and mentor.

“In 1995, I had the good fortune to be hired as one of Renee’s colleagues within the sports medicine department at Advanced Health Care in Milwaukee (WI). In the mornings, Renee was the coordinator of athletic training services for the clinic and in the afternoons she provided athletic training services to a local high school. It did not take long for me to realize the positive impact she had on her patients’ rehabilitative success and the respect the physical therapists had for her as a clinician. From the 83-year-old little old lady to the 15-year-old high school hockey player, Renee was exceptional at educating them on the purpose, value and outcomes of their treatment and therapeutic exercise plans,” Plos stated.

“One of the hallmarks of Dr. Polubinsky’s tenure at Western Illinois University since joining the faculty in 2002 is her consistent commitment to the athletic training program at the university, community, state, regional and national levels. She has served as the program director for the athletic training major since 2002, and under her leadership, the program received a 10-year Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) Award in 2010,” Wigglesworth explained.

“In recognition of her work at Western, Dr. Polubinsky has received five college/university awards, including the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) Award for Outstanding Service Activity in 2016 and 2012; the COEHS Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007; the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007 and for Excellence in University/Community Service in 2016. She has also published eight papers, received more than $8,000 in grant awards and delivered 23 peer-reviewed conference presentations and 10 community presentations,” Wigglesworth added.

Polubinsky has held a number of positions within the IATA, including secretary of the Board of Directors (2005-07 and 2014-15); chair of the communication committee (2014-15); member of the archives committee (2014-15); consultant for the Young Professionals committee (2014-15); secretary/member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team (2013-present); member of the Communications Task Force (2007); and the district four representative to the Women in Athletic Training committee (2004-10). Polubinsky has also served three consecutive four-year appointments as a member of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations-Illinois Board of Athletic Trainers (2008-2016).

Within the community, Polubinsky regularly volunteers her athletic training services as medical staff for such state-sponsored events as the Chicago Marathon and Senior Olympics. She is a volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corp of McDonough County and a CPR instructor for the American Red Cross, as well.

Prior to coming to Western, Polubinsky served as an assistant professor and an associate athletic trainer and clinical coordinator at Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, WI) from 1999-2002; as the coordinator of athletic training services at Advanced Health Care (Milwaukee, WI) from 1991-1999; and an associate lecturer at the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) from 1997-1999.

Polubinsky earned her Ed.D. in 2007 from Nova Southeastern University (health care education with athletic training concentration); her M.Ed. in 1998 from the University of Cincinnati (health promotion and cardiovascular fitness); and her B.S. in 1985 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (physical education with an athletic training emphasis).

For more information, contact WIU COEHS Director of Development, Marketing and Community Relations Dana Moon at (309) 298-1690 or via email at