Each January, athletic trainers who are part of the Eastern Athletic Trainer’s Association come together to celebrate learning and the profession of athletic training at the annual EATA Conference. This year, the 69th installment of the conference took place January 6-9, 2017 at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
At the awards ceremony this year, John Furtado received the 2017 Cramer Award. This award was developed by Cramer Products in 1966 to provide a method for the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association to honor those members who have provided excellent leadership in serving the EATA and in doing so, advanced the profession of Athletic Training. The plaque is inscribed “To the Athletic Trainer who, through leadership and excellence, has contributed most significantly to the advancement of the Athletic Training profession.” In order to receive the award, the recipient must meet the following criteria:
1. Current member, in good standing, of the National Athletic Trainers Association.
2. Currently BOC Certified or Certified-Retired Status and in good standing.
3. Ten years EATA membership.
4. Provided service to EATA on a committee, as a committee chair or held an EATA office for a minimum of 3 years
5. Has served as a speaker or presenter at an annual EATA meeting.
6. Demonstrates a history of special organizational efforts on behalf of the EATA.
7. Has greatly enhanced the profession of athletic training in District I or II, and/ or has served the National Athletic Trainers’ Association or any of its entities.
Allan Parsells, Public Relations Chairman for the ATSNJ, sat down with Mr. Furtado to talk about his most recent award and his long career as an athletic trainer.
AP: Mr. Furtado, thank you for taking the time to speak with me and congratulations on receiving the Cramer award from the EATA. How did you first get into Athletic Training?
JF: I have a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University and Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.
AP: What is your educational background?
JF: I expected athletic training while a senior in high school working alongside my high school’s athletic trainer, Paul Pelquin. Paul Pelquin was my first mentor for the profession of athletic trainer.
AP: Who are your athletic training mentors in New Jersey?
JF: My mentors in this state were Dick Malacrea, Mike Goldenberg and Tim Sensor. Before New Jersey, Frank George was a great influence on who I am as an athletic trainer today.
AP: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment as an athletic trainer?
JF: So far in my career my great accomplishment as an athletic trainer was serving the ATSNJ as their President. It was a great honor to represent New Jersey as an Executive Board member for District 2 and meeting with numerous politicians on promoting athletic training and issues on health topics relating to athletic training.
AP: Where have you been employed and in what capacity?
JF: I have been employed in Massachusetts at Hawthorne Physical Therapy for 3 years as a physical therapist and the last year as athletic training/physical therapist working at Dartmouth High School in Dartmouth, MA along with working in the clinic. For the last 20 years I have been employed at Princeton University as athletic trainer/physical therapist. I have worked with many sports including men’s hockey for the entire time. I am also working with non-varsity undergraduate and graduate population to provide physical therapy services through University Health Services.
AP: What advice do you have for those young professionals in athletic training that are reading this article?
JF: Do not wait to get involved in volunteering for the promotion of athletic training. Ask your leaders in the state and district level about how can you get involved. You will be the future of our profession and if you do not step up who will. The profession of athletic training has come a long way and we need to keep moving in the right direction. Do not be afraid for our leaders will guide you in formulating the tools you will need to become a future leader.
AP: What do you feel is the key to longevity in the profession of athletic training?
JF: Athletic trainers need to have a positive outlook along with flexibility to change with the times. I feel the setting I am in makes me feel young being surrounded with young and for the most part healthy individuals.
AP: What emotions did you experience when you were awarded the Cramer award?
JF: I was stunned, shocked and humbled. The past winners have molded the profession of athletic training from the beginnings where we did not have certification to the time we were considered as an Allied Health Care profession. Sharing this award with my mentor Frank George also make me speechless, for he was the second NATA president, past District 1 director and NATA Hall of Fame. So I truly honored to be selected. I am now the 4th athletic trainer from Princeton University with this award as I joined Eddie Zanfrini, Dick Malacrea and Charlie Thompson.
AP: How do you advocate for athletic trainers and the profession of athletic training?
JF: I have been at Capitol Hill Day for NATA in Washington, DC in 2014, 2015 and 2016. While at Capitol Hill Day, I have met with members from the office of New Jersey’s US Senators and my Congressional Representative discussing proposed laws including The Sports Medicine Clarity Act and The Secondary School Athletes’ Bill of Rights. In the state of New Jersey as ATSNJ president I met with assemblymen and state senators on several state proposed laws and issues including the revision of the Physical Therapy Practice Act which may have potential to impact the current practice of athletic trainers in the state of New Jersey.
AP: Where do you see the profession of athletic training going in the next 5, 10 or 15 years?
JF: In 10 years, I see athletic training with a sit at the table as billing providers of healthcare for all active individuals that services are rendered in the clinic/athletic training room.
AP: One last question. If you could have dinner with 2 people, dead or alive, who would you invite and why?
JF: I would pick Pinky Newell and Victor Vito Recine. Pinky Newell as a national leader as the head athletic trainer for Purdue University who linked the EATA to the NATA. The EATA was founded one year before the NATA. Pinky paved the way for athletic trainers and how we practice today. It would be great to get his insight and his method to our success as a profession. Victor Vito Recine was one of the founders of ATSNJ. ATSNJ started in his kitchen as he invited other athletic trainers to talk about the issues of their time. I would like to know what it took to formulate the ATSNJ and what were the issues of the times.
AP: Mr. Furtado, congratulations on receiving the Cramer award. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for me.
JF: No problem, Allan. Thank you for your time.