Stephanie Clark of Cairo was named Athletic Trainer of the Year by the West Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association at its 2017 Annual Sports Medicine Conference held March 3-4 in Flatwoods.
Clark, who resides in Elkview, works at Elk Valley Physical Therapy working outreach for Herbert Hoover High School, one of the three high schools in the state affected by the massive June 2016 flooding. Although Herbert Hoover High School is no longer in use and students go for a half-day at Elkview Middle School, Clark made it her mission to continue her work with her students.
“Fall sports were questionable, but we made it happen,” she said. “Football went to the playoffs, volleyball made a showing at the state tournament, and the boys’ basketball team went to the state tournament for the first time in the school’s history. It is easy to do my job when I work with a pretty great community to help these kids out.”
Clark is a 2013 graduate at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
The award was in line with the skills developed at Wesleyan, she said.
“Creative thinking was always encouraged at Wesleyan,” Clark said. “Working with an AA high school in a small West Virginia town under these special circumstances requires me to be able to think creatively in order to do my job well.”
She said the athletic training department at Wesleyan is among the best in the state, she said.
“I had more hands-on opportunities because class sizes were small. I was put in real-world situations every single day and was expected to answer the whys of these situations,” Clark said. “The department shows tough love, and everyone becomes a family that pushes you to achieve.”
Clark said she was humbled being named Athletic Trainer of the Year.
“It is a huge honor, really,” she said.
“I was surprised because there are so many great athletic trainers in this state. I am just doing my job, and it is good to know I am doing it well.”
At Wesleyan, Clark was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, Kappa Alpha Rose, the concert band, collegiate 4-H club, the academic affairs committee, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the West Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association.