Western Illinois Program Director Receives NATA Service Award



Western Illinois Program Director Receives NATA Service Award

Article reposted from Western Illinois University
Author: Nicholas Doty

Western Illinois University Professor and Athletic Training Program Director Renee Polubinsky has been awarded the National Athletic Training Service Award.

This prestigious award recognizes National Athletic Trainers’ Association members for exceptional contributions to the profession and the association by recognizing accomplishments and dedication to service.

Renee was chosen for the award based on her qualifications and exemplary work ethic in the athletic training field.

“It is quite an honor to be recognized for this prestigious award and it is even more special to share this experience with our athletic training students,” she said. “As athletic trainers, we work behind the scenes preventing injuries and providing evaluation and rehab care once an injury occurs. However, we are not accustomed to receiving recognition for these activities, so this is really special.”

Polubinsky has more than 30 years of experience, numerous certifications and continues to pursue greater knowledge in the athletic training field. She received her bachelor’s degree in physical education and athletic training from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She later received a master’s degree in health promotion and cardiovascular fitness from the University of Cincinnati and her doctorate in health care education with an athletic training concentration from Nova Southeastern University. Polubinsky is currently serving her third term on the Athletic Trainer Board for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Polubinsky’s volunteer work played a key role in her award nomination. She volunteers locally for the Senior Olympics and the McDonough County Medical Reserve Corps. The corps is an emergency management association called in when disaster hits the McDonough County area.

Polubinsky’s proudest volunteer work is her association with the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team. CISM is a revolutionary support group for athletic trainers and athletic training students involved with catastrophic accident or event. This organization helps athletic training students and certified athletic trainers receive help after a traumatic experience that happens during a sporting event, such as the death of an athlete occurring during practice or a game. Polubinsky played a major role in co-founding the organization for the State of Illinois four years ago.

Polubinsky has been at WIU for 15 years as the director of the athletic training program. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, athletic training is projected to grow 21 percent from 2014-2024. She and her colleagues are currently developing a master’s degree program to help meet new educational requirements for athletic trainers.

For more information about the WIU athletic training program visit,

Posted By: Nicholas Doty (