In celebration of National Athletic Training month, the North Carolina Athletic Trainers Association held its annual spring symposium and awards ceremony the weekend of March 18-19, 2017 on the campus of UNC-Charlotte. The educational meeting was filled with topics addressing multiple employment settings, research presentations, hands-on lab sessions, leadership development, work groups and an evidence based presentation by Dr. Rod Walters.
One of the highlights of the meeting is the annual presentation of awards to members of the association who have been nominated by their peers for outstanding work and professional activity in the respective categories. Honors for 2017 included Dan Duffy (Bill Griffin MDAT Award); Dr. James Kirby, II (Sports Medicine Person of the Year); Architech Sports (NCATA Corporate Service Award). Athletic Trainer of the Year honors went to Stephanie Bowman Sousa (HS Outreach); Courtney Bunch Phelps (Secondary Schools); Brandon Auton (College Clinical); Meghan Fulton (Clinical/Emerging Practices); and Jim Bazluki (Educator).
The awards ceremony also created another first for the NCATA. For the first time in the 40+ year history of the association, one award winner is a unique “3-peat”. After being awarded the Educator of the Year – this marked the third ATOY award for Bazluki. This would be the associations first time a member has been nominated and selected as ATOY for a 3rd time. Even more unique about this situation is that none of the ATOY awards have come in the same category. In 1997, Bazluki was awarded the College/University ATOY while he was at East Carolina University. In 2005 he was awarded the Secondary Schools ATOY while he was the Head AT at Cary HS. And the 2017 Educator ATOY for his work as a clinical preceptor (UNC-Charlotte), adjust instructor (UNC-Charlotte) and NCATA Professional Education Committee Co-chair. Bazluki, who works for Carolinas HealthCare System is also a member of the NCATA Hall of Fame (Class of 2014). He is the youngest inductee into this distinguished group of NC Athletic Trainers.