Eastern graduate is recognized by CATA after first year at her alma mater
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The annual symposium of the Connecticut Athletic Trainers' Association hosted this past May 23 by Central Connecticut State University was fairly routine -- replete with the requisite presentations by visiting doctors and experts on such topics as Snapping Hip Syndromes and Femoral Acetabular Impingement - and including an array of workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations.
Having attended every one of the symposiums but one since returning to Connecticut in the summer of 1995, Eastern Connecticut State University athletic trainer Julie Glode Alexander figured that she would not be missing all that much when administrative duties at Eastern had her tied her up for most of that Thursday morning.
Only partly true.
While her back was turned, so to speak, CATA had selected Alexander as the 2013 recipient of its Athletic Trainer-of-the-Year Award. Whether due to her history of attendance at the symposium over the last 20 years or due to a miscommunication on the part of the CATA Board of Directors, Alexander was never officially notified in advance that she had been named as this year's recipient, and that she would be officially recognized at the CATA symposium in May.
Still unaware of what had transpired at the symposium earlier that day, Alexander received a number of text messages from colleagues on Thursday congratulating her on the award. 'What award'?, she remembers thinking. Eventually, a congratulatory phone call the following Monday from CATA President-Elect James Doran - the men's basketball athletic trainer at the University of Connecticut - clarified the confusion and made it official.
Alexander, who returned as athletic trainer at her alma mater last summer after nearly 20 years with the Sacred Heart University athletic training staff, becomes the 20th recipient of an award whose previous recipients include such state athletic training luminaries as Kathy Pirog of Central Connecticut, Cathy Horne, formerly of Connecticut College, Bob Howard of the University of Connecticut - and Mary Cardarelli (mother of Eastern sophomore basketball player Megan) of Manchester High School.
Eastern Director of Athletics Dr. Jeff Konin praised the selection of Alexander. "It is a tremendous honor for Julie to be recognized by her peers," he offered. "She is a big part of our program's success because she pays close attention to the health and well-being of our student-athletes."
Generally, an individual must be nominated by a colleague in order to receive consideration for the award. While she never actually received confirmation, Alexander made an educated guess that it was Howard who had forwarded her name, and spearheaded the support for her candidacy.
She was mostly right.
"When the Board of Directors asked for nominations, I said that 'you guys have forgotten about Julie,'" said Howard, whose professional relationship with Alexander has endured for nearly two decades. "I don't want to take 100 percent of the credit (for her selection), but I pushed them (the Board of Directors) in that direction. For everything that she has done for CATA - which numbers upwards of 500 members -- and for athletic trainers throughout the country, it was obvious that she was the right representative. She has done everything that she needs to have done to earn this," added Howard.
While Alexander was flattered to be singled out by a vote of her peers, she deflected the praise. "Basically, I'm just doing my job," said Alexander, a member of the Eastern volleyball program and a student athletic trainer under Dr. David Yeo as an undergraduate, who went on to earn her M.S. in Education from Old Dominion University in 1993. After serving as a graduate assistant in athletic training at Hampton University, the Mansfield native spent two years as assistant athletic trainer at Saint Bonaventure University before being appointed at Sacred Heart University. In her final two years at Sacred Heart, she was promoted to assistant athletic director and head athletic trainer.
Since returning to Connecticut, Alexander has been active in CATA, serving on the Board of Directors for ten years through 2010 and as secretary for three. In addition to her daily duties at Sacred Heart, she held the position as clinical instructor and adjunct faculty in the Human Movement and Sport Science Program, overseeing practicums and teaching courses.
"As an athletic trainer, you always do a little extra," she says. "You stay until the job is done. It's just what you do. There are athletic trainers all over the state working 70 hour weeks."
Howard points out that many of those individuals who go above and beyond to advance their profession and provide special care for their student-athletes, oftentimes don't look upon it as such.
"It's that type of person," he notes, "who unfortunately, doesn't recognize in and of themselves how special they are and how much they've done, and how much people respect them."