Marisa Colston, head of the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is the 2021 inductee into the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society (TATS) Hall of Fame.
TATS is the official state organization representing the athletic training profession in the state of Tennessee. Its Hall of Fame, the highest award bestowed on an athletic trainer by the society, recognizes and honors members who performed extraordinary service and brought honor to the profession of athletic training in Tennessee.
From the current TATS membership of 754 athletic trainers, Colston is one of only 30 recipients to receive this award since its inception in 1994.
“Marisa is richly deserving of the award,” said TATS Honors and Awards Committee chair Ray Knight. “She has dedicated her career to the betterment of the athletic training profession.”
According to TATS, candidates for the award must have held the certified athletic trainer credential, conferred by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Board of Certification, for at least 20 years. They must have been recognized for service to the profession of athletic training at the local and state level, attained recognition for distinguished service as an athletic trainer and recognition for unique contributions to the profession of athletic training not recognized elsewhere.
“Dedication, commitment, loyalty and leadership are common traits among Hall of Fame recipients,” TATS President Peggy Bratt said. “Those who receive the honor serve as an inspiration to their peers and as role models to the next generation of certified athletic trainers.”
Colston joined the UTC faculty in 1999 and became the professional level athletic training program director in 2001. She is the TATS Ethics Committee chair and the research liaison for the NATA Professional Responsibility in Athletic Training Committee. Her past honors include being recognized by NATA with the 2017 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer award.
“Starting a program from ground zero and having a successful accreditation—and seeing it through to another successful accreditation—has been so gratifying,” said Colston, who also is professor of athletic training for graduate students.
“We have been blessed with a lot of great graduates that have gone on to have such fruitful careers. And we have had a lot of outstanding faculty join our team along the way.
“Just watching what we’ve built and seeing the younger generations continue to build on the tradition that we’ve created, that’s what I’m most proud of.”
After Colston learned that she had been nominated for the Hall of Fame, “my thoughts were that this is such a sweet gesture, but I figured it would be at least another few years before a nomination would be supported,” she said.
“When I found out I was selected, appreciation was my first thought—appreciation and very grateful. The fact that what we’ve been trying to do here has been recognized … I was tickled pink.”
Due to COVID-19 health guidelines, the TATS 30th Annual Meeting and Symposium was held on a virtual platform March 27-28. Colston’s actual in-person induction ceremony will take place during the organization’s 2022 annual meeting.