Marisa Colston, head of the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and professor of graduate athletic training, has been inducted into the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society (TATS) Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony took place on March 19 at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, Tennessee, as part of the organization’s 31st Annual Meeting and Symposium.
TATS is the official state organization representing the athletic training profession in Tennessee. Its Hall of Fame, the highest award bestowed on an athletic trainer by the society, recognizes and honors members who perform extraordinary service and bring 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.
Colston first learned she was selected for the accolade a year ago, but due to COVID-19 health guidelines, the official ceremony was delayed until an actual in-person induction could be held.
“Even though I knew about it for a year, it really didn’t sink in that it was official because I never had the opportunity to publicly thank people,” Colston said. “Having that opportunity to go up there and thank (UTC Professor) Gary Wilkerson, who nominated me, and the amazing Hall of Fame committee, led by Bob Nevil, was important.
“Not that I like to be up in front of folks. I’d much rather be in the back of the room. But being able to publicly thank those people is what made me think, ‘OK, it’s official now.’”
Colston was joined at the ceremony by her husband, Jon, and their son, Alex.
“That meant the world to me because of their support and encouragement through the years,” she said. “Having them there and being able to see them and thank them in front of everybody was really special.”
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 (National Athletic Trainers’ Association) Professional Responsibility in Athletic Training Committee. Her past honors include being recognized by NATA with its 2017 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer award.
“Dedication, commitment, loyalty and leadership are common traits among Hall of Fame recipients,” TATS President Mike Van Bruggen 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.”
According to TATS, candidates for the award must hold the certified athletic trainer credential, conferred by the 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 and attained recognition both for distinguished service as an athletic trainer and for unique contributions to the profession of athletic training not recognized elsewhere.
“Marisa is richly deserving of the award,” said TATS Honors and Awards Committee Chairman Ray Knight. “She has dedicated her career to the betterment of the athletic training profession.”