Professor of Athletic Training Dr. Debbie Bradney received the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award for 2022 from the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association (MAATA) last month, adding to her laurels from training professionals’ organizations.
The award recognizes “exceptional and unique contributions to the athletic training profession” and is given to those who’ve shown a career history of dedication to their field. Bradney was recognized with the award at MAATA’s symposium the weekend of May 14, having been nominated for it last year by fellow professor Dr. Patricia Aronson.
“It’s a great honor when the people that you look up to and admire in your profession honor you,” Bradney said, adding that the recognition was “overwhelming.”
This new award joins several others Bradney has earned over the years. In 2018, she received MAATA’s Service Award and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Service Award; and in 2012, she received the Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association Educator of the Year award.
In nominating Bradney, Aronson referenced her advocacy and involvement on local, regional, and national levels, as well as her scholarly work.
“Dr. Bradney’s most significant contribution as an athletic trainer is in service and being a role model of professionalism through service to students,” Aronson wrote.
Aronson herself is a very familiar name among athletic training associations — she was inducted into MAATA’s Hall of Fame in 2018 and has won several of her own awards, some of which Bradney has nominated her for.
Bradney credited Aronson for encouraging her to get involved in advocacy efforts and focus committees she’s passionate about and said she’s “blessed” to have her as a mentor and esteemed colleague for her 20 years working at Lynchburg.
Caroline Wesley Siler, director of athletic training services, wrote her own letter of support for Bradney’s nomination. Previously a student under Bradney, she spoke highly of her fostering collaboration with and inclusion of Lynchburg’s clinical staff at athletic training faculty meetings.
“The fact that the clinical staff and faculty function so well together is a testament to Dr. Bradney’s dedication, communication, and leadership,” Wesley Siler wrote in the letter. “…She truly values the contributions of our clinical staff to the athletic training profession and to the experiences of our athletic training students.”
Bradney remarked on how such support from one of her first students comes full circle, and said it’s encouraging to hear colleagues speak highly of one’s influence.
“This has been a great place for me; it’s been very supportive from top to bottom,” she said.
Looking forward, she said she aims to deepen her involvement with professional committees and boards, make more connections through those avenues, and observe trajectory changes within her profession.