Associate professor honored by National Athletic Trainers’ Association

Ericka Zimmerman

Ericka Zimmerman, director of Western Carolina University’s School of Health Sciences and associate professor of athletic training, recently was selected as one of the recipients of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s 2017 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer award.

The award recognizes NATA members who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to leadership, volunteer service, advocacy and distinguished professional activities as an athletic trainer, particularly at the national and district levels.

“Initially, I was very surprised, but also very humbled because it is quite an honor,” said Zimmerman, who received her award in Houston on June 28, during NATA’s 68th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo.

Zimmerman said the award is a comprehensive and cumulative look at an individual’s career. Zimmerman has served on the Board of Certification, was an officer on the West Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association board and served on the review committee of the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.

The award acknowledges outstanding dedication and service to the athletic training profession. Candidates for the award must have held the certified athletic trainer credential, conferred by the Board of Certification, and have been an NATA member, both for at least 20 years.

“It’s incredibly humbling,” Zimmerman said. “It causes me to pause and reflect on the mentoring that I’ve received over the years. Sometimes that mentoring has been very intentional and sometimes it’s come at the most unexpected moments. That’s what I found myself doing, looking back at all those opportunities. I recognized the power of those moments and the influence of the people that have taken their time to work with me and to guide me, to mentor me and to help me to become a better professional and a better person.”

For more information about WCU’s Athletic Training Program, visit