GWU Athletic Trainers Plan School Benefit in Honor of National Athletic Training Month

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School Supplies Drive Planned for Crest Middle School Students

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Students at Crest Middle School will soon benefit from a school supplies drive planned in honor of National Athletic Training Month, observed each year during the month of March.  Gardner-Webb University’s Athletic Training department is planning the drive to help local students and to educate members of the community about the athletic training profession.

GWU Athletic Trainers Stephenie Stark and Ally Connally are helping promote the drive, which is planned Feb. 22 through March 7.  Several collection sites are located throughout the Boiling Springs campus.  Free admission will be offered to upcoming home basketball games on Feb. 22, 27, and March 1 for anyone who brings a minimum of $5 worth of school supplies.

“High schools often get assistance because kids are getting ready for college.  Elementary schools receive lots of help because the kids are so cute,” Connally explained.  “Middle school does get overlooked.  Those are the in-between years where you’re not a little kid but you’re not getting ready for the real world, so that’s a great group to help.”

Each year, the National Athletic Training Association (NATA) observes the month of March as National Athletic Training Awareness Month (NATM) to offer information to members of the public about the role of athletic trainers in a variety of professional settings.

“Athletic trainers can really work anywhere,” Stark shared.  “They can be found in schools, universities, doctor’s offices, physical therapy clinics, rodeos, NASCAR, ballet—anywhere there is an increased risk for having some sort of injury.”

At GWU, there are eight full-time athletic trainers and three graduate assistant trainers who work within the athletic department.  Stark and Connally believe the University has invested wisely on behalf of their student athletes.  “We’re like a jack-of-all-trades wrapped up into one neat little medical professional package,” Connally stated.  “GWU student athletes are very fortunate to have the opportunity to utilize such a large athletic training staff.”

Stark agreed.  “We’re really the first responders to any situation that could occur on the field or in practice,” she said.  “The point of National Athletic Training Month is to bring awareness to what athletic trainers do.  From injury prevention to proper nutrition to rehabilitation programs, we are involved with an athlete from start to finish.”

For more information about National Athletic Training Month (NATM), visit  To learn more about the GWU Athletic Training program or school supply collection site locations, contact the GWU School of Preventive and Rehabilitative Health Sciences at 704-406-3810.

GWU Athletic Trainers Stephenie Stark and Ally Connally discuss National Athletic Training Month and the school supplies drive in this interview:


Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University blends a liberal arts core curriculum with more than 55 major and minor professional programs of study, a comprehensive academic experience that flows from our Christian commitment to intellectual freedom, service and leadership.