When Frank Walters arrived at Indiana State University in 1976 to begin working on his master’s degree in physical education and athletic training, he was one of a class of 52 students.
“In those days, we were sponges soaking up all of the atmosphere and educational opportunities available to us,” he said.
Those educational opportunities weren’t easy to come by 35 years ago for the few students who pursued advanced study in athletic training. In fact, ISU was only one of two universities in the country at the time that offered a graduate degree in Walters’ field and it was ISU’s reputation brought him to the school, he said.
Because ISU was a frontrunner in the field of graduate-level athletic training education, many of those considered leaders today in the field of athletic training studied at ISU.
Walters, now the director of sports medicine and wellness programs for Broward Health, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., is the most recent of ISU’s 13 alumni who have been inducted in the National Athletic Training Association’s Hall of Fame. In June, Walters attended the organization’s annual meeting and conference in Philadelphia where he was presented with the honor.
National Athletic Training Association President Marje Albohm, a fellow inductee who is also an ISU graduate, said her organization honors only the top leaders in the profession with induction into the Hall of Fame.
“Being an NATA inductee is the highest honor any certified athletic trainer can obtain,” Albohm said. “It is reserved for those who have made the highest contributions to the profession throughout their lifetime. Many strive to obtain Hall of Fame status throughout their careers.”
In his current position, Walters oversees an outreach program that includes 28 athletic trainers at 23 high schools in Broward County, Fla. He also directs a hospital-based cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, diabetes education and wellness center with approximately 1,500 members and 17 employees.
ISU provided the foundation he needed to obtain his success, Walters said.
“My degree at the master’s level is what helped shape my career and led me to many of the places I’ve been,” he said. “And I’m very grateful for that.”
Albohm, who graduated in 1973 with a master’s degree in athletic training, says ISU also had a significant amount of influence in helping define her career.
“Throughout the years, ISU has maintained reputation in athletic training education, and its graduates are scattered throughout the country in all kinds of athletic training positions, education and research positions and in clinical settings,” she said. “It is an institution that has been and continues to be a foundation for our profession.”
In addition to Albohm and Walters, ISU graduates who have been been recognized in the National Athletic Training Association’s Hall of Fame include: 1978 inductee Mel Blickenstaff, 1990 inductee Robert Behnke, 1994 inductees Mike Nesbitt and Gail Weldon, 2000 inductee James Gallaspy, 2001 inductee Ken Knight, 2002 inductees Peggy Houglum and Peter Koehneke, 2003 inductees Dave Perrin and Ronald Carroll, and 2005 inductee Kathleen Cerra Laquale.
Rachel Wedding McClelland is the interim director of student publications at Indiana State.