Dr. R. Richard Ray of the Hope College faculty has been elected to the Hall of Fame of the National Athletic Trainers' Association, the highest honor in the athletic training profession.

Dr. R. Richard Ray of the Hope College faculty has been elected to the Hall of Fame of the National Athletic Trainers' Association, the highest honor in the athletic training profession.

He will be inducted during an awards banquet on Saturday, June 17, held in conjunction with NATA's national 57th Annual Meeting & Clinical Symposia in Atlanta, Ga., on Wednesday-Sunday, June 14-18.

Election to the Hall of Fame recognizes significant contributions on the state, regional and national levels, and professional excellence, volunteer service and community outreach. Hall of Fame inductees are nominated and selected by their athletic training peers, and have been active NATA members for at least 25 years.

According to Ray's colleague Dr. Kirk Brumels, who is head athletic trainer at Hope and an assistant professor of kinesiology, Ray epitomizes excellence in every category.

"It's a well-deserved honor," Brumels said. "His impact upon this profession through his life's work is incredible and covers so many different layers."

Brumels noted that the "Hall of Fame" recognition often honors a lifetime of service, and that for Ray to receive it while still in the middle of his career says much about the significance of his contributions to athletic training.

"For Rich to get this while he's still active in his career is pretty remarkable," he said. "It shows what he's done and means to the profession."

It is the second year in a row that Ray is receiving major recognition from NATA. In June of 2005, the organization presented him with its "Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award."

Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are unique health care providers who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. NATA represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research.

Ray has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1982, and is a professor of kinesiology, athletic trainer and chairperson of the department at Hope.

He has a wide range of research interests, and has received several grants to support his work. He is the editor or author of the books "Management Strategies in Athletic Training" (2000, 1994), "Counseling in Sports Medicine" (1999) and "Case Studies in Athletic Training Administration" (1995), all published by Human Kinetics. He has written numerous articles in scientific publications, and has presented papers at professional conferences including the annual clinical symposia in 2000 of both the Japan Athletic Trainers Organization in Tokyo and the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association in Niagara Falls.

He is former editor of "Athletic Therapy Today" and served as associate editor of the "Journal of Athletic Training."

Ray was co-chair of the NATA Education Task Force. He was president of the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers' Association (GLATA) from 1990 to 1992, and is also a member and former president of the Michigan Athletic Trainers' Society.

Under Ray's leadership, the athletic training program at Hope grew into a full major that requires its graduates to complete 48 credit hours in a variety of disciplines and at least 1,200 hours of clinical work under the supervision of a certified athletic trainer. Hope was one of the first Michigan colleges to have its athletic training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

In addition to his other service to Hope, he led the college's successful effort to seek re-accreditation in 2004 by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. He became department chair in the fall of 2003.

Ray is a 1979 graduate of the University of Michigan, and completed his master's and doctorate at Western Michigan University in 1980 and 1990 respectively. He has received multiple honors through the years in recognition of his service to his profession and teaching.

In April of 2005, he was inducted into the Honors Academy of the Health, Physical Education & Recreation (HPER) Department of Western Michigan University. In March of 2004, he received an "Outstanding Educator Award" from GLATA, from which he had also received a "Distinguished Service Award" in March of 2002. In June of 2001, he received the "Sayers 'Bud' Miller Distinguished Educator Award" from NATA. In May of 1999, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Michigan Athletic Trainers' Society, which had presented him with its "Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award" in 1995. In January of 2000, he received Hope's "Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching."