A project at Hope College designed to increase awareness of what athletic trainers do has been named the best in Michigan.

The project consisted of presentations and interactive demonstrations during the college's home men's basketball game at the DeVos Fieldhouse on Feb. 20, 2010, and a related video posted on YouTube.  It will be recognized as Michigan's winner in the 2011 Great Lakes Athletic Trainers' Association (GLATA) Public Relations Contest during the group's annual Winter Symposium, being held this year in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday-Saturday, March 10-12.

It is the second time in three years that Hope has won the statewide award.

The GLATA awards program is designed to recognize a member from each state that has effectively promoted the athletic training profession at the grass-roots level.  Hope faculty member Tonia Gruppen noted that she especially values the recognition because students played a leadership role in developing and running the event.

"It was a very student-led project, students came up with the ideas, and I'm proud of that," said Gruppen, an assistant professor of kinesiology and athletic trainer, who advised the students working on the project.

During the event, Hope athletic training students staffed an information booth on the fieldhouse's main concourse before and during the basketball game.  Activities for children included the opportunity to participate in rehabilitation activities, such as a Wii system used for balance training, posters and brochures included information, and the students were available to answer questions from all interested passersby regarding athletic training.  The one-minute, 44-second YouTube video was posted subsequently and features spectators who were interviewed during the event about what they think athletic trainers do.

The Hope project was scheduled in anticipation of the March 2010 National Athletic Training Month, and highlighted the national theme of "Sports Safety is a Team Effort."

The GLATA recognition will be presented during the regional meeting's awards banquet on Friday, March 11, and includes a $75 gift certificate and a framed award certificate.

Gruppen and faculty colleague Dr. Kirk Brumels will be attending the GLATA meeting along with a dozen Hope students.  The college's contingent will include the three-student team from Hope that had won first place in the 2010 Michigan Athletic Trainers Society (MATS) Quiz Bowl in October and will be representing the state in regional competition.  The members of the Hope quiz bowl team are seniors Emily Corstange of Kalamazoo; Molly Schab of Galesburg; and Brian Wiese of Wilmington, N.C.

Athletic trainers are allied health care professionals who prevent, manage and rehabilitate injuries in physically active populations. Hope offers a major in athletic training as one of three majors within the department of kinesiology. Hope was the first liberal arts college in Michigan to have its athletic training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.

GLATA includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The association represents approximately 22 percent of the total membership of the national association. Members serve in settings including high schools, colleges and universities, professional sports organizations, physician offices, rehabilitation clinics and industrial work sites.