Dr. Zach Garrett, director of the Marshall University Professional Master of Science in Athletic Training (PMSAT) program, has been named president for the West Virginia Athletic Training Association (WVATA).
Garrett has been the president-elect for the past two years, and has been an active member of the WVATA Executive Committee since 2014, when he began serving as secretary for two consecutive terms.
Garrett said that during his time as an executive committee member, the association was successful in advocating for several legislative bills, which were passed to protect the general public and improve athlete and patient safety.
"I’m extremely excited to begin my tenure as the WVATA president," Garrett said. "It’s been 30 years since we’ve had a Marshall faculty or staff member serve in this role. Our state leadership, faculty and students here at Marshall have been a vital part in our association’s success, and I hope to continue that over the next two years. Serving as a John Marshall Leadership Fellow also gave me some invaluable training to hopefully help me succeed."
In 2019, the WVATA was successful in passing licensure for athletic trainers, which developed a scope of practice and enhances public protection, according to Garrett. In 2020, the WVATA was successful in advocating for the Alex Miller Law, which requires automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at the events of all secondary school sporting events. Garrett said his goal moving forward is to continue to educate the general public about the athletic training profession, which could result in an increase in jobs, improvements to membership numbers, student-athlete safety, and better representation for athletic trainers in every West Virginia school.
"Currently, West Virginia only requires football to have medical coverage, which is a huge issue when there are several other contact sports that have much higher injury rates," Garrett noted. "A lot of individuals see athletic trainers as a luxury, but we are health care providers that are necessary to ensure student athletes are kept safe both on and off the field. As we navigate our way through COVID-19, athletic trainers are going to be a vital part of assuring we see sports in the Mountain State this year. There is no better time for our profession to shine than now when everyone’s looking to see some type of normal again."
In addition to Garrett’s role as president, Tom Belmaggio, sports medicine program coordinator for Cabell-Huntington Hospital and Marshall’s Sports Medicine Institute, was elected WVATA president-elect; Dr. Suzanne Konz, chair of the university’s Department of Biomechanics, was elected WVATA secretary; and Marshall athletic training student Katelynn Smith, was elected as the WVATA student representative for the WVATA executive committee.
Photo: Dr. Zach Garrett, director of the Marshall University Professional Master of Science in Athletic Training (PMSAT) program, has been named president for the West Virginia Athletic Training Association (WVATA).