Montana Western athletic trainer heading to Hall of Fame

DILLON —The Northwest Athletic Trainers’ Association (NWATA) District 10 has announced that Russ Richardson, athletic trainer and associate professor at the University of Montana Western, will be inducted into its Hall of Fame.

This honor was followed by the announcement that Richardson would also be included in the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) at the annual meeting to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, this June. Induction into the NATA Hall of Fame is the highest honor a member can receive, and is reserved for athletic trainers who have served the association with distinction at the highest level.

A Dillon native, Richardson earned an undergraduate degree in industrial arts and physical education with a sports medicine emphasis from Western Montana College, now the University of Montana Western, in 1982.  It was at Montana Western that Richardson joined the NATA as a student member under the mentorship of head athletic trainer Dave Kendall.  Richardson continued his education as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at California State University – Fresno and began working as an athletic trainer in both the high school and college settings.

Richardson spent more than 20 years at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, where he developed and directed a professional athletic training curriculum that has served as a model program throughout the nation and beyond.

Richardson has already been inducted into the Washington State Athletic Trainers’ Association for his work on issues such as concussion legislation and regulation of the profession of athletic training.  Richardson served as the secretary of the NWATA for four years and then as president/director for another four.

During his time in Washington, Richardson provided medical care to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the World Cup of Wrestling, the US Olympic Wrestling Trials, Skate America, and the Hula Bowl All-Star Football Classic. In 2011, Richardson left Whitworth and spent a year developing and implementing a graduate program in athletic training.

Richardson returned to Montana Western in 2012 as interim head athletic trainer and associate professor in the health and human performance program. Richardson has served as chair of the NATA’s Executive Committee for Education since 2013 and led the 2013 Nomenclature Task Force. In 2014 he traveled to nine of the 10 districts to lead discussions on graduate level education and continues to work tirelessly for the profession of athletic training.

— Montana Western Sports Information