Western athletic trainer wins national award

Western athletic trainer wins national award

LAS VEGAS — Kaleb Birney has received the National Athletic Trainers (NATA) Young Professional’s Committee National Distinction Award

The National Distinction Award is the Young Professionals’ Committee’s highest honor to recognize a young professional athletic trainer who has made an immediate and definitive impact on the athletic training profession at the national, district, state or community level. Birney will receive his award at the NATA National Convention in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay on Wednesday.

Birney is currently the head athletic trainer at The University of Montana Western and is a member of the Montana Sports Medicine team with St. James Healthcare in Butte. He has held this position for three years but has recently finished his fifth year at UMW.

“I am very honored to receive this award,” Birney said. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without the guidance of Russ Richardson, Janelle Handlos, and Chris Heard or without the help of Zach McCarthy and Mary Placzkowski. I’m blessed to be able to work with such a great family. But even more thankful for my wife Emilee who supports me with everything.”

A native of Sublette, Kansas, Birney is the primary athletic trainer for the Bulldog football and men’s basketball program while also overseeing all sports. He has been a member of 4 straight Men’s Basketball National Tournament teams (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018). Birney serves on the Montana Athletic Training Board of Licensure and is the Public Relations Chair for the Northwest Athletic Trainers Association.

To be eligible for this award, one must be certified for a minimum of three years as well as a member of the NATA for three years. Must be considered a young professional
(in the first 12 years of certification) at the time the member is nominated.

The nomination must include but is not limited to:

Nominee embodies the ideas, goals, and mission of NATA and the Young Professionals’ Committee

Contributes to the tasks and objectives of the Young Professionals’ Committee, NATA, and the athletic training profession

Consistently demonstrates a definite character and responsibility to their, peers, patients, and institution

The nominee has demonstrated the highest level of service, professionalism, and competence in their place of work

A significant contributor to the daily operation of his/her practice

Demonstrates unselfishness in giving talents and time within and outside the athletic training profession

Expresses an interest in work-related functions, institution spirit, and pride

Nominee maintains the highest level of honor, respect, and integrity in their clinical setting and to the community

Demonstrates competence, knowledge, and skills in his/her clinical practice

Demonstrates activities and time management skills that incorporate work/life balance

Nominee demonstrates leadership abilities

Demonstrates initiative and ability to inspire other professionals where the athletic training profession has directly benefited

The nominee is active in research and education

Utilizes evidence-based medicine, and contributes to the current body of knowledge through presentations or manuscripts

Mentors or educates students, colleagues, or other athletic trainers

— Montana Western



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