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Whitworth Athletic-Training Director Receives Two Leadership Awards

Russ Richardson won't trumpet his accomplishments as director of the Whitworth Athletic Training Education Program and as a leader in the field of athletic training, but his former students are eager to sing his praises. Two such alumnae are Kasee Hildenbrand, '98, the athletic-training program director at Washington State University, and Patti (Stranger) Davenport, '05, a graduate-assistant athletic trainer at WSU.

The pair recently nominated Richardson for the 2007 Washington State Athletic Trainers Association Excellence in Service Award. In their nomination, they described Richardson as, "…a man with passion, integrity and the heart of a servant. Russ has dedicated his life and career to the betterment of students and the athletic-training profession."

Members of the Northwest Athletic Training Association District 10 agreed, and selected Richardson to receive the award, as well as the Northwest Athletic Trainers Association Outstanding Service Award. Richardson received the Excellence in Service Award in recognition of his co-authoring a bill that would regulate the practice of athletic training and moving the bill through the Washington state legislature. He was also recognized for his efforts to develop the Alaska Athletic Trainers Association and for his service to NATA District 10 through various leadership roles.

Whitworth alumna Jennifer Ratcliff '99, vice president of the Washington State Athletic Trainers Association, presented the Excellence in Service award to Richardson at the NWATA annual meeting, in March. In her remarks, Ratcliff cited examples of Richardson's service and leadership: providing medical care for the U.S. figure-skating championships, international wrestling tournaments and the Hula Bowl; working tirelessly to pass licensure for athletic trainers in the state of Washington; working for six years as coordinator of the NATA district meetings before transitioning into his current position of district secretary/treasurer; serving as a site reviewer for the Joint Review Committee; and consulting with athletic-training programs seeking accreditation.

"Although these works are notable, Russ has probably made the most indelible mark on our profession in the classroom and as a clinical educator," she said. "As program director and former head athletic trainer at Whitworth, he has deeply committed himself to broadening the undergraduate experiences of his students."

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