Dr. Eric Fuchs, chair of the department of exercise and sports science at Eastern Kentucky University, is one of five athletic trainers in the United States named a 2022 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), an organization representing more than 40,000 members of the athletic training profession.
“The award is very humbling and means a great deal to me because to be even considered, one has to be nominated by peers and colleagues who felt my contributions to the profession are worthy enough to be recognized at the national level,” Fuchs said. “I have tried to serve, lead and educate current and future athletic training professionals who will not only be great clinicians, but who will strive to support and improve the profession of athletic training through their involvement.”
Board certified as an athletic trainer since 1992, Fuchs has had the opportunity to serve numerous athletes, including Olympians and Paralympians. He currently serves as the director of sports medicine services for the Fiesta Classic and Volleyball Festival, both held in Arizona.
He has been at EKU since 2005 and was instrumental in creating the master’s program in athletic training and ensuring its accreditation. He has served as clinical coordinator, program director, and now chair of the department.
“Having a nationally-recognized professor in this field enhances the status of EKU’s athletic training program,” said EKU President Dr. David McFaddin. “Students know they are receiving the most rigorous and current training from professionals who are respected by their colleagues.”
Being an athletic trainer for high school or university athletics was a goal early in his educational career. Teaching was a natural outlet for his passion for the discipline.
“I started working as a high school athletic trainer full time in New Mexico where I mentored and provided clinical experiences for college students completing their athletic training degree,” Fuchs said. “I found I really enjoyed working with college students and decided to move to the college level.”
Additionally, Fuchs has served as president of the Kentucky Athletic Trainers’ Society, and on the executive board of the Southeast Athletic Trainers Association (SEATA). He has presented research on a wide variety of topics, consulted with a variety of organizations and reviewed other athletic training programs for accreditation purposes.
One of his most enjoyed accomplishments from his professional service includes being the founding chair of both the NATA’s Research Education Foundation Quiz Bowl and SEATA Student Quiz Bowl committees.
“The quiz bowl events are part of my legacy and imprint on the profession,” he said.
Fuchs and other NATA honorees will be celebrated at the national convention this summer.
“Honorees exemplify the mission of NATA through significant and lasting contributions that enhance the quality of health care provided by athletic trainers and advance the profession,” said NATA President Kathy Dieringer in a press release.
For more information on EKU’s Athletic Training Program, visit https://athletictraining.eku.edu/