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CSC athletic trainer honored by his profession | KTIC Radio

CSC athletic trainer honored by his profession

CSC athletic trainer honored by his profession
(Photo courtesy of Chadron State College)

CHADRON, Neb. — Don Watt, who has dedicated his career (maybe we should say life) to helping Chadron State College athletes remain healthy and getting them ready to take part in the next contest, recently was among the athletic trainers from across the country honored by the National Athletic Trainers Association for outstanding service to their profession.

He received the Athletic Trainer Service Award.

The program was in New Orleans in late June.  To be recognized for the award, the following criteria must be met: “Continuing efforts as a volunteer that provides their skills as an athletic trainer at the state and local levels, and is an active participant within community organizations.”

Watt has been an active member of the NATA for more than 32 years and has been a Dawes County Red Cross and Special Olympics volunteer besides spending countless hours on the job.

A native of Upton, Wyoming, Watt was the Eagles’ primary athletic trainer several years prior to earning his bachelor’s degree from Chadron State in 1980. He returned in the fall of 1981 for an internship so he could be certified while earning his master’s degree at Central Missouri State the following spring.

After being the athletic trainer seven years at Jenks High in Oklahoma and one year at the University of Arkansas-Monticello, he jumped at the opportunity to become Chadron State’s head trainer in the summer of 1994.

Chad and Cheryl Emanuel, now Waukee, Iowa, friends of Don and his wife, Jana, dating back to the mid-1970s when both couples were students at Chadron State, attended the ceremonies in New Orleans.  Chad was an all-conference football player for the Eagles while Don was a student trainer. Both men are in the CSC Athletic Hall of Fame.

Emanuel was impressed by the program and the scope of the award Watts received and wrote some reflections on the event.

“Chadron State has had its share of “Diamonds in the Rough,” Chad stated.  “The institution has been recognized for its great value that provides a superb education to its students.  People who come to CSC want to learn, be involved in the community and grow as individuals.”

“To me, Don is a Diamond in the Rough. He goes above and beyond the call of duty. I have known him for 45 years, but didn’t realize the complete scope of his profession.”

Emanuel said NATA inducted eight individuals into its Hall of Fame.  He noted that each of them spoke of his eagerness to assist, his dedication and the great support they have received from their institutions.

“What I took away from these speeches was the unidentified challenging work, commitment and additional hours they’ve taken to help the athletes to relieve the pain and keep them safe from future damage,” said Emanuel, formerly chairman of the Chadron State Foundation’s Board of Directors.

“But one thing each of them left out that Don Watt has done, is the ‘babysitting factor’.  He will listen to the ‘Why me? Not now, Fix it, Don’ because he knows all the kids, their parents and, in some cases, he fixed up their dads and moms.

“When the challenge is greater than Don can resolve,” Emanuel added.  “He sends them to Mama Jana, his wife.  She feeds them, comforts them and, between the two of them, makes sure they stay in school and supports them through their tough times.  They make a wonderful team.”

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