SU athletics director Timothy Neal, MS Exercise Science '81, receives national award


Tim Neal on the fieldSyracuse assistant athletics director for sports medicine Timothy Neal, MS, ATC, is one of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s 2010 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer (MDAT) award recipients. The award, which will be presented on June 24, 2010, at the NATA’s 61st Annual Meeting & Clinical Symposia in Philadelphia, recognizes outstanding dedication and service to the athletic training profession. Neal joined the Syracuse sports medicine staff in 1981 and was promoted to his current role in 2005. He is responsible for all aspects of the sports medicine program, including preventive training, first aid, injury management and rehabilitation, and programs for drug testing and eating disorders.

“Dedication, innovation, loyalty and leadership are common traits among MDAT recipients,” said National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) executive director Eve Becker-Doyle, CEA. “Those who receive the honor serve as an inspiration to their peers and role models to the next generation of certified athletic trainers.”

Candidates for the award must have held certified athletic trainer (ATC) credential, conferred by the Board of Certification, for at least 20 years; have been recognized for service to the profession at the local, state, and national/international level; exhibited distinguished service as a certified athletic trainer; and been recognized for unique contributions to the profession of athletic training not acknowledged elsewhere.

“Timothy Neal is richly deserving of this award,” said NATA honors and awards committee chair Rochel Rittgers, ATC. “Timothy Neal has dedicated his career to providing quality health care services and to the betterment of the athletic training profession.”

A member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA), the USOC Sports Medicine Society, and the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA), Neal is also certified as an athletic trainer by the New York State Department of Education.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive the NATA Most Distinguished Athletic Training Award,” Neal said. “I thank the NATA and am proud to receive this recognition from a great organization that is dedicated to providing health care for life and sport. This award is more about recognizing and thanking those individuals who have supported me and helped me in my development. I share this award with each of them. I am thankful to have a wonderful family. My wife Anne, son Brooks, and daughter Emily, have been very supportive of me as I pursue my passion for athletic training and caring for Syracuse University student-athletes.

“I also thank the sports medicine staff and physicians that I am honored to work with on a daily basis, including the full-time athletic training staff of Brad Pike, Karen McKinney, Denny Kellington, Troy Gerlt, Lisa Malolepszy, and Kathleen Chaney, who are the backbone of the sports medicine department. Their dedication and expertise, coupled with the work of Theresa Markinson, our insurance specialist, and the graduate assistant athletic trainers, provide outstanding care to Syracuse University student-athletes. I am also very appreciative to our physicians, head team physician Dr. Irving Raphael, Dr. James Tucker, Dr. Michael Kernan, Dr. Wayne Eckhardt, and Dr. Jennifer McCaul. Their expert care and collaboration with the athletic training staff is vital in meeting our mission of providing comprehensive health care and managing risk to our student-athletes.”

Neal received the 2002 NATA Tough Cases Award for Outstanding Performance in the Athletic Training Profession (2002) for helping to save the life of Conference USA official Gerry Bram during the Syracuse University vs. East Carolina football game on September 29, 2001. From 2004 through 2009, Neal was the NATA liaison to the NCAA Football Rules committee and wrote language for helmet contact penalty, defenseless opponent penalty, and the creation of “Horse Collar” tackle penalty in college football.

Neal authored the catastrophic incident guideline chapter in the NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook. Neal is also on the writing group for the NATA position statement on pre-participation physical exams and medical disqualifications. He has worked on the training staffs at the 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival in Houston and the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis. In July of 1997, Neal was named an at-large member of the NATA Ethics Committee. Neal chairs the scholarship committee of the NYSATA and is the treasurer of The BIG EAST Conference Sports Medicine Society.

Neal earned his bachelor’s degree in health education from Ohio University in 1979 and his master’s degree in education from SU in 1981. He is an adjunct professor in the exercise science department at Syracuse University.

Courtesy of SU Athletics