Head Athletic Trainer Tara Lepp is a professor of health and human performance. She is a familiar face in the Health Human Performance and Athletics training center. Student-athletes and athletic trainers alike know her as Tara.
Lepp was inducted into the Oregon’s Athletic Trainers’ Society Hall of Fame on March 25.
“This is the highest honor that she can be given by her peers in the state of Oregon,” assistant professor and athletic trainer, Greg Hill said in an email.
Lepp said she was surprised about the award.
“I was very surprised to receive this honor, especially when I found out that they had kept it a secret for a long time,” Lepp said. “They tried to induct me into the OATS Hall of Fame in 2009, but I was in Kenya, Africa working on a research project. They tried again in 2010, but I had conflicting meetings as a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Board of Directors. I had no idea I was getting this award, and I was shocked when they announced my name.”
Lepp has been working at Linfield for 29 years. She was hired as Linfield’s first certified athletic trainer in 1982.
With such a desire for the program, such as hers, it is evident why Lepp has stayed at the school for so long.
“I love helping injured student-athletes and teaching our athletic training students how to treat injuries. It is wonderful to be able to teach what I do and do what I teach. The Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) at Linfield allows me to do that,” Lepp said.
Lepp is well-respected by the students she helps on the field, as well as by the students she teaches off the field.
“She challenges us to take our weaknesses and turn them into strengths,” senior athletic training major Brooke Bekkedahl said. “She always demonstrates exceptional and individualized care to each and every athlete, which is something we (as students) should always strive for.”
Lepp gives to Linfield’s Athletic Training Program with dedication and zeal, but she saves some of her passion for philanthropy. Lepp donates her time to Open Arms International, an organization that donates free medical supplies to less fortunate parts in Africa. She also travels to Africa once a year to do volunteer work.
“She has devoted her entire life to helping others and that is quite a form of inspiration for us all,” Bekkedahl said.
Lepp said she cherishes the long-lasting relationships she has with her students.
“It was exciting to see so many of my former students in Eugene when I was inducted into the hall of fame,” Lepp said. “That really made it special.”
Corrina Crocker/Sports editor
Corrina Crocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.