Tara Lepp is among the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainers

Tara Lepp, professor of health and human performance and head athletic trainer, has been recognized for her athletic training career, which has included service, leadership, scholarship, research, publications, mentoring and media publications.  Photo courtesy of Kelly Bird

Tara Lepp, professor of health and human performance and head athletic trainer, was one of nineteen people awarded with the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer by the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA).

To be eligible for this award, Lepp had to be a NATA member in good standing, be a member for at least 20 years and had to

be a board certified athletic trainer for at least 20 years.

To be considered, she had to be nominated by a peer. Lepp then had to fill out a 16-page application. This application asked for everything she had done that relates to athletic training, including service, leadership, scholarship, research,

publications, mentoring and media publications.

In 2011, Lepp was also inducted into the Oregon’s Athletic Trainers’ Society (OATS) Hall of Fame.

Lepp has been inducted into Linfield’s Athletic Hall of Fame three times. She was inducted in 2002, with the 1982 football team, in 2004, with the 1984 football team and again in 2006 with the 1986 football team. The team’s coaches were also

inducted.

This is Lepp’s last year as head athletic trainer and she said this award “is a nice way to be honored [and] it’s a really nice way to be recognized.”

Lepp first became interested in athletic training in high school.

She was injured in her last season of track, and her coach told her about athletic training. Lepp “had a desire to go into in the medical field and science was always [her] favorite subject”

She began working at Linfield in 1982, where she was the college’s first board certified athletic trainer. Lepp also started the athletic training program.

Lepp’s favorite part about being an athletic trainer is the relationships.

She is still in contact with her first group of students and athletes from Linfield.

Lepp is also involved with Open Arms International, an organization that provides relief aid in Africa. She says that this endeavor is a spiritual calling from God that she wasn’t expecting.

She realized that although she wasn’t a doctor, she has a lot of useful medical skills. She said that “medical training is internationally applicable.”

Lepp leads medical teams for Open Arms International, and many of the teams are comprised of people from the U.S., U.K., and Kenya. Lepp said that in just four days, they see 1,500 to 2,000 people who wouldn’t otherwise receive healthcare.

She went to Africa for the first time in 2005. She enjoys helping people in Africa and providing them with aid so much that after teaching a January Term ’14 course titled Healthcare in Kenya, she will remain in Kenya until fall semester.

Kiera Downs/Copy editor

Kiera Downs can be reached at linfieldreviewcopyed@gmail.com