My name is Eric Bortmas, and I love athletic training! But seriously, once I learned of the confluence of sports and medicine as one entity while a senior at Bristol High School, I was intrigued and set on a path that has extended into a 20-year career to this point. My passion was initially fueled by the late, great Dan Gorman at Mount Union from where I graduated in 1998. After a 2-year graduate assistantship at Ohio University and Meigs High School, I eventually made my way to Columbus and Sports Medicine Grant & Orthopaedic Associates for 12 years as the athletic trainer at Whitehall-Yearling and Licking Heights. I transitioned to OhioHealth where I am currently employed but stayed with Licking Heights where I have been for 13 years now. 

I absolutely love the school and community of Licking Heights and the administration, parents, coaches, and especially the athletes who continue to fuel the passion I have for the profession. There are the known challenges, but the little, simple things such as a “thank you” or athletes returning to the athletic training room during their off-season or college breaks to say “hi” make it all worthwhile. My level of excitement for teaching the profession escalated tremendously when I started a student aide program at Licking Heights in 2009. The program started with 3 motivated students and has grown to where I had 40 applicants for this current school year. I look forward to each day because of the student aide program and the privilege of working with the student-athletes I have at Licking Heights. 

I do not work for awards, but when they are bestowed upon me, I humbly accept them. I received the OATA Service Award in 2011 and the OHSAA State Award for Licking Heights in 2007-2008. I am currently twice nominated for the Athletic Trainer of the Year Award. But my best career achievements have been my OATA committee work, especially the Secondary School Committee of which I am currently Co-Sub-Chair, and as previously mentioned, my student aide program. 

I spend most of my “free time” with my 2-year-old dog, Zyga (yes, she is named for an anatomical landmark, though shortened and feminized) or feeding my frenzied hobby of collecting sports memorabilia. 

If I can offer some advice…find something within the profession that fuels your passion, whether it is committee work, starting a program, or taking on leadership roles within the school or your organization. Yes, we all need the work-life balance, but for each of us that equation looks different and that is okay as long as you are giving your all on the work side of the scoresheet. An empassioned athletic trainer will garner more respect for themselves as a professional as well as more respect for the profession of athletic training which is a daily battle that we all need to fight, but eventually should not have to. 

Here is the cutest dog ever!!


Thank you so very much Eric for your passion! You are making a difference in many lives! Thank you for all that you do!

If you would like to nominate a deserving OATA member to be in the "spotlight," please email deb.walkoAT@gmail.com. Thank you!

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“I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Til the landslide brought it down
Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin' ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life? 

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older, too 

I took my love, I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down
Oh, the landslide will bring it down”

-        Stevie Nicks 

Many of us recognize this song, “Landslide,” written by Stevie Nicks that she sang with her band, Fleetwood Mac. Some may relate to the song when it was later recorded by the Dixie Chicks in the early 2000s. I have long been a fan of many different forms of music. A well-written song can evoke transparency in our feelings, as well as sculpt meaningful context to our life experiences. We tend to gravitate towards those songs that bring us a sense of who we are or what we have been through. With music, you are always right in the expression of what a song means to you.

As strange as it may sound, listening to this song today launched me into deep thought about the profession of athletic training. We all have different chords that are struck when we stop to think about what athletic training means to us individually. Regardless of whether your chord is currently melodic or dissonant, my hope is that we can all reflect on a time where your love for being an athletic trainer shined brightly. The landscape of our occupation is undergoing some significant changes and it’s easy to default to our established notions of what athletic training has been to us without thinking of what it could be to us. As this song mentions, with change comes a natural instinct to be afraid and to hold on to what we know. We can build our lives around what is constant, familiar, and makes us feel safe.  However, what would happen if we stepped out of our places of comfort and allowed a landslide to occur that challenges our preconceived impressions surrounding athletic training. The foundation of our profession and our core values never change; just like the base of a mountain during an avalanche remains intact. Changing can be a painful process. However, what will be the result of walking through difficult seasons and riding those turbulent ocean tides? What do you imagine the future of athletic training being or have you needed a reason lately to stir from your complacency? Can you see the opportunity to etch a new face into the mountain and allow for greater diversity in athletic training? Can you see a horizon where athletic trainers will be reimbursed for the quality health care we provide? Can you envision athletic trainers rising up to battle alongside those lives that are entrenched in addiction? What does the new landscape of athletic training look like after we’ve let go of any fears we may have of changing?   

Two shorten the road,


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The OATA Research and Grants Committee are accepting abstracts for the 2018 Annual Symposium.  

Abstracts will be accepted from both students and professionals and we have three categories for submission this year!  

Professionals and students may submit original research, case studies, or critically appraised topics.  

The subheadings for each submission type are found in the instructions on the abstract submission page.  

To access the submission page, you should visit www.oata.org then go to AT Resources, select Committees, log-in, and select Research and Grants.  

Any questions can be directed to Shelley Payne, Research and Grants Chair, at spayne@otterbein.edu.  Also, all accepted abstracts will be published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Allied Health Sciences!


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 Columbus/Dublin Embassy Suites

May 11, 2018 - May 12, 2018 

Embassy Suites Dublin, Ohio
5100 Upper Metro Place
Dublin, OH 43017

Join us for evidence-based continuing education, the Hall of Fame Awards Banquet, networking with athletic training professionals from all across Ohio, and fun for the whole family!

Rooms at the Embassy Suites can be reserved by calling 1-800-220-9219 or 614-790-9000.  OATA Symposium Attendees and Guests can mention the code "OTA" to attain a room at our discounted rate of $129 per night plus tax. Special rates will be available until April 18, 2018 or until the block has sold out.

Hotel reservations include indoor pool, free high speed internet, complimentary fitness center access, hot breakfast, and cocktail hour.

We look forward to seeing you in May!


POSTED (1/24/18)




Call for Research and Poster Presentations

Link to Research and Grants webpage and application form

interested in volunteering?

we need your help. 


FOLLOW THIS LINK: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdmPHsHBaM6GcAsZUA0eJkegAzd2yh7nl7xG_mzilw7b5MHEg/viewform






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News from the Secondary School Committee


The OHSAA recently released a memo to member schools concerning an Ohio company that was marketing nutritional supplements which they claim are “approved“ by the OHSAA. The purpose of the memo was to advise schools districts that the OHSAA does not endorse, approve or recommend such products. The memo can be found at http://ohsaa.org/Portals/0/adam/Content/3sC0NHf5sU-qZRzdXm_meA/Link_File/20171220vantrition.pdf and includes the OHSAA Policy on Drugs, Medicine and Food Supplements.



If you are not getting the NATA Secondary School Newsletter you can access it at





Need help implementing the Berlin Concussion Consensus Statement recommendations? Here is an article from the NATA News which can help you: https://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/berlin-concussion-guidelines-secondary-school-implementation.pdf



Do you ever feel like you are alone? 
Do you feel that you can use some help but don't know where to turn?

The OATA Secondary Schools Committee is currently working on a project called the
 "Not Forgotten AT." 

This project involves filling out a survey so that our committee can determine how we can help you. Your voice will be heard and you will not be forgotten.

If you work in the middle/secondary school setting, please complete this short survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RFMJV2F



 GLATA meeting will be held in Wheeling, Illinois on March 13th through the 17th.

There will be a short secondary school business meeting on Thursday the 15th at 3 pm in which everyone is welcome to attend.

On Friday the 15th at 12:30 pm there will be a secondary school peer-to-peer session which has been very successful in the past.



Have you completed the ATLAS survey this year?

This survey helps update athletic training services throughout the United States.

Here is the completion rate for each state in GLATA: 
WI 23%; IL 35%, OH 38% MI 50%; IN 54%; MN 55%  

Ohio needs to lead this list!
Please go to https://ksi.uconn.edu/nata-atlas/  
and complete the survey! 







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The OATA is looking for members willing to assist with the annual golf outing!

Please contact Trevor Bates at trevorbates.tb@gmail.com if you are interested in assisting the Sponsorship Committee with this event!


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to the following

GLATA award winners from Ohio:

Outstanding Educator - Jessica Wallace, PhD, ATC

President's Excellence Award - Jerry Whetstone, MEd, ATC

Gatorade Secondary School Athletic Trainer Award -

Kim Barber-Foss, MS, ATC

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Newsletters from October 2016 - December 2017 are available for viewing.

You can access the archives by either clicking on the link in the left side margin at the top of this newsletter (see yellow highlighted area in the sample below) or by following the same link here http://oata.org/news_arch.php 


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