CollegeFrontier Conference


Montana Western athletic trainer Kaleb Birney wins National Distinction Award

Posted at 10:03 AM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 00:50:19-04

(Editor’s note: Montana Western media release)

LAS VEGAS — Kaleb Birney has received the National Athletic Trainers (NATA) Young Professional’s Committee National Distinction Award.

The National Distinction Award is the Young Professionals’ Committee’s highest honor to recognize a young professional athletic trainer who has made an immediate and definitive impact on the athletic training profession at the national, district, state or community level. Birney will receive his award at the NATA National Convention in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay on Wednesday, June 26.

Birney is currently the Head Athletic Trainer at The University of Montana Western and is a member of the Montana Sports Medicine team with St. James Healthcare in Butte. He has held this position for three years but has recently finished his fifth year at UMW.

“I am very honored to receive this award,” Birney said. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without the guidance of Russ Richardson, Janelle Handlos, and Chris Heard or without the help of Zach McCarthy and Mary Placzkowski. I’m blessed to be able to work with such a great family. But even more thankful for my wife Emilee who supports me with everything.”

A native of Sublette, Kan., Birney is the primary athletic trainer for the Bulldog football and men’s basketball programs while also overseeing all sports. He was a member of four straight Men’s Basketball National Tournament teams (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018). Birney serves on the Montana Athletic Training Board of Licensure and is the Public Relations Chair for the Northwest Athletic Trainers Association.

To be eligible for this award, one must be certified for a minimum of three years as well as a member of the NATA for three years and must be considered a young professional (in the first 12 years of certification) at the time the member is nominated.

The nomination must include but is not limited to:

  • Nominee embodies the ideas, goals, and mission of NATA and the Young Professionals’ Committee
  • Contributes to the tasks and objectives of the Young Professionals’ Committee, NATA, and the athletic training profession
  • Consistently demonstrates a definite character and responsibility to their, peers, patients, and institution
  • The nominee has demonstrated the highest level of service, professionalism, and competence in their place of work
    • A significant contributor to the daily operation of his/her practice
    • Demonstrates unselfishness in giving talents and time within and outside the athletic training profession
    • Expresses an interest in work-related functions, institution spirit, and pride
  • Nominee maintains the highest level of honor, respect, and integrity in their clinical setting and to the community
    • Demonstrates competence, knowledge, and skills in his/her clinical practice
    • Demonstrates activities and time management skills that incorporate work/life balance
  • Nominee demonstrates leadership abilities
    • Demonstrates initiative and ability to inspire other professionals where the athletic training profession has directly benefited
  • The nominee is active in research and education
    • Utilizes evidence-based medicine, and contributes to the current body of knowledge through presentations or manuscripts
    • Mentors or educates students, colleagues, or other athletic trainers