BALTIMORE -- John Lopez, Coppin State University's coordinator of sports medicine, will be inducted into the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Hall of Fame in St. Louis on Thursday, June 28.
Lopez is one of 17 individuals who will be inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame at the organization's 63rd annual meeting in St. Louis.
The NATA Hall of Fame is the highest honor an athletic trainer can receive. Honorees are recognized for their work in advancing the athletic training profession, including scholarly research, clinical advancements and strong leadership. Since inducting its first class in 1962, the NATA Hall of Fame now has 277 members.
"The honor humbles me," said Lopez. "I'm fortunate to be inducted with a group of guys who are some of the old timers, the guys who did a lot with very little. They took the time to teach people about the profession and they are who you learned the trade from. It's just a real honor to be inducted."
Lopez, who was hired at Coppin State in the fall of 2011, is the former head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts and has over 40 years of experience at the high school, collegiate, clinical and industrial sports medicine settings.
He is widely known for his efforts advocating for the clinical setting and was a founding member and first chair of the NATA Clinical/Industrial/Corporate Committee.
Lopez established one of the first physician extender programs in the country and is the current chair of the NATA Service Award Subcommittee and a past recipient of the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society Outstanding Alumni Award.
A certified athletic trainer and a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association (MAATA) as well as the Maryland Athletic Trainers’ Association (MATA), Lopez has worked at all levels of athletic competition: from youth sports, national championships, and international championships as well as from high school athletics to professional football. Lopez worked in the National Football League from 1976 – 1979 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and was the former Head Athletic Trainer with the Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts from 1979 - 1984.
After leaving the Colts in 1984, he returned to Maryland where he co-founded and served as the Director of Towson Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Center for 19 years. He has served as a consultant with Baltimore County Public Schools in trying to hire certified athletic trainers at the high school level, and as an instructor to high school coaches on the subject of care and prevention of athletic injuries. He is a past member of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s (MPSSAA) Athletic Health Care Advisory Committee.
As past Vice President of the MATA he was instrumental in organizing athletic training coverage for the MPSSAA State High School Championships for over 15 years. He has also served as the Chair of the MATA Legislative committee.
He was co-founder of the Ed Block Courage Award (a national charity dedicated to fighting child abuse) and served as its President and is a Board Member Emeritus. He was recognized in 1999 by the NATA with its Most Distinguished Athletic Trainers Award. In 2005 he was inducted into the inaugural class of the Maryland Athletic Trainers Associations’ Hall of Fame.