Dr. Pam Rast didn’t know what to say.
Weeks ago, when she was told by a friend that she was going to be inducted into the Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame this summer, she was shocked.
The woman that told her, an old friend, “said she was going to write it down on the calendar for that day as the one and only time I was speechless,” said Rast, who has been Texas Wesleyan’s athletic training program director for 21 years.
“It’s humbling,” Rast said. “It’s truly an honor to be recognized by my peers and to be considered among a group of individuals that I have the utmost respect for.”
Wesleyan Athletic Director Steve Trachier said he was extremely proud of Rast when he learned of her induction.
“I was excited for her,” Trachier said. “She is a wonderful work colleague and does so much for our athletic department. I also know from other job experiences that the importance and volume of work that they do, and for someone to be as respected as she is in that field, that is just incredible. We think that is a feather in the cap for our department and university.”
Rast completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in athletic training at Baylor University, then got a job at Clear Lake High School in Houston, where she was the assistant and then head athletic trainer for eight years.
In 1991, she transferred to Texas Woman’s University to complete her doctorate in biomechanics. She came to Wesleyan in 1994 as the university’s first full-time athletic director.
“I came to Wesleyan because it was close and I hadn’t quite finished my dissertation yet,” Rast said, “and they told me that they were interested in starting an athletic training education program, and that is what I was interested in doing.”
Rast was the head athletic trainer for two years. At the same time, she was also teaching and developing the curriculum for the athletic training program. After that she moved into a faculty position as an assistant professor and the first program director that the school had since 1996-97. In 2002 Rast became the chair of the Department of Kinesiology.
In 2012, Rast won the most distinguished trainer award from the National Athletic Trainers Association, and the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association most distinguished athletic trainer award. The NATA award is voted on by peers, and recognizes a trainer for unique and exceptional contributions to the profession and dedication to the job. The SWATA awards outstanding service to the association.
“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by your peers for what you do as a professional,” Rast said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a better athletic trainer than anybody else – that’s not what it’s about. We’re all highly qualified health care professionals but it means that I kind of went above and beyond my regular job and got involved in the profession.”
According to a biography that was written for her induction into the SWATA hall of fame, Rast has “offered her time and educational assistance to several schools and organizations.” She also volunteers as a first responder/ athletic training coordinator with the Annual KID-NETIC games for students with physical impairments.
Rast’s peers couldn’t be happier for her as she inducted into the SWATA hall of fame.
“I was thrilled when I saw Pam’s name on the list, as she is so very deserving,” NATA District VI Director Kathy Dieringer said. “Pam has done so much for this profession, and her service to athletic training has been phenomenal, and I am proud to call her a colleague and friend.”
Dieringer said that Rast has built an incredible athletic training program, and “her hard work shows in the success of that program.”
To be inducted into the hall of fame, applicants must have been a member of the organization for 25 years and include letters of support with their application. Applicants are graded on a point system.
Rast said that the athletic training department has gone where she wants it to go, and there is still room for growth. She said she is getting ready to hand the reigns as program director to someone who is younger and might have some new ideas.
She also had advice for whoever takes the job after her or, for that matter, any young person.
“Don’t expect you’re going to get it all right now, it just takes time but it’s time that’s well worth it,” Rast said. “You’re going to get out of it what you put into it.”