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2023 PSA Recipient

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Robert L. (Lee) Ware, Jr. is a retired teacher and member of the Virginia House of Delegates.  He represents the 65th District, consisting of the entirety of his home county of Powhatan,  the precincts of Skinquarter, Tomahawk, Woolridge, Brandermill, Swift Creek, Evergreen West, Edgewater, Midlothian, Roseland, and Midlothian North in Chesterfield County; the precincts of Fife, Three Square, Sandy Hook, and Goochland Court House 2, in Goochland County; and the precincts of Columbia and Fork Union in Fluvanna County. 
He is chairman of the House committee on Finance and a ranking member of the committees on Rules, Commerce & Labor, and Agriculture, Chesapeake, & Natural Resources.  He serves by appointment on several commissions, including Small Business, Water, Health Insurance Reform, Coal & Energy, Unemployment Compensation, and Employment Retirement Security and Pension Reform. READ MORE


2023 PSA Recipient

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Mike Puglia, LAT, ATC

Mike is a graduate of James Madison University’s 2011 Athletic Training Class. He is currently an Athletic Training Construction Manager for Athletic Training Solutions, where he manages medical care for Strata Solar projects in Central Virginia.  He was the recipient of the Virginia Athletic Trainers Associations Presidential Service Award in 2023, VCU Benchmark Award for new employees in 2022, 2015 Virginia Athletic Trainers Associations Secondary School Athletic Trainer of the Year recipient as well as the 2015 Powhatan High School Staff Member of the Year and the 2011 James Madison University Athletic Training Education Programs Directors Award recipient.  Mike serves on a number of boards and committees; he sits on the Virginia Board of Medicines Advisory Board on Athletic Training where he also served as chair for 6 years, member and vice chair of the Virginia Brain Injury Council through the Department of Aging and Rehabilitation and member of Chesterfield County Public School’s Concussion Management Team.  Mike has a calling to serve others and loves sharing his knowledge, passion and skills as an Athletic Trainer and routinely gives talks to local youth athletic associations, high school students, AAU teams as well as local and state organizations.

2021 PSA Recipient

Becky Bowers-Lanier, MSN, MPH, EdD

2019 PSA Recipient

Dr. Douglas Gregory

Dr. Douglas Gregory practices general pediatrics and primary care sports medicine in the Suffolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth areas. He has been the Director of Sports Medicine at Western Branch High School in Chesapeake for 34 years. He has been an advocate for the Athletic Training profession and especially athletic training education since 1993. Dr. Gregory has mentored many professionals as they have started their careers. He has been invited as a speaker at numerous Athletic Training Programs, both regional and national meetings.

Dr. Gregory serves the Athletic Training profession in many areas: CAATE site visitor and Review Committee member; BOC Board of Directors Physician Director and Treasurer; VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee Chairperson. Dr. Gregory has been honored with NATA Honorary Membership (2006); VATA Hall of Fame (2016); NATA District 3 Director’s Award.

“As I tell experienced and new certified athletic trainers and athletic training students, volunteering is a passion and lifelong commitment; do something at the local, state. district, or national level but be involved. The athletic training profession will only grow as fast as you push it.”


2017 PSA Recipients

Commonwealth of Virginia Commission on Youth

The Virginia Commission on Youth provides a bipartisan form for complex issues related to youth and their families. The Commission studies and provides recommendations to the general assembly on matters related to youth and families.  Recommendations are provided in the areas of child mental health, public safety, education, health, and human services along with many other areas.  The Commission assists the general assembly’s ability to make sound policy decisions based on well studied and reasoned recommendations.  The Commission is instrumental in advising and guiding the VATA through its legislative efforts, through its ability to assist in data collection and assembling resources and influential parties.  By the VATA partnering with the Commission the VATA is better able to impact the health, safety and wellness of athletes throughout the commonwealth more efficiently.  Due to the Commission’s past support and commitment to the VATA’s future efforts I feel that the Commission on Youth is very deserving of the 2017 VATA Presidential Service Award.

Commonwealth of Virginia Commission on Youth for the 2017 VATA Presidential Service Award.  The Commission on Youth is directed by the Virginia Code “to study and provide recommendations addressing the needs of and services to the Commonwealth’s youth and families.” This governmental commission has assisted the Athletic Training profession through working with past and current VATA leaders and members to improve the safety of the youth in the Commonwealth. Under the leadership of Del. Chis Peace, the Commission brought together stakeholders in September 2015 to determine what, if any, legislation should be crafted to amend the current Code of Virginia to strengthen concussion guidelines promulgated by the Department of Education. The VATA played a critical role in recommending the stakeholder meeting agenda and suggesting panelists and participants. As a result of the meeting, the Commission endorsed legislation, HB 954, that was patroned by Del. Mark Keam, Commission member.  This bill, signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, requires that the Department update its concussion guidelines to include a "Return to Learn" protocol. Further, it expands the scope of the concussion guidelines to include all students, not only student athletes.

The Chair of the Commission is currently Delegate Christopher K. Peace from Mechanicsville, VA. Other members of the Commission include Delegates Richard L. Anderson (Woodbridge), Richard P. Bell (Staunton), Peter F. Farrell (Richmond), Duan S. Hester (Norfolk), and Mark L. Keam (Vienna). The Senate of Virginia members include Barbara A. Favola, Vice-chair (Arlington), Charles W. Carrico, Sr. (Galax), and Dave W. Marsden (Burke). At-Large members appointed by the governor, include Karrie Delaney (Chantilly), Ms. Deirde S. Goldsmith (Abingdon), and the Honorable Chris Rehak (Radford).


In addition to the members mentioned above the Commission on Youth also has three office staff members. Amy Atkinson, Executive Director, Will Egen, Commission’s Legal Policy Analyst, and Leah Mills, Senior Legislative Policy Analyst.


This summer Delegate Peace and I met to discuss some potential legislative efforts of the VATA that will help to protect the youth of the Commonwealth while they participate in athletics. At the end of that meeting Delegate Peace suggested that the VATA partner again with the Commission on Youth to investigate the need for future emergency action plan, heat illness, cardiovascular/AED legislation. The benefit of this partnership is the Commission on Youth has the authority and personnel to collect data that will be required to make future legislative efforts successful. As we are all aware most ATs do not have time to add this data collection to their daily workload.


The entire Commission has only been acknowledged by an association once in the past and that was in 1996. I believe acknowledging the Commission on Youth for the work they did to research/promote/strengthen concussion legislation in Virginia has impacted athletic training in a positive manner. The Commission on Youth has demonstrated dedication, selflessness, and hard work while serving as an advocate of athletic trainers in the Commonwealth and our patient population. Due to the Commission’s commitment to the VATA in the past and present I feel the Commission on Youth is very deserving of the 2017 VATA Presidential Service Award.

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