There are many attributes that describe Jeff Cooper; leader, innovator, teacher, and professional. "Coop" was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and attended the University of Delaware, where he studied under Dr. Roy Rylander. He earned his Master's Degree at Indiana State University in Athletic Training. During this time, his interest and love for baseball was ignited. This passion, and his increased knowledge of biomechanics, went hand-in-hand with his abilities to analyze and determine the mechanism of the injuries involved in baseball. Coop pursued his interest in baseball, by spending many years in the minor league systems. In 1976, he was hired as the Assistant Athletic Trainer with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was promoted to Head Athletic Trainer in 1984 and stayed in that position until 2006. Dallas Green, former Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies wrote of Coop, "His knowledge of his craft is second to none in my opinion because he has that burning desire to improve by spending time in the athletic training room listening, reading, studying, delving into the X's and O's of the body. This always with an insight and pride to get better and be on the cutting edge of new and improving way of getting players back on the field as well as preventative approaches to these problems." Coop's acute knowledge of biomechanics along with his ability to analyze motion, allows him a unique ability to correct deficiencies in rehabilitation programs that he has developed. Phil Donley states, "His input in this area (analysis and rehabilitation) has broadened the knowledge base in professional baseball and there is a trickle down effect for that information into the general population. As a leader in the field of Athletic Training, Coop pioneered the formation of PBATS, Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers' Society. He was instrumental in convincing the baseball owners that PBATS was an education based organization, not a union. PBATS has continued with that mission to this day. Coop brought to the foreground the perils of smokeless tobacco and the prevalence of it use in professional baseball. He conducted national programs involving politicians, prominent athletes, and scientific data to educate our youth regarding smokeless tobacco. Through Coop's perseverance, these programs have convinced the NCAA, MLB, as well as youth sport programs around the country, to prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco in and around these activities.
Medical professionals, major league baseball owners, and players all praise the work and values of this fine professional.
Jeffrey S. Cooper
NATA Hall of Fame Member
Mike Sitler has always been an intuitive individual. Mike's family developed a process on their dairy farms by using methane gas produced by the manure on their farms. It seems natural that Mike, one of seven boys, would be directing research projects later in his career. Mike attended East Stroudsburg University. He graduated in 1976, with a degree in Health and Physical Education, with a concentration in Athletic Training. Mike continued his education as a graduate Assistant at East Stroudsburg University, where he completed his MS Degree in Physical Education, with a Somatic Science concentration.
Mike was employed at Kean College of New Jersey (1977-1982), where he developed an approved Athletic Training Education Program, in addition to providing clinical care for the intercollegiate athletes. Mike later moved to United States Military Academy at West Point, where he provided clinical care for the cadets' intramural programs and was an instructor in Physical Education. He began his pursuit of a Doctorial Degree at New York University.
Mike continued his athletic training career at Temple University as Chair of the Department of Kinesiology. He earned his doctorial degree in 1989, and has enjoyed a very successful career at Temple University. Mike has been the major advisor for 47 doctoral and master thesis studies and served over 130 additional committees' studies. Mike has successfully published over 50 articles and 75 abstracts in his department. Mike has developed an outstanding educational program at Temple University, both at the Graduate and Undergraduate levels. In regard to his teaching, Mike feels it is important to support a positive student learning environment. He believes it is necessary to provide transparent and shared decision making when appropriate, evidence-based content, frequent and constructive feedback, and course materials that are clear, complete, and of value. This philosophy earned him a Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1997.
Mike has completed numerous studies involving the efficiency of bracing. He has served as a chair for NATA, EATA and PATS research committees, regarding research and grants at all levels. He is widely published and serves on many editorial boards throughout our profession. Mike feels that the NATA Research and Education Foundation, that he has served on since 1997, and is currently the President, is his most important contribution to the profession. The studies he has initiated and supported over the years have lead to many advances in our profession.
Michael R. Sitler
Paula began her education in athletic training at West Chester State College. She attended West Chester from 1978-82, under the direction of Phil Donley, Brad Taylor and Joe Godek. Paula earned her Master's Degree in Education/Sports Medicine from Michigan State University in 1984. She then accepted a position at Eastern Kentucky University, teaching in an NATA Approved Undergraduate Education Program from 1984-86. From 1986-89, she served as Acting Athletic Training Education Program Director, at the University of Pittsburgh. During the next few years, Paula explored the private sector of athletic training, working with coaching effectiveness and developing healthy habits for athletes. Paula entered the University of Virginia in 1990 and completed her Doctorate of Education in 1992. In 1992, Paula accepted a position at Duquesne University as the first and only Chair of the Department of Athletic Training. She has continued to chair the department and has earned the rank of Associate Professor. In 2004, Paula was named the Anna Rangos Rizakus Endowed Chair of the Health Sciences and Ethics. She also holds the position of Program Director of the CAATE Accredited Athletic Training Education Program. Paula has diligently served the institutions where she has been employed, and the students she has taught and mentored in so many ways. She has utilized her skills as an educator, a clinician, an administrator, a leader, and as a counselor. Paula has worked at the NATA level serving on the editorial boards of the Journal of Athletic Training, the District II Executive Committee, and the NATA Representative to the JRC-AT, the Education Council, and the NATA Position Statement Working Group. In addition, she was the Inaugural Chair and first CEO of CAATE, and Vice Chair/Chair of JRC-AT. Paula has also served the Board of Certification as a Test Developer, Test Site Administrator, examiner/model, materials manager, and on two Role Delineations Study Committees. More regionally and locally, Paula was honored as the First Moyer Award Chair. She served as a NATA Research and Education Foundation representative to the District II BOD. She has been a member of the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainer's Society since 1980, where she has served the membership as President, President-elect and past President; as well as Parliamentarian, a member of the Long Range Planning and Governmental Affairs Committee, and a liaison to the Pennsylvania PTA and Safe Kids Programs.
Paula's proudest accomplishment is that of being a mentor and teacher for the many of her students that have gone on to be successful professionals in Athletic Training, and various other medical professions.