2021 American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy
Awards Program

Hosted by Drew Jenk, Chair, AASPT Awards Committee
Thursday, February 18 | 8:00 p.m. EST

Click below to watch Awards Ceremony


Awards Program Agenda

Sports Clinical Specialists RecognitionBlaise Williams, AASPT Vice President

25 Year Member Recognition | Blaise Williams, AASPT Vice President

Sports Residency Programs | Craig Garrison, Chair, Specialization SIG

AASPT Research Awards | Bryan Heiderscheit, Chair, AASPT Research Committee

JOSPT Research Award | Clare Ardern, Editor-in-Chief, JOSPT

AASPT Individual Awards | Drew Jenk, Chair, Awards Committee

Outstanding Student Award

New Horizon Award

Excellence in Education Award

Lynn Wallace Clinical Education and Professional Development Award

Outstanding Service Award

Special Interest Group of the Year Award

Jack C. Hughston Sports Physician Award

Turner A. Blackburn Hall of Fame/Lifetime Achievement Award

The Ronald G. Peyton Award



Sports Clinical Specialists & 25-Year Recognition

SCS Credentials   25+ Years Membership
SCS List   25+ Recognition
Click the images above to download

Residency Program Accreditations
Craig Garrison, Chair, AASPT Specialization SIG

Residency Program Accreditations
Click to download

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AASPT Research Awards 
Bryan Heiderscheit, Chair, AASPT Research Committee

The Legacy Fund New Investigator Research Grant Award
Prospective Evaluation of Running-Related Injury Disability In High School Cross Country Runners

Authors: Evan O. Nelson, Mikel R. Joachim, Bryan Heiderscheit, Stephanie Kliethermes, and Timothy McGuine

We would like to thank the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy for supporting sports physical therapy research and new investigators through the Legacy Fund. We appreciate the grant review panel’s confidence in our research group as well as the recognition of our work by the Awards Committee. We are excited to begin our work examining the limitations and disability caused by running-related injuries in high school cross country runners. This project will provide evidence to inform return to running guidance, and we look forward to sharing the results at a future Combined Sections Meeting.

Best Research Abstract in Sports Physical Therapy
Gait Modification Effects On Subject-Specific Tibia Stress During Running In Males and Females
Authors: Stacey Meardon, Margaret Marshall, John Willson, Lauren Stubbs, and Richard Willy
Citation: Meardon, Stacey A., et al. "Gait Modification Effects on Subject-Specific Tibia Stress during Running in Males and Females." 2021 Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). APTA.

We would like to acknowledge the phenomenal research presented across the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy (AASPT) this year. In particular we would like to recognize the excellent work of fellow nominees for the Best Research Abstract in Sports Physical Therapy. We thank the conference abstract reviewers and research committee members for their time, effort and recognition. The Academy has shown significant adaptability and resilience in helping transition CSM 2021 to a successful virtual conference to meet its members’ professional needs during this pandemic. Their commitment has given our research team an opportunity to share our foundational biomechanics investigation on bone stress injury to critically inform clinical practices and perspectives. Our work would not have been possible without funding and support from East Carolina University, particularly the Department of Physical Therapy, as well as the National Science Foundation. A diverse group of students, both DPT and Engineering, also contributed to our success through their participation in recruitment, collection, processing, and coding and are deserving of acknowledgement, notably Zach Blank, Emily Brown, Karleen Bartol and Leela Goel. Our research team is honored to be recognized with the 2021 AASPT Combined Section Meeting’s Best Research Abstract in Sports Physical Therapy. Thank you, AASPT, for this recognition.

Excellence in Sports Physical Therapy Research Award

Lynn Snyder-Mackler PhotoLynn Snyder-Mackler, PT, ATC, ScD, FAPTA, SCS 

I am absolutely delighted to be the inaugural recipient of the Academy of Sports Physical Therapy’s Excellence in Sports Physical Therapy Research Award. Over a career that has spanned more than 40 years, I have endeavored to answer important clinical questions through my research. Most important to me is that clinicians have found my work useful in helping them to better care for young athletes with acute, traumatic knee injury and return them to an active life. Thank you for this recognition.

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JOSPT Excellence in Research Award 

Presented by JOSPT's Editor-in-Chief Clare Ardern (Video)
Dry Needling Combined With Guideline-Based Physical Therapy Provides No Added Benefit in the Management of Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Authors: Fábio Stieven, Giovanni Ferreira, Matheus Wiebusch, Francisco de Araújo, Louis Telles da Rosa, and Marcelo Silva
Stieven, Fábio Franciscatto, et al. "Dry needling combined with guideline-based physical therapy provides no added benefit in the management of chronic neck pain: a randomized controlled trial." journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy 50.8 (2020): 447-454.

We would like to thank JOSPT for awarding us with the prestigious 2020 Guy G. Simoneau Excellence in Research Award. It is truly an honor to receive this recognition. These are exciting times for physical therapy research. Researchers, clinicians, and patients now work in collaboration more than ever to harness efforts to improve the health of many. We continue to strive for the advancement of the physical therapy profession through the conduction of high quality research that is relevant to patients and clinicians. Thank you!

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AASPT Individual Awards

Drew Jenk, Chair AASPT Awards Committee

AASPT Outstanding Student Award

Rachel Meyers
Rachel Meyers, SPT

I am very honored and humbled to be the 2021 recipient of the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy Outstanding Student Award. Thank you to Dr. Derek Clewley for the nomination, and to Duke DPT and the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy for all the support. I know this award will help with my future professional goals and aspirations as an aspiring pediatric sports PT and will continue to motivate me to be a life-long learner in this profession. I could not be more honored to carry the legacy of this award forward and look forward to continuing my involvement for many years to come in the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy.


AASPT New Horizon Award

Christa Wille

Christa Wille, PT, DPT, SCS

I am delighted, honored, and humbled to be this year’s AASPT New Horizon Award winner. Over the early years in my career, my outlook and perspective on learning has certainly evolved. If anything, I have recognized my learning was just beginning after the completion of my formal education. With every answered question comes exponentially more unanswered questions, but if I can educate others and share a bit of knowledge along the way, I will consider it a success. Fortunately, I have had several mentors and strong leaders to guide me, encouraging me to continue to ask questions and lay the foundation for a career of life-long learning. Thank you to my research mentor, Dr. Bryan Heiderscheit who has pushed me, yet provided patience and grace, expecting independence yet provided guidance when needed. Thank you to my students and mentees who have given me new perspectives and pressed me to learn. Most importantly, thank you to my family that has supported me and helped me find the joy in every step of this crazy adventure. Finally, thank you to the AASPT for fostering these relationships and supporting the continued growth of our profession. Sharing the joys of our profession and encouraging others of all backgrounds, especially women and girls, to explore the intersection of sports medicine and engineering is not service to me, but rather an honor. Here’s to hoping we all continue to grow and seek new horizons, no matter the stage in our career. 

AASPT Excellence in Education Award

Casey Unverzagt

Casey Unverzagt, PT, DPT, DSc, OCS, SCS, FAAOMPT

I am both honored and humbled to receive the Excellence in Education award from the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy.  Thank you to all my mentors who have spurred me on towards excellence these past 15 years. Thank you to my colleagues at Baylor University, Evidence in Motion, Scorebuilders, and in the clinic.  You have modeled servant leadership, an uncompromising pursuit of quality, and have never failed to offer me abundant grace while holding me accountable to the highest standard.  A well-deserved thank you goes out to all the entry-level and post-professional students who have chosen to put their trust in me.  I hope you move the ball further down the field as you become even better practitioners than the generation before you.  Lastly, as I look at the previous recipients of this award, I am humbled to be in the company of such brilliant, compassionate, and forward-thinking physical therapists.  May we never stop learning, never stop serving, and never be afraid to fail.  Many thanks.


AASPT Lynn Wallace Clinical Education and Professional Development Award

Giorgio Zeppieri
Giorgio Zeppieri, Jr, PT, SCS

I would like to thank the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy Board of Directors for selecting me for the Lynn Wallace Clinical Education and Professional Development Award.   The opportunity to receive such an honor is humbling.  I would first like to thank Joel Bialosky, Ryan Adkins, Savannah Smith, and Kenny Palmer for thinking me worthy of the nomination and for writing letters of support on my behalf. Most importantly, I would like to single out Joel Bialosky.  His commitment to the University of Florida Physical Therapy Department, the American Physical Therapy Association, and to teaching is considered the Gold Standard at the University of Florida, so to be worthy of his nomination is an honor within itself.   I would like to thank God for giving me the ability to succeed in this profession, and for my mother, Marisa and father, George, for their sacrifices they made in allowing me to pursue my dreams and goals.  Thank you to my beautiful wife, Kathryn, and my two amazing children, Christopher and Isabella, for their support and patience.  Regardless of whatever my successes or failures may be, my family is always there to encourage and love me. Without them, this honor would not be possible.  Lastly, I would like to acknowledge two mentors, and more importantly friends:  Dr. Steven George and Marty Huegel.  Not only did they believe in me early in my career, they set the bar in professionalism, clinical growth, and character.  

Outstanding Service Award

Shelley Weinstein

Michele Weinstein, PT, ATC, MS

I am honored and humbled to receive this award, especially when I read the names of the other recipients, many of them my mentors and sounding boards. I love our academy and celebrate what Sports PTs do for our athletes at every level of competition. We need to be at the venue caring for them. We exist because of them. I have worked for many years to train and showcase our skills in the venue. Thank you Sandy Quillen for your ask many years ago for a cadre of instructors, Danny Smith for teaching so many of us, Mark DeCarlo for your belief in my ideas and especially to Cookie Freidhoff-Bohman, my long-term mentor and staunch advocate in pushing me to stay the course. Of course, one is never alone in accepting such as award; to all my co-instructors and the students who I learned as much from as I taught and to my children who always let me be their first responder and finally my husband Reid, who listens, critiques, pushes and continues to support me everyday in my personal and professional endeavors.

Special Interest Group of the Year Award 

Katie Lucas
Kathryn Hickey Lucas - Chair, Adaptive Sports SIG

I am truly grateful for receiving the Outstanding SIG 2021 Award and am so honored to be able to serve as the vice-chair and now chair of the Adaptive Sports SIG. Thank you Shana Harrington, Stacey Pagorek, Cookie Freidhoff-Bohman, and Mark Paterno for getting me involved in the SIG and being part of my personal journey into adaptive sports. Also thank you Jen Lucarevic, Deanne Fay, and Angela Smith who have been with me throughout this process of building our SIG. Who would have thought this award would even be possible, when not long ago we were wondering if our SIG would survive and maintain enough members? While we continue to be one of the smallest SIGs of the AASPT, our “small but mighty” group has been incredibly active. Thank you to everyone who has been along in this journey. While I cannot name every person, know I greatly appreciate you. As Tatyana McFadden has remarked, “I’ve never seen myself as a person with a disability,” and so we strive to continue to have Sports Physical Therapy look past the disabilities and see all of the opportunities for athletes in adaptive sports.

Jack C. Hughston Sports Physician Award

Robert F. LaPrade, MD, PhD

Turner A. Blackburn Life Achievement Hall Of Fame

Lori Thein Brody, PT, PhD, SCS

It was a long time ago…. At least 25 years by the Hall of Fame criteria, that there was a door, an opening, albeit a small one, but a door nonetheless. Leaders like Barb Sanders and Cookie Friedhoff helped me find it, and when I did, and that door opened, a plethora of options sparkled before me.  An abundance of professional growth opportunities were available as domains of sports physical therapy were expanding and growing quickly,  thanks to the leadership of people like TAB, whom this award honors. I look at the list of previous Hall of Fame honorees and know that each of them has worked to advance this profession.  I am grateful for what I have gleaned by watching them continue push forward;  for the opportunities to work in specialization, residencies, writing and teaching that I was given by people like Barb, Terry Malone, Cookie Friedhoff, Jim Zachazewski, Sandy Quillen and the many others too numerous to mention. I have learned much from rubbing shoulders with these professionals; those who were gracious enough to open a door, reveal a path and nudge a novice. A heartfelt thank you to those leaders who believed in me, showed me the way and nominated me for this prestigious honor. I hope that the leadership of this academy will continue to open doors, create opportunities and provide support for the next generation of sports physical therapists. 

Robert Manske, PT, DPT, MEd, SCS, ATC, CSCS

David Farmer, PT (posthumous recipient)
Received by his life partner Lorolei Almond. 

The Ronald G. Peyton Award

Tim Tyler, MS, PT, ATC

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