Schreiber High School’s athletic trainer Rick Zappala was inducted into the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Hall of Fame at their 70th annual meeting in Boston in January. Known as the 49 Club, this Hall of Fame was established in 2017 to recognize illustrious members of the athletic training profession whose contributions to the Association have been significant, substantial and long-standing. Induction into the ’49 Club honors athletic trainers who exemplify the EATA’s mission through exceptional, enduring contributions that enhance the quality of health care provided by athletic trainers and advance the profession. These men and women have shaped the profession through their accomplishments and dedication to service, leadership and professionalism.
“We congratulate Rick on this prestigious honor,” said Athletic Director Stephanie Joannon. “He is an invaluable part of the athletic program and it is our great fortune that we have the competency and passion that Rick displays everyday with our student athletes.”
Zappala has been the athletic trainer at Port Washington’s Schreiber High School since 2003, serving the various health care needs of more than 500 student-athletes that participate in the 30 sports offered. Prior to arriving at Port, he was a collegiate head athletic trainer for 24 years, including 22 years as head athletic trainer at Hofstra University. Additionally, he participated in the U.S. Olympic volunteer athletic trainer program along with being on the U.S. team medical staff at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Zappala’s professional service includes terms as president of the EATA and the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association, membership on several committees for the EATA, NATA and NYSATA, and multiple presentations at professional meetings. He has also co-authored two articles on knee injuries and served as a manuscript reviewer for two athletic training publications. Presently he serves on the New York Education Department’s Office of Professions Committee for Athletic Training.
Prior to this honor, Zappala was recognized by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association as a Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer in 2005 and inducted into the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA) Hall of Fame in 2008. He also received the EATA’s Cramer Award in 2001 and NYSATA’s 1992 Thomas Sheehan Award, both for outstanding service to the athletic training profession. In 2007, Paul D. Schreiber High School and Zappala were presented with NYSATA’s Joseph Abraham Award for providing outstanding care for its student-athletes.
“Mr. Z is in charge of the nearly 1,000 athletes at the high school where he provides immediate care, rehabilitation programs, concussion management, IMPACT testing, follow-up with parents and doctors and genuinely cares for each athlete,” said Joannon. “He is invaluable to the program. He is more than an athletic trainer, he is a teacher, motivator and a true professional.”