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Friday the 13th is Lucky Day for UCM’s New MAATA Hall of Famer

By Jeff Murphy, February 10, 2023


Brian Hughes' years of dedication to the field of athletic training, including his work at the University of Central Missouri and within professional organizations, is being recognized with a prestigious honor by the Mid-America Athletic Trainers' Association District 5. 


WARRENSBURG, MO – Friday the 13th may have a reputation as an unlucky day, but one University of Central Missouri faculty member can put the superstition to rest after learning on that date he soon will be inducted into the Mid-America Athletic Trainers’ Association (MAATA) District 5 Hall of Fame. Brian Hughes, professor and director of UCM’s Athletic Training program in the Department of Nutrition, Kinesiology and Health, will be honored during the association’s annual meeting and symposium on March 17 in Lavista, Nebraska.

“The day before my birthday, on Friday the 13th (January 2023), I got a phone call from our district president congratulating me. It was kind of breathtaking,” Hughes said. He added that his selection for the Hall of Fame came the same year he is celebrating his 25th anniversary as a member of MAATA, and his first year of eligibility for recognition.

MAATA District 5 is a seven-state region that includes the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, and it is one of 11 districts that are affiliated with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). District 5 includes about 2,200 members who are athletic training professionals, working in areas such as high school, college and university athletics, professional sports teams, rehabilitation clinics and more. MAATA is dedicated to providing opportunities to serve individuals in the athletic training field through professional development, continued education, resources, and political action.

Passionate about his profession and its advancement, Hughes has a long history of service to the district and to the national association. This includes serving as the annual MAATA District 5 meeting and symposium chair from 2013 to 2022, an event that is attended by approximately 650 MAATA members, and is the association’s largest gathering. In this capacity, he has dedicated countless hours to overseeing planning details that ranged from choosing the meeting location and meals to accommodate all of the guests to selecting presenters and setting up activities designed to help athletic trainers keep abreast of new developments in their profession. The event also features awards programs to honor individuals who have made a difference within the association and the field of athletic training. After years of planning such events Hughes is excited to be on the receiving end of one of the most prestigious honors – induction into the MAATA District 5 Hall of Fame.

“To me, it means that our association validates your hard work and recognizes your time and dedication,” Hughes commented on his Hall of Fame selection.
“Thinking about some of the people who have gone before me to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is very special.”

Hughes has been a member of NATA for 28 years, and served from 2014 to 2021 as MAATA’s representative on the NATA Professional Development Committee coordinating continuing education activities for all athletic trainers across the United States. He chaired the committee from 2018-2021, and he also served as chair in 2017 for the NATA Athletic Training Educators’ Conference, and was member of NATA’s Executive Committee on Education.

Hughes’ accolades include receiving Outstanding Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2017, NATA’s Athletic Trainer Award for Service in 2016, and NATA’s Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in 2019. In 2020, he received the Missouri Athletic Trainers' Association (MoATA) Glenn L. McElroy. M.D. Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the profession of athletic training in the state of Missouri.

Through his latest MAATA recognition, Hughes joins at least three individuals in the Hall of Fame who have strong UCM connections through their previous work on campus or as alumni. This includes Ronald “Doc” VanDam, inducted in 1997, after a career that included serving as the athletic trainer and as professor of physical education at the university. VanDam and Hughes are joined by John Donnell, inducted in 2018. He earned a master’s degree at UCM in 1977, and enjoyed a vast career that has included serving Lee’s Summit and Raytown school districts. Also previously honored was UCM alumnus Ron Dunn, who entered the Hall of Fame in 2019. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCM, and previously served the university as interim head athletic trainer before career accomplishments that included developing sports medicine programs in Jefferson City and Columbia.

Hughes is a graduate of Boardman High School, Youngstown, Ohio, and received his bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Ohio State University. He received a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and Ed.D. in occupational and adult education from Oklahoma State University.

Prior to joining the UCM faculty in 2001, Hughes worked as a certified graduate assistant athletic trainer for the Cowboy wrestling team while studying at Oklahoma State. While at UCM he has been active in developing curriculum and maintaining standards leading to accreditation of the UCM program in 2006 by the Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Programs. He currently teaches courses in athletic training, orthopedic assessment and professional development, and is spearheading efforts to obtain national accreditation for a graduate-level program in Athletic Training to meet professional needs.

Hughes also is active in the local community as past president of both the Rotary Club of Warrensburg and the Rotary Club of Central Missouri. He and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of two children.  


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