By Josh Havard
It’s common for coaches to refer to their athletic trainers as one of the best in the nation. In Diboll’s case, the Lumberjacks really have one as Mike Waters recently took home a prestigious honor from a national athletic trainers’ conference.
Waters earned the Athletic Training Service Award, which was given by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) at the NATA National Meeting & Symposium in Baltimore.
Waters was given the award thanks to 29 years of service in the profession, including work on several committees.
“I am honored as well as humbled by the recognition,” Waters said. “This award is probably the second or third highest honor I could receive from our national association.”
In 2015, Waters took over as the head athletic trainer in Diboll after several years at Lufkin High School.
He has worked on several committees and held officer positions in local, regional and state athletic trainer associations.
Some of those organizations include the Greater Houston Athletic Trainers Society (GHATS), East Texas Athletic Trainers Association (SWATA) and District 6 of NATA, which includes Texas and Arkansas.
He also spent nine years on the State Advisory Board of Athletic Trainers (the governing body for athletic trainers in Texas), a position appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2004.
Waters was also recently elected regional director for the Texas State Athletic Trainers Association (TSATA).
Receiving the most recent award was just a part of the recent meeting in Baltimore.
“One of the highlights of the national meeting was traveling to Washington D.C. and meeting with Rep. Louie Gohmert personally as well as meeting with Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn staffers,” Waters said.
Waters was nominated for the award by Sandy Miller, the retired head athletic trainer from SFA.
Waters also thanked Lufkin athletic director Todd Quick, Dr. Linda Bobo, the graduate program director at SFA, and Diboll High School principal John Clements for their support in the award process.
He also thanked his family, including his parents Bill and Sylvia Waters as well as his in-laws Harold and Betty Hogan, of Newton.
Waters is married to Renee Waters and is the father of Chelsea Christmas and Doug Waters. His son-in-law is Jarrod Christmas and his granddaughter is Alli Christmas.
This year at Diboll, Waters will start his 30th year as an athletic trainer.