AT Alumna Awarded Sports Medicine Person of the Year in Georgia

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

The Georgia Athletic Trainers’ Association has named Jaclyn Donovan as the recipient of the 2022 Warren Morris Sports Medicine Person of the Year Award. Jaclyn is currently the Athletic Training Services Coordinator at the Vereen Center in Moultrie, Ga., and the Head Athletic Trainer for the Moss Farms Diving Tigers.

A certified athletic trainer for over 20 years, Jaclyn has spent almost all that time in Georgia. She earned her sports medicine degree at Georgia Southern University before completing a Master’s degree at the University of Kentucky in 2002.

Considered a great advocate of athletic training, she has a broad range of experience across the high school, university, and clinic settings as an Assistant AT, Head AT, Athletic Director, and AT Coordinator. After arriving at the Vereen Center, Jaclyn envisioned a program that would increase the availability of quality healthcare for athletes in Southwest Georgia and then put in the work to bring it to fruition.

In 10 years, she has brought in over 40 newly certified athletic trainers and given them a place to develop and grow their healthcare philosophies while providing care to schools where often an AT has never been before. Many of these young professionals consider her their “mom away from home” because she is always just a phone call away to help and provide guidance.

Jaclyn is perhaps best known if not by name but for her work as the GATA Public Relations Chair for the last five years, curating content to educate, celebrate, and advocate for athletic trainers across the state. For her large influence and leadership in athletic training, her colleagues believe she is the embodiment of all that the Warren Morris Sports Medicine Person of Year Award should represent.

“Anytime you are recognized by your peers it is always a humbling experience,” she said. “And I am honored that my fellow athletic trainers deemed me worthy of such an award. While I prefer to work quietly in the background, I am proud to support and promote athletic training in our state any way I can.” 

The award is named after Warren Morris, a long-time athletic trainer at the University of Georgia and a staunch advocate for athletic training in the state. Morris was a pillar of the profession, serving as SEATA President and chair of the SEC Sports Medicine Committee all while receiving many career honors. Most notably, Morris was the Chairman of the Board of Georgia Athletic Trainers and worked tirelessly for the initial legislation of licensure in the state – he was AT#000001 in Georgia.

Jaclyn says her time studying at Kentucky’s College of Health Sciences was invaluable.

“My time at Kentucky not only broadened the range of my skills, but also increased the depth of my knowledge,” she said. “More importantly, however, it helped me to think more critically when putting together the pieces of an injury to create a plan of care. UK solidified my foundation and pushed me to grow, and I am forever grateful for that experience.”

The Georgia Athletic Trainers’ Association is an organization committed to the education of its members and enhancement of the profession of athletic training, leading to better healthcare for the population which it serves. The GATA is proudly composed of over 1,000 licensed athletic trainers – ranging from professional, collegiate, and high school teams to industries, physician offices, and rehabilitation clinics – all working together to promote and practice the profession of athletic training within the state of Georgia.