Thursday March 03, 2016
When it comes to making a difference in one’s profession, Denise Alosa has raised the bar.
As athletic trainer extraordinaire, whether on the field or in the classroom, Alosa’s contribution to the world of athletic training has influenced and inspired many and has impacted the future of athletic healthcare on a state and national level. To have such experience, leadership, and attentive leading-edge care available to South Burlington High School’s athletic department is a privilege hundreds of local young athletes, coaches, and parents have long acknowledged. Now, Alosa’s talents and accomplishments have been deservedly recognized at yet another level. She has been selected to be inducted into the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) 2016 Hall of Fame.
Alosa has been the full time athletic trainer at South Burlington High School since 1998 and is the first athletic trainer to be inducted into the VPA Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held May 13 in Montpelier. According to SBHS Director of Student Activities Ed Hockenbury, “Athletic trainers’ work is very much behind the scenes in Vermont high school athletics and no one has done more in that role than Denise Alosa.”
Hockenbury says Alosa is a leader and role model for students and coaches alike. He adds, “Perhaps most important, athletes trust and respect Denise. In fact, the atmosphere in the training room, thanks to Denise, is positive and fun. Kids feel safe there and they appreciate what she does for them.”
Casey Johnson is just one of many students who agrees with Hockenbury. An SBHS senior who plays field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse, Johnson met Alosa in her freshman year, and calls her an invaluable resource for her as an athlete. Describing her trainer as compassionate and genuine, Johnson says, “Denise is willing to come in early and stay late to meet with athletes to make sure they have what they need to compete at the highest level of their ability.” Recalling a time last year when she suffered with severe tendinitis, Johnson adds, “Throughout all my injuries, Denise has worked with me and helped me be able to play in every game, often waiting patiently at the ready, with ice for my foot, during time outs or half time. She deserves countless recognition for her talent and heart.”
It could be said that Alosa is paying it forward as she acknowledges the mentorships that have made a profound difference in her life. UVM’s Athletic Training Room at Patrick Gym was named in honor of Alosa’s mentor, Roger Bryant, athletic trainer at UVM for 27 years. In addition, Alosa says, “Getting to work with people at SBHS like Mike O’Day, Ed Hockenbury, Pat Burke, and the administrative team is really top notch. And our coaches are the best, too.”
Alosa, who started at SBHS part time, credits O’Day, long-time SBHS athletic director, as being the person who was an advocate for the position becoming full time. Of O’Day, she says, “He is often quoted as saying the first person he would hire if he started an athletic program is an athletic trainer. So I have him to thank, among others.” Alosa notes that many schools have since followed SBHS lead.
Alosa’s list of awards and accomplishments in the world of athletic training is comprehensive and impressive. Award highlights include the 2013 Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Henry Schein/Micro Bio-Medics Scholastic Athletic Trainers Award, the 2005 National Athletic Trainers Association Athletic Trainer Service Award, and the 2007 Roger T. Bryant Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in recognition of her dedicated service, commitment, and inspired leadership to the athletic training profession in the State of Vermont. In addition, Alosa has received multiple awards over the years for her decades of work with the Vermont City Marathon, where she served as medical coordinator.
In addition, to her work at SBHS, Alosa is a faculty member at the University of Vermont, teaching in UVM’s Athletic Training Education Program, as well as being the curriculum director since 1994. Alan Maynard, director of UVM’s athletic training program, says Alosa is, “The constant, the rock, and the foundation for our program.” He continues, “She contributes more than just flawless lectures and precise learning labs. She has the capacity to push, pull, and mentor students that sets her apart from any other AT educator I know.”
Alosa describes her class at UVM, titled Evaluation and Recognition of Athletic Injuries, as part lecture and part lab for second year students in the athletic training education program major. She says it is a great way to stay current with the profession and work with other educators, adding, “I enjoy mentoring the students and seeing them get excited about their learning.”
Outside of both the high school and college classrooms, Alosa regularly presents professionally, most recently at the Eastern Athletic Trainers Association Annual Symposium held this past January in Boston. She also spoke at a Concussion Summit held at Castleton State University last March, just one of many conferences that feature Alosa’s presentations. Hockenbury remarks, “ She is frequently called upon to lead initiatives to educate other ATC’s and coaches about topics such as concussion management, heat/cold policies, CPR/AED training, and much more.”
Alosa has served as the Athletic Trainer Advisor to the State of Vermont Office of Professional Regulation, as well as serving as both secretary and president of the Vermont Association of Athletic Trainers. On a national level, she was the District 1 Chairperson for the Women in Athletic Training Committee. According to Maynard, “Her service has positively impacted health and education of athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators at the local, state, regional, and national levels.”
An educator and athletic trainer at the top of her field, it is evident Alosa continues to make a difference. As Hockenbury puts it, “She has not won a single game as an athlete or a coach. Yet in a supporting role and in very real and meaningful way, few people have done more for Vermont students and athletes than Denise Alosa.”