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DWU athletic trainer Loken earns service award

Lana Loken has been around sports her entire life, from competing as an athlete to keeping competitors healthy as an athletic trainer.

Loken, who is the clinical education coordinator of the Department of Athletic Training at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, will be honored today for her years of contribution.

She was selected as one of the National Athletic Trainers' Association's 2014 Athletic Trainer Service Award recipients and will receive an award during the NATA's 65th Clinical Symposia and AT Expo on today in Indianapolis.

"It's amazing recognition for the service and time I've given," Loken said Tuesday.

The service award recognizes NATA members for their contributions to the athletic training profession at the local, and state levels. Candidates must have held the certified athletic trainer credential, conferred by the Board of Certification, and have been an NATA member, both for at least 15 years.

"We are always excited to recognize the dedication, excellence, inspirational outlook and commitment of our honorees, and this year is no exception. These recipients serve as role models to their peers and represent some of the best of the best of the athletic trainer profession," NATA Honors and Awards Committee Chair Chuck Kimmel said in a press release.

Loken started at DWU as the head athletic trainer in 2001 and has enjoyed helping athletes remain healthy.

"It is a profession that allows me to help people achieve what they want to achieve physically," she said. "It's always been my goal to do something where I could help people reach theirs, and I can do that as an athletic trainer."

One of Loken's fondest memories was when the Tiger women's basketball team went to the national tournament in three straight seasons beginning in 2002.

"They had significant injuries and we helped them get healthy, and they were all able to play in the national tournament," Loken said.

She added her goal is to be a role model and mentor for her students.

"I want to share my experiences that I've had with them," she said. "My goal is to motivate them to see we get a lot of good things by working with athletes.

"It's rewarding seeing my students get their careers and jobs they've had goals for."

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.