ATAF 2021 Elections

Open October 12  - November 8, 2020

Certified ATAF Members should have received a link to vote. 
If not, please contact Scott Freer at

Position Descriptions and Duties



Candidates for Central Representative

Nick Nickerson ATC, LAT, CEAS

Nick Nickerson earned his BA degree in physical education from the University of Central Florida in 1985. As a certified athletic trainer, Nick has worked in multiple settings including collegiate, high school, clinical/industrial and educational through medial and outreach programs. Nick served as assistant head trainer at the University of Central Florida from 1985-1987, athletic trainer at Lake Brantley High School from 1987-1988. Nick developed the first sports medicine outreach program though HEALTHSOUTH Corp that provided a certified athletic trainer at each private school in the Orlando area from 1989-1994. Other notable accomplishments include: World League of American Football combine director and head athletic trainer, World Cup coverage, WDW marathon coverage, Professional Association of Water Skiers, Great Floridian Ironman Triathlon medical coverage and Co-host on Sports Medicine Magazine television show.

His management experience as a clinic administrator and transition team leader allowed him to develop new clinics, acquire existing clinics throughout the United States for HEALTHSOUTH Corp. As Director of Rehabilitation Operations for Matthews Orthopaedic clinic, Nick started and managed all rehabilitation clinics in Orlando and Tampa area. In 1999, Nick open Baseline Rehabilitation clinic, a privately owned rehabilitation clinics located in Orlando, Winter Park and Ocoee. Currently Nick is a Business Development Manager and Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist for Select Physical Therapy and WDW/Disney Cruise injury prevention team here in Orlando, FL after the successful merger of Baseline Rehabilitation which finalized September 2009.

Nick has served as a certified athletic trainer for the past 30 years with a large concentration in clinical management and development which includes contracting, marketing, finance, and clinical operations. Nick is also a certified ergonomic assessment specialist.

Nick is an active triathlete that has successfully competed in Ironman Florida 2005, 2007. Nick and his two sons enjoy surfing though out the year and currently reside in Indialantic, FL.


Campaign message:

Whether I’m elected or not as the Central Florida representative, I’m available to serve and assist athletic trainers and ATAF’s future growth through my years of professional experience.

Lauren Surratt, M.A., LAT, ATC, PES

My name is Lauren Surratt and I have had the pleasure of serving in my first term as the Central Florida Representative of the ATAF Executive Board since 2019. I have been Florida licensed and working professionally in the Central Florida area since 2008. While the past decade has afforded me many opportunities to demonstrate professional autonomy and educate allied healthcare professionals and the public on Athletic Training, 2019 (and now 2020 even more so) was a reminder of the need for us as healthcare professionals to have true ownership of our work and redirect the focus of our messaging. I made the decision to step away from my previous employment in the outpatient physical therapy setting and have spent the past year operating as an independent contractor. I have also proudly returned this year to assist in providing Athletic Training services for Seminole High School in Sanford (Go Noles!). The decision was to realign the focus of my work to be for the primary benefit of advancing the athletic training profession, as well as continue to foster relationships with leaders at the community level. In order to make lasting change for Secondary sports, Youth sports, and within emerging settings we need to align ourselves with community leaders that have saying power and the ability to make lasting changes. Providing athletic training services for all athletes in our communities regardless of the setting or age group will require creative business solutions and will not happen by “preaching to the choir”. I am extremely excited to work further with our newly appointed Ethnic Diversity Advisory Committee chair, Cheryl Hairston, to continue to build the EDAC committee and increase member participation. I look forward to the opportunity to continue my service in 2021 to ATAF and the Central Florida community and I appreciate your consideration.

Dominic Morales, MAL, LAT, ATC, CES

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and earned my Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Lindenwood University in 2014.  In 2016, I completed my Master of Athletic Leadership degree at Boise State University while working as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer covering the wrestling team.  After finishing my Graduate Assistantship, I worked as an Assistant Athletic Trainer and Instructor of Exercise Science at Buena Vista University (BVU) in 2016.  While at BVU, I taught Functional Anatomy and an Athletic Leadership course.  During my time at BVU, I completed my Corrective Exercise Specialist certification. In 2018, I began working at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as an Assistant Athletic Trainer.  I am sitting for the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam this month and plan to continue to elevate the profession and ERAU Sports Medicine.

Campaign Message

There is one word that encompasses Athletic Trainers as a whole and that is value.  As Athletic Trainers, we demonstrate our value daily through our interpersonal relationships, work ethic and medical care.  My multiple positions throughout the country and experiences ranging from D1-D3 will allow me to relate and represent all levels in this region.  I am a young and driven professional that will help continue to progress our region through servant leadership. I believe we can continue to unify the profession and increase overall engagement. I want to empower our young professionals to continue to elevate our profession for years to come. I would be honored to demonstrate value and represent the Central Region in this E-Board Representative position.

Candidates for Panhandle Representative

DeAnne Green, MS, LAT, ATC, PES

DeAnne Green, MS, LAT, ATC, PES is a graduate of The University of West Florida and received a Master’s Degree from California University of Pennsylvania in Health Promotion and Exercise Science . Ms. Green has 15 years of experience in a variety of settings including clinic outreach athletic trainer at the secondary school level, professional soccer, and sports medicine/healthcare leadership in Indianapolis, Indiana. Presently, she is employed by Select Physical Therapy and is a Business Development Manager for 7 outpatient physical therapy clinics in the Florida Panhandle.  She largely spends her time working with physicians, athletic trainers, and other providers regarding mutual patients requiring therapeutic care.  She also consults on the professional baseball, professional hockey, collegiate, location recreational and league-based sporting event relationships in the area as well as provides on-site medical coverage. 


Her first professional step was as a clinic outreach athletic trainer for the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine located in Gulf Breeze, FL.  During her seven years, she provided medical coverage for a variety of sports including high school athletics as well as youth league, Special Olympics, 18U international football, collegiate, and professional women’s football. This afforded her the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from various providers along the continuum of care.


DeAnne was then recruited in to leadership in Indianapolis, Indiana.  During her 7-year tenure, Ms. Green played an integral part of the Community Health Network (CHN) Sports Medicine team as the sports medicine manager.  She was tasked with operationalizing the new sports medicine program in Central Indiana. She managed athletic trainers and strength coaches that provided care for 33 schools, Indy Fuel Professional Hockey, Sarah Fisher (Indy Car) Racing, and Indy Eleven Professional Soccer for whom she was the inaugural team’s Head Athletic Trainer. Upon leaving, CHN was the largest provider of sports medicine services in Indianapolis and top 2 in the state!


Additionally, throughout her career, Ms. Green has chaired, coordinated, or presented at various education initiatives.  She has lectured on various topics including safety in sports, emergency care, catastrophic injuries, career ladder and transitions, leadership styles, conflict resolution, and project/process management in healthcare. Notably, she was a panel guest at the University of Indianapolis where she was able to share her experiences being a woman in leadership in sports with representatives from NCAA Compliance and NFL Combine.  She facilitated educational symposiums as the co-chair of the Education Committee for the Indiana Athletic Trainers’ Association for 2 years. 


Ms. Green has held positions on the Ossur Americas Athletic Training Advisory Committee, Education Committee for the Indiana Athletic Trainers’ Association, and the Outreach Advisory Board for Advocated for Injured Athletes. She has received endorsements by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Performance Enhancement Specialist and the National Academy of Speed and Explosion as a certified speed coach.


“We face numerous changes and challenges in the “how” and “why” of healthcare and daily practice such as telehealth, entry-level masters, evidence-based practice, cultural competency, and much more.  For my fellow athletic trainers, my focus would be two-fold: First, I would to like to work with ATAF to ensure our athletic trainers have access to tools focused on change resilience which is an integral part of managing the significant stresses we are facing today.  Second, I would effort to engage specifically Panhandle ATCs in the various ATAF opportunities and initiatives as a means of better understanding professionalism at the state and national level.”

David Walls, MS, ATC, LAT

Hello, my name is David Walls.  I have been a certified Athletic Trainer for over 30 years and have called Tallahassee my home for more than 25 years.  I am currently the Athletic Trainer at Florida State University Schools (Florida High) in Tallahassee, Florida for the last 9 years.


I have over 30 years of experience as a certified athletic trainer and an active member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association.  I graduated from West Virginia University in 1987 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Education and Athletic Training. I also worked as a graduate assistant at The Pennsylvania State University and graduated with a Master’s of Education in Health Education in 1996. 


Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working on the clinical, secondary, collegiate and professional levels. This experience has provided me with a unique perspective of the professional responsibilities and expectations at the various levels of employment available to athletic trainers. 


I have thoroughly enjoyed my chosen career path.  It has provided me with enormous personal satisfaction when helping others and contributed to numerous friendships and experiences that I will never forget. If I was starting over, I would do it all over again.

Campaign Message

Here in Florida, we have a tremendous opportunity to be the national leader when it comes to providing athletes with equitable access to health care services, regardless of one’s age, skill set or level of participation.  I would work toward ensuring that an athletic trainer, working under the direction of a physician, is available at every public or private sporting event/venue and compensated fairly for their service. 

Candidates for Southern 1 Representative

Dustin Gatens MS, ATC, LAT

Dustin Gatens is currently an athletic trainer with the Holy Cross Orthopedic Institute. Prior to joining Holy Cross he served as a Clinical Sales Consultant with Sway Medical after serving for 12 years as a member of the Nova Southeastern University Athletic Training Staff. His final 5 years at NSU, he served as the Head Athletic Trainer for Research & Development. As a clinician, Dustin has been an advocate for an interprofessional approach to healthcare. He has spearheaded initiatives aimed at sleep hygiene, concussion management, and motivational interviewing. Dustin has coauthored several peer-reviewed original research articles, focusing primarily on movement strategies and athletic injury. He is the current Chair of the Athletic Trainers Association of Florida ATLAS Initiative Committee.


Campaign Message:

I am running for the Athletic Trainers Association Southern 1 Representative. I have had the honor of serving in that same role from 2015-2019. During that time, I have seen ATAF make tremendous strides in advocating for our profession in the state of Florida. That being said, there is still work to be done. If elected, my focus will be to continue to make sure that the profession of athletic training is better represented at the secondary school level in the state of Florida. The secondary school athletic trainer is an invaluable member of the local health community and are often one of the first experiences young patients have with the profession and therefore serve as ambassadors for athletic training. Through advocacy, education, and professional development of our members, we need to continue to emphasize the role of the secondary school athletic trainer in Florida and better support our members who serve in those roles.

John Kiddy, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS

My name is John Kiddy.  I have been a certified athletic trainer for thirteen years.  I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of North Florida in 2005 and graduated with a master’s degree in exercise science from Florida Atlantic University in 2008.  I spent most of my career working college athletics.  I spent one year working at Furman University with men’s soccer and baseball, and almost eight years working football at Florida Atlantic University.  For the last six year, I have been working with a Primary care Sports Medicine Physician within the Orthopedic Department at Cleveland Clinic Florida. We evaluate and treat a myriad of orthopedic injuries and conditions. I have also become an educator within the last three years.  I’m honored to have helped build the Athletic Training Residency Program from the ground up.  I oversee all aspects of the program as the Program Director.  Finally, for the past four years I’ve been a part of the ATAF marketing team.  I’ve had responsibility to help coordinate educational and promotional videos for ATAF.  I’m also currently on the third-party reimbursement task force for ATAF.

Candidates for West Coast Representative

Lloyd Knudson, MS, ATC, LAT

Lloyd Knudson has been Certified for the past 20 years working everything from youth sports all the way up to professional. Knudson spent most of his time working in secondary school settings and the last 6 years with professional soccer. Knudson wrote the concussion policy and coordinated mass physicals for all the high schools in the county he was employed in Tennessee. He was an instrumental part of building a sports medicine program at a hospital in the St Louis metro area who is now the largest employer of athletic trainers.  He also started a petition to bring an athletic trainer to every public high school in Polk county Florida on  Knudson currently resides and lives in the Southwest Florida area and currently employed in a Hospital setting. Knudson received his undergraduate degree in Exercise Sports Science at Iowa State University and graduate degree at Kansas State University. Knudson has one daughter Kiley(15) that resides in Illinois. 


I have decided to run at West Regional representative for ATAF because of my passion for athletic training.  I want to focus on what athletic trainers can do and focus less on what other professionals do. Athletic Trainers is the only medical professional specifically trained to be on site and prevents, recognizes, treats and appropriately refers any of these conditions. I want to focus on AT value and what we bring to the table.  COVID has definitely challenged this and I feel it is an opportunity to show our true value as a profession.

Nicole Scott, PA-C, LAT, ATC

Nicole Scott, a native of Gainesville, Florida, received a dual degree Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and Spanish Literature from the College at Brockport in Brockport, NY. As a member of the gymnastics team, she earned two 1st team All-American honors on the uneven parallel bars and an Academic All-American award. She received a Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY and returned to Florida, where she has been practicing as an Oncology Physician Assistant at Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute in Fort Myers, FL.


Nicole served as the Athletic Trainers’ Association of Florida (ATAF) chair of the Young Professional Committee (YPC) and as the ATAF representative on the Southeast Athletic Trainers’ Association (SEATA) Young Professionals Committee from 2016-2018. As the ATAF YP chair, Nicole worked with the committee to increase the number of NPI enrollments amongst ATAF members by hosting the NPI drives at the annual ATAF and SEATA Clinical Symposiums. She also established the first YP educational panel discussion as part of the ATAF Annual Clinical Symposium on “Transition to Practice.” Nicole’s leadership for these two activities support sections of the ATAF Strategic Document: improve the recognition of athletic trainers by obtaining National Providers Identification (NPI) numbers for all ATs (A2) and invest and dedicate pathways for the development of future leaders within our association (A6). Nicole has served as a guest lecturer to the Athletic Training program at Florida Gulf Coast University, as well as worked with the Athletic Training Staff at Ave Maria University to provide pre-participation physical exams and as part of their health care team for athletic events. 


In her role as the West Coast Representative for the ATAF Executive Board, Nicole will work to provide a voice for and connect with members of the ATAF West Region. Nicole aspires to continue in her efforts to advocate for the athletic training profession by holding open forums to connect members together to build a stronger professional community, as well as to identify key issues facing members in the region to bring back to the ATAF Executive Board. 


In her spare time Nicole enjoys traveling, hiking and training her two border collies to compete in dog agility competitions. 

Raena M. Steffen, MS, LAT, ATC, CKTP

Raena Steffen is a graduate of the University of South Florida Athletic Training Education Program, earning her bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training with a minor in Public Health in 2009. She later returned to the University to earn her post-professional master's degree in Medical Sciences, with a concentration in Athletic Training and Pediatric Sports Medicine, graduating in 2013.

During her career as a certified athletic trainer, Raena has worked across a variety of settings, including in administration, the physician clinic, the rehabilitation clinic, research, secondary schools, and national-team sports. She has had the opportunity to travel domestically and internationally providing care to the US Soccer Women’s Youth National Teams. As part of her time with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, she worked alongside sports medicine physicians and orthopaedic surgeons providing care in the clinic, on the sidelines, and to the USA Gymnastics Women’s National Team. In 2019, she returned to her alma mater, the University of South Florida, as the Outreach Coordinator for the Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma (SMART) Institute. Following the closure of the SMART Institute as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, she returned to the clinical setting. Her current focus and practice is in pediatric orthopaedic surgery, working as an AT in the physician clinic at a local private practice office: Children’s Orthopaedic and Scoliosis Surgery Associates, LLP.

Because of her belief in the importance of interprofessional relationships, Raena developed and initiated the Secondary Schools Athletic Trainer Collaboration Initiative between high school ATs and the four fire departments serving Hillsborough County. This initiative encourages the awareness of ATs on site at Hillsborough County public high schools by fire personnel and recommends co-training between the secondary school ATs and the fire departments for overlapping protocols. Ultimately, the initiative supports and promotes a professional, cooperative relationship between ATs and the fire departments to ensure the best possible care and outcome for the athletes. Additionally, she is a member of the Hillsborough County Public Schools Sports Medicine Advisory Council (HCPS SMAC), helping to develop county policies regarding exertional heat illness and return to play following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

In her free time, Raena enjoys spending her time at the beach, reading, baking, gardening, and spending time with her dog, Dora. She is the proud aunt to two energetic and intelligent nephews who teach her something new each time they are together. Raena is an active member of the Junior League of Tampa, participating in various community service programs, awareness campaigns, and charity events.

Campaign Message:

Advocacy, communication, and professional support are three key components to a successful organization and profession. As the ATAF West Coast Representative, I will advocate for the members of the West Coast of Florida to the ATAF executive board regarding their concerns. In order to effectively do this, open lines of communication must be created and maintained between the representative and the area members for which they represent. I intend to reach out to West Coast ATAF members prior to executive board meetings, as well as periodically throughout the year, to check in, request feedback, and supply answers to any questions they may pose. Should I not have a suitable response available, I will reach out to those in leadership and those with experience in creating and implementing solutions to similar matters. Additionally, I will do my best to provide professional support and resources to the West Coast ATAF members as provided by our State, Regional, and National organization. Finally, I would encourage my area athletic trainers to both utilize and support their peers for the overall benefit of the profession. It is my opinion that each individual athletic trainer serves as an example of both the importance and the impact that our professional can have in the healthcare setting and will use my position as ATAF West Coast Representative to support the advancement of our profession locally.

Lora Stelzer, M.Ed., ATC, LAT

Lora returns to Florida for a virtual role with Amazon. Prior to working in the industrial setting, she spent a majority of her athletic training career in the college setting. From 2011-2017, Lora was the Head Athletic Trainer at State College of Florida in Bradenton, FL. She was also the Committee Chair for the ATAF College and University Committee. Lora left Florida to be the first Director of Sports Medicine for California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB).  After a brief time at CSUB, she transitioned to the industrial setting as the first Injury Prevention Specialist at LAS7 in Las Vegas, NV. During her time at LAS7, she helped pilot a Health and Wellness program for employees at the site. Due to expansion of the program across the Amazon network, Lora was able to transition to a virtual role with the company as Field Injury Prevention Specialist and returned to Florida for her home base. 


Campaign Message:

I have always felt the only way to make a positive change is to be involved. As soon as I moved back to Florida, I started looking for how I could get involved with ATAF again. Being an Area Representative serves an important role in communication with our members in our Area and making sure all our voices are heard. I am thankful for this nomination and hope I can be the voice for my area. The West Coast of Florida has always felt like home and I am proud to be back in the area. I hope you will allow me to represent our area and our voice.