ENGLEWOOD – Back in 1977, an ambitious, young, Broncos’ assistant trainer named Steve “Greek” Antonopulos helped start the Colorado Athletic Trainers’ Association.
The idea was for trainers around the state to share ideas and techniques so that all athletes from the youth level to high school to state colleges to the professional level received the best, up-to-date, medical care and rehab.
“We expound on each other’s abilities and try to keep updated on state and national guidelines,” Antonopulos said.
There were only 14 members in CATA in its infancy. Today there are more than 800 members. And from that group, Shannon Courtney, a longtime faculty member at Greek’s alma mater of the University of Northern Colorado, and Chris Mathewson of Ponderosa High School, are the newest members of the CATA Hall of Fame.
Courtney has spent close to 27 years at Northern Colorado. She has also worked at Colorado College, Overland High School and the Denver Bronco Sports Medicine Clinics.
At Northern Colorado, she was a faculty member in the school of Natural and Health Sciences and currently serves as Clinical Education Coordinator. She has taught approximately 300 student trainers.
“I’ve had an opportunity to be around Shannon for a number of years,” Antonopulos said in a statement. “She worked for the same mentor as I did at the University of Northern Colorado and does a great job as the head of clinical education for the athletic training curriculum. She has been a stalwart in CATA in addition to being a leader at the state and national level. She is a great person and a great athletic trainer.”
Mathewson is in his 24th season with the Ponderosa Mustangs. During his six-year term as past president of CATA, Mathewson was instrumental in the passage of a state regulatory law for athletic trainers.
“Chris Mathewson has been a national and state level leader in the athletic training field for a number of years,” said Antonopulos, a CATA Hall of Famer himself and past president. “He’s done a tremendous job for our local organization and helped increase our registration process at the state level as well.
He’s a great man and runs a great program at Ponderosa and Douglas County.”
The CATA board of directors also recently elected Jim Keller as president. Bronco fans might remember the name. He was Antonopulos’ assistant trainer with the Broncos from 1994-2003. Keller currently runs Next Level Sports Performance in Golden.
“I am honored and humbled to follow in my mentor Steve Antonopulos’ footsteps as the newest CATA President,” Keller said. “Colorado has such a strong history of Certified Athletic Trainers, and we are proud to represent the more than 800 members who are committed to being at the forefront of the athletic training profession.
“We are privileged to add Shannon and Chris to our elite group of Hall of Fame members.”