CATA International Relations Committee & WFATT
By Dexter Nelson & Glen Bergeron
The story begins in 1985 when I (Dexter Nelson) was the President of the CATA. I attended the NATA Conference in San Antonio, TX and had the privilege of meeting with Mark Smaha who was the President of the NATA. We discussed a closer relationship between the CATA and the NATA as we believed there could be synergies in terms of education, certification and practice skills. Despite the conversation (it was very cordial) it became apparent that from a national organizational perspective we weren't ready for a formal collaboration. Mark and I did agree that both organizations should to continue to dialogue.
The next step in the process occurred at the NATA conference in Baltimore, MD in 1998. At this time I was the CATA liaison to the NATA which was a status which allowed me to attend annual NATA conferences and talk with the NATA leader(s) to further our relationship. Giant strides were made in Baltimore because President Kent Faulb (at the NATA Board Meeting in Dallas, TX), gave Gene Verel (as the Chair of the NATA International Committee) permission to begin the process of developing a World Federation of Athletic Training organization. Gene convened a meeting of invited International Delegates to talk about the viability of a WFAT. The answer was yes, we should pursue such a goal with a more formal meeting in Kansas City, MO. Other members of the CATA who attended the Baltimore meeting were Maggie Kayes (President), Joe Piccininni and Francis Flint.
An important outcome of the Kansas City meeting was to establish a CATA International
Relations Committee and to negotiate the name of this future organization. The delegates voted to accept the name: "The World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy." The conversation around the name occupied a considerable amount of time as the NATA preferred the shorter version leaving out "Therapy." I believe lobbying for this change and having success was a major accomplishment. The following year (2000) in Los Angeles, Dr. Mike Ferrara was elected as the first President of the WFATT. From this point on it is best to refer to the "History of the World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy."
My first encounter with the WFATT was in 2005 when I (Glen Bergeron) was President of the CATA. I represented the CATA at the World Congress and the Annual Meeting in Edinburgh Scotland. This is where the first by-laws for the WFATT were officially adopted. Later that year, I was signatory to the first Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the CATA and the BOC.
Following my Presidency, I was appointed to the International Relations Committee. Dexter was the Chair and I was invited to be the second CATA representative (non-voting) at WFATT meetings. This was an excellent opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the WFATT and to learn from Dexter. The early years of the WFATT were largely supported financially by the NATA. They in turn encouraged the WFATT to develop a sustainability plan whereby it would operate more autonomously. This became my mandate as the first President of the WFATT from outside the USA. Thanks to the support of our member organizations, WFATT is well on its way to developing its own identity and mandate in support of the profession of Athletic Training and Therapy worldwide.