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Macauly Downing: Recipient of the 2015 Jack Cramer Scholarship

August 7, 2015

Congratulations to Macauly Downing of Ft. Lewis, WA, the 2015 recipient of the Jack Cramer Scholarship. The $2,000 scholarship was established in 2006 by Cramer Products to honor the memory of Jack Cramer who believed in mentoring high school students interested in the profession of athletic training. Jack, son of company co-founder Frank Cramer, died in 2004 at the age of 86. The scholarship is awarded to a graduating high school senior planning to become an athletic trainer and work in a high school setting.

In his application for the scholarship, Mac wrote that he dislocated his elbow a week before the first football game in his senior year, and listened in disbelief as the doctor told him he’d be out the entire season. “My life has always been fueled by progress, and at that point the fuel pumps drained dry,” Mac said in the essay. “Parked in my permanent residence on the sideline, I got a front row seat to the marvelous work of athletic trainers. I was shown that even though I couldn’t make any personal progress, there were always those who required help making progress of their own. I understood that athletic training was more than just a taped ankle or bag of ice, but a sanctuary for healthy potential and a path for positive progression. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was made to be an athletic trainer.”

The essay continues, “High school sets foundations that determine the rest of a person’s life. I want to be a part of that foundation not only through the treatment of injuries, but as a role model and a mentor. Through my experiences as a student athletic trainer, I have observed the amazing diversity and potential that fills the high school training room every day. I have the privilege of being able to care for injuries and inspire progress—to look back with an athlete and visualize development that extends much further than the rehabilitation of an injury. I now comprehend that this development has a profound effect upon the foundations of life; it is found in memories, scars, in enlightening senior seasons and most importantly, in triumphant progress.

“As an athletic trainer one of the most important attributes that I can have in relation to being a health care provider is the ability to communicate—communication not just with the athlete, but with coaches, parents, doctors and even counselors. I have learned that in life, “the conversation is the relationship,” making my ability to understand and respond to someone, whether it’s about an injury or family problem, exceedingly imperative. This will assist me in constructing relationships with those around me through conversations that reflect my responsibility as a health care provider.

“To ensure I’m absolutely ready for the high school setting I have to remember I’m not going to be absolutely ready for everything. With that knowledge, I can keep an open and durable mind amidst the trauma, mind-boggling perplexities, and long hours associated with athletic training. In addition, I plan to attend an accredited four-year university that interacts with the high schools in the neighboring area. From there, I’ll start learning about what it truly means to be a part of a foundation in the lives of those who have the endless potential to do amazing things. I’ll be living the dream.”

Heather Brown, an athletic trainer at Lakes High School, sponsored Mac’s application, writing, “In the past Macauly has expressed his desire to work with athletes, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that he decided that this is what he wanted to do. He suffered a season ending injury during a football jamboree. Instead of letting it get the best of him, he came to me and asked me to teach him as much as I can. He dedicated the new found free time to learning whatever he could to help his fellow teammates, from learning how to manage blood injuries to assisting me with an assessment and treatment. He has even gone as far as buying a college level textbook and studying it in his spare time.”

Heather continued in her letter of recommendation, “Macauly is an amazing individual. He shows his dedication to learning by earning top grades in his class. His passion for knowledge and athletic training is beyond what I have ever seen in any other individual. As an athlete, he is a leader on and off the field, as well as a leader in the classroom. He demonstrates commitment to improving his skills on a daily basis.”

All of those skills, talents and abilities will serve Mac well as a student at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. When asked what he’s most looking forward to as he prepares to leave home and attend college, Mac said, “I’m most excited about the athletic training program! I love sports medicine and anything related to it. The freedom will be nice, but that will translate into more time that I can spend in the training room.”

Mac, you’ve impressed all of us at Cramer, and we are pleased to contribute to your athletic training education. With your ambition and desire to learn and excel, we know you will have a rewarding and successful career. Congratulations!