It is with heavy hearts that the leadership of the Texas State Athletic Trainers Association shares with you the news of the passing of James E. “Doc” Dodson. Doc, as he was known by so many, was greatly respected in the athletic training profession, and served our profession in a variety of leadership roles, including SWATA District Treasurer for 30 years until his retirement from the Executive Board in 2002.
He was both an NATA and SWATA Hall of Fame member, and was the recipient of many local and national awards throughout his long-distinguished career. Doc’s involvement in the growth of the athletic training profession began early; he was a charter member of the NATA Certification Board and served as a test examiner for the first certification exam given by the organization shortly after its establishment in early 1970s.
Doc served as the Head Athletic Trainer at Midland High School in Midland, Texas, from 1959-1991. Following his retirement from the public school system, he began a new chapter of his career and was named Director of Rehab and Sports Medicine Outreach at the Southwest Orthopedic Clinic in Midland until his retirement as a credentialed athletic trainer in 2017. Doc and his wife Gayle most recently attended the 64th SWATA Educational Symposium in Arlington, Texas, to present the James Dodson New Horizon Award. This honor, bearing Doc’s name and celebrating his passion for his work, is given annually to an athletic trainer within District 6 for unique or immediate contributions to SWATA or the athletic training profession early in their career.
Doc was a true ambassador for not only the athletic training profession as a whole, but for the SWATA organization that he loved so much. He impacted countless careers of young athletic trainers in so many ways with his wisdom, experience, and encouragement of the impact of athletic trainers on the lives of young people. We extend our deepest sympathy to the Dodson family, and celebrate with Doc’s family, friends, and former student athletes the contributions he made to so many lives and the joy with which he lived.