June 19, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia graduate assistant athletic trainer Ryan Payne has been named the recipient of the inaugural Champ Baker Athletic Training Award, which recognizes a student athletic trainer who has gone above and beyond the duty of normal requirements.
Payne will be presented with the award at a ceremony on Thursday evening in Columbus, Ga.
Additional qualifications for the award include working beyond assigned hours, volunteering to assist with additional sporting event coverage and maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.75.
"I'm very proud of Ryan as the inaugural recipient of this very prestigious award," said UGA Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Ron Courson. "He does an outstanding job, and we are so glad to have him as a member of our staff."
A native of Daytona Beach, Fla., Payne graduated from Florida Southern College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Pre-Physical Therapy, along with a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training.
Since coming to Georgia, Payne has worked closely with Johnathan Taylor (J.T.), a former student-athlete on the baseball team who sustained a serious neck injury in an outfield collision during the 2011 season. The injury has currently left Taylor paralyzed from the waist down, but he continues to undergo rehabilitation exercises and physical therapy. Along with playing an integral role in Taylor's rehabilitation, Payne also lives with Taylor while on campus and provides assistance on a day-to-day basis.
"Having the opportunity to work with J.T. has provided a rewarding and life-changing experience for me," said Payne. "I am truly grateful for the opportunity, and as they always say, it's great to be a Georgia Bulldog."
"Ryan has done an exceptional job in his role as a graduate assistant athletic trainer with the baseball team, and in his day-to-day work assisting J.T. with his rehabilition," said UGA baseball athletic trainer Mike Dillon. "Ryan is extremely diligent, positive and professional in all of his duties. I can think of no one more deserving than Ryan for the Champ Baker Athletic Training Award."
Payne would like to work as an athletic trainer for either a baseball or a football team following his graduation next May.