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Tigers News · Mitch Smelis presented with award!

This past Friday, the Michigan Athletic Training Society (MATS) selected and honored Mitch Smelis, Fenton’s Certified Athletic Trainer for the past 20 years, as the Secondary Schools Athletic Trainer of the Year.  This is a tremendous honor for Mitch and one that is so well deserved.  Mitch has been a staple of Fenton Athletics for two decades and continues to provide our student-athletes with the best care and resources possible.

Mitch’s commitment to excellence and unwavering desire to find new and improved ways to treat students and provide coaches with the resources to be successful is second to none. Mitch was one the first to bring concussion testing and monitoring to Genesee County and he was also chosen to be part of a pilot study on concussion management with the MHSAA.

He has taken the initiative to become a certified CPR, First Aid, and Basic Life Support Instructor with the American Heart Association to provide coaches, teachers, and administrators with the necessary trainings to provide fast effective life saving measures when necessary.

Jami Reed, of NovaCare (formerly PhysioTherapy Associates), one of Mitch’s supervisors and fellow colleagues had this to say about Mitch:

“Mitch demonstrates great communication with parents and healthcare professionals to provide the best care possible of his athletes. He reaches out for second opinions when necessary and demonstrates a desire to learn new assessment and treatment techniques. He is hard-working, organized and steadfast despite the demands of being a dedicated high school athletic trainer as well as a husband and father of two boys. He has gone above and beyond with progressing our concussion management program in addition to providing his services with the MATS secondary schools committee. Within Physiotherapy Associates, he acts as our regional administrator of ATS (Athletic Trainer Software) to allow us to provide quality documentation and tracking of injuries.”

Mitch is mentor, not only to his fellow Athletic Training colleagues, but also to our students who annually participate in Mitch’s student athletic training program.  In fact Mitch’s dedication and hands on approach to helping students learn about the profession came full circle at the very banquet that he received his award. In 2008, one Emilee (Anderson) Van Hoven, was a student athletic trainer and worked closely with Mitch and found her career calling. On Friday, Emilee was who is now a certified athletic trainer and also physical therapist, was awarded with the a Distinguished Service Award. Although Mitch would never take any credit for the work Emilee has done, was certainly influential in her career path and helped mentor her along the way; just one more example of why he is one of the best at his profession.

Thank you Mitch for all that you do for the students at Fenton High School. We look forward to many more years of a successful partnership for our student-athletes.

Please read the press release from MATS below and see the pictures from Mitch’s award ceremony attached to this article. (Pictures Include: 1) Mitch with his award; 2) Mike Bakker, Mitch, Nickole Smelis; 3) Mitch and Emilee Anderson with their awards; 4) Mitch and Jami Reed)

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The following is from the Official MATS Press Release:


Fenton, MI – Mitchell Smelis, AT, ATC of Fenton High School and Physiotherapy Associates, was awarded the Michigan Athletic Trainer’s Society’s (MATS) High School Athletic Trainer of the Year Award at the MATS Annual Awards banquet on June 9, 2017.

Smelis is currently the Chair of the Michigan Athletic Trainers’ Society Secondary Schools Athletic Trainers Committee. In this role, he is a key advocate for the profession of athletic training at the secondary schools level.

Smelis graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in athletic training and has worked as the certified athletic trainer at Fenton High School since 1997.

The MATS High School Athletic Trainer of the Year Award is presented to the most outstanding athletic trainer who works in the high school setting in the state of Michigan each year. That individual demonstrates exemplary dedication and commitment to excellence in the care of high school athletes.