Barnes named keynote speaker for spring commencement ceremony

Ronnie Barnes, senior vice president of medical services and head athletic trainer for the New York Giants, will be the keynote speaker at East Carolina University’s spring commencement ceremony. More than 3,800 students along with their friends and family will gather to celebrate Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m. in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Ronnie Barnes

Ronnie Barnes

Barnes has been with the Giants organization since 1976, becoming head athletic trainer in 1980. He is widely recognized as one of the most esteemed athletic trainers in professional sports. In 1999, he was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and was named Athletic Trainer of the Year by NFL physicians in 2002.

A 1975 graduate of ECU’s College of Health and Human Performance, Barnes was the first African American graduate of the sports medicine program at the university. He helped establish the Ronnie Barnes African American Resource Center in Joyner Library. He was also inducted into the ECU Athletic Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Outstanding Alumni award.

“We are honored to have Ronnie back at ECU as our commencement speaker. He is an outstanding person and leader whose success has come through hard work and grit. He is a great representative of Pirate Nation,” said Chancellor Philip Rogers.

Additional honors Barnes has received in his 48 years with the Giants include the Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award from the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine in 2020 and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Fritz Pollard Alliance. He was also inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and was twice named the National Professional Trainer of the Year by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). Barnes and his team were recipients of the prestigious Ed Block Courage Award as the NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year in 1999 and 2023. In 2022, he was enshrined into the New York Giants Ring of Honor.

Barnes has contributed to his field of work and the community by serving on various boards including a seat on the NATA board of certification and assuming the presidency of the NATA Research and Education Foundation. He is a member of the NFL subcommittee on mild brain trauma and completed a seven-year tenure as president of the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society. He serves on the Hospital for Special Surgery Board of Advisors, the NFL Player Care Foundation Board of Trustees, American Board of Family Medicine, Sports Medicine Advisory Board, and the Touro School of Medicine Health Advisory Board.

Graduates, families and friends attending the ceremony can find additional information on the commencement website.



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