For the third consecutive year, Helmet Tracker is offering its AEMA Certification Exam Scholarship to Equipment Managers.
We have one applicant so far (see below).
The scholarship reimburses the cost of taking the exam and the study book to one Equipment Manager who passes the test in the 18 months prior to July 1, 2019. Most will take the test at the AEMA Convention in Indianapolis in early June.
Benefits of Certification
Sam Trusner, Office Manager for the Athletic Equipment Managers Association, says the certification provides benefits to both the Equipment Manager who holds certification and the college sports program which hires certified Equipment Managers.
“The AEMA Certification program offers Equipment Managers the opportunity to attain a new level of professionalism,” Sam said. “No longer is the Equipment Manager the ‘towels and jocks’ guy. Equipment Managers are responsible for the proper fitting of protective equipment, maintenance of this equipment, accurate accountability for all athletic gear, and other important duties.”
The school athletic department benefits, too.
“As the importance of liability becomes a concern for Athletic Directors at every level, it is important for them to seek individuals truly qualified for these positions. Many schools, and professional teams, are now requiring this Certification as part of their job requirements,” Sam said.
There are usually three times during the year the test is offered. The first is in Raleigh, North Carolina early in the year, then at the AEMA Convention, then when NFL Equipment Managers gather in the summer.
Not everyone passes. However, 14 people took the test in Raleigh and all 14 passed!
To qualify for the Helmet Tracker scholarship, start with the online application here. Applicants must simply be:
- a current member of good standing with the AEMA
- prepared and registered to take the certification (or have passed it within 18 months of July 1, 2019)
- the subject of a published Helmet Tracker profile
- the subject of a recommendation letter from an AEMA-certified Equipment Manager (or Supervisor).
The winning candidate will be chosen at random to have his/her test fee and book cost reimbursed upon successful passing of the AEMA certification test.
Last year, Southern Mississippi Assistant Equipment Manager Harley Warren won the scholarship after passing the test at the AEMA Convention in Phoenix.
“I like all of the behind the scene stuff – getting everything ready, working with uniform designs – I like all that,” Harley told us.
The prior year, Eddie Hardin, now Assistant Equipment Manager for the Birmingham Iron, won it.
“Being certified has been a big step in my career as an equipment manager because with the certification I’m able to express that I can do my job to the best of my ability all while ensuring the safety of the players and staff come first,” Eddie told us.
K-State GA Jumps In
Now comes Michael Schlitz, Equipment Graduate Assistant for Kansas State Football and our first scholarship applicant this year.
“I was hired in July last year and help to oversee our 11 student managers,” he said. “I make sure the crew sets up the practice fields and make sure everything, including them, works properly.”
Spring practice begins in less than two weeks at K-State.
Michael grew up just north of Des Moines, Iowa and rooted for the Hawkeyes until he graduated from Ankeny High School, went to community college and ended up a Cyclone at Iowa State.
“I wanted to be involved with football in some way and a buddy from high school was on the staff at Iowa State and he got me the contact information,” Michael remembers. “ I was with the Cyclones for the football season in 2014 and for spring 2015, then stepped away to get grades up. After I graduated I was fortunate to get an internship with Arizona Cardinals in 2017 training camp.”
“Being around football is the number one thing I love.”
Now he studies Academic Advising at K-State when he’s not in the equipment room.
“I am proud to have been able to get know, work with and teach Michael,” said Al Cerbe, Head Football Equipment Manager for the Wildcats. “Michael has a very open and humble work ethic where he comes to work each day willing to do whatever is needing to be done and in any way. I believe being able to adapt and learn different things in multiple situations is an important equipment managers’ skill that Michael has shown throughout his time here with us at Kansas State. “
“He is more passionate than ever to continue to grow as a manager both within the equipment room and classroom as well. Michael is pointing his focus towards June and his AEMA Certification Exam in Indianapolis,” Al wrote us.
While studying for the exam, Michael keeps in mind his future.
“Hopefully I will be able to land as an assistant working with football – I want to stay in this,” Michael said. “I love the hands on stuff about it. I have no problem getting my hands dirty. Being around football is the number one thing I love.”
When he’s not wrestling the equipment or the student managers in shape, Michael is pursuing his dream of attending games in all the Major League Baseball stadiums.
“We’ve got 11, so we’ve got some more to go.”