Elijah Boswell was helping to restore a floor for his parents when we called to tell him the good news this week.
Eli, a student Equipment Manager at the University of Idaho, is the 2019 Helmet Tracker AEMA Certification Exam Scholarship winner.
“I’m flabbergasted,” he said. “It’s amazing that you offer this opportunity for young equipment managers who are working to get into this industry. It’s not cheap to get to Indy and pay for the exam, but if this is what you want to do for a living, this is something you have to do.”
Helmet Tracker Scholarship
Helmet Tracker reimburses one Equipment Manager the cost of the Athletic Equipment Managers Association Certification Exam and the cost of the study book.
“At Helmet Tracker, we love to support young Equipment Managers and give them a leg up in the profession,” said Helmet Tracker co-founder Rich Hardt. “We are happy for Eli and look forward to watching him and his career.”
Co-founder Rick Perkins said that Helmet Tracker is committed to supporting all sports Equipment Managers by offering the most technologically advanced, user friendly equipment inventory software ever created. “We are known for our simple interface and our friendly, helpful customer service,” he said. “The Helmet Tracker Scholarship is just one way we come alongside Equipment Managers.”
Certification Important for Equipment Managers
Though the exam is offered two other times during the year, most Equipment Managers take it at the AEMA Convention. This year, the convention was in Indianapolis where 100 Equipment Managers took the exam and 87 passed.
“As we grow, it becomes even more important to be certified – most schools now require having your AEMA certification or for their Equipment Managers to get it within a year,” said Sam Trusner, AEMA Office Manager.
Sam sends each Equipment Manager who passes the exam a certificate.
“I think we have a busy future ahead of us,” he said. For example, Equipment Managers in the NFL have recently formed a group or association and one of the requirements they have for inclusion is certification from the AEMA. There are nearly 1,500 members in the AEMA.
“They place a huge importance on what we do at the AEMA and how important certification is to the profession,” Sam tells us.
Exam and then CEUs
AEMA Certification begins with passing the exam, but continues with Continuing Education Units. Equipment Managers must qualify for six CEUs in a three-year period, though the requirements are prorated throughout the three-year period of time.
The exam takes about 90-minutes, though 2.5 hours is allocated. It is not sport specific, but indicates that someone who passes the exam is qualified to be an Equipment Manager for any and all sports.
“There is always more to learn in each individual sport, but the AEMA provides the tools and connections to learn,” Sam said. “Our goal with the exam is to make it difficult, but fair.”
There has never been a perfect score on an AEMA Certification Exam, and scores in the 90s are rare. A passing score is adjusted each year depending on the difficulty of the test.
The test is 100 multiple-choice questions and costs $250 to take at the AEMA Convention. Sam strongly recommends the study book as well, at $65.
Eli an Idaho Vandal
Eli reports to work in the Vandal’s Equipment Room next week.
“It is important that you guys offer this scholarship and encourage young Equipment Managers in this profession. It’s an incentive to work really hard,” he told us.
Though classes don’t start until August 26, Fall Football Camp begins August 2. “There is a lot to get done,” Eli said.
Eli is one semester from earning his degree in Geography, so this will be his last football season at Idaho. He plans to look for a Graduate Assistant job in an equipment room where he can pursue a Master’s Degree and continue working with college sports.
“I am really open to where I can find an opportunity. It may be difficult at first as I am graduating in December this year, but I am determined,” he said.
What will he do with the scholarship money?
“Honestly, I will probably use it to buy text books,” he said.
Congratulations from past winners
This is the third year Helmet Tracker has awarded the scholarship.
Last year, then-Southern Mississippi Assistant Athletic Equipment Manager Harley Warren won.
“First of all, congrats to Elijah on earning the Helmet Tracker Scholarship this year,” he wrote. “The Helmet Tracker Scholarship is not only great help financially but it is also just a great honor to be chosen from all of the test taking participants. Good luck to Elijah this upcoming year and just enjoy the ride, I know I have!”
Harley left the Golden Eagle’s staff earlier this year to become a first-year teacher and coach at Stone High School in Wiggins, Mississippi.
“I plan on keeping my AEMA certification active and using the skills I learned while at Southern Miss to properly fit my athletes and help the coaching staff with equipment needs,” Harley wrote. “Being AEMA certified actually helped me get this job and is a great thing for your resume that other coaches do not have.”
“Thank you to all the guys at Helmet Tracker for all of your support the past few years. I can't wait to vote in Helmet Bowl III as a fan this year!”
The first Helmet Tracker Scholarship winner was Eddie Hardin, now Equipment Assistant at Cleveland State University.
“Congratulations to Elijah Boswell of the University of Idaho for being the recipient of the Helmet Tracker AEMA Certification Scholarship,” he wrote us. “As a previous recipient of the scholarship, I believe the award is valuable more than just the monetary value, but as a door that will present the opportunity for the recipient to make connections and establish themselves in the equipment industry.
“Congratulations as well for earning your AEMA certification. Your hard work will not go unnoticed.”
When he applied for the scholarship, Eli told us about his journey so far.
Eli played varsity football and threw the shot put and discus for the track team at North Salem High School in Salem, Oregon.
When he got to Idaho, he heard about the jobs in the equipment room and went after it. An unofficial tryout during Spring ball lead to a position as a student manager.
Though he plans to earn his master’s degree in urban and regional planning, that’s a backup plan.
“I love being around sports. Experiencing the game-day atmosphere and traveling with the team is a great experience and the people I work with are just fantastic!” he said.
“This is an awesome profession,” he told us. “Being an Equipment Manager is becoming a more respected and well known profession,”
“Wow, winning the scholarship – it’s awesome!” he said. “I really appreciate it.”