San Diego High Schools Athletic Trainers’ Association Honors Two with “Athletic Trainer of the Year” Award

Robbie Bowers, head athletic trainer at Rancho Bernardo High School, and Niki Dehner, head athletic trainer at Francis W. Parker School, have been co-named “Athletic Trainer of the Year” by the San Diego High Schools Athletic Trainers’ Association. The peer nominated award is given to athletic trainers who have demonstrated a commitment to protecting student athletes and the community, and upholding the standards of the profession.

Robbie Bowers, a certified athletic trainer, has been a committed pioneer to the profession, serving student athletes and faculty at Rancho Bernardo High School for the past 26 years. He’s also acted as a liaison for the

California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) San Diego – educating administrators on athletic training and advocating for appropriate athletic training medical coverage at CIF events. He often serves as a media spokesperson for the California Athletic Trainers’ Association.

A San Diego State University graduate, Bowers is a preceptor for the university’s athletic training program, where he teaches soon-to-be professionals in the field. “Robbie knows everyone,” says mentee and nominator Diane Lawrence. “Those who call upon him know that they will not be let down with the quality of work and care he puts into treating student athletes.”

Niki Dehner is a certified athletic trainer and long-standing, respected member of the profession. In her role at Francis W. Park School, Dehner has worked to elevate existing programs, exceeding the standards of practice not only at the school, but statewide. Under her leadership, the school was awarded the first and only Safe Sports School Award in San Diego from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, demonstrating that the school had taken crucial steps to keep its athletes free from injuries.

Through Athletes Saving Athletes – an Advocates for Injured Athletes program taught exclusively by certified athletic trainers – Dehner works tirelessly to educate stakeholders and students, and help reduce the risk and incidence of injury and death to student athletes.

Athletic trainers play a vital part in protecting student athletes and saving lives, since they’re the first health care professionals on-site to prevent and treat injuries. They make clinical decisions for athletes every step of the way, from performance training and injury prevention to executing on-site emergency care at the scene of an accident or rehabilitating injuries and getting athletes back to regular activity.

In addition to athletes, athletic trainers serve a multitude of industries and fields, playing a key role in the prevention, assessment and treatment of acute and chronic injuries and illnesses in a variety of settings.

For more information about the athletic training profession, and to find out if an athletic trainer is certified, visit