Nicholas “Nick” Anthony Pappas, passed away peacefully into the hands of our Lord on Thursday, September 5, 2019, in Tallahassee, Florida with his Family by his side. Nick was born October 20, 1952 in Troy, New York and grew up in Highland Park, NJ. As well as being a gifted student, Nick excelled at many sports including track, football and wrestling. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Nick was a true friend to many and was an example of one who gives before receiving; he was a humble and selfless Christian man. Amongst his many achievements, Nick was foremost guided by providing service to others, whether on the playing field, the training room, or in professional leadership roles.
Nick’s accumulated and diversified experience spans over thirty-five years in the areas of athletic training and sports medicine. During that time, he had been involved with the administration and development of numerous sports medicine and athletic training programs at the local, national and international levels. Nick was truly dedicated to his profession of sports medicine.
His experience include working as the Head Athletic Trainer at Virginia Commonwealth University, Associate Athletic Trainer at Georgia Tech and Head Football Athletic Trainer at North Carolina State University. He had worked with numerous athletes and teams that have participated in noteworthy sports events including several college football bowl games as well as NCAA national tournaments and conference championships in basketball, wrestling, track and cross-country. He served as the Head Athletic Trainer at the U.S. Olympic Trials for Tae-Kwon-Do in 1988 and was the host site athletic trainer at the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1987. He worked with the inaugural Tennessee Sportsfest in 1990 as a member of the medical committee and provided assistance with the North Carolina Special Olympics from 1986 through 1989. He has served as the medical chair for the Mid-South Rugby Union and was a member of the medical staff of the United States Rugby Football Union. He also served as Head Athletic Trainer for the Nashville Kats of the Arena Football League for five years and was the treasurer of the AFL Physician and Trainers Association’s Executive Board.
Nick arrived at Gallatin High School in 1989 as the first athletic trainer for any school in the county. His first year saw great success with the football team winning the first of two football state championships while he was a member of the Green Wave. He served at Gallatin until 2005, being a part of two football state championship teams (1989 and 1992), one football state runner up in 1991, one state girls basketball championship in 1999, one boys’ basketball state runner up in 2001. Nick had a lasting impact on many student-athletes to play for the Green Wave. He was also pivotal in the development of the sports program that currently serves the schools of Sumner County.
In addition, Nick was active with state and national associations working to improve the athletic training profession. He was elected as the first president of the Georgia Athletic Trainers Association after serving as chair of the Executive Committee authoring the organization’s charter constitution and bylaws. In Tennessee, Nick worked with several professional committees for the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society. For nearly fourteen years, Nick served as chair of Governmental Affairs and Strategic Planning and headed up the team representing professional interests in the Tennessee State Legislature. He had a major role in the revision and subsequent passage of the state Athletic Trainer Practice Act. Nick also made significant contributions in the reimbursement setting in Tennessee by putting together the strategy presentations lobbying Blue Cross/Blue Shield which eventually led to the insurance giant changing its policy and procedures to recognize certified athletic trainers as allied healthcare providers in the State of Tennessee.
Nick served two terms as President of the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society and sat on the Executive Board of the Southeastern Athletic Trainers Association (SEATA). As a member of the Executive Board of SEATA, Nick worked on and chaired several committees which included the major revision of the SEATA Constitution and By-Laws and developed the SEATA Mission and Vision Statements now in use. Upon his move to Florida in September 2005, he was elected to the Executive Board of the Athletic Trainers Association of Florida to serve as the Panhandle Area representative. In addition, the President and Executive Board of SEATA called on him to continue to provide support to their responsibilities and to serve as SEATA Parliamentarian in 2006-2007.
His peers and the profession have recognized Nick for his contributions to the field of athletic training and sports medicine. In January 1992, he was named Clinical/Professional Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society. In 1996, he was one of fifteen individuals chosen to receive the National Athletic Trainers Association’s Athletic Trainer Service Award. In March 2000, the SEATA honored him with selection for the District Award for his outstanding contributions and service with distinction to the profession. In January 2006, Nick was inducted into the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society Hall of Fame. He was honored as the 2007 recipient of the Presidents’ Award of Merit given by the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society. Nick was inducted into the National Athletic Trainer Hall of Fame in 2012. Nick was inducted into the Southeast Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2018, he was inducted into his fourth Hall of Fame as he was chosen for the Gallatin Athletics Hall of Fame for his innumerable contributions to Green Wave Athletics through the years.
Later in his career, Nick became at heart an FSU Seminole. He joined the Tallahassee community over a decade ago and served the FSU University and sports program as well as donating his time and expertise to many local High Schools to assist with their Sports Medicine curriculums. He was currently serving as the Coordinator of Insurance and Risk Management as well as an Adjunct professor in the athletic training curriculum at FSU. He loved Tallahassee and spoke fondly of his FSU counterparts. Nick has written numerous articles and was active as a speaker and consultant in various medical, allied health, law enforcement and athletic environments. He also served on the national faculty of the United States Sports Academy.
Nick was predeceased in death by his late father, The Very Reverend Father Anthony Nicholas Pappas and his adored mother, Presbytera Frances Pappas. He is survived by his brothers, Anthony, Michael, Paul and Mark. He is also survived by many loving nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends who will miss him dearly. Funeral services were held Monday, September 16, 2019, at Holy Mother of God, Greek Orthodox Church, 1645 Phillips Rd. Tallahassee, FL 32308 at 2 p.m. The funeral service was followed by a luncheon held at the University Center Club of FSU.