Wally Blase begins his 13th season with the Hawks as the team's Head Athletic Trainer. Blase worked his 1000th game in that position last season (April 11, 2012) vs. Boston.
He is responsible for the day-to-day health of the team, the evaluation and rehabilitation therapy of athletic injuries, and the supervision of the Hawks Sports Medicine staff.
Blase, 42, came to the Hawks organization in 2000 after four years as the Assistant Athletic Trainer with the Chicago Bulls, during which he was part of two NBA championships. With the Bulls, he was actively involved with assisting the head athletic trainer with all aspects of the team's medical needs, including the prevention, care, and rehabilitation of the athletes.
He is certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and is a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist, through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
Serving on the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA) for the past 10 years, Blase recently completed a two-year term as the Chairman of the organization, and now serves as the immediate past Chairman. As Chairman, Blase represented the NBATA and its members as a liaison to the league office, as well as to NBA Physicians Association. Additional responsibilities included organizing the group's annual meeting, educational agenda and league business meeting, and oversight of the organization's business affairs and their charity and scholarship foundations. The Foundations have donated tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity, including over $25,000 to St. Jude's Children's Hospital. In 2005, the Southeast Athletic Trainers Association (SEATA) named Blase the Professional Athletic Trainer of the Year.
A native of Niles, Illinois, Blase has done several internships in the athletic training department of the NFL's Chicago Bears (the summers of 1994, '96 and '98). He also spent time as the head athletic trainer with the Cincinnati Rockers arena football team (1993). Additionally, Blase served as the Head Athletic Trainer for the NBA's Eastern Conference All-Star team in 2003, when the game was held at Philips Arena.
Blase spent three seasons as a student athletic trainer at Winona State University, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in sports medicine in 1992. In 1996, he earned his master's (M.S.) in sports psychology from Syracuse University while serving two years as a graduate assistant trainer.
He was born June 4, 1970 in Niles, Illinois.