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Ronnie Barnes to be commencement speaker at alma mater, ECU


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ronnie Barnes, a member of the Giants organization for almost 50 years and a 2022 inductee into the team's Ring of Honor, has added another distinction to his distinguished career.

Barnes, the Giants' senior vice president of medical services and head athletic trainer, will be the keynote speaker at the spring commencement ceremony at his alma mater, East Carolina University, in Greenville, N.C. More than 3,800 students, graduates, family members, and family members are expected to attend the ceremony on Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m. in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

A 1975 graduate of ECU's College of Health and Human Performance, Barnes was the first African American graduate of the university's sports medicine program. He helped establish the Ronnie Barnes African American Resource Center in Joyner Library. Barnes was also inducted into the ECU Athletic Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award.

Barnes was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.

"We are honored to have Ronnie back at ECU as our commencement speaker," Chancellor Philip Rogers said. "He is an outstanding person and leader whose success has come through hard work and grit. He is a great representative of Pirate Nation."

Barnes joined the Giants organization in 1976 as an athletic training intern and five years later was promoted to the role of head athletic trainer. He is widely recognized as one of the most esteemed athletic trainers in professional sports. In 1999, Barnes was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and was named Athletic Trainer of the Year by NFL physicians in 2002.

Additional honors Barnes has received in his 48 years with the Giants include the Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award from the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine in 2020 and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Fritz Pollard Alliance. He was twice named the National Professional Trainer of the Year by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). Barnes and his team were recipients of the prestigious Ed Block Courage Award as the NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year in 1999 and 2023.

Barnes has contributed to his field of work and the community by serving on various boards including a seat on the NATA Board of Certification and assuming the presidency of the NATA Research and Education Foundation. He is a member of the NFL subcommittee on mild brain trauma and completed a seven-year tenure as president of the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society. He serves on the Hospital for Special Surgery Board of Advisors, the NFL Player Care Foundation Board of Trustees, the American Board of Family Medicine, the Sports Medicine Advisory Board, and the Touro School of Medicine Health Advisory Board.


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