Jan. 23, 2013
Jackie LaPenta, Texas Media Relations
Allen Hardin, University of Texas Co-Director of Sports Medicine/Athletic Training, has spent the last 16 years helping to rehabilitate, strengthen and improve the physical ability of Texas student-athletes. His hard work and dedication have been commended, as he is this year’s recipient of the Ron Peyton Award from the Sports Physical Therapy Section.
“I was totally surprised and shocked to be the recipient of this award,” Hardin said.
“I have served this field in many capacities, but I wouldn’t say there is one particular project [that earned me this award]. I have developed a pattern of involvement over the last 20 years through my opportunities with SPTS.”
SPTS is a component member of the American Physical Therapy Association in which Hardin has been a fixture for 20 years. The organization is designed to promote awareness, education and the development of the sports physical therapy profession.
Ron Peyton, PT, MS, is a highly regarded physical therapist who has spearheaded much educational research and the creation of new institutions for his field. His most notable achievements include promoting clinical specialization and the formation of sections within APTA and founding the Dogwood Institute Inc., which is responsible for the continued education of more than 90,000 physical therapists. The Ron Peyton Award is the most prestigious honor given by the section.
Hardin arrived at UT in 1997 as a member of the Longhorns medical staff and was promoted to co-director of sports medicine/athletic training in 2001. He oversees the athletic training room and works mostly with the men’s athletics teams to condition and rehabilitate.
“Allen Hardin has helped build a state-of-the-art sports medicine program here at Texas that is one of the best anywhere,” said DeLoss Dodds, University of Texas Men’s Athletics Director. “We are proud when our staff members are recognized for standing out among of their peers.”
Hardin has worked with national championship teams and star-studded rosters, but the excitement of his job comes from the opportunity to help others.
“You can look back and think of some of the games we won that were certainly very meaningful, but I remember a very specific game against OU,” Hardin recalled.
“Casey Hampton recovered a fumble on the three-yard line and two plays later, Major Applewhite threw a 97-yard touchdown pass to Wane McGarity. Those three players had all had season-ending injuries the year before, and I had been involved with their rehab. I remember at the time thinking, ‘This is why I do this.’”
Hardin’s father was a physician who introduced him to a world of medicine at an early age. He was immediately attracted to helping people through this field of study.
“It was sort of a life-long ambition to pursue something medical,” Hardin said. “As I got into high school, I was asked to be a student athletic trainer and I think that is where I found my passion.”
Hardin graduated from TCU with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and earned his master’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Miami (Fla.) School of Medicine. Upon graduation, he worked at the Berkshire Institute in Wyomissing, Pa., where he was the director of clinical research and a physical therapist. Additionally, Hardin gained valuable experience as a member of the athletic training staff at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta before arriving in Austin, Texas.
In conjunction with his responsibilities at the Forty Acres, Hardin has published articles that appeared in various sports medicine journals and textbooks. In 2001, he also served as an athletic trainer at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“There's not a more deserving person to receive this distinguished SPTS award,” said Kenny Boyd, Head Athletic Trainer for Football. “Allen embodies the spirit of the Peyton Award through his leadership of our staff and how he cares for our student-athletes. He is the perfect example of how we should be the advocate of quality healthcare for our student-athlete.”
Hardin noted that working with staff members, like Boyd, at the University of Texas has been a great inspiration. The program embodies a family atmosphere that is strongly felt by those involved.
“I have developed some incredible relationships with people that have been second to none,” Hardin said. “It really is a remarkable place with remarkable people.
“Limas Sweed was a spectacular player whose career here ended with an injury. He came back several years after that just to say, ‘Thanks.’ Those are the times that I think are the most special and the most meaningful.”