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Denise O'Mara MS, ATC, LAT


Associate Director of Athletic Training

Office: Weatherwax Health Care Center


Sport Supervisor: Gymnastics, Swimming/Diving, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Golf

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Professional Information


Denise is entering into her 32nd year of working at Iowa State. She was hired in 1991 for the position of Head Women’s Athletic Trainer and Adjunct Instructor with duties including coverage of all women’s athletic teams at Iowa State University as well as teaching within the Kinesiology Department. Denise currently serves as an Associate Director of Athletic Training with direct supervision of Gymnastics (W), Swimming/Diving (W), Soccer, Softball, Tennis (W), Golf (M/W). Her main area of interest is women’s health and professional opportunities. Denise enjoys teaching in the athletic training curriculum and mentoring athletic training students. Denise says that working with motivated student-athletes and her peer athletic trainers gives her the motivation to provide the best health care possible to student-athletes on a daily basis.

Professional Certifications and Credentials


  • NATABOC Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC)

  • Licensed Athletic Trainer (LAT) - State of Iowa

  • Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) - National Academy of Sports Medicine

  • Dr. Ma’s Systemic Dry Needling Certification

  • Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certified Medical Professional

  • Kinesio Taping Association - KT1 & KT2 Certified Provider

  • SportsMetrics Certification

  • Graston Technique – M1 Certified Provider

  • Active Release Technique (Certified 2015-2017)

  • Blood Flow Restriction Therapy Certification – ORS

  • Muscle Energy Techniques M1 Certification

  • Laser Use Certificates – American Institute of Laser Therapy Applications

  • American Red Cross – Professional Rescuer Certifications

Work Experience


Iowa State University - Associate Director of Athletic Training


Kansas State University - Assistant Athletic Trainer


Illinois State University - Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer




University of Northern Iowa - Bachelors of Arts in Teaching Credentials


Illinois State University - Masters of Science in Exercise Science


Courses Taught


A TR 425 Medical Aspects of Athletic Training

A TR 220 Basic Athletic Training  (2002-present)

Professional Affiliations & Volunteer Service

  • Sexual Assault Response Team Training, Iowa State University, 2006, 2007

  • Iowa Shrine Bowl - Athletic Trainer Fund Raising Event, 2012-2014

  • Served as a qualified examiners and Test Site Administrator for the Board of Certification 1987-2006

  • HIPPA Compliance Committee: Iowa State University, 2003-2009

  • NCAA Train the Trainer Diversity Session, Indianapolis, IN, 2000

  • Completed Curriculum & Policy Integration Methods for Enhancing Racial and Ethnic Understanding, Iowa State University, 1999

  • District representative for the Board of Certification Exam Administration Committee 1996-2001

  • State of Iowa:  Iowa Athletic Trainer Examiners Boards. Secretary, Vice-chair, and Chair 1995-2001

  • Special Olympics of Iowa - Medical Coverage for numerous years 1991-2015

  • Iowa High School Athletic Administration: Coverage for Softball, Girls Basketball, X-Country, Track & Field Championships, 1991-1995

  • Iowa Athletic Trainers Association: Education Committee 1991-1994



Honors & Awards


  • Mid-America Athletic Trainers' Association - MAATA Ethnically Diverse & Female Award, 2019

  • Iowa State University, 25 Years of Service, 2016

  • Sac Community High School, Hall of Fame, 2010

  • Dan Libera Service Award - Board of Certification, 2008

  • Athletic Trainer Service Award - National Athletic Trainers Association, 2005

Family & Other Activities


Spouse - Dan O’Mara

Children and Grandchildren - Ruby Melendez with son Lionel and Maggie Carlsen with daughter Nora.

Extended Family - Andrew Orey with daughter Vivian

Dog - Zoey


Denise enjoys outdoor activities, reading, spending time with her family. She was a Licensed Foster Parent from 2002 to 2014.

Professional Presentations


2016:  Bodies  in Motion Research Project:  In conjunction with NCAA and West Virginia University

Spring 2008: Presentation for the FCCLA (Family, career, community Leaders of America): Sports Hydration, practical applications.


Summer 2007, 2008: Iowa State University Extension Program: Athletic Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation of the High School Student Athlete.


Summer 2002:  Iowa High School Coaches Association: Presentation: Nutrition and Eating Disorders in student-athletes.


Fall 2000 and Spring 2001: Iowa State University Athletic Department: Co-Facilitator, Workshop:                 Understanding Diversity and Creating Community.


Fall 2001: Boone Middle School.  Workshop on body Image and Eating Disorders.


Fall 2001: Boone High School:  Presentation: Nutrition for today’s athlete.


May 2001: Big 12 Conference Athletic Trainers Annual Meeting: Presentation: Eating Disorder in Female Intercollegiate Athlete, A Case Study.


1990-91: Cramer Coaches Clinic: A 5 day course in athletic training for high school coaches.


1987-90: Special Olympics Workshop Lecture. Proper Conditioning Techniques. Manhattan , Kansas.


April 1997:  Iowa Athletic Trainer Society Student Workshop:  NATABOC  Examination.


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