NSCA Announces 2017 TSAC Awards

MAJ Donald Bigham and Mark Stephenson Recognized

March 8, 2017

Colorado Springs, CO – Strength and conditioning and tactical professionals from across the nation will converge on the NSCA’s TSAC Annual Training April 3-6, 2017 in Orlando, FL to discover cutting-edge research and practical applications in strength and conditioning, presented by the industry’s most elite and respected experts. One of the many exciting events that will be held during the conference is the Award Ceremonies where distinctive honors are given to individuals for outstanding achievement. At this event, the NSCA recognizes award winners in two categories, facilitator and practitioner, with winners selected by a volunteer committee, the NSCA’s TSAC Task Force, who determine the winner based on their contributions to the NSCA, their community, and the profession.

Accepting the TSAC-Facilitator of the Year Award is MAJ Donald Bigham, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, TSAC-F, RSCC. Bigham is in his 23rd year as a member of the Armed Forces (Marines and Army). He is an Infantryman by profession. He served as the Strength and Conditioning Coach at the US Army Physical Fitness School from 2014-16 and is the author of the current Period of Instruction for the US Army Master Fitness Course. MAJ Bigham currently serves as the Deputy Director and Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Human Performance Office at Fort Benning, GA.  

He has been a member of Team USA Powerlifting with the USAPL for the past four years and is a two-time World Powerlifting Champion in the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF). Also, he currently holds the Squat M1 World Record in the IPF and the World Record Squat, Deadlift and Total in the IPL. He is a four-time national champion.

Bigham earned his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from University of South Carolina and his Master's degree in Sports Management with a concentration in Coaching Theories from American Military University. He will be beginning his PhD in Biomechanics at the University of Auburn in the Fall of 2017.

Accepting the TSAC Practitioner of the Year Award is Mark Stephenson, MS, ATC, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D. Stephenson is currently the Human Performance Program Manager at a Naval Special Warfare command where he oversees strength and conditioning, sports medicine, nutrition, mental performance/sport psychology, sport science/tactical physiology, testing and assessment, research and development, and recovery. He brings with him over 28 years of experience of rehabilitation, strength and conditioning, and sport science. Stephenson’s area of expertise is in the psychophysiological profile of the elite performer using various biomarkers such as, Heart Rate Variability (HRV), EEG, accelerometry/GPS, and biofeedback to determine optimal training loads and recovery interventions.

Through physiological monitoring Stephenson’s program has developed recovery strategies that have dramatically helped improve chronic overtraining, chronic pain/fatigue, and sleep.  Strategies such as blood flow restriction techniques, modified sensory deprivation through use of Alpha chamber and Flotation tanks, and biofeedback have proven to be successful interventions for improving recovery. Physiological assessments, such as HRV, DC potential, and tensiomyography have also been successful in profiling elite performers as well as aiding in the manipulation of training loads in order to sustain high performance over long periods.

Stephenson began his career as an Athletic Trainer in an orthopedic sports medicine clinic for seven years before opening his own rehabilitation clinic and sports performance center.  He transitioned to college athletics serving as a volunteer strength and conditioning coach at the College of Holy Cross (1995 – 1996).  Mark also served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Providence College (1996 – 2002), where he was eventually promoted to the position of Head Strength and Conditioning Coach (2002 – 2003).

Prior to working with NSW, Mark was the Director of the Human Performance Center at the National Strength and Conditioning Association (2004 – 2009) where he over saw the resident strength and conditioning programs, physiological testing and assessments, and program development. His duties included serving as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Colorado College Men’s Ice Hockey team (2004 – 2009), High Performance coach for the Broadmoor Skating Club, and the Tactical Physiologist for the Colorado Springs Police SWAT team.  While at the NSCA he developed the Tactical Strength and Conditioning (TSAC) program.

Stephenson earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science, a Master’s of Science in Health Science/Athletic Training, and is currently a Doctoral candidate in Psychology with a specialization in Sport and Performance Psychology. Mark holds certifications from the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) BOC as an Athletic Trainer, Certified (ATC), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F).

“Congratulations to our award winners for these well-deserved recognitions,” said Tyler Christiansen, the NSCA’s Tactical Strength and Conditioning (TSAC) Program Manager. “Each of these men have changed many lives and exemplify what it is to be an NSCA professional. We are proud to have them as members.”

Both individuals will receive their award at the NSCA’s TSAC Annual Training which will be held in Orlando, FL from April 3-6, 2017. The conference is the premiere educational event of the year for tactical professionals. Experts in law enforcement, military, first response, and exercise science all come together to lead attendees through the latest in practical strength and conditioning and applied research, with an emphasis on integrated medicine. For more information regarding the NSCA and their awards, please visit www.nsca.com. 

Media Note: To schedule an interview or to arrange to cover the NSCA’s TSAC Annual Training, contact Marketing@nsca.com.

 About the National Strength & Conditioning Association

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is an international nonprofit professional association founded in 1978 and is dedicated to advancing the strength and conditioning profession around the world.

The NSCA advances the profession by supporting strength and conditioning professionals devoted to helping others discover and maximize their strengths. The organization disseminates research-based knowledge and its practical application by offering industry-leading certifications, research journals, career development services, and continuing education opportunities. The NSCA community is composed of more than 45,000 members and certified professionals who further industry standards as researchers, educators, strength coaches, personal trainers, and other roles in related fields.

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the NSCA serves as a valuable resource for its members, the fitness industry, general public, and the media. The association provides a wide variety of resources and opportunities designed to strengthen, build, advance, and unify.

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