Sports Medicine Award Shines Light on Mental Health

Dr. Erin Haugen, ’01, ’03, ’06, received the Jack Weakly Award for Lifetime Distinguished Service.

Recognized for her outstanding contributions to the sports medicine field, Erin accepted the award at the annual Athletic Training Association’s National Convention in Indianapolis in mid-June.

The first mental health professional to receive the award, Erin said she is “shocked and honored.” She credited the athletic trainers she works with. “It’s a team award,” she said. 

A Grand Forks sports psychologist, Erin sees individual patients and serves as the director of continuing education and training at Assessment and Therapy Associates of Grand Forks (ATAGF) PLLC and is founder and CEO of Haugen Performance Consulting PLLC. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the UND Department of Psychology.

“The award is virtually impossible to receive,” said Chuck Welke, an ATAGF colleague. “It has not been awarded in over five years, and has never gone to a mental health professional.”


Erin has been a licensed psychologist since 2007. Early in her career, she received many referrals for student-athletes dealing with mental health and performance-related concerns. “I realized pretty quickly the performance psychology piece was missing.”

In 2010, Erin presented about mindfulness to a group of athletic trainers. “I was able to help the trainers understand that they were navigating a huge mental health performance psychology piece.”

That presentation motivated Erin to add another credential, Certified Mental Performance Consultant, to her already impressive resume.

I would love to get to the point where we see mental health and physical health as just health.


During her years working in the field, Erin has witnessed a shift in the public perception of mental health. A milestone was the NCAA’s 2014 publication of Mental Health Best Practices. And every time a prominent athlete shares their story, she said, it decreases the stigma.

“I would love to get to the point where we see mental health and physical health as just health,” she said. 

To that end, Erin educates athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals about mental health by speaking at conferences and is writing a book on the topic. She’s on campus weekly to share her mental health and sports performance expertise with student-athletes and UND Athletic Department coaches, staff and administrators.

In her consulting business, she treats all levels of athletes, works with athletic and sports medicine departments, and consults with teams, organizations and professionals. 

“Mental health and performance concerns are part of the athletic experience,” Erin said. “That mental part, that performance psychology part – that piece really starts to separate people at the top.”


Erin described herself as a “sporty nerd;” a triathlete who recently took up gravel biking. “It’s fun to practice and use some of the skills I encourage athletes to use. It helps me problem-solve the different obstacles that they might run into.”

And while she enjoys clearing those hurdles with athletes, Erin focuses much of her time on athletic trainers. “I am passionate about doing everything I can to help athletic trainers thrive in their roles because they are often the first point of contact for mental health concerns for student-athletes,” she said.