LMT of the Year

Don Butzner, LMT

The LMT of the Year award is identifies and recognizes a licensed massage therapist in Oregon who exemplifies professionalism and achievement in the field of massage and embraces the mission of AMTA to promote the art, science, and practice of massage therapy. This award is based on volunteerism, leadership, commitment, and the promotion of high standards in ethics and practice. The qualifications for this award are so high, we don’t give one out every year. This year we are thrilled to be able to give the award to an Oregon LMT with an overwhelming dedication  to his profession, his patients, his family, and his fellow massage therapists.

Don has an extensive resume. He has a degree in exercise physiology from Oregon State University and attended massage school at East-West. He has a practice in Corvallis and has been very active in the sports massage world since the early 2000s. He has traveled the world extensively with elite, Olympic-level athletes since that time.

Award Committee Chair Leah Bowder reached out to Don’s community to make sure we were choosing the right person for LMT of the year. The response she received was all positive, and it was swift. His colleagues were thrilled to see he was being considered for LMT of the year. Here is a small sample of his colleagues had to say.

“Don is the exception to all that is difficult to navigate during these [sporting] events: Everyone automatically respects him because he is a know it all….and doesn’t know it. Gracious and helpful to a fault.”

“Don has told me over and over that no matter where he is taken around the world, with whom, he always can’t wait to get back to his ‘normal’ patients because it is his regulars who really matter in his practice.”

“Don always tries to put his family first. He is just a very, very good therapist and very centered.”

Harry Marra, Combined Events Coach, NIKE 2012 Coach of the Year, and 2016 IAAF Coach of the Year, had this to say about Don:

“Don Butzner, massage guy elite, did a fantastic job for Team Eaton during the final two years of preparation leading up to the Rio Games. So many days/hours of dedicated excellence he gave in pursuit of the goal of success in Rio.

“So many stories…but the one that jumps out most to me happened at the World Indoor Championships in Portland last March 2016. Brianne had an outstanding meet, but found herself 150 points behind the leader going into the final event, the 800m run. She had to beat the leader by nearly 15 seconds. Bri ran a tough, great race and ended up with a personal record time for the event. But was it enough to take gold? While the scores were being figured out after the event, there was a hush over the large crowd, waiting anxiously to see if Bri pulled this deal off. Don did some figuring on his own and came running up to me so excited, like a kid on Christmas morning opening his presents. He kept saying, ‘She did it! She did it!’ He was so excited I thought he was going to have a heart attack right there. Well, Bri did do it. She won the gold. But for me personally, what stands out the most at that moment is the pure excitement of Don as he figured out she had won. Priceless.

“Congrats, Don, on your award and much thanks for your great help and the memories.”

Finally two of Don’s clients and biggest fans—Ashton Eaton, 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medal winner in the decathlon, and Brianne Theisen Eaton, 2016 Olympic heptathlon bronze medal winner—shared a short video to congratulate Don on his achievement: