For his more than 20 years of contributions to sports medicine and exercise science at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), James R. Whitehead received a 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the United States Sports Academy.

Dr. James Whitehead (right), Executive Vice President and CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine, receives a 2013 Distinguished Service Award from Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich.

Whitehead has headed the Indianapolis-based ACSM—one of the most powerful sport organizations in the United States—as its executive vice president since 1990 and helped to advance many health-related issues during that time, such as preventing sport injuries, highlighting health issues facing American cities and promoting corporate health wellness programs.

He received his award at the Academy’s campus in Daphne, Ala., from the university’s President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich. “I thank the United States Sports Academy very much for this unexpected recognition. It has been a pleasure and honor to contribute in some small fashion to our collective progress in the field,” Whitehead said.

As CEO of ACSM, Whitehead has created and led many organizations, coalitions, collaborations, and other initiatives that drive strategy and impact.  For instance, he is a co-founder and has served as adjunct Executive Director and President of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity; co-founder and co-lead of the Inclusive Fitness Coalition; Chairman of the Board of the Datalys Center on Sports Injury Research and Prevention; a Board member of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan; and President of the Female Athlete Triad Coalition. In addition, he has served as a speaker, panelist, and consultant for more than 125 organizations, including the U.S. Olympic Committee, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Public Health Association.

His work has been honored by many professional associations, including the International Academy of Sports Vision, the Association for Applied Sports Psychology, the Council for Better Hearing and Speech and ACSM.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, nonprofit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit