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Aaron Thomas to Deliver Poignant Message on Adversity at Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit

NSGA News • April 12, 2022

DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS (April 12, 2022) – Aaron Thomas has experience turning tragedy into triumph. 

Thomas will share his family’s story of handling adversity and turning it into opportunity when he kicks off the Tuesday, May 24 portion of the schedule at the NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Thomas is the principal and head basketball coach at Aplington-Parkersburg High School and was a four-year letterwinner in basketball at Drake University. He went into coaching and teaching and followed the path of his father Ed, who shared with generations of players the importance of hard work, dedication, excellence and commitment.  

“Aaron Thomas has an amazing and inspirational story to share with everyone attending the Management Conference,” said Matt Carlson, NSGA President & CEO. “We are all challenged with overcoming adversity in our daily lives. Aaron has accepted this challenge in ways few of us could imagine and helps others look closer at their own lives to see if they are making a difference.” 

In 2010, Aaron and his family received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY Awards and Aaron received the Missouri Valley Conference’s Most Courageous Award. The book, “The Sacred Acre,” chronicles the accomplishments of Ed Thomas’ life and the family’s reaction to the unimaginable tragedy the Thomas family faced. 

Football legend Herm Edwards will be the closing keynote speaker on May 24 and Hall of Fame speaker Lt. Col. Waldo Waldman will present the opening keynote on Monday, May 23. Speed Networking, one of the most popular features of the event, returns in the afternoon of Monday, May 23 as retailers and team dealers have the opportunity to talk with manufacturers in a series of short, structured meetings.  

The Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony will cap off the event on Tuesday evening with the induction of Eric Bezanson (Cleve’s Source For Sports), Michael Gotfredson (Road Runner Sports) and Bill Sorenson (American Sports Products Group). For more information on the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame, please visit

About NSGA 

The National Sporting Goods Association has served as the leading voice for the sporting goods industry since 1929. NSGA is devoted to providing a competitive edge to sporting goods retailers and team dealers through industry leading research, networking, advocacy, and unmatched customer support. For more information about membership or NSGA’s products and services, please visit

About the NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit 
The NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit is the longest-running and most successful leadership event in the sporting goods industry. Top executives and decision-makers from sporting goods retailers, team dealers, manufacturers, sales agencies and industry supporting vendor companies gather for education, best-in-class networking, dynamic speakers and industry recognition at the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame induction. For more information, visit–team-dealer-summit/