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National Athletic Trainers Month Spotlight
Tuesday, March 26 2019
Day 26 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Lori Armendariz

Lori Armendariz, LAT, ATC

Hometown: Brownsville, TX

High School: Pace High School c/o 2007

Undergrad: The University of Texas at Austin c/o 2011

Licenses/Certifications: BOC 2011, Texas LAT 2012; AHA CPR/AED Instructor 2014

Current City and School/Workplace: Mission, TX @ Mission High School since 2013

Any involvement with other organizations or community services positions:

VATA: Member since 2012; Fill the Helmet Committee Member since 2012; Public Relations Director since 2015

US Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) – Athletic Trainer, Region 3 or now South Region since 2013

7 years working in the profession; last 6 have been at Mission HS

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

It’s funny because my dad, a HS coach, told me that I should be an Athletic Trainer long before I entered high school and before I knew what an Athletic Trainer was. Once I was in high school, a shoulder injury sent me to the Athletic Trainers, Matt Gross and Dottie Fero. Going in for treatments every day, Fero asked me if I wanted to become an SAT. After I had been an SAT for a while, I went to an NBA playoff game between the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings where I saw a female “AT” on staff. From that moment, I knew I wanted to be that person helping the athletes. I asked Fero “how can I do that” and she taught me everything and anything I wanted to learn. I finally understood what my dad meant that this profession was the perfect fit for me. All of my high school Athletic Trainers (Dottie Fero, Matt Gross, Patrick Solis and Joe Resendez) had a hand in guiding me towards the profession and helping me find my passion.

What drives you to do your job?

I got into Athletic Training because it was a chance to help an athlete return to competition after injury. However, I’ve gained much more than the simple enjoyment of helping someone. From the people I’ve met while working to some amazing places I’ve traveled and then to the bonds I’ve forged with athletes, parents, and coaches; I am grateful for this profession. I’ve been fortunate to have amazing mentors I’ve been blessed to learn from, exceptional partners at work, and amazing student athletic trainers to teach. I am excited for what comes next.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience?

I’ve been lucky to have been able to travel with USYSA boys soccer on some amazing trips. I traveled to Alabama and Florida for regional events. Last spring break, I went on my first international trip to Lisbon, Portugal for a training/competition against Portugal’s premiere league teams. I actually have the opportunity again to travel internationally, this time to Scotland and Ireland in a couple weeks. I love going to these soccer camps because even though it is still work, it allows me to be somewhere different for a little while and I get to see athletes of varied ages doing what they love. Once, a few years back, I went to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series as part of a continuing education course. It was a bucket list item where I mixed Athletic Training and cheering on my Longhorns in the CWS!

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

Athletic Training is a very rewarding career. It can also be draining at times. Take care of yourself and your family. When I was on my own for a short time, I put so much pressure on myself to make sure I was everywhere and everything was done. I started to get burnt out and this was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn. Do not overwhelm yourself trying to take care of every, single little thing. Do what you can at that moment, and learn that sometimes you can’t do much. Tomorrow is another day where you can approach the issue at hand with a clearer mindset. Also, take every opportunity that you think is worth it to do what you need to. Whether it be more work, more travel, more alone time, take it. Whatever you need to be the best you can be, make sure you do it.

Posted by: AT 09:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 25 2019
Day 25 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Edwin Gomez

Edwin Gomez LAT, LMT

I am from Palmview, TX and a Palmview High graduate from the Class of 2010. I did my undergrad degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Athletic Training at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, I am a Vaquero but I also consider myself a Bronc since I was part of the transition from UTPA to UTRGV. Not only am I a Licensed Athletic Trainer but am also a Licensed Massage Therapist and American Red Cross First Aid/AED/CPR instructor. 

I currently reside and work in Palmview at my Alma Mater. 

I try to stay involved in my profession and most importantly in my community. Currently I am the webmaster for our Valley Athletic Trainers’ Association website,and volunteer for Gridiron Heroes committee. 

I am in year 2 as an Athletic Trainer. 

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training? 

Those close to me know my story, I became intrigued by Athletic Training my senior year of High School, thanks to Melissa Reinert and Scott Chambers. As an athlete I had 2 “major” injures that landed me in the athletic training room. One was dropping my max weight onto my thigh while doing power clean and second was having a subconjunctival hemorrhage on my right eye by getting my eye jabbed and receiving a concussion all on the same play. But Doc Mel and Doc Chambers were there to have me back on the field. After all that I only missed one game my senior year. BUT I went on to dance flamenco my freshman year in college with a professional dance company, Yjastros, in Albuquerque, NM while attending Central New Mexico CC and taking a couple of courses at the University of New Mexico. After that one year in Albuquerque my grandfather passed away and it was time for me to come home. With uncertainty of what I wanted to become I enrolled at STVT where I received my professional massage therapy license. Halfway through the program I knew I loved healing people and also loved being around sports so after graduating STVT I enrolled at UTPA/UTRGV to pursue my Athletic Training degree and went on to become the 2016 Student Athletic Trainer of the Year while working with baseball and volleyball. 

What drives you to do your job?

My kids do. Every single student athlete and student athletic trainer has a unique story to tell and I try to always be there to listen as my teachers and mentors did to me when I was their age. It’s a great feeling not only rehabbing them back to health but also teaching them how to avoid such injuries by taking care of their body so they can fend for themselves when they get to the next level and the real world. 

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience? 

Athletic Training has given me many opportunities to travel. With UTRGV I got to travel with baseball to Abilene. Had the honor of working with the 2017 WAC Volleyball Champions and received the PFATS Minority Scholarship which granted me an intern position with the NFL Tennessee Titans which I got to work the two home games vs. Carolina Panthers and San Diego Chargers in Nashville, TN and travel to Oakland, CA vs. the Oakland Raiders, as well as to Miami, FL vs. the Miami Dolphins. In my first year at Palmview I got to Travel to  Corpus Christi for XC Regionals, San Antonio for Track and Field Regionals and Austin for State Track and Field where I got to see the most decorated female athlete Palmview has ever had. Year 2, I was selected as a TGCA All Star Athletic Trainer for Softball got to travel to Arlington, TX and this football season I got to Travel to Corpus Christi for my first ever football playoff game. Currently I am helping out the Rio Grande Valley Dorados and will be able to travel to Mexico City, MX and Austin, TX in their first season back!

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

Be AMBITIOUS , Be OPEN MINDED and NETWORK! You never know when the other person is in a position to help you or you’re in a position to help them. For current ATs, balance your work and family because self time burn out is real! You have to be able to manage your time. Lastly, being an Athletic Trainer is the most selfless job. We give and give and don’t take back BUT when recognized it makes it all worth the while.

Posted by: AT 01:54 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 22 2019
Day 22 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Alejandra (Ale) Borrego

Alejandra (Ale) Borrego, LAT

Hometown: Alamo, TX

High School: PSJA Memorial High School 2009

Undergrad: University of Texas Pan American 2013

Current Workplace: Weslaco High School (2016-present)

- Interned with the RGV Sol Professional Arena Football team 2015 season

-3rd year in the profession

- American Heart Association – BLS and Heartsaver Instructor

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

I became interested in the field back in high school. I was never a student trainer however I was always intrigued by everything my then ATs, JoJo Ruiz and Chad Hilburn, did. I was a multi-sport athlete growing up and was always torn between being a coach or an ortho. While in Athletic Training Internship at Pan Am, I did a lot of hours helping JoJo and Chad at the high school level and decided that this was definitely something I could see myself doing for good.

What drives you to do your job?

The students are definitely what drive me. To know that you can make a difference in their lives and be there to help the overcome the obstacle of an injury. To have my softball girls scold me for not being the one to cover one of their games. To see the look on the face of a baseball player when they’ve finally been cleared after being out for over a month. To witness one of my seniors play in his last football game ever. Being a shoulder to cry on for a soccer girl who just lost her dad. To hear my basketball stud tell me her ankle feels 1000 times stronger than before. Hearing one of my student trainers ask “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!” whenever I dare to be out for even half a day. Whether it’s consoling an athlete who will never play again, to savoring a sweet victory against our town rival, the relationships you build being there for your students definitely overcome anything you could ever complain about.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience?

I was able to travel with the RGV Sol football team. I was a great experience being around a few former NFL players. The difference in level of play was incredible to witness and be a part of.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

The most important thing I could say is you need to love what you do. I always keep in mind a quote my mentor Jim Lancaster had in his office: “Your athletes won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” This has stuck with my since day one. Be compassionate without being a push over. You can be strict without being a jerk. Your students need to respect you, but should also feel comfortable enough to talk to you about anything. Also, never forget your WHY!! 

Posted by: AT 09:33 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 21 2019
Day 21 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Israel

Israel Montaño MS, LAT

Hometown, Graduated High School (include year), Undergrad (year), Masters/Licenses/Certifications, etc.

I was born and raised in Weslaco, Texas and graduated from Weslaco High in 2004.  I attended Cisco Junior College, and then went on to receive my Bachelors of Science (Kinesiology) from Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2008. Shortly after being employed by La Joya ISD, I enrolled at California University of Pennsylvania where I received my Masters of Science (Sports Management-Intercollegiate Athletics Administration) in 2012. I have been a American Red Cross Instructor since I was 18 years old, I currently Instructor Certification in Lay Responder, CPR Professional Rescuer, and Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers.

Current City and School/Workplace

I have been employed with La Joya ISD for 11 years, and had the pleasure of serving the athletes of Juarez-Lincoln High School.

Any involvement with other organizations or community services positions?

I currently serve as the Board of Director for Continuing Education for the Valley Athletic Trainers Association and have proudly served that position since 2016, and also part of the Student Affairs Committee since 2009.

How many years in the profession?

I am now in my 11th year as a Licensed athletic trainer.

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

I became introduced to Athletic Training by Coach Jim Hite, who was trying to recruit me to join the football team. It was his first year back at Weslaco, so he was trying to gather up a football team. I told him I was interested, so he then offered me a job as equipment manager, I declined again. He then asked if I was interested in becoming a student trainer. I asked what that entailed, he replied “ they help the athletes when they are injured and help them get back in to playing condition”. I hesitated at first but agreed to join, that is how I got to know the funny Israel Pena, and Griselda Fino. It is because of those two, that I fell in love with the profession of athletic training. I owe my career to Jim Hite for introducing me to the profession.

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?

Valley Born and Raised

What drives you to do your job?

It’s very simple, these high school kids are what drive me to do my best. The fact that I get to be a part of their lives, and instill some wisdom in them. Jackie Robinson was quoted as saying “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” and I strive to impact as many lives as I can while I’m here on earth.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience?

                Athletic Training has given me the opportunity to travel a lot both in college, and professionally with the Rio Grande Valley White Wings Baseball Club and Corpus Christi Hammerheads arena football club. I have traveled to over 30 states, and even spent two weeks in Alaska with the Corpus Christi Hammerheads in Anchorage and Fairbanks. My favorite experience traveling was also during Alaska, I decided to take a stroll in Fairbanks, and experienced the nature Alaska had to offer. The beautiful mountain ranges in the background, summer snow, never ending daylight, and even a close encounter with a moose.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

Take care of yourself first. I know it’s in our blood to want to help others and give the best care, and devout ourselves to the profession. We must also learn to take a step back and take care of ourselves because if we’re not well, then how can we expect to help those who need us. For the younger AT’s, here is some advice I learned over the years, learn to pick your battles. Not everything is worth the fight or argument with your superiors or athletes. There are some principles worth fighting for, and others that are not. Trust me on this, your stress level will dramatically reduce, and overall relationship with coaches and athletes will improve and make your job easier.

Posted by: AT 06:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 20 2019
Day 20 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Susan Detwiler
Susan Detwiler LAT, ATC
West Chester, PA
Raised in Harrisburg, PA
Lancaster Mennonite 1983
Eastern Mennonite College 1987
James Madison University--Athletic Training 1991
BOC 1992
Texas State License 1998
American Red Cross Instructor 1st Aid/CPR/AED & CPR for Professional Rescuer 
Stop The Bleed 2019

Current City and School/Workplace 
Edinburg, TX
Edinburg High School
Any involvement with other organizations or community services positions?
VATA Treasurer
VATA SPATS Committee

BOC Certified for 27 years
I have worked at FDU-Florham--1 year
Rockingham Memorial Hospital (Outreach/Clinic Athletic Trainer)--4 years
Edinburg HIgh--22 years


How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training? 
I had a foot injury that kept me from playing basketball my junior year of high school that if we had an athletic trainer I probably would have been out for a few weeks. I also had some injuries in college playing field hockey at EMC that I had to figure out how to treat on my own. I heard about the athletic training program at James Madison University which was cross town from EMC. I thought about going to PT school but I really loved being involved with sports and the program at JMU was considered one of the best. I decided to combine my love of sports and medicine. 

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in? 
I applied for a number of positions around the US and Richard Flores from ECISD called and offered me a job at Edinburg High so I packed my car with my 5 year old son and my 3 year old daughter and all our earthly belongings and drove 1600 miles to Edinburg. I had know idea where Edinburg was when I applied and was offered the job. I was told the easiest way to find Edinburg on a map was to find Reynosa, Mexico and look about 15 miles north and I would find Edinburg.  Twenty two years later it is still the best decision I could have made.

What drives you to do your job? 
I love to help people. Teaching young athletes how to take care of their bodies and hopefully giving them tools to live a long healthy life are my motivation. Plus working with teenagers keeps me young.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country?
What is your favorite memory from this experience? I have had the opportunity to travel with ISF to Thailand with athletes and coaches to help with sports camps with some universities in Bangkok. Working with some of the soccer players and Muy Thai fighters was probably my most memorable experience while in Thailand.
Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Aetic Training?  
Never stop learning! Don't be afraid to learn new techniques. Love the athletes you work with. They all want to feel that they are important and that you care. The ones who are always "hurt" need more love. Know when to be tough with them and push them through those hard rehabs and celebrate the small victories with them. You may not get much recognition from the public but the smile and thank you you get from your athletes after they are able to return to the sport they love will be enough.
Posted by: AT 10:34 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 19 2019
Day 19 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Jason

Jason “Chad” Hilburn

Meeker, Oklahoma

Meeker High School, May 1991

Southwestern Oklahoma State University, May 1996 – BS in Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER)

Texas Licensure July 1997, Finishing my 22nd year as an LAT

Edcouch-Elsa High School,  August 1997 – May 2003

PSJA Memorial High School, August 2003 – Present

AHA / ASHI instructor, UIL Weight Certification Assessor




How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

As a high school freshman football player from “small town” Oklahoma, fractured my hand and was referred to the “big city” (Oklahoma City) orthopedic institute to make sure the growth plate wasn’t involved. I always had an interest in the medical field and after getting to see the combination of sports and medicine in person, I knew I wanted to in some way make it my career. 

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?

The year I graduated and became licensed, 4 or 5 of us from SWOSU came to Texas to begin our careers as high school Athletic Trainers.  I actually started working in south Dallas at a high school until the day came for new employees to sign contracts and mine was about $8000 less than what I was told over the phone. Luckily I had saved a message from the Edcouch-Elsa A.D. and they still had an opening. A 12 hour drive later, I was here and haven’t moved out of the valley since !!! In 2003 the position opened at PSJA Memorial, it was a little bit of a pay raise and a good place to continue ‘til now.

What drives you to do your job?

The satisfaction of seeing an athlete go from serious injury or recovering from surgery to playing at the same or better level than they were before. The pride of knowing how so many things that we do as Athletic Trainers affect and make the lives better for the athletes (and coaches) that we come in contact with.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience?

During the summers, the travel opportunities have always been there for me as an Athletic Trainer, but I use those 8 weeks for family and friends, and time and travel not dealing with our profession.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

Take care of yourself and Don’t take your job home with you!!!! Athletic Training is such a time demanding career and you give so much of yourself making sure that others are safe and healthy. Sometimes you may become so overwhelmed that you forget about yourself andwhat you need to continue this profession for 20 to 30 years. Find a way to separate the two and keep an even balance.  That being said, there are many positives and it’s a great career choice.

You’ll meet some of the greatest people and fellow ATs, work along the side of the brightest doctors, keep up with the latest innovations in medicine, and have a career that can be very rewarding.

Posted by: AT 07:52 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 18 2019
Day 18 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Maria Thompson

Maria Thompson, LAT

I am from Pharr, graduated from PSJA High school in 1979 when there was only one high school. Went to Pan American University and graduated in 1984 and am a Licensed Athletic Trainer.

I currently work in La Joya at La Joya High School and am involved with the American Red Cross.

I have been an athletic trainer for 34 years.

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training? 

I became an interested in the field of athletic training my sophomore year of high school. As an athlete I noticed that the athletic trainer at my school did not care for the female athletes, this pissed me off and I said this will never happen again.  The following year I begin to learn the very basic of athletic training while still an athlete.  In college I just walked into the athletic training room and stated I wanted to be an athletic trainer, I was tested on some basic taping skills and then the rest is history.

What drives you to do your job? 

Knowing that I will be able to help someone every day is what drives me in this job.  There is never a dull moment and always get to have front row seating at all games. I am still learning new skills in this profession.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is 
your favorite memory from this experience? 

I have worked with Nolan Ryan and his children, and with Domenique Moceanu and the entire 1996 Olympic Gymnastics Team.  It was an awesome experience working with these athletes. I've worked the Houston Marathon with a number of elite runners from around the world. I've work a mini grand pre car race and this was a different experience from any thing I've ever worked.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

 If you are contemplating a career in athletic training the advice I can give you is love it with all your heart and soul.  It is not an easy job and the hours are long but the satiation of knowing you are helping an athlete is the best reward in the world. 

Posted by: AT 10:36 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, March 17 2019
Day 17 Athletic Trainer Spotlight- John Herrera

John Herrera MA, LAT, ATC

Hometown: Salinas, CA. 

High School: Salinas High School (Cowboys). 
Undergrad: Graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from Fresno State (California State University, Fresno) with a degree in Kinesiology with an option in Athletic Training.
Graduate School: Graduated with a Master's degree from Chico State (California State University, Chico) in Kinesiology with an option in Athletic Training Education.
Certification/Licenses: NATA BOC Athletic Trainer, Licensed Athletic Trainer

Current City and Workplace: Pharr San Juan Alamo (PSJA) North Early College High School.  

10 years working as an Athletic Trainer. 

How did you get interested in Athletic Training?

Where I am from in California, we did not have athletic trainers in some of the high schools. I discovered Athletic Training while at Fresno State walking by the school basketball gym. There was a flyer on the wall describing the Athletic Training Program. I have always been a sports fan of all sports. I spoke with the program director at Fresno State and it seemed like a good fit for me. 

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?

I worked from 2009-2010 as an Athletic Trainer at Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, TX. While there, I learned about SPATS and decided to take a trip down to the island for a vacation and CEU opportunity. Later that summer, I received a phone call from Cathy Gilberto at San Benito CISD while with my family in CA. One week later, I flew down to San Benito to sign my paperwork to start working. One week after that, I drove down with my family from Salinas, CA to Wichita Falls and then down to Harlingen. I have been living here ever since 2010.    

What drives you to do your job?

Knowing we make a difference in helping student athletes return to their sport. I know that some schools in the country don't have the ability to employ an Athletic Trainer in their district. The school district I came from in California still does not have an Athletic Trainer at their high schools.  

Has Athletic Training provided the opportunity to travel either in or out of the country?

The profession has not provided me the opportunity to travel outside the country. I have traveled to Hawaii for 10 days when I was a grad assistant working with Men's Soccer. I have had the privilege to travel to Florida as a chaperone at San Benito where we reward our students with a trip to Disney World. My favorite memory of traveling as an Athletic Trainer is always going to the NATA conference. I've been able to travel to Las Vegas, Baltimore, New Orleans, and future locations.  

 Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training? ​

Continue to learn, both about yourself and our profession. I've grown as an athletic trainer and changed the way I work over the span of a decade. It's tough to teach someone that knows everything. We are always learning. 

Posted by: AT 03:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, March 16 2019
Day 16 Athletic Trainer Spotlight- Jessi Galindo

Jessi Galindo

My name is Jessi Galindo, born and raised in Del Rio, TX. I graduated from Del Rio High School in 2011 and went on to Howard Payne University in Brownwood, TX, where I graduated with a bachelors in Athletic Training, and am a Licensed Athletic Trainer. 

Current City and School/Workplace

My current city is Brownsville, TX where I work at Rivera ECHS, as well as cover 2 junior high schools, Dr. Juliet V. Garcia and Louise Perkins. 

Any involvement with other organizations or community services positions (American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Club, etc.)

I am a member of the Valley Athletic Trainers Association (VATA). 

How many years in the profession

This is my 2nd year as a professional and have a total of 9 years of student experience. 

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

I became interested in Athletic Training as I went into high school as a freshmen where I worked under Brad Dixon and Alan Davis as a student athletic trainer for DRHS. 

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?

I’m originally from Del Rio, but came to the valley accepting my current position with the hopes to grow and learn as an Athletic Trainer. 

What drives you to do your job? Knowing that I am able to make a difference helping athletes get back to the field after being injured whether it being minor or a possible career ending and building relationships with students 

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience?

As an a student athletic trainer at HPU, I traveled to SE Asia twice in the summer of 2013 and 2014. A lot of my favorite memories were working overseas and my high school student athletic trainer experience. 

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

Never let someone determine what you want your career to be and stand your ground. Be confident in yourself and your decisions. Not every situation and injury is going to be the same and it’s ok to be wrong. Trial and error is how we learn. Ask questions and never apologize for wanting to learn and better yourself.

Posted by: AT 09:56 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 15 2019
Day 15 Athletic Trainer Spotlight- Raymond McCumber

Raymond McCumber

I am Raymond McCumber born and raised in San Antonio, TX. I graduated high school from Converse Judson in 2007 and from there earned my BS in athletic training from Texas State University C/O 2016. I am a certified athletic trainer from the BOC as well as licensed in the state of Texas, I also am a CPR instructor by the AHA.  Currently I reside in McAllen and work for Donna High School finishing up my third year as an athletic trainer.

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

Growing up I always had an interest in the medical field and had thought of working in a sports medicine clinic as a career, so at first my major at Tx St was pre-pt. While I was at Judson I played football and at the time our athletic trainer was not really utilized like we are today, and I never really got hurt or spent much time in the training room. So naturally I didn't know too much about the field of athletic training. All I knew was that I wanted to be in a health profession and work with athletes because my drive to still be in the sports world was there. After a few years in school, pre-pt was not working out so my counselor directed me to switch my major to athletic training which was a big turning point in my life. After taking a class called orientation to athletic training, thank you Mrs. Webb, I was hooked and was an eye opening moment. I thought to myselft that this is what I've been wanting to do the whole time and the rest is history. I still love and have so much passion for my job and switching my major was one of the best decisions I've made in my life.

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?

During the spring of 2016 I was looking around for job openings and because I didn't have a teaching cert, my options were somewhat limited. At the time I was in my high school rotation at Canyon Lake HS and Israel Pena told me why don't I look into the valley. I was told the pay is good and I will get a lot of experience down here and he was right. During that time there was a ton of job openings in the RGV so I just started applying and Donna was the first school to offer me.

What drives you to do your job?

First off my love and passion for this job is what drives me. I'm so thankful waking up in the morning and going to "work", some days are mentally taxing but the love and deisre makes it all worth it. Another thing that drives me is knowing that these athletes are relying on you. I try to give them some structure and help them be more responsible, accountable, and set a foundation to have good character. My goal is to get these athletes back and better than what they were before an injury which doesn't always happen, but if they see your effort and drive it makes them work that much harder. Lastly, the rewarding feeling of always being there for them even its just listening and having someone to talk to, or seeing them at their weakest point due to injury, and seeing them achieve their goals. Whether is returning to their normal ADLs or to the field, court, etc.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience? 

During my time in undergrad I was able to travel with the football team and the basketball team which was exciting. At the high school setting not so much, but I do get to travel for some playoff games and track if they make it to regionals.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

Some advice I have is if you are a ATS and plan on working at the high school setting is to get your teacher cert during your undergrad, this is a big deal when it comes to the hiring process. Another thing, especially if you are fresh out of school is to take if one day at a time. Some days will be exhausting and others will be a breeze, but learning to turn the page on the tough times and leaving work at work, don't bring it home. Also, being that we would love to help everyone and do our absolute best with all athletes, sometimes it is not possible especially at bigger schools with a ton of athletes. Learning to go with it and letting things go are big, somethings are out of our control. Another thing I will say is that you are going to make mistakes, every one does, just remain confident in your skills and continue to learn. Don't make the same mistake twice, and keeping good communication with your AD, coaches, and parents will make your life a lot easier. 

Posted by: AT 07:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 14 2019
Day 14 Athletic Trainer Spotlight- Claudia Gonzalez
Claudia Gonzalez
I am from Pharr, Texas and graduated from South Texas High School for Health Professions, also known as Med-High, in Mercedes, Texas. After high school, I attended UTPA (University of Texas Pan American, now UT-RGV) and graduated with a bachelors degree in kinesiology. I decided to continue my education and attained a masters degree in rehabilitation counseling also from UTPA. I am a Texas licensed athletic trainer and also nationally certified as a rehabilitation counselor.
I currently reside in McAllen, Texas and work at Johnny Economedes High School. I have been at Economedes since 2011.

I like to remain involved in community work as much as possible, but we all know how hard that is with our jobs. While I was working on my masters degree, I interned at the Red Cross in Dallas with the Mental Health department. I also spent a summer working with Easter Seals and designed a health and wellness summer program for their pre-school and day care center. Currently, I am the Co-chair for the VATA Fill the Helmet Drive and Fundraising Team that gathers donations for the Gridiron Heroes.

I have been licensed as an athletic trainer since 2008 but took a break from athletic training to work on my masters degree. I have been in the profession at Economedes for 8 years.

 

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training? 

I've wanted to be an athletic trainer ever since I knew what the position entailed. It's always interesting to see the look on student athlete's faces when I tell them that the high school I attended didn't have any sports whatsoever. But that never detoured me from my love of athletics. I learned about athletic training in HOSA and immediately knew it was what I wanted to do. Medical school was not something I wanted to take on, and I also knew that even if I was in sports medicine, I would not be able to work with athletes hands on day after day. Once I looked into how athletic training helps athletes I was convinced it was where I needed to be.

What drives you to do your job?

I am driven every day by the notion that what I do makes a difference. Our job isn't just about getting that athlete back in to the game; it's about motivating the athlete to be their best and to always strive for betterment of themselves. Working with high school athletes can be very entertaining and I can honestly say that I enjoy going to work- maybe not all day every day, but every day I have something to look forward to at my job.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience? 

Athletic training has allowed me to travel by giving me a steady and consistent position that has summers off. I see that as a perk of working at a high school. I also was an All-Star Athletic Trainer and got to work the Texas Girls Coaches Association softball game in Austin, Texas.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

My advice to any AT or anybody really for that matter is to always be true to yourself and remember how important it is to ensure that you are always happy. Make sure to always take care of yourself above anything else. The world of athletic training can be grueling and hard but the reward is infinite. 

Posted by: AT 09:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 13 2019
Day 13 Athletic Trainer Spotlight- Michael Arellano

Michael Arellano, LAT, ATC 
Hometown: Harlingen TX. , Graduated Harlingen South High School (2008), Undergrad: Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (2012), 
Licensed and Certified 2012-present 
 Current City: 
Harlingen TX.
School/Workplace: Harlingen South High School (HCISD)
 Additional Info:
Gridiron Heroes Committee (VATA) Lower Valley Chairman, BLS instructor Certified (AHA), NATA member,  
How many years in the profession: 6 years

Questions 

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training? 
I first became interested in Athletic Training by skipping my high school PE class. I would go help Veronica Perez, who was one of the athletic trainers and mentors when I was in high school, put together physical packets for our student athletes. She saw that I had an interest in becoming and Athletic Trainer and invited me to apply for a student aide the following school year. So, I applied and fell in love with the camaraderie that was around athletics. I also knew that I wanted to be in a career field that blended medical work with athletics. This was such perfect fit. As they say the rest is history.

What drives you to do your job?
There are many things that drive me to do my job. I love working with athletes and seeing them at their worst and knowing that we together got through the hard part and climbed the mountain to success.
I love connecting with athletes and making them feel comfortable so that they can talk about whatever issues they may have. As an Athletic Trainer, we have to be prepared to be a counselor to our athletes and that is another reason why I love my job. I love seeing my athletes grow and mature from the time they are freshman (sometimes even in middle school) to the time they graduate. WE spend so much time with our athletes that they tend to become an extended family member so to speak. We truly want whats best for them. I also love this job because it allows me to be a role model for younger kids and someone to look up to and want to be like. 

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training? 
My advice I would give other ATs or students would be to make sure you want to commit the time and effort in to this job. This job is not an easy job! Most people only see the "game day" job, they don't see what goes on behind the scenes. Care about your job, if you care, your athletes will care. Most importantly don't get consumed by this job, we all have families. Don't forget to take care of yourself and your family. Whats the old saying...."if you find a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life". This is what athletic training is to me. 

Posted by: AT 05:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 12 2019
Day 12 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Veronica (Ronnie) D. Perez

Veronica (Ronnie) D. Perez, LAT

Hometown: Donna, TX

High School: Donna High School 1993

Undergrad: UTPA/UTRGV 2000

Current City and School Workplace:  Harlingen, TX - Harlingen CISD - Harlingen South High School (Athletic Trainer)  Harlingen School of Health Professions (Sports Medicine I, II and III Teacher)

American Heart Association - BLS  and Heartsaver Instructor

17 years in the profession of Athletic Training - 3 years teaching Sports Medicine

1.) How/when did you become interested in the field of athletic training?

I became interested in the field of athletic training by accident when I was helping out our Varsity Baseball team as a manager during my Junior year in high school. My high school athletic trainer & mentor Xavier Banuelos asked if I would be interested in helping out as a student athletic trainer and  been doing this ever since. Never thought in a million years I would an Athletic Trainer. But I always knew that I would find a job where I could wear shorts to work.

2.) What drives you to do your job?

My athletes/students are what drive me to do my job.  I love where I work, I love who I work with and I love what I do. 

3.)Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

You really need to have a passion for this profession. Enjoy what you do.  Have an open mind and an open heart. With that, your athletes will appreciate you more.

Posted by: AT 01:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 11 2019
Day 11 Athletic Trainer Spotlight- Kim C. Reynolds

Kim C. Reynolds MAT, LAT, ATC

Born & Raised:​​Des Moines, Iowa​​1965

Graduated HS:​Des Moines East HS ​​1983

Graduated:​Iowa State University BS​​1988

​University of Louisville MAT​​1992

​(Master of Arts In Teaching)

Internship​Lee Memorial Hospital​​1989

​Fort Myers, Florida 

Licenses:​NATA​1989

​Kentucky​​1990​​

​Texas​​1995

Years in Profession:​30 certified years in the profession & 24 years in Texas

Current:​Mission CISD​

​Kenneth White & Alton Memorial JH’s​2016-Current

​Veterans Memorial HS​2008-2016​

​Mission 9th Grade Center​1996-1999​

American Heart Association 

​BLS Instructor​​2016 - Current

​Heart saver Instructor​​2014

University Interscholastic League (UIL)

​Wrestling Weight Certification Assessor​ ​ ​August 2006 – Current 

​Regional Wrestling Weigh Cert. Assessor Trainer​August 2007 - Current

Texas Girls Coaching Association (TGCA)​​

​All-Star Athletic Trainer​July 2005

​All-Star Athletic Trainers Committee – Region 4​January 2006 - Current

Valley Athletic Trainers’ Association Board of Directors​

​Co-Founder​March 2001

​Continuing Education Member​April 2001 – June 2005

​Interim Treasurer ​ ​June 2008 – December 2008

South Padre Athletic Trainers Seminar (SPATS)​

​Co-founder​January 2001​

​Continuing Education Coordinator​January 2001 – May 2009

​Lead Projects Coordinator​January 2001 - May 2009​Program Director​August 2006 - May 2009

National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification ​March 2000 – June 2006

​NATABOC National Certification Test Examiner

South Texas Athletic Trainer Symposium (STATS)​

​Founder ​January 1998

​Lead Projects Coordinator​January 1998 – August 1999

TEAMS USA Select Athletic Trainer​July 1991

​National Select under 18 Boys Soccer Team​

​Winning Mood European Tour Division

​Kerkrade, Gothenburg, Copenhagen & Amsterdam​

How / when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

At my 1st college, an NAIA school, you did not receive athletic scholarships only academic, grants & loans or supplemental work study.   I was placed into the position of helping the athletic trainer for my work study hours since I was a softball player.  My softball career didn’t last long, but my athletic training days have morphed into about 35 years.  

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?

I blame / thank Blake Masters MAT, LAT, ATC for bringing me to the RGV back in 1995.  Blake and I were GA’s at the University of Louisville together.  My first stop off the airplane was SPI and I was hooked from there.   My 1st work stop was Edinburg North High School (2 years), then Mission 9th Grade Center (3 years), New Braunfels Canyon (1 year), McAllen Nikki Rowe (8 years), Mission Veterans Memorial HS (8 years) and now to Mission KWJH / AMJH (2.5 years).   Blake is now at Austin Crockett HS.

What drives you to do your job?

1.5 years from retirement eligible!!  Just kidding.  

Today is the same as it was 35 years ago.  Student-athletes are a continual work in progress.  Knowing that you helped take their ouches / ailments / injuries from point of injury to return to competition / sportis a sense of professional accomplishment and pride.  

The JH is a different and interesting bred.  They drive me crazy at the same time they make me laugh and scratch my head in amazement and amusement.  I am very grateful for this new opportunity. 

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country?  What is your favorite memory from this experience?

The professional opportunities to travel with different age and level entities are never ending for AT’s.  It is up to you to apply & decide if the opportunity and its compensation is right for you.

My last professional out of country travel was many, many years ago.  I just hope that Europe has changed their views on emergency rooms and ice.  

Do you have any advice for other AT’s or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

Athletic training can be a seriously over worked, under compensated, ungrateful, over bearing, never ending, unappreciated & burn out prone profession.  Public HS & JH athletic training is not a 9 to 5 and weekends free employment opportunity. BUT it can be very rewarding in the proper mindset and you won’t find a greater set of friends/ peers / professionals than we have here in the RGV!  Wouldn’t change my career choices for anything!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: AT 11:57 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, March 10 2019
Day 10 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Ivana Longoria-Saenz

Ivana Longoria-Saenz ATC, LAT

I'm from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, MX. I started school here in 9th grade and graduated from Sharyland HS 2008.  Earned my Bachelor's in Science/Athletic Training from Texas State University in 2012. I am a licensed and board certified athletic trainer.

I currently work as the middle school athletic trainer for Donna ISD.

I am instructor for American Red Cross, member of VATA

7 years as a professional in May

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

When I started college my focus was to graduate with a Psychology degree and do my pre-reqs for PT school, I learned from a friend that was in the AT program what the profession was and I became interested in it.  I applied to the program that same year and got accepted.

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in? 

From the Valley

What drives you to do your job?

Being a grade school athletic trainer has many ups and downs, but what keeps me going are those little moments when a kid hugs me unexpectedly because they're pain free and can go back to the sport that they love.  When a kid overcomes a really bad injury, and you can see that after following rehab and treatment with you, they are stronger and faster than some of their teammates.  The little thank you’s that are said from the heart are what makes it worth it.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training? 

You will learn more in the first six months of your job than you ever did in the years you were in college (this goes for any job).  Parents, parents and parents (your worst enemy or best friend). Have a better relationship with the custodians and security guards than you do with you AD, you REALLY want them on your side.  Remember that you work with the coaches, not for them, this includes your coordinator.  Learn to communicate with the coaching staff in a way that they see you as their equal and respect you as a health care professional and not a professional water-girl/boy.  Learn to let things go, if a parent doesn't trust your judgement and wants to take their kid to the Dr, let them, that's one less kid you have to worry about.  Your student-aids and athletes ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS, you will start very young and they may look and behave like some of your friends, but you are their superior and mentor, act like one.  And last but definitely not least, learn to say NO.

Posted by: AT 10:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, March 09 2019
Day 9 Athletic Trainer Spotlight- Marty Castillo

Marty Castillo, LAT, EMT-B, MBA

Saginaw, Texas

W.E. Boswell High School 1991

Baylor University 1998

University of Dallas MBA Healthcare Service Management

Licensed Athletic Trainer, Certified EMT-Basic, Certified Functional Range Release soft tissue management system 

Currently reside and work in Brownsville, Texas/ Brownsville Veterans Memorial Early College High School

American Heart Association/ VATA- Current President 

20 years in the profession


How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

My interest in Athletic Training began in high school. I was a student athletic trainer in high school. Then during my first year at Baylor I had an opportunity to meet and talk to one of the Baylor's Vice Presidents. Our discussion turned to athletic training and how I missed being involved. A few days later I received a phone call from him informing me I had a meeting with Mike Sims, Head Athletic Trainer at Baylor.  After that I began my journey. 

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?

I moved to the Valley after seeing Shawn Osowski (Baylor Grad) at SWATA. At the time, I was looking for a job and Brownsville ISD had a non-teaching position, starting at 34,000.   

What drives you to do your job?  

My ability to assist patients in returning to optimal athletic levels after sustaining an injury, to know I had a little part to play in their return.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience?

I have had the opportunity to travel while in college and as the Head Athletic Trainer at the University of Texas at Brownsville/ Texas Southmost College. My favorite memory is being in SouixCity, Iowa winning a National Championship in Volleyball and of course the snow!

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

The best advice I can give is to maintain your passion for athletic training by constantly learning new skills and obtaining new certifications. This means more tools in your toolbox and better care for your patients. 

In addition, I would say to leave a place better than you found it.   

Posted by: AT 09:07 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 08 2019
Day 8 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Andrea Hernandez

Andrea Hernandez, LAT, ATC, LMT

Hometown: Mission, TX

High School: Sharyland HS, graduated in 2009

Undergraduate: Texas State University, graduated in 2015

Certifications: Certified Athletic Trainer, Licensed Athletic Trainer since 2015; Licensed Massage Therapist since 2013

Current City and Workplace: Palmview, TX at La Joya Palmview High School

Organization Involvement:  Also contract work with South Region USA Boys Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program.

Personal/Family Life: Mother of 2 dogs. Volunteer for a non-profit organization called Valley Trotters. Try to be really active with my church and their events!

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

I started school at PANAM and my first major was pre-dental, then I switched to Kinesiology; but was not completely happy with that choice either. I loved sports and wanted a profession that was healthcare related. I thought back to when I was in high school and remembered a two-minute conversation with my high school athletic trainer about the profession. I immediately went to go talk to my advisor to find out more. She recommended I look into Texas State. The following semester I had transferred and was introduced to the world of athletic training.

Do you have a favorite story from working / college days within the Athletic Training setting?

 I think that it would be hard to pick one of my favorite stories from working or even my college days, but I would have to say that the people I have met along the way has definitely been the best. Everyone from professors, colleagues, students, and athletes have shaped me somehow into the Athletic Trainer I am today and for them; I am thankful.

 Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country?

Yes! For the last three years I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica with ODP. The trip is always amazing. The country is beautiful, the people are amazing, and I get paid to watch some really good soccer! Locally, I enjoy when there are playoff trips because it’s still a little escape usually paired with really good food.

What is your favorite memory from this experience?

There are too many! Each experience is unforgettable but just being able to travel and see new places and meet new people I would say is the best part of the experience.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

 It takes a special kind of person to become an athletic trainer. There is a lot of sacrifice that comes with the profession but I would still choose this profession over and over again. DO IT! The hours are not the most ideal. I personally love my job and can’t see me doing anything else. I find the profession very rewarding; plus, we get to watch sports for a living.

Posted by: AT 09:18 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 07 2019
Day 7 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Kurt Fluegel

Kurt Fluegel, LAT

Born and raised in Amarillo Texas
Graduated from Tascosa High School in 1986.
Southwest Texas State University Bachelor of Exercise Sports Science(BESS) August1991. Texas Licensure September 1991-current (L.A.T.)
Cooper Institute 1992-1997 (CP-CPT)
Reside in McAllen, Texas
Work at McAllen Memorial High School 1993- present (26 years)

SPATS committee AHA instructor
28 years in the profession


How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?
I have always loved watching and playing sports as a kid, so I knew I wanted to be around them. Never caught the coaching bug, and spending a lot of time in the athletic training room in high school, it just seemed to fit. More of a calling than a career choice.

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?
In the early 90’s a large group of AT grads from SWT (about 10-12) all began careers in the RGV. Coming out of college the RGV was where the money was. I actually started in sports medicine clinic for 30k, great money at the time but quickly found out that setting wasn’t for me. But moving here was great, having that many friends made it easy. We all took care of each other, many of us roomed together. A few of us still live in the RGV, but I think I’m the last man standing as an AT in the Valley from that group.

What drives you to do your job?
People. The coaches staff, or the athletes we deal with daily. You build relationships with them and that makes it easy and fun to come to work.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience?
Yes, while I was s student at SWT, the now defunct World League American Football(WLAF) San Antonio Riders used San Marcos as a camp. And when teams like from Frankfort Germany and Barcelona Spain they would “camp” in San Marcos also. I was lucky enough to go on the trip with San Antonio to Barcelona. Actually was asked to help with the Frankfort Galaxy. By the time all the details were ironed out, the season was almost over so it never happened. And when the second season resumed, I was already employed here in the RGV.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?
The three C’s. Communication, compassion, and confidence. Have confidence in your daily decisions, evaluations and in yourself, and stand your ground when necessary. If you begin to doubt yourself people will see it and may doubt you as well. Being compassionate to your athletes injuries, everyone has a different pain tolerance. (took many years to learn this and still learning). And probably the most important communication. Keeping lines of communication open with athletes, coaches, staff and administration will make your job that much easier. That and wear sunscreen.

Posted by: AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 06 2019
Day 6 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Erica Lynn Martinez

Erica Lynn Martinez 

Pharr, Texas (PSJA North HS, 2002)

Bachelor of Science Texas A&M Kingsville (2006) 

Texas License (2006) CPR Instructor certified

7 years at PSJA Southwest HS (Pharr, TX)

This is my 13th year

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

I have always been active and loved to compete in athletics, so I knew I wanted athletics to be a part of my life but I was also interested in the medical field. It wasn't until the spring of my senior year in high school when I tore my ACL and spend time in the training room that I became fascinated with the athletic training field. Jeff Darr was my athletic trainer at the time and he was great at giving me an insight as to what an athletic trainers did and what was needed to become an AT. I thought this was perfect because it merged my love for sports and medicine.  

What drives you to do your job? 

What drives me is providing high quality health care to my athletes and being a positive influence in their life as many of my AT's have been for me.  These young athletes put a lot of trust and faith in us during their road to recovery so it’s important that I am always encouraging and bringing out the best out of them both physically and mentally. 

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience? 

It wasn't until I became a student athletic trainer at TAMUK that I got to really travel. Thanks to athletic training I went on my first plane ride, traveled to California for the NCAA Championships and saw the Grand Canyon for the first time.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

This job is tough, but satisfying. I would advise them to shadow and ask questions of their current athletic trainer. If they do decide this is the career for them, they should never be afraid to ask questions and bounce off ideas from other colleagues. The more we know, the better we can provide for our athletes.

Posted by: AT 07:25 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 05 2019
Day 5 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Luis Salgado

Luis A. Salgado MS, LAT/ATC

Born and Raised: El Paso, Texas

High School: JM Hanks High School (1991)

Undergrad: New Mexico State University (1998)

Graduate School: California University of Pennsylvania (2000)-Masters in Athletic Training

Current Hometown: Edinburg, Texas

Current School: La Joya High School

Currently the Lead Athletic Trainer for US Youth Soccer South Region Boys ODP (13 years)

Been an Athletic Trainer for 20 years

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?

Although I was never a student Athletic Trainer in high school, I played basketball and injured myself various times and during my rehab stints I found the Sports Medicine profession very interesting and something I would like to pursue. When I transferred to New Mexico State University from The University of Texas-El Paso I was able to reunite with my high school Athletic Trainer (Angela Mickle), who became the Assistant Athletic Training Program Director, and told her about my interest in Athletic Training profession and she got me into the New Mexico State Athletic Training program and the rest is history.

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?

Once I graduated from California University of Pennsylvania, a colleague of mine from graduate school told me about several high school job openings here in the Rio Grande Valley. I applied and interview with several school districts and was fortunate to get a job with PSJA North High School. The “Valley” remind me a lot like my hometown of El Paso and I feel in love with the people, culture, weather and area. I’ve been blessed and lucky to have worked at other school districts as well (La Feria, Valley View, Edinburg, Donna, and currently at La Joya).

What drives you to do your job?

My family is my most important drive, but being able to work with athletes and past, current and future student Athletic Trainers knowing that I can make a difference in their lives is a role I take seriously.

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience?

Athletic Training, specifically ODP, has provided me the opportunity to travel abroad domestically (Arizona, Florida, California and Alabama) and internationally (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Italy). I was also able to travel to China, Olympic Training Center-Beijing, to learn about Eastern Sports Medicine and their techniques. Although I have a lot fond memories of all of these locations, my three favorite memories are being able to watch soccer games at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain and getting to watch FC Barcelona (especially Lionel Messi), Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Club Atletico Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires, Argentina (seeing Diego Maradona live at the game).

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

First and foremost, have fun! The athletic training profession offers endless career opportunities in the health care profession so don’t be in such a hurry to get where you want to be enjoy the journey(s) and all it offers. Lastly, don’t forget to be patient, because good things happen to people who are hard-working, honest and loyal.

Posted by: AT 09:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 04 2019
Day 4 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Laura Garcia

Laura Garcia
Hometown: Harlingen, TX 
High School: Harlingen High School 2007 
Undergrad: Texas State University 2011 
Grad: Master's West Texas A&M University 2013 

Current City and School/Workplace 
San Benito High School 

How many years in the profession 
8 years in the profession 

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training? 
I tore my ACL my senior year in High School. Gained some insight into what an Athletic Trainer does with that injury. I saw what an athletic trainer does and how involved they were in athletics. I ultimately decided this combines healthcare and sports, I couldn't pass that up. 

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in? 
I did live in Amarillo for a total of 5 years, and moved back to the Valley to be closer to family. 

What drives you to do your job? 
The rehabilitation aspect of Athletic Training provides a great opportunity to build a rapport with young individuals. I hope that through this I can also mold a young mind to be a better, hardworking individual that can go out into the real world and know they can conquer any obstacle. 

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience? 
Athletic training for West Texas A&M women's basketball team has provided many opportunities for travel, the most memorable being Puerto Rico. The best memory from that trip was playing in a un air-conditioned gym and watching the opponents unencumbered by this element, while I had to watch my team for any signs of heat illness. It was definitely a great experience. 

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training? 
Follow your gut. This profession is full of boundless opportunities you just have to follow your gut and take those opportunities to become the professional you want to be. 

Posted by: AT 02:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, March 03 2019
Day 3 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Tim Ferren

BornHonolulu, Hawaii - 1968

RaisedEast Sparta, Ohio

H.S: Sandy Valley High School, Magnolia, Ohio – 1986

CollegeMarietta College of Sports Medicine, Marietta, Ohio – 1990

NATA: Became a member - 1988. 

BOC:Certified – 1990

Licenses:State of Ohio AT License – 1990

                State of Florida AT License – 2000

                State of Texas AT License – 2008

                American Heart Assoc. Instructor for CPR/AED/1st Aid

Currently Resides in Mission, Texas and is one of the Athletic Trainers at Mission Veterans Memorial High School

30 Years in the profession

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?  

Got my first glimpse of the profession when I was a sophomore in high school with a MCL injury.  My therapist at the doctor’s office was an ATC.  He showed me what the profession was all about.  That was it.  Never looked back.

If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in?

I lived and worked in Ohio until 2000 when I moved to Florida to aid my mother while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.  I did physical therapy for the HealthSouth Corporation and I ran an outreach program for the local high schools.  Then, in 2008, I moved to the RGV to take the job with Mission CISD at Veterans Memorial High School.

What drives you to do your job?   

A crappy Chevy Trailblazer  ;)

Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience?

I’ve had the opportunity to travel the entire country working with different teams and schools and professional athletes.  My job has taken me almost everywhere in this country and a bunch of cool places abroad like Bercy in France, Barcelona, and Japan.  It may be difficult to choose my most enjoyable experience because there have been so many over the years.  I really enjoyed all the years working with the PGA and LPGA tours and with the athletes at American Honda and American Suzuki.  The 2018 VMHS football season might be my current favorite because I got to watch the best athlete I’ve ever seen and my Student Trainers were outstanding all year.

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?

This profession requires a great deal of commitment.  You have to be selfless.  You have to be willing to work long hours.  When it’s all said and done, you have to able look yourself in the mirror and know that an Athletic Trainer is what you are, and not just what you do for a paycheck.

Posted by: AT 12:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, March 02 2019
Day 2 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Natalie Coronado-Herrera

Natalie Coronado-Herrera is from Brownsville, TX, Class of 2002-Porter High School, Graduated Texas State University 2008 B.S. Athletic Training, Certified Athletic Trainer, Licensed Athletic Trainer, Graston GTM-1 Certified, Red Cross CPR Instructor. Her Current City and School/Workplace is Mercedes, Texas-Mercedes ISD. She has been involved with VATA for 11 years. Natalie thinks it is important to advocate for our profession and make sure that we show our value as athletic trainers. She served on the VATA board for 5 years and served on the Gridiron Heroes Fill the Helmet Committee, SPATS Committee, and Honors and Awards Committee. Natalie currently serves on the SPATS committee and Honors and Awards Committee. Natalie has worked 11 years as an athletic trainer.

How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training? 

My father is a coach and I grew up on the sidelines and loved the Friday night lights.  When I was in high school I joined HOSA and was interested in competing in Sports Medicine. I approached my high school athletic trainer (Marty Castillo) and asked him if he could teach me all about sports medicine. Thankfully, Marty was a great mentor and I have loved the profession ever since.

What drives you to do your job? 

I love being able to work with athletes and know that I can make a difference in their lives. I love helping people and my day is made when our athletes return to their sport and have a successful season.  


Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of the country? What is your favorite memory from this experience? 
I was involved with the Region 3 US Youth Soccer Program and have traveled to Costa Rica and Guadalajara, Mexico. My favorite memory in Costa Rica was ziplining in the jungle and the food, of course. In Mexico, I enjoyed the beautiful scenery, meeting the nicest people ever, and the food!

 

Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training? 

My advice is to always treat athletes like you want your kids/family to be treated. Sometimes we get tired and burnt out but it is important to focus on our love for the profession and the reason why we got into athletic training.  Another piece of advice for secondary athletic trainers is to always call parents. Parents can be your worst enemy or biggest ally. It may take extra time but it's important to call them to make sure that they are aware and are kept in the loop of your plans. 

Posted by: AT 12:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 01 2019
Day 1 Athletic Trainer Spotlight - Jeff Darr

Jeff Darr is originally from Corning, Arkansas and graduated from Corning High School in 1985. Student athletic trainer at Arkansas State University working with Football, Men's and Women's Track, and Men's Basketball. Graduated in 1991. 
In my 18th year with PSJA ISD. 16 years at PSJA North High School and currently in my 2nd year as the District Athletic Trainer Coordinator. 
Previously served on the VATA Board of Directors as Vice-President and Membership. Also involved in setting up the current website. 
Currently the committee chair for the VATA South Padre Athletic Training Seminar. My 17th year working with the committee and my 8th year as committee chair. 
Currently the Region 9 Director on the Texas State Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Directors. 2nd year of a 3 year term. 

23 total years in the profession
5 years in Austin ISD - 1996-2001 
18 in PSJA ISD - 2001 to present
 

1) How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training? 

My head football coach in high school sent me to a Cramer Student Trainer Camp at Memphis State University in 1984. 

2) If from out of the valley, how did you end up at the position you are currently in? 

Was in Little Rock, Arkansas at a clinic in early 1996 and hated it. Opportunity to move to Austin came up so Moved down and got my Texas license. A shake up in personnel at the school I was at in Austin caused me to start looking around. Interviewed at several schools here in the valley and in Laredo and ended up at PSJA North. 

3) What drives you to do your job? 

In my current position I have been able to work on designing a Sports Medicine Institute Program to help kids who might be interested in a career in a sports medicine field, get on a pathway to that career. It is very fulfilling to be able to start a program like this and have the support of administrators including the AD, superintendent, and administrators. 

4) Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is your favorite memory from this experience? 

Not much travel opportunity for me as a high school AT. I did travel extensively in college all over the United States and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Some of my favorite memories; seeing the Seattle Supersonics play when we were on a trip to Tacoma, Washington to play in the NCAA I-AA National Championship football game, touring a US Navy Destroyer at the Navy Base in San Diego when we were there for a tournament in men's basketball, and too many more to name. 

5) Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training? 

The future looks bright for our profession and I will do anything I can to help a student get into a program. I am currently following a former football player from PSJA North who is going through the masters athletic training program at UT Arlington and will do a summer internship with the Oakland Raiders the summer. I would tell any student who is interested that the opportunities are there and to use the resources and contacts that their high school ATs can provide them with. 

Posted by: AT 12:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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