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.