Jason “Chad” Hilburn
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.