College and University

Former A&M athletic trainer says coaches forced him to clear “good” players

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College and University

Former A&M athletic trainer says coaches forced him to clear “good” players

Karl Kapchinski, a long-time athletic trainer for Texas A&M who was fired two years ago, says coaches made him clear injured athletes before they were fully healed.

Kapchinski is a part of a segment featured in the season premiere tonight of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

In an interview with Jon Frankel, Kapchinski said A&M coaches “put pressure on you to get good players back.

Kapchinski is a 1979 graduate of A&M. He worked at the university for 31 years. He was fired, abruptly on Nov. 1. 2013.  That was the day before A&M played Texas-El Paso at Kyle Field.

Kapchinski filed a lawsuit against A&M a year ago, claiming athletic director Eric Hyman terminated him because of his age. Kapchinski was 56 when he was fired. Hyman resigned from A&M earlier this month.

Kapchinski was named Division 1 College Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2005 by the National Athletic Trainer’s Association and was inducted into the Southwest Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame in 2014.

Here’s a transcript provided by HBO of Kapchinski’s interview.

 JON FRANKEL: “Did you ever feel pressured to return a player to the field before you thought he was ready,”
KARL KAPCHINSKI: “I would say yes.”

KARL KAPCHINSKI: “While we’re considered part of the medical staff in a lotta cases, the head coach just sees you basically, in some cases, being subservient to his situation.”
JON FRANKEL: “Did you ever have a coach say to you, ‘I need this kid back?’”
KARL KAPCHINSKI: “Yes. They would always, you know, tend to put pressure on you to get good players back.”
JON FRANKEL: “Is there anybody you put back into a game and you said, ‘Mm, I wish I hadn’t done that?’”
KARL KAPCHINSKI: “Yes.”
JON FRANKEL: “Because it went against your better judgment, or because it resulted in the player limpin’ off the field two plays later?”
KARL KAPCHINSKI: “Because it resulted in the player having a subsequent injury.”
JON FRANKEL: “If you said to a coach, ‘Coach, I know we said it was gonna be four weeks, but we need an extra week.’ What would the coach say to you?”
KARL KAPCHINSKI: “You would be challenged on your character, your credentials. You know, maybe you were the wrong guy for the job.”

KARL KAPCHINSKI: “There’s been a lotta great quality athletic trainers that have subsequently lost their jobs because they stood up for the players or were doing the right thing.”

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