Article reposted from The Lufkin News
Author: GARY STALLARD/AC Athletics
As a member of Angelina College head baseball coach Jeff Livin’s pitching staff, former Roadrunner Cody Oliver knew his role. He was a reliever, meaning he’d get the call in those typical, late-game emergencies requiring his services.
Oliver performed his duties well: He led AC’s staff in saves in 2013, and his performance led to interest from the University of Texas-Tyler coaching staff, who signed Oliver — a former Hudson Hornet — for the following season.
Oliver’s next move after college? He recently signed with the NFL’s Houston Texans.
No, he won’t be trading his glove for a helmet. Oliver, now an athletic trainer, has agreed officially to serve as Training Camp and Pre-Season Camp Athletic Training Intern.
“What it will entail is working all the training camps and the four pre-season games with the Texans,” Oliver said. “I’ll be providing all the rehabilitative services, taping, all the things their own staff provides — I’ll be alongside learning from them.”
Oliver will join elite company. The Pro Football Athletic Trainers Society in 2013 voted the Texans’ staff best in the entire league.
Switching from a diamond to a gridiron might seem drastic, but Oliver said it was all part of taking the steps to find the right career.
“Originally, coming out of high school, I considered being a high school baseball coach,” Oliver said. “I soon learned coaching wasn’t for me, but I wanted to stay involved with sports. I was also interested in the medical field, so sports medicine was the perfect route for me.
“Donna Olsen (former head of Athletic Trainers at Angelina College) introduced me to the field of athletic training, and I instantly fell in love with it.”
Oliver said that during his pitching career, he gained first-hand experience as to the importance of trainers, seeking their expertise through the various nagging injuries cropping up throughout the seasons.
At AC, Oliver earned an associate degree in physical education and health sciences before transferring to UT-Tyler. There, he both finished his playing career and graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology with a concentration in athletics training.
Oliver got a sneak peek of his future career in the strangest of circumstances. During a fall intrasquad game with the Patriots, Oliver was pitching when the team’s shortstop went down with an injury. Since the head trainer wasn’t present for the off-season workout, the task fell to Oliver.
“I just put my glove down on the mound and went out to take care of him,” Oliver said. “Right in the middle of the game.”
Working with NFL trainers is an even loftier goal than Oliver originally set for himself, so it’s hard to think much farther down the line as far as his next steps.
“This is a great experience already,” Oliver said. “I’ve gotten to experience athletic training at multiple levels, and taking this internship will allow me to get a taste of what it’s like at the professional level. This will let me see if this is something I want to build on and possibly pursue it as a career, but at this point, all my doors are open.”
From the bullpen to the mound to the training room, Oliver’s role really hasn’t changed all that much. No matter where he is, he’ll still be providing relief.
The email address for Angelina College’s Sports Information Director is firstname.lastname@example.org.