Amateur Sports

Jeff Kawaguchi Serves as Athletic Trainer for USA Women’s National Basketball Team


Article reposted from Pacific University Oregon
Author: Tamarra Mellick

Dr. Jeff Kawaguchi spent the month of July as the athletic trainer with the U-19 USA Women’s National Basketball team, as they competed in the 2017 FIBA Women’s World Cup.  The journey began with 2 weeks of training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  The actual event took place in Udine, Italy.  After going undefeated in the pre-tournament and pool play, the team qualified for the medal rounds.  Following hard fought wins over Puerto Rico, France and Japan, the US team competed in the gold medal game.  However, the team fell short of its ultimate goal – losing to Russia 86-84.  For their efforts, the team was awarded the silver medal.  This was the fourth such event that Dr. Kawaguchi has been a part of.  Previously Dr. Kawaguchi served as the athletic trainer for the USA Women’s National Team for the 2001 World University Games (Beijing, China), the 2007 U-19 World Championships (Bratislava, Slovakia) and the 2012 U-17 World Championships (Amsterdam, Netherlands).

Amateur Sports

Athletic Therapist Jeff Thorburn is off to Olympics


Article reposted from castanet
Author: Wayne Moore

Kelowna’s Jeff Thorburn has been given the opportunity of a lifetime.

Thorburn, the head athletic therapist at UBC Okanagan, has been named one of two athletic therapists who will accompany the Canadian men’s hockey team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“It’s incredibly exciting,” said Thorburn, in a recent interview with Castanet News.

“I was a little surprised when I got the initial phone call.”

Thorburn did not apply for the job. He believes the contacts he made with Hockey Canada through events while he worked with the Kelowna Rockets helped him get noticed.

Hockey Canada called Thorburn about a month ago expressing interest in using his expertise at the Olympics.

He said they had to work out some details, including getting the necessary time off from UBCO for not only the Olympics themselves but pre-tournament evaluation camps and training camps.

With the NHL’s decision not to participate, players mainly playing in Europe will be asked to make up this year’s squad.

Those hopefuls, along with Thorburn, will be in Sochi and St. Petersburg, Russia for club tournaments later this month.

“That’s the first segment of the evaluation process for the players, and obviously it gets us working and gets our hands dirty right off the bat.”

Thorburn will be responsible for all aspects of injury care and prevention as well as physical preparations for practice and games.

“We do our best work trying to keep the players in the best shape possible.”

This will be Thorburn’s first trip to an Olympics in any capacity.

He’ll have a busy schedule but will try and make a point of taking in as much as possible.

“I hope to be able to take in some of the grandeur of the Olympics. It’s an amazing spectacle.”

Amateur Sports

Athletic Trainer Samantha Carter Sees the World with USA Softball


Article reposted from Times Record

A switch in majors during her college days has afforded Samantha Carter the chance to see the world.


Carter, who hails from Monroe and attended high school at Howe, works as an assistant athletic trainer for Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She’s also an athletic trainer for USA Softball, primarily working with the Junior Women’s National Training Team.

In her sports medicine duties, Carter has been to places like California, Florida and Massachusetts. Not to mention going overseas to Japan with USA Softball last summer.

Plus, it gives Carter the chance to continue to stay involved in sports, which has been a lifelong passion for her.

“Not being able to be an athlete (hurt) really bad, but it’s the same type of atmosphere because you really are part of the team,” Carter said. “Once you get a job, you’ve got (numerous) athletes to take care of. You work with them every day, you work with the coaches every day, you’re at every practice. … It was where I could still be a part of the team and have perks, and I felt like I could help people, so that’s kind of one of the main things I like about it.

“If someone is struggling or got injured or fell behind, my duty is to be there to help them get back. There’s a lot of physical stuff but also I’ve learned a lot of mental stuff.”

Part of Carter’s inspiration for working with athletes stems from back surgery she had while attending Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, which kept her from doing anything active for 18 months.

“That’s kind of where I based it off of,” she said. “I was out for 18 months and I felt like that was so long. … It helped me feel what they (injured athletes) are feeling, I can get on the same level, like I understand what they’re going through, what they’re thinking, what they’re afraid to hear, when they expect to return.”

Before attending NSU, where she graduated with a degree in kinesiology, Carter – who played basketball and softball at Howe and was a member of the Lady Lions’ 2008 state championship basketball squad – went to Carl Albert State College in Poteau to play basketball. She was also originally a pre-med major.

But while at CASC, Carter got to observe the head athletic trainer there, Kendal Repass, and started to gain an interest in sports medicine.

“I always kind of thought what he did was interesting, but I never knew much about it,” Carter said. “My goal was pre-med and then when I was a sophomore, I wasn’t really interested (in pre-med) after that, and then my junior year, I actually had back surgery and I had to do a ton of rehab.

“It was tough because I couldn’t (play) sports anymore, I couldn’t do anything for 18 months, and so I was looking into how I could still be involved in sports even though I couldn’t play it. Then I started looking at what Kendal did, his job and I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”

After graduating from NSU, Carter began applying for postgraduate master’s degree programs in sports medicine. She sent applications to five different schools.

The second school who called Carter back was the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, which offered her the chance to attend.

It didn’t take Carter long to say yes.

Then at UCO, she caught a couple more good breaks in her goal to work with athletes.

“When I was in grad school at UCO, we had to deal with patients at a (area) high school and a university, and the high school I worked at was Oklahoma Christian School (also in Edmond), and the team doctor that that school uses also happens to be the team doctor for USA (Softball),” Carter said. “While I was there, I followed him for observations.”

After graduating from UCO in 2015, Carter took a job as an athletic trainer at the University of California-San Diego. It wasn’t a full-time position, and she was working on a one-year contract.

“It was tough to leave the weather and the beach (in San Diego), but it is so expensive to live there, and since it wasn’t a full-time position, it was rough,” Carter said. “Budgeting is one of my expertise now. I had not only that job but I also picked up several other jobs along the side just to kind of help, but it was definitely a learning experience for like real life and then for my profession also.”

When Carter worked at Oklahoma Christian School, she became friends with the athletic trainer there. While living in San Diego, she heard from him about a possible job opportunity back in Oklahoma.

“So last spring, he e-mailed me and was like, ‘Hey, are you going to be available this summer?’” Carter said. “I was like, ‘OK, what is the job?’ That’s when he told me it was USA Softball. So I dropped everything and I moved back to Oklahoma.”

Carter came back to Oklahoma in May of 2016 to work with USA Softball. She’s been pretty much on the go ever since.

Last summer, she went with the team to tournaments in Texas and Florida. Carter even spent a week with the team in Japan, and even got to reunite with her younger brother Danny, who was stationed there while with the United States Air Force.

“The week we played, he came up to our games and it was the first time I saw him since he left the States,” Samantha Carter said. “He was able to come watch some games and even stay in the dugout with the team.”

This summer, Carter has taken part in the recent World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City. She will leave for Florida today in preparation for an international tournament.

″(By traveling) I meet some of the greatest softball players in the country,” Carter said. “On the junior team right now, we have some girls that are 16 years old, they’re sophomores in high school and they’re playing for USA Softball. You just meet some of the best athletes around and then you get to travel all over.”

With softball being reinstated as a sport for the next Summer Olympics, to be held in 2020 at Tokyo, Japan, does that give Carter a chance to possibly go over there with Team USA? Carter said she’s not sure, as currently there’s a trainer who works with the USA Softball national squad.

“We’ve talked about possibly going (to the Olympics),” Carter said. “Nothing’s set in stone, I have no idea what could happen. … I have talked to the team doctor and the directors and how they’re going to need coverage, so between me and the other girl, maybe one of us, maybe both of us. We’re just waiting until it gets closer before we start making decisions, so I really don’t have an answer for that.”

Later this summer, though, Carter will get to leave the country once more. She will go to Argentina as Midwestern State’s volleyball team will be playing in an international competition.

Carter, who started at MSU in August of 2016, primarily works with the volleyball and softball teams at the school, while also teaching two courses in the school’s College of Health Sciences and Human Services.

Although Carter’s duties keep her extremely busy, she said she does find it very rewarding to be able to help injured athletes return to action.

“Whenever you get somebody back to playing after something has happened, it’s just overfilling with joy to watch them get back on the court or on the field and play like they did before they got injured,” Carter said. “A lot of times, you don’t hear ‘thank you’ a lot from athletes or coaches or administrators in our profession, but there’s always that one that really appreciates what you do and then goes out of their way to let you know how much they appreciate how you helped them, how you guided them, how you brought them back safely. … I think literally my favorite part is watching someone come back and playing back to 100 percent after an injury.”

Amateur Sports

Mary Lalancette enjoys time working with Team Canada basketball


Article reposted from Herald Sports

After 11 years of schooling behind her and countless examinations and preparatory sessions, Mary Lalancette was able to find a perfect landing spot for her talenets.

Graduating from Dalhousie University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology and Exercise Science, the 29-year-old quickly vaulted into a career as an athletic therapist post-graduation.

In 2011, she caught the eye of Canada Basketball’s brass and started working as an intern. Since then she’s been involved with the senior men’s national team, development team and cadet and junior rosters.

That marriage has allowed Lalancette to travel to the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Spain, Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates for various international events. Most recently Lalancette was in Formosa, Argentina, for the under-16 (U16) FIBA Americas Championships in mid-June.

Canada came away with the silver medal; losing to the U.S. in a surprisingly lopsided 111-60 final. But in the process the team did qualify for the 2018 U17 Basketball World Cup.

For Lalancette, it was her second time gracing Argentinian soil through the organization.

“I was actually just speaking about this with someone the other day. I get the chance to see different countries and often times we’re going to places you usually wouldn’t be travelling to as a tourist,” said Lalancette, speaking from Toronto, Ont., a few days after landing on home soil.

“It’s made for some interesting encounters. I’ve met some very interesting people but having the opportunity to see the world by doing something that I love to do is an added bonus.”

In September, Lalancette starts year four of her five-year program to become an osteopathic manual practitioner at the Canadian College of Osteopathy in Toronto.

As simply put as possible, the Prospect Bay native described her profession as “looking at how everything in the body operates and how it works together to encourage healing and functionality.”

She’s also a certified massage and athletic therapist but she knows her eventual path.

“After my kinesiology degree at Dal, I went to Sheridan College to study athletic therapy. I was introduced to some great (professors) and different people,” she said. “I knew I was going to go towards the osteopathy route when I was done with athletic therapy.”

That time, however, seems far from now.

With seven years and counting of experience with Canada Basketball, Lalancette, who also played competitive soccer and volleyball, has been named the lead therapist for the program’s youth development men’s programs.

Her current education is flexible enough that she is able to attend many of the summer events without a hitch.

“I work with Canada Basketball year-round but most of the international events come in the summertime. It’s no problem. I’m also working another full-time job.”

Joining the former Tiger on the recent Argentina trip was long-time St.F.X. bench boss Steve Konchalski, who has become a regular with the national team program.

The 40-plus year bench boss acted as a mentor coach to the club, and with Lalancette, the duo made up the lone Bluenosers to make the trip.

And with Canada Basketball’s recent upswing in play (currently ranked third in world youth men’s rankings) and seemingly only getting stronger, many more trips could be in the works.

“Normally, we get some time to sight-see but there wasn’t a lot of time this time around,” she said. “It was more back and forth to the gym, which is also fine . . . I’ll continue this until someone tells me not to anymore. I love it.”

Amateur Sports

Golden Gopher Selected for US Volleyball Team


Article reposted from University of Minnesota
Author: University of Minnesota

Ronni Beatty-Kollasch has been named the athletic trainer for the United States’ team that is set to compete at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championships. The event will be held July 14-23, in Boca del Rio and Cordoba, Mexico.

A total of 16 teams will compete at the event, including the United States, which qualified for the tournament after the Women’s U20 Pan American Cup earlier this year. This is the first international event Beatty-Kollasch has been named an athletic trainer for a Team USA championship. Beatty-Kollasch previously volunteered at the USA Women’s Open Tryouts and the Collegiate High Performance team the past two years.

Beatty-Kollasch has been with the University of Minnesota for 13 years and has been a certified athletic trainer for 17 years. She earned her undergraduate degree in 1999 from the University of Minnesota and was a student athletic trainer in an internship program with then the Gopher men’s athletics from 1997 — 1999 prior to her certification. She went on to be a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Auburn University where she worked under the Hughston Clinic/ Kenny Howard Athletic Training Fellowship. Beatty-Kollasch earned her master’s of education degree in 2001 and started her athletic training career working at the University of Wyoming with volleyball, wrestling, and swimming & diving. After her departure from Wyoming in 2004, she worked in Louisville, Ky. for the Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team for one year prior to initiating her time at the University of Minnesota.

Amateur Sports

Athletic Trainer Lands Spot on Team USA for Special Olympics


Article reposted from
Author: Matt McClain

Greg Eberle is the assistant director of sports medicine at the Hopedale Wellness Center and the Chairman of the Medical Committee for Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games.

But earlier this year he had the opportunity of a lifetime: To work with Team USA’s medical staff for the Special Olympics World Games in Austria.

“I put my application in and I had the great honor of being one of six members on the medical team for Team USA.”

Eberle’s main responsibility was overseeing activities at the snowshoeing venue and it was a dream come true.

“Being able to go over there and represent Team USA and be there for the athletes, it is a great honor. We were part of something bigger than ourselves. We were there for the athletes. It was great to see them go over there and compete at their best.”

Working with the Special Olympics athletes motivated Eberle to work as hard as he could each and every day.

“Every one of them is brave in the attempt and they do give it all they got. And that’s inspiring to all of us as their support staff. Theres no reason why we cant go out there and perform our daily task one hundred percent with a good attitude.”

“The unity that was shown on the world stage was the main thing that Eberle took from his experiences with Team USA, and plans to use in his daily life.

“The true essence of Special Olympics is that unity, that teamwork, the sportsmanship. I’m going to be there for you, you’re going to be there for me and we are going to do this together.”

Amateur Sports

Athletic Therapist Receives Universiade Games Medal


Article reposted from
Author: Jonathon Brodie

James Sawchuk wasn’t expecting to get a bronze medal after the Canadian mens’ ice hockey team beat Czech Republic 4-3 at the Universiade Games.

Sawchuk, from Mallorytown, was the athletic therapist for the Canucks and he didn’t get a medal when he held the same job with the national volleyball squad that won a silver in 2007 at the Universiade Games and there was no reason to think he would get one this time around.

The coaching staff and players, which included Prescott-born forward Ryan Van Stralen, received their medals at a ceremony after the bronze game a couple of weeks ago. At that time Sawchuk and the equipment manager were the only ones to not get a medal and then just before they were about to leave they were given bronzes after people from the Canadian delegation pulled a few strings.

“I kind of anticipated that as a staff I wouldn’t receive one this time physically, so to actually get one is really quite exciting,” said Sawchuk, part of Queen’s athletic therapy services. “To get a medal was really very much an honour and really quite humbling.”

Sawchuk is going to try to do something special with his medal and the Canadian jersey he was given with his name on the back of it.

The experience of putting on a medal that you helped your country win is a humbling feeling, Sawchuk said. He went out to Kazakhstan, where the Winter Universiade was held, and did his job to the best of his abilities.

He passes the praise to the Canadian players, though, and modestly adds, “That really in the end, they’re the ones who did all the work.” The Canadian delegation making sure he got a medal might not agree with that comment.

Sawchuk getting named to Team Canada’s staff is a recognition of its own.

Queen’s hockey coach Brett Gibson, from Gananoque, got to pick his own staff and could have chosen anyone to take with him to the Universiade as his athletic therapist, but he selected to stick with Sawchuk, someone he has around all the time with the Golden Gaels.

This was Sawchuk’s second time at the Universiade and it was vastly different from when he went to Thailand for the Games 10 years ago. Last time he went to the Universiade he was working fulltime with Volleyball Canada and knew the players very well for a considerable amount of time.

This year, with only four players from Queen’s on the Canadian roster, Sawchuk didn’t get to meet most of the team until their week-long training camp in December.

“It was different that way in that you were getting to know players and different personalities in what they need and expect from you,” Sawchuk said. “You’re trying to figure out everyone’s needs and see what they like to do before or after a game quicker, so you can make sure you’re on top of whatever they need for prep or recovery versus when I worked with Volleyball Canada I worked with those guys every single day.”

The other major difference between 2007 and 2017 is now he gets to hold onto his international hardware.

Amateur Sports

Oil Kings athletic therapist ready for World Juniors


Article reposted from Inews 880
Author: Reid Wilkins

For most, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  For Brian Cheeseman, it’s old hat.

“It’s a huge honour to be selected once, let alone twice,” says the Edmonton Oil Kings athletic therapist, who for the second year in a row will work for Team Canada at the World Junior tournament.

Last year, Cheeseman was at the tournament in Finland.  Even though Canada didn’t win a medal, the sights and sounds will be with Cheeseman forever.

“It was an absolutely awesome experience,” he recalls. “To see how many fans made the trek from Canada watch the games is incredible. The atmosphere was amazing. It was so loud.  It didn’t matter who we were playing the round robin, it almost felt we had that home ice advantage.”

Canada actually will have home ice advantage this season, with their round robin games in Toronto and playoff games in Montreal.

Cheeseman, 35, grew up in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. Even though he didn’t play hockey, he knew he wanted to be around the game.

“I always had a fascination with injuries, how they happen, why they happen, how to rehab them,” he says.

He studied kinesiology at Memorial University, then completed an athletic therapist program at Sheridan College.  He worked for the Tri-City Americans and is now in his seventh season with the Oil Kings.

“I don’t consider it to be work. It’s a great place to come every day. We have great players, great coaches and staff,” says Cheeseman.

He knows fans often see him helping an injured player on the ice or on the bench, but he feels what he does behind the scenes is just as important.

“You’re almost in the position of being a big brother,” Cheeseman explains. “These guys are teenagers.  They’re away from family and friends and their normal, comfortable environment.  Our office doors are always open if they want to come in and talk about how their day is going, how life is going.   There’s more to the job than the injuries and the equipment and everything else.”

Cheeseman will head to Quebec Thursday for the Canadian team selection camp.  Canada’s first tournament game is Boxing Day against Russia.

Hear more from Brian Cheeseman on Inside Sports with Reid Wilkins from 6-8pm Wednesday night. (jrw)

Amateur Sports

Athletic Therapist keeps Hockey Team in flight


Article reposted from The Enterprise Bulletin
Author: Gisele Winton Sarvis

Alex Barton is at home with smelly, sweaty, testosterone filled young men who are giving their all for the game of hockey and sometimes suffering for it.

The athletic therapist for the Stayner Siskins, Barton is in her third year with the team being present and at-the-ready for every practice and game from summer training camp, through the regular season and the play-offs.

“I go everywhere with the team. It’s a big commitment. It can be really tiring,” Barton said in the trainer’s room while music blared before a game against the Penetang Kings.

“You learn how to be one of the guys, but sometimes they forget I’m a girl completely. And you get used to the smell. Not a first. It takes a while,” she said laughing.

During Thursday night’s game, she had a big sack of ice on Mack Falconer’s knee on the team bench, testing his mobility. Barton knew he had a pre-existing injury and discovered he didn’t have range of motion before the swelling took hold.

“So right away that tells me he can’t go out and play full tilt,” she said. “If the kids don’t have full range of motion, we don’t let them play.”

Later in the game, Kyle Paulitzki went into the boards head first and suffered a neck injury.

“There’s not a lot you can do for it immediately,” she said after the game as a player yelled out an obscenity in the hallway.

“You have to rule out if it’s an emergency. With neck injuries you are worried about a spinal and you have to look for tenderness in the neck, numbness, tingling or burning,” she said, as the music blared even louder.

She also checked another player’s shoulder in the hallway after the game.

Barton is often working on guys who are partially dressed and while she sees some nudity, she tries to keep it to a minimum.

“They know I’m here and I don’t go into the change room,” she said about the Siskins.

Also an emergency first responder, Barton attends to on-ice injuries. Last year a player from another team dislocated his kneecap and was in excruciating pain. Barton called an ambulance and stabilized and splinted his joint on the ice before the paramedics arrived and carried him to hospital.

Last year’s Siskins captain Ricky Darrell got hit hard and suffered a concussion during a game.

“He was not responsive right away so that was scary,” she said

“Other than that we’ve been lucky with the team in terms of bad injuries,” she said.

Barton sticks around after the game if there is injuries or pre-existing injuries that may get re-aggravated during the game. On Thursday night she was one of the last to leave the arena at about 11 p.m.

The Creemore resident works for herself at Synergy Health and Wellness Centre in Collingwood three days a week and at the Nottawa Wellness Centre two days a week and with the Siskins three or four times a week.

A graduate of the athletic therapy program of Sheridan College in 2011, Barton has been working in the field ever since.

“I enjoy working with sports teams. You get to see how the injury happens. When you see that, you are better able to treat the injury as it comes,” she said.

She got used to working in a men’s environment early on. While she was going to Sheridan she had placements with the University of Waterloo men’s rugby team and she worked with rep football teams during the summer. She’s also worked with boys hockey teams.

“It’s everyday. It doesn’t bother me anymore,” she said being around boisterous young men with colourful language.

She got interested in the field through lifeguarding.

“I always enjoyed helping people, so this involves both aspects, the emergency response part as well as helping people get back to doing what they love.”

The most rewarding part of the job is seeing players with an injury get better and get back on the ice, she said.

Amateur Sports

Grand Canyon U Professor earns key role in U.S. sports medicine


Article reposted from GCU Today

Olympic Games are widely considered the pinnacle of professional accomplishments, and that goes for athletes and non-athletes alike.

For Grand Canyon University faculty member Michael McKenney, his shining moments were behind the scenes to help athletes achieve elite performances.

McKenney is in his sixth year as a clinical coordinator and exercise science and an athletic training professor in the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions. But it was his work outside the classroom that landed him a coveted training position this summer at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where elite athletes from around the world competed despite physical disabilities or impairments.

McKenney put himself in position to go to Rio when he volunteered for three weeks with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Sports Medicine program last fall in California. His performance, based on interviews with athletes and other volunteers, was reviewed, and he then was invited to be part of national competitions. He worked with USABMX Cycling in Colombia in June and, based on more reviews from athletes and colleagues, was chosen to help the world.

“It’s been a lifelong dream, a pinnacle of a career, a crowning jewel,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, his stories and pictures of the Olympics, Paralympics and Rio itself are numerous. His wife,Cristina, and two children (ages 9 and 11) stayed in Phoenix while colleagues and fellow faculty in CONHCP filled his classroom void.

“It takes a village for this to happen,” he said. “It takes a team effort, from my wife and kids at home to (CONHCP Dean Dr. Melanie Logue), our staff, faculty, everyone. It was humbling.”

McKenney spent his days being something of a “walk-in clinic,” helping athletes as part of a global team of doctors, trainers and sports medicine personnel working with athletes from several countries in an interdisciplinary setup covering several sports. He helped with upper respiratory illnesses, neck muscles in knots from sleeping on the plane, bruises, muscle and tendon pulls, and the common cold — everything except surgery.

The rest of his time was split between being at the events and exploring the city and region of Brazil: beaches, biking around the city, visiting remote locations and eating indigenous cuisine. Contrary to reports of security issues before and during the Olympics, he never felt unsafe.

“They all wanted to talk and explain everything about Brazil and Rio,” he said. “The water and sewage issues were no joke, but they were wonderful hosts.”

He since has returned to teaching and coordinating the sports medicine program at GCU with an eye toward spot helping at a future Winter Games — Olympic or Paralympic.

Having never been to Brazil, McKenney returned home with new perspectives and knowledge easily acquired when working next to some of the world’s best within medicine and athletic training. That means the rewards he reaped from those three weeks will be imparted upon his GCU students.

“These things benefit students when faculty attend events like these,” he said. “Faculty learn and bring things back to share. The college and GCU benefit from having employees sharing and learning from others around the world. It allows us to grow individually, improve our resources, and this progression flows to students and the University.

“It puts all of these things on display, so ultimately everyone wins.”