College and University

Sims Closes 42-Year Baylor Career


Article reposted from Baylor Bears
Author: Jerry Hill

From Gerald Ford to Donald Trump and from Grant Teaff to Matt RhuleMike Sims has been at Baylor as first a student trainer, then the first full-time assistant trainer and ultimately the Associate AD for Athletics Training for the last 42 years.

While Sims said he will “always be a Baylor fan,” another chapter in his life comes to an end when Sims leaves on June 23 to take a position with Southwest Sports Medicine.

“This is who I’ve grown up with, who my family have grown up with, kids and everything else,” said Sims, who turns 60 in August. “It’s always been a part of my life. I’ve talked to people who have done this before, and they say losing the day-to-day relationships with the players is what I’m going to miss the most. My whole life has been around 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-year-old kids, and I’m sure I’ll miss some of that, but I’ll always be a Baylor fan. This school and university have meant too much to me all through my life and my kids’ lives.”

Mack Rhoades, Vice President and Director of Baylor Athletics, said Sims’ “dedication to Baylor began as a student trainer and has been a constant throughout his more than 40 years of service to Baylor Athletics.”

“He has provided steady guidance of our Athletics Training area throughout his career, and he has positively impacted thousands of student-athletes along the way,” Rhoades said. “We are grateful to Mike for his decades of service to his alma mater and wish him success in his next chapter.”

A native of Cedar Hill, Texas, Sims actually started in the business as a student trainer at Cedar Hill High School, graduating in 1975. He then spent five years as a Baylor student trainer under Skip Cox, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1980 and a master’s degree two years later.

Sims said that working under Cox and Teaff, both in the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame, “helped set my foundation and got me going, just seeing how they were so good about handing situations.”

“That’s how I learned the whole business,” he said of training under Cox. “The way our profession is, it’s more like a family. You do things the way you’re taught them to do them. And with Skip, good work habits and taking care of the players, those were the things he pushed.”

Walter Abercrombie, a former Baylor football player (1978-81) and now Associate AD for the “B” Association, said Sims was “in the same mold as Skip.”

“He just had a way of making you feel like he cared about you as much more than just an athlete. He cared about you as a person,” Abercrombie said. “Sometimes, athletes are a little superstitious when it comes to who they want to work with. But, Mike had a particular ability to make athletes feel that they were in excellent hands with him, to taping your ankle to taking care of you when you were sick and had to stay home.”

With that kind of personal touch, Sims hurt when his players hurt and rejoiced when they got back on the field after rehabilitation.

“One of the tough things in dealing with players is they’re our friends and we see our friends get injured,” he said. “One of the best things about what we do is they’re our friends and we see them come back and return to play. When somebody has been injured and they’re coming back to play, you’re as nervous as you can be, because they’re back out on the field for the first time. But, you’re also glad to see them back and glad to see them succeed.”

While the win-loss record doesn’t go under his name, Sims said, “If you get to where you don’t worry about whether you win or lose, then you don’t need to be in athletics.”

“It’s interesting, because you’re sitting on the sidelines as a fan, and somebody gets hurt. And you have to quickly change over from being a fan and make sound medical judgment,” he said. “That’s just something you have to learn how to do. Winning is important, but it’s not the most important. The health of the student-athletes is the most important.”

Former Baylor quarterback Nick Florence (2009-12), who now serves as Baylor’s Director of Athletics Development, said Sims had a unique way of interacting “with a generation significantly younger while also providing professional care.”

“It goes to show that he loves what he does and was good at it, that he was in it for that long of a time,” Florence said. “Mike was just as steady as they go, doing everything to the best of his ability. My favorite phrase from him is, ‘Just put ice on it.’ That was always the first thing out of his mouth, ‘Just put ice on it,’ whether he was joking or serious, depending on the situation.”

Like Cox before him, part of Sims’ job was also mentoring all the student trainers that came through Baylor in his 37 years on staff. Three of the current staff learned under his tutelage – David Chandler, Alex Olson and Kevin Robinson.

“You couldn’t ask for a better boss,” said Chandler, who works with men’s basketball. “He’s always there to support you and help you and do whatever you need. At the same time, he let you do your job. He didn’t stand over you, telling you how to do your job, he just let you do it.

“None of us can work as hard as Mike Sims or as long as Mike Sims. It’s a tribute to him and really a tribute to his family to have been able to put up with that, because he worked crazy hours, and I think that’s probably part of the reason why he’s leaving. This is a sad day for me, but I’m happy for him.”

Another side of Sims was his unofficial role as “Mr. Fix-it.” With a set of tools always at hand, “If anything needed to get done in the athletics department, Mike was the person people would go to,” Chandler said. “Mike was the jack-of-all-trades. As we’ve evolved into such a larger staff, it’s not needed as much now. But, he was the guy that could get things done.”

That included doing electrical work or fixing the radios or in-house speakers at the “B” Association, Abercrombie said.

“Mike would come over, bring his old tool kit, fix the problem and would never take a payment. He was just that kind of guy.”

In the 42 years since he first came to Baylor as a student trainer in the fall of 1975, Sims has seen an evolution in his business and the athletes themselves.

“Technologically, we do a lot more stuff than we used to,” he said. “Medically, we take care of a lot more things than we used to. The athletes have gotten a whole lot bigger than they were. When I came as a student in 1975, you would see guys who were 275, 280, and they were the biggest things anyone had ever seen on campus. Well, that’s not big enough now.

“So, the size alone has made a huge difference, and the athletes work out year-around. They stay in good physical shape. They’re stronger than they’ve ever been, bigger than they’ve ever been and faster than they’ve ever been.”

Through eight different head football coaches, Sims has been to 476 consecutive games – from an 18-17 win over South Carolina on Oct. 2, 1976, to the 31-12 victory over Boise State in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl on Dec. 27, 2016.

That streak may end this fall, but something tells me Sims will continue to see his share of Baylor athletic events.

“I think he approached his job as a ministry, doing for other people,” Abercrombie said. “He was more than just an athletics trainer. He was a friend, he was a confidante, and I feel sorry for the young people going forward who will not have the opportunity to experience Mike Sims and be under his care during their athletics career.”

College and University

Idaho State Head Athletic Trainer Jodi Wotowey


Article reposted from ISU Bengals
Author: Jenna Galloway

The daily life of an athletic trainer is hectic, long and is constantly changing, and there are a select few who are equipped to handle the job. Idaho State Head Athletic Trainer Jodi Wotowey is one of the few, and she’s been involved in athletics for nearly her entire life.

“I was an athlete from the time I could walk practically,” Wotowey said. “I knew I wanted to stay in athletics; that was my world, those were my friends. But I didn’t necessarily want to be a coach.”

There is a multitude of ways to stay involved in athletics outside of athletic training, but Wotowey was drawn to the scientific side of athletics. Her father, a veterinarian, sparked her interest in medicine.

“I had an interest in physical therapy, but I knew that I wanted to stay with a very active population,” Wotowey said. “That’s where athletic training came in.”

Wotowey has been involved in athletic training in some capacity for 23 years. She’s worked as an athletic trainer at both Texas A&M and Texas Christian University, and she’s armed with a bachelor’s degree in biology and an master’s degree in physiology and kinesiology. Wotowey accepted a position with Idaho State as an assistant athletic trainer in August of 2004, and after the completion of her third year with the Bengals she took over as head athletic trainer.

“I try to delegate to my staff as much as possible,” Wotowey said. “I have some great assistants that I’ve been able to keep for a number of years now that have taken over certain areas…what I really gravitate toward is working one-on-one with the athletes because that’s what I enjoy, and that’s where I think my strengths are.”

Wotowey provides the direct care for approximately 100 student-athletes part of the football and men’s basketball programs, but she oversees the treatment of each student-athlete on Idaho State’s 13 Division I teams. As an athletic trainer, she often provides emotional support in addition to her duties as an athletic trainer.

“Some athletes, depending on how far they are from home, they really develop a rapport with you,” Wotowey said. “You sometimes substitute being ‘Mom’. A few of the athletes throughout the years have called me Momma Jods or something like that. Those are the athletes that I know I really bonded with .They’ve touched my life as much as I’ve hopefully touched theirs. It may be that they had a significant injury, so you took them to the hospital, got them chicken noodle soup when they were sick, whatever it was to help them through a hard time.”

Often times a student-athlete’s experience with their athletic trainer only includes preventative measures, like taping, bracing or stretching, and routine treatment and recovery, such as foam rolling, ice baths or massage therapy. But even when student-athletes practice preventative measures, they may still suffer a major injury. For athletic trainers like Wotowey, the process of assessing and treating a major injury begins the second it occurs, and depending on the injury, the treatment process and length varies.

“You may or may not have had the opportunity to actually see [the injury occur],” Wotowey said. “Best case scenario, you actually saw the mechanism, so your mind is already starting to think as you’re approaching the student-athlete.”

For major injuries, there are checklists and protocol for athletic trainers to follow. Wotowey says it begins with calming the student-athlete, assessing the extent of the injury and managing acute trauma if applicable. After that, it’s comfort care.

“Obviously we are still managing the injury, but we are also managing the psychology and helping the athlete just get through a painful time,” Wotowey said.

It’s a balancing act of providing care for the student-athlete, corresponding with the physician while trying not to negatively impact the team and coach in competition. After that, Wotowey says it’s forming a plan for return.

“Once you’re through that process, it’s the, ‘OK, what is the real diagnosis and appropriate care from that point forward?'” Wotowey said. “Going through either surgery or simple rehab and treatment, whatever needs to happen. It may be a three-month or six-month process taking it all the way to the end where they are back into preparation to get back on the field.”

As in any field of medicine, it’s imperative to keep up with the current ideas, theories and practices in order to ensure the safety of student-athletes and the effectiveness of treatment and rehab. Athletic training is no different, and according to Wotowey, it’s a critical aspect of being an athletic trainer.

“The more you learn, the more you can stay on top of things and the better you’re going to be and you’ll provide better service to your student-athletes,” Wotowey said. “It’s critical, and finding the time can be difficult. Whether it’s just reading literature on your own in the mornings or evenings or going to conferences when you have a break…but even then you have to make the time.”

During the busy months of August through March, Wotowey averages a 10 to 12 hour work day in addition to traveling with her assigned teams, so sometimes making time for education can be difficult. Yet, she finds time to make it work. This past year, she also elected to take a course in massage therapy to improve her knowledge and technique of soft tissue work, a personal improvement that has also benefited student-athletes.

“Some techniques that I didn’t know previously have been something that I’ve been able to share with other staff members and some of our students that are very effective,” Wotowey said. “I personally think that when used at the right time may be more effective than modalities. Then coupling it with strengthening is always important.”

Wotowey and her team of athletic trainers are invaluable to the Idaho State athletic department, teams and student-athletes. Their hard work year-round ensures the safety, health and wellness of each of ISU’s nearly 300 student-athletes, and they keep our student-athletes prepared for the grueling requirements of their sports. Whether it’s prevention, treatment, rehab or just listening, the Idaho State athletic trainers are ready for the job.

College and University

Creighton staff, faculty provide medical assist for visiting CWS teams


Article reposted from Creighton University
Author: Creighton University

As hosts of the NCAA® Men’s College World Series®, Creighton University does its best to ensure teams, fans and officials play and enjoy the old ballgame in a friendly and exciting atmosphere.

Some Creighton faculty and staff volunteers go so far to see that in all the fun, nobody goes home hurt. While each team travels with its own athletic training and medical staff, Creighton practitioners are helping provide a full-throated — if often behind-the-scenes — response to various needs.

For the past 10 years, Curtis Self, MA, ATC, the athletic trainer for Creighton’s baseball team, has served as the medical coordinator at the CWS, organizing the sports medicine volunteers who flock each year to the event. Athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, internal medicine physicians, chiropractors and rehabilitation experts from across the country converge on Omaha to contribute to an effort that Self says leaves the players, coaches and team medical staffs with only one concern: winning ballgames.

“We take care of any needs that might have and we’ve seen the full gamut over the years,” Self said. “It’s a whirlwind to get here and play in a national championship, so we see our job as doing whatever we can to make sure everything is taken care of, across the spectrum. We’re here to help players, coaches, the team medical staff, NCAA officials, umpires, CWS Inc. officials, you name it. Anything we can do to make sure they are taken care of and can concentrate on the games, we’ll do it.”

Self said the CWS effectively turns TD Ameritrade Park Omaha and the team hotels into medical triage stations, making sure that all but the most major issues can be tended to without traveling far. The stadium has on-site X-ray and other diagnostic capabilities, as well as intravenous equipment. Therapists and chiropractors make housecalls at the hotels for players who might need pre- or postgame attention.

In addition to player injuries and illnesses, Self said over the years, the medical personnel he oversees has treated a coach’s child with an ear infection and diagnosed a broadcaster with a ruptured Achilles tendon, working to coordinate surgery with a hospital near his home.

“Creighton is the host institution and we take pride in being the best hosts we can be,” Self said. “The people who come to help us are the best in their fields with a phenomenal willingness to help out and make the College World Series® the showcase event that it is.”

Terry Grindstaff, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, is one such volunteer, working with the eight teams who descended on Omaha this week to ensure the health needs of players and other on-field personnel are being met.

“We try to fill in as much as we can to make sure the individual student-athletes and teams are taken care of,” said Grindstaff, who has volunteered at the College World Series since 2011. As an example, we may be asked if we can make a quick run to the pharmacy. Another role that sounds small, but is greatly appreciated, is at the bottom of every even inning, we make sure the umpires have enough water so they do not become dehydrated. These little things can make a big difference.”

For Grindstaff, up until recently, most of the help has been minor. But in the opening days of this year’s CWS, Grindstaff helped a player who needed dry-needling for an arm injury. It’s not a procedure an athletic trainer can perform, but a physical therapist like Grindstaff is well qualified to do so.

“The player had an arm injury and dry needling was performed by a physical therapist at home before he came to Omaha, so this was just a continuation of his care,” Grindstaff said. “It is a team effort and we help out whenever and wherever we can.”

Volunteers work in shifts during games and practices, but Self usually finds himself putting in full days at the ballpark. But, he said, it’s a dream job for a baseball fan.

“I love baseball, I love being around the game,” he said. “And these are the up-and-coming best baseball players in the country, playing at the highest level, so what more can you really ask for? It’s work, but it doesn’t feel like work. We’ve got a front-row seat to a premier sporting event and an opportunity to help both medically and to broadcast that Creighton name. We work hard, but we have a lot of fun doing it with great people.”

College and University

Long Time Western Kentucky Athletic Trainer Celebrates Retirement


Article reposted from WKU
Author: Rebekah Alvey

WKU athletics and alumni association staff gathered at the E.A. Diddle Arena Hall of Champions to celebrate the retirement of a long-time colleague.

Bill Edwards, often referred to as Doc. E, has been a part of WKU for 47 years. On Jun 30, Edwards will be retiring from his current position as Associate Athletic Director. Edwards will stay on as a “100 day” part-time employee with WKU athletics.

Edwards said he was first introduced to WKU in the 60’s when his father and grandfather would bring him to football games. In his remarks at the celebration, Edwards recalled that not attending WKU as a student wasn’t an option because of the love he already had for the university.

In his first year at WKU, Edwards said he began working as a student athletic trainer, football Coach Jimmy Feix won his first national championship, the basketball team made it to the final four, and he saw both the Temptations and Neil Diamond in Diddle Arena.

“Gosh I loved this place, I hated to leave, I didn’t want to leave,” Edwards said. “So here I am 47 years later.”

After working as a student trainer, Edwards became a full-time employee in 1977. He started in his current position of Associate Athletic Director in 1983.

Pam Herriford, who retired from the WKU athletics department in 2014, said she has known Edwards since high school. They were both employed as assistant athletic trainers in 1977, however, Herriford moved to the administrative side of female athletics in 1981.

Herriford said Edwards has a calm demeanor, which was beneficial in situations involving an injury. In addition to a close relationship with students and coaches, Herriford said he had developed bonds with local doctors.

“He’s a guy you might say is the glue of the group,” Herriford said.

Todd Stewart, director of athletics, said he has known Edwards for nine years and no one has anything bad to say about him, which is a credit to him and his impact. Herriford said the student trainers would do whatever needed to be done just because Edwards wanted them to.

Stewart said 47 years in one place is remarkable. Herriford said Edwards time year has been both great for him and the university, and the longevity is something you don’t find every day.

Edwards said he is proud of the 250 student trainers he has worked with and the bonds he has formed with athletes. He said  there is a lot of intrinsic rewards from seeing injured athletes recover and begin to play again.

With his relaxed job, Edwards said he is looking forward to less responsibility and more free time. Edwards said he plans on helping with the transition and athlete alumni outreach.

When alumni come back to visit, Herriford said “Doc. E” is always a friendly and familiar face.

“No one is going to forget him,” Herriford said.

College and University

Greg Kampe, coworkers, family reflect on retiring athletic trainer Tom Ford


Article reposted from Detroit Free Press

Oakland University athletic trainer Tom Ford is retiring after 30 years due to his ALS diagnosis. Those who know him best shared a few stories with the Free Press.

“The day he got here, we went on a bus to the Upper Peninsula to play Lake Superior and Northern Michigan. After the Lake Superior game … we got on the road and the heat went out in the bus. It was cold out, it was 4 below, we’ve got a 5-hour ride with no heat. Within an hour and an hour and a half the windows had frosted. … That was Tom Ford’s first trip with us. The kids believed (jokingly) that he was the curse and he caused this. So he had to live with that for a long time. … He’s sat next to me on the bench for 30 years. We’ve experienced every high, every low together. He keeps a special stat on the bench. Most athletic trainers don’t do that. The new coaches that came in realized how much I trusted Tom and how important he was to our program and to me, the psychology of him being there. I don’t know what I’m going to do without him. … What’s being lost in this is he is a tremendous trainer. Forget the human interest and how everybody loved him. He did his job amazingly well. If a kid sprained an ankle, that kid would be back in a few days. Because of Tom’s ability, the psychology of working with an athlete, he was so good at that. Kids believed in him. Like if he touched the ankle, if felt better.” – OU men’s basketball coach Greg Kampe

“It was almost a running insider joke we had, but before every game on the road or at home, I don’t know if it was superstition, but I was the very first one to get my ankles taped. On the road we would tape our ankles before we went to the game. I’d always be bugging him, ‘T-Ford, what room are you in, because I need to get my ankles taped.’ It became like this joke where he would tell everyone on the team but me where we were getting our ankles taped. … He’d always try to not let me be first but I always was.” – Max Hooper, OU men’s player, 2014-16

More: How beloved Oakland trainer Tom Ford is focusing on his battle with ALS

“When T-Ford talked you listened. Man of few words but when he spoke you were a fool if you didn’t listen because he was always trying to HELP YOU! Loved his wit and we were always jealous as assistants because with all of our great ideas at halftime, Kamp always turned to him first and his charts that he kept on the sideline! One of the strongest, selfless and tireless people I’ve ever known” – Devon Smith, OU men’s basketball assistant, 2004-06

“I remember sitting at dinner with our staff. … It was my first year at OU … Kampe took us all to a steakhouse in Kansas City – The Golden Ox – one of our guys asked for A1 … Kampe told him if he put steak sauce on it, he wasn’t buying it for him … T-Ford leaned over to me an said “welcome to the staff … and I hope you don’t like A1!”… I almost fell out of my chair” – Jeff Smith, men’s assistant 2002-07

“I called T-Ford ‘grandpa’ because of how he looked at each & everyone one of us like we were his own. My last two years playing at Oakland were filled with trying to figure out different ways to treat my bad knees. Spent tons of car rides to doctor’s appointments, surgeries in hospitals and time in the athletic training room with T. My favorite thing to do with him would be when we would go into doctor’s appointments and we would go to the receptionist’s desk together. I would look at him and he would look at me and we would just smile because we knew what was about to happen. Being the person I am I would always beat him to speak to the receptionist saying, “Hi I’m Drew Valentine here for (a knee appointment for example). This is my grandpa, Tom Ford. We would both instantly start laughing and it was kind of our little inside joke.” – Drew Valentine, OU men’s player, 2009-13, assistant 2015-present

“My favorite T story as a player is probably when we scared the crap out of him – I got in the laundry bin and teammates covered me with clothes and rolled it into the training room with some BS excuse on why they came in – maybe just said something like do you think this laundry is clean or dirty? And he came over and looked in it and I popped up and nearly gave him a heart attack, at least a few grey hairs. He was always willing to deal with us (he wasn’t our main trainer) when we needed him. One doubleheader road trip he got stuck with me during our game as my back had locked up in warmups – we spent most of the game behind the stands while he tried to work it out. Working and traveling with him the past few years, I am probably reiterating what others have said – you could always count on him – reliable, consistent, always there for whatever was needed.” – Sarah Judd, women’s basketball player, 1998-2002, men’s basketball director of operations, 2006-present

Outgoing Oakland trainer Tom Ford talks about wanting to be a symbol despite being diagnosed with ALS. Video by Mark Snyder/DFP

“He had a pair of boots that were beat up and looked like they were about 100 years old. He would wear them when he had to go outside with us for workouts, or when he had to go outside in the snow with the baseball team. We would always tell him he should get some new ones, but he’d just say ‘They still work, I’m fine.’ Being there so long, he could send someone else out in the snow, but he would go himself every time because he was selfless. T-Ford helped set the culture at OU that was work hard and be nice to people. He always fought hard to help OU athletics any way he could, and I know he’ll continue to fight.” – Jordan Howenstine, OU men’s player, 2010-13

“We would always joke about his NCAA watch he wears that he got after my junior year, I’d always joke with when he wore it and tell him ‘Mr. Ford, I got you one of the nicest watches in the world.’ We would also joke about his cat that was named Reggie. … I know Mr. Ford will be OK, he’s always been strong! I know he’s up right now getting his daily exercise walking around the mall!” – Reggie Hamilton, OU men’s player, 2010-12

“The year the men and the women won the national championship, in 1994 … it was down in Canton, Ohio, and we had a huge group of alums and afterward everybody was jumping in the pool. He jumped in the pool with the women first. I remember I had to pause to think if he even knew how to swim. He was paddling around with the best of them. He’s always taking care of us. I had to pause and think, do we have to take care of him?” – Pete Hovland, OU men’s swimming coach since 1979, women’s also since 2001

“When I started here in 2010, my first trip through the airports, I had the radio stuff, my backpack, and T, I always called him my brother in baggage, because he’s got 10 bags. That was one of the things I had to identify with him, was when we landed and we were waiting around for luggage, it was mine or it was T’s. And that was something stupid like that that brings you together. That was the start of our friendship together. … I love the guy. T-Ford, he is Oakland.” – Neal Ruhl, OU men’s basketball broadcaster

“When I worked with Kampe’s staff, he and I were roommates on the road on quite a few trips. The thing that always impressed me with him was, it didn’t matter what time of night, he would be up to take care of those student-athletes. Two or 3 in the morning, if someone had an ankle issue and they needed to get more treatment, he’d be walking down to the room, making sure they’re taken care of. I don’t think the guy ever slept. If someone got hurt, it was unbelievable to watch him work.” – Jeff Tungate, OU women’s coach since 2013, OU men’s assistant from 2004-05 and 2007-13

“He was in charge of all the sports. He treated us like we were the only one that mattered. He had hundreds of athletes that he had to deal with at that time. He just genuinely cared. … Thirty years later, I’m still friends with him and his family… One time I broke my fingers and he would come in at 7 a.m. and rebound for me. He didn’t have to, but he would rebound for me, ask how my fingers were doing. I’m not the only one he did that. He was in charge of all these athletes but never once complained.” – Jenn Dempster, OU women’s player, 1988-92

“Andy (Glantzman) was our SID, so those two would room together. I would always feel bad for T because we were up at Marquette, the Holiday Inn. Ty McGregor, Tom Eller and a few of those guys, set to mess with Andy, and Tom ends up being a part of it, they set their alarm clock for 3 in the morning and they get those guys out of the room. Then they call the front desk and have a 4 a.m. wake up call. You get the alarm turned off then you get the phone call. … Tom played softball with us and he looked like the catch for the Tigers in the 1990s, Matt Nokes, so we used to tease him and call him Matt Nokes.” – Eric Stephan, OU men’s basketball assistant 1988-2004, women’s assistant 2006-present

“We were playing at Purdue (Nov. 21, 2010) and it was taking a long time to get to the arena from the hotel. It was pretty obvious that the bus driver was not sure where to go, and sensing Coach Kampe’s frustration, T-Ford pulled up his Google Maps app on his cell phone and basically guided the driver to the arena. T was always ready to jump in where he was needed, despite his job title, and make sure that the job would get done. I believe that is why he was so beloved by all — his selflessness is evident in every student-athlete and staffer he ever worked with.” – OU associate athletic director for communications, Scott MacDonald

The training room door from Oakland’s former athletic department building, the Lepley Sports Center, to the current O’rena is now in Ford’s possession. Because it’s one of a kind, an irreplaceable piece of memorabilia.

“No one really knew about it. … Kathy and I, when we first had the training room it was a really bad color so we painted it. At the same time, the Pistons were in there every day and had a camp there with Isiah (Thomas) and Magic (Johnson) and we talked, how cool would it be to have the NBA All-Stars sign the door?” – Ford

“Then when we built this place and Lepley was going away, we had a new athletic director and he didn’t think Tom should be able to have that door. That was one battle that I fought.” – Kampe

Many moments stood out for Ford in his 30-year career but one of the most impactful was one that came off the court in 2000. Nik Dragicevic, a 7-feet-3 center from LaSalle, Ontario, was diagnosed with a heart condition when he joined the Golden Grizzlies and never played a game. Ford was with him every step and every doctor’s appointment. Though Dragicevic died of cancer at age 30, those steps with Ford were critical to extending his life. As many want to do for him now, he did for Dragicevic all those years ago.

“That was pretty emotional with Nik. … When I had to tell Nik’s parents that he was no longer going to be able to play again, that was one of the worst days. Seven-foot, three and 3/4-inches tall, coming from Canada, thinking he was going to be an NBA player and we went through all of that. He was able to prolong his life. If he had gone out on the court, he could have blown out his heart and been done at that time.” – Ford

Contact Mark Snyder: Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder. Download our Wolverines Xtra app for free on Apple and Android devices! 

College and University

Tale of the tape: The complexity and costs of one of college football’s everyday tools


Article reposted from The Commercial Appeal

A few hours before any Memphis football practice this spring, for a period of about 90 minutes, there’s a good chance you would’ve found athletic trainer Darrell Turner in the training room, with a roll of tape in his hands.

There were 94 players on the Tigers’ spring roster, and coach Mike Norvell requires all of them to have their ankles either taped or braced before every practice or scrimmage. So for Turner and four of his assistants, this means almost every day of spring ball begins with tape.

Lots and lots and lots of tape.

“Five people taping for at least an hour straight,” Turner said.

Athletic tape is so embedded in the daily routine of college football that players and coaches often don’t think twice about it. But for Turner, it is arguably the most important tool of the trade, an incredibly complex and surprisingly costly part of college football that few fans rarely see or understand.

This spring, for example, Turner said the Memphis football program used nine different varieties and four different colors of tape. They used athletic tape on ankles, mostly, but also fingers, toes, feet, knees, wrists and more. They spent more than $4,000 on taping supplies. And they used an average of 226 rolls of tape before every spring practice, totaling 2,441 yards.

That’s the length of more than 24 football fields — for every practice.

Tape plays an important role in preventing injuries, or helping players return to the field quickly. But at a school like Memphis, where the TV money is lacking and the budget is tight, it also provides a window into just how complicated and costly Division I football can be.

“It’s crazy,” Turner said, shaking his head. “People don’t even realize how much goes into it.”

A price worth paying

Senior running back Doroland Dorceus figures he’s been getting his ankles taped as long as he’s been playing football.

“I’ve been wearing tape for so long, it just feels different (without it),” he said. “For me, I feel like my ankles are weak when I don’t have tape on them, because I’ve been getting taped for so long.”

At lower levels of football, however, tape is often about appearance. Aspiring teens think that if they tape their wrists like Adrian Peterson, they can play like him, too. (Or, at the very least, look cooler and tougher in the process.)

At Memphis, Turner said he and his staff try to “eliminate the cool guy stuff.” Taping is about injury prevention, and only injury prevention. More specifically, Memphis’ training staff is, in most cases, trying to prevent the most common version of an ankle sprain, when the toes are pointed downward in what is called “plantar flexion.”

“I’ve heard a number of times where guys got in a bad position, they feel it pull, but then they keep on going because they feel the tape kind of catch,” said Kyle Bowles, a graduate assistant athletic trainer with the football team. “Whereas if they didn’t have the tape, they’re done. Sprained ankle.”

This is why Norvell, who is entering his second season at Memphis, has required every player to be taped or braced at all times. “Just for that support and for precautionary reasons,” he said.

While most coaches talk about this, Turner said, Norvell actually enforces it. Football staffers keep a list of who is taped or braced and who isn’t on a daily basis.

“If a guy rolls his ankle out at practice or gets hurt, Coach wants to know: Was he taped up? Was he good?” Turner said. “He wants to make sure the player did his part to try to stay healthy.”

Linemen, receivers and running backs may also choose to tape their wrists, either to keep sweat off their hands and provide extra support.

“When you’re on the D-Line, you use your hands a lot,” redshirt senior Ernest Suttles said. “You can get your hands caught up and your wrists caught up in the trenches.”

Turner believes strongly in the necessity of taping, as a means of injury prevention. But it also comes at a price.

According to figures provided to The Commercial Appeal, the Memphis football team used 3,171 rolls and 34,149 yards of tape during spring ball —  which, if laid out in a straight line, would stretch from Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to Collierville.

Those taping supplies, for 14 spring football practices, cost $4,202.88. Turner estimated that Memphis spent about $28,000 on taping supplies for all of the university’s student-athletes last year.

“We try to buy tape that has research behind it, that resists moisture, that holds its tension longer,” he said. “If you’re going to spend all this money, you’re going to want to put the best tape that holds as tight as long as it possibly can in hopes of preventing injury.”

Preference and superstition

Getting taped has become part of the daily practice routine at Memphis — and many players take it seriously.

Senior Jackson Dillon, for example, has always used the same old-school white tape, made by Johnson & Johnson, 1.5 inches wide and cloth-woven. It’s popular and traditional, what you think of when you think of athletic tape. What makes Dillon unique is that he uses it without foam underwrap, taping straight to the skin.

“I’ve done this my whole life,” he said after one practice this spring. “You’ve got to keep your ankles shaved though. … I think it’s the best way to go. If everyone introduced themselves to it, they’d love it.”

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Brady Davis gets what he calls “the quarterback special,” a light tape job so his ankles don’t feel restricted. “They wrap 100 times on everybody else,” he said. Senior wide receiver Phil Mayhue also prefers it light. Though, to be honest, he’d probably prefer not to tape his ankles at all.

“I just need a necessary tape job, where I won’t get in trouble,” Mayhue said with a smile.

Dorceus doesn’t know exactly how he gets his ankles taped, but he knows that Turner knows how to do it.

“Darrell knows how to tape my ankles. Not too tight, because I’ve got sensitive feet,” Dorceus said. “He’s been taping me for three years now, so he knows how I like it.”

Turner said he and the rest of his staff usually tape the same players the same way every single day, memorizing their preferences and needs. Some players need a speciality tape job after a previous ankle injury, or prefer one of the nine varieties of tape they use — like Dillon’s old-school Johnson & Johnson tape — over another.

“They’re finicky, too,” Turner said. “You can say they’re superstitious, you can say they’re creatures of habit, whatever they may be.”

Most ankles are taped under the sock, but taping over the shoe, known as “spatting,” comes with its own set of challenges. Because spatting involves covering the shoe’s logo, it is considered a breach of Memphis’ contract with Nike, except in “isolated” incidents “deemed to be a medical expediency,” according to terms of the deal.

Turner and his staff also use different colors of tape are used to match the team’s uniform combinations and must maintain a competitive edge when taping on gamedays, too. And if one ankle is spatted — or one wrist, or one thumb, or anything else that is visible on the field — Turner will tape the other as a means of disguise.

“I don’t want a guy on the bottom of a pile grabbing the only one that’s taped, giving it a nice little twist or yank at the bottom of a pile,” he said.

All of this, Turner said, is what makes the simple act of taping an ankle or wrapping a thumb much more complicated than it may appear.

“There’s a lot to it,” he said. “There really is.”


College and University

Oakland athletic trainer Tom Ford steps away after ALS diagnosis


Article reposted from Oakland Press
Author: Oakland Press

Oakland University Associate Athletic Trainer Tom Ford announced on Saturday that he is stepping away from his duties due to being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Ford has spent 30 years at Oakland providing outstanding treatment to thousands of student-athletes during his tenure.

“This illness came to me and my family as a complete surprise,” said Ford in a press release. “The athletics department identifies each area with the person’s fathead and favorite movie quote. My quote is from the movie Forrest Gump and it is ‘My Mama always said, life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ How ironic is my movie quote now.

“I’m currently on ALS information overload. I’m trying to learn like everyone else about this disease. I knew about Lou Gehrig and the Ice Bucket Challenge which the Athletic Training staff took part in a few years ago. But other than that, I’m learning. Unfortunately this disease cannot be treated with ice, rehabilitation and tape.”

Ford came to Oakland in 1988 and immediately began working with the men’s and women’s basketball teams, along with the day-to-day duties of the athletic training office as the university’s only athletic trainer. In June 2012, Ford was recognized as the Michigan Athletic Trainer’s Society’s (MATS) Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award honoree for his superlative service to the field. He has worked with men’s basketball ever since his arrival, finishing his 30th season on the bench for the Golden Grizzlies. This year he also primarily worked with women’s soccer, as well as the men’s and women’s golf teams.

“Tom has been with me for 30 years, he is part of the fabric of not only the basketball program, but the athletic department,” said men’s basketball head coach Greg Kampe. “Wherever I go, athletic alums are always asking how T Ford is doing. He is a legend among the student-athletes, and is someone who they believed in, confided in and used as one of their biggest mentors as they progressed through their athletic careers.

“Tom spent his life keeping our athletes healthy, and now it’s on us to help him as he goes through this health issue. As a coach, colleague and friend, I am indebted to him for his service and will always be there for him. He will always be a part of our program.”

A Rochester Hills resident, Ford was recently inducted into the Ball State University Cardinal Sports Medicine Society Ring of Honor in 2016. He worked at the United States Olympic Sports Festival and Olympic Training Center with men’s hockey, and with the speedskaters at the Winter World University Games in Bulgaria.

Ford received a bachelor’s degree from Ball State in 1981 and went on to earn a master’s degree in health/athletic training and sports medicine from the University of Arizona in 1982. After he graduated from Arizona, he worked as an assistant athletic trainer for the Dallas Cowboys (1982) and spent six years as head athletic trainer at Cypress Creek High School in Houston, Texas before coming to Oakland University.

“Lou Gehrig once said in a speech that he considered himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” said Ford. “Well I’m here to tell you that I feel equally lucky. I could never have done this without the support of my family and for that I’m very grateful. The university, the athletics department and the tremendous student-athletes that I have had the pleasure working with have made it fun to come to work every day. That will be the thing I miss the most, the relationships that have been built over time.”

In honor of Ford’s service, the Golden Grizzlies will change the Black and Gold Spirit Award to the Tom Ford Black and Gold Spirit Award and present it at the Black and Gold Awards inside the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit. More recognition opportunities are being planned for Ford within Athletics.

“Tom Ford is an institution at this university,” said Director of Athletics Jeff Konya. “He is always welcome within these walls and we owe him and his family a debt of gratitude.”

Ford would like to spend time as a volunteer with the ALS Foundation. He will continue to live in Rochester Hills with his wife Kathy. They have three children, Tom, Travis and Keriann and one granddaughter Elleanna.

The Golden Grizzlies will host Tom Ford Day on Dec. 9 when Oakland takes on Chicago State in men’s basketball. All former student-athletes are encouraged to attend to celebrate Ford’s tremendous accomplishments.

“I’m not going anywhere and I plan on battling this difficult disease with every challenge it gives me,” said Ford.

College and University



Article reposted from Lone Star Conference
Author: Lone Star Conference

A total of 27 student athletic trainers were recognized by the Lone Star Conference on Thursday as the league announced its annual Athletic Training Student Academic Award winners for 2016-17.

Each academic year, the LSC recognizes student athletic trainers who devote several hours to assist with the operation of the athletics department while also finding the time to excel in the classroom. To be eligible for LSC academic honors, student athletic trainers must carry at least a 3.30 grade point average with a minimum of 24 semester hours at the nominating institution. The qualifications mirror those required of student-athletes to gain LSC All-Academic recognition.

This year’s honorees represent six of the LSC’s 11 member institutions, with West Texas A&M having a league-high 10 honorees, followed by Midwestern State with eight recipients and Angelo State and Texas A&M-Kingsville with three each.  Texas A&M-Commerce had two honorees, while Tarleton State had one receive recognition.

This year’s LSC Athletic Training Student Academic Award recipients are:

Name School Year
Ben Adams Angelo State Sr.
Colten Zuniga Angelo State Sr.
James Roberts Angelo State Jr.
Caitlyn Frye Midwestern State So.
Jenna Hering Midwestern State So.
Jessica Geis Midwestern State Sr.
Jiankun Kang Midwestern State Sr.
Lexi Boswell Midwestern State Jr.
Lidia Garcia Midwestern State Sr.
Sara Smith Midwestern State So.
Tatum Jones Midwestern State So.
Shiloh Reaves Tarleton State Grad
Cheyenne Gehring Texas A&M-Commerce Sr.
Mandolyn Peterson Texas A&M-Commerce Sr.
Jessica Johnson Texas A&M-Kingsville Grad
Kayla Patton Texas A&M-Kingsville Jr.
Kristin Weller Texas A&M-Kingsville Grad
Allison Nafey West Texas A&M Sr.
Benjamin Anthony West Texas A&M Sr.
Haylee Martinez West Texas A&M So.
Ian Holacka West Texas A&M So.
Josh Torres West Texas A&M Sr.
Kaylee Shores West Texas A&M Jr.
Mitchell Whitehead West Texas A&M Sr.
Nikki Brown West Texas A&M So.
Tracey Ecklund West Texas A&M Jr.
Whitney Whitford West Texas A&M Jr.


College and University

Dawn Corbin’s work appreciated at Utica


Article reposted from The Tangerine
Author: Christian A. Rodriguez

Athletic trainers play big parts in athlete’s careers. Their job is to help athletes recover from their injuries, as well as evaluate and prevent injuries.

They put together injury prevention protocols for teams that are separated by specific body parts. If the athlete gets hurt, they find out what it is, and inform the athlete. If the injury isn’t too severing, they will provide exercises and rehabilitation for the athlete to recover. If it is severe, they will set them up with an appointment at the nearest hospital.

If you are a student athlete at Utica College, then you are familiar with the athletic training room where you see a 5 foot 6 inch, brown-haired women with glasses and a pet dog by her side at her desk. That woman is Assistant Athletic Trainer Dawn Corbin. Junior men’s basketball player Ivan Iton appreciates having Corbin around when he needs her. She once treated Ivan for a dislocated finger in his freshman season at UC and he says his finger was as good as new, but Corbin made sure he was in her office every day to be sure his finger got better.

“UC is very fortunate to have such a passionate worker like Dawn on campus for the past eight years,” Iton said.

“Since the day I was hired in August of 2009, I always loved to see the process from when athletes get hurt to when the athlete is better; it is truly a rewarding feeling,” Corbin said.

Dawn earned her bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2004. She wasn’t done yet; she traveled to Virginia and went on to earn her master’s in kinesiology, the study of human movement, from the University of Virginia in 2005.

“It was really tough at the University of Virginia. I was working with the football team and teaching while completing my master’s degree is just one year,” Corbin added. She was teaching physical education classes while getting her master’s degree along with working with the football team at the University of Virginia.

Her hard work is inspiring as she also managed to accomplish every college student’s dream, to graduate with a 4.0 GPA, and she did it from both institutions.

Athletic training has always been a part of Corbin life since she started studying athletic training as a freshman. Prior to working at Utica College, from 2000 to 2004 she was an intern for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers as an undergraduate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. As a huge football fan, Corbin said she was very fortunate and grateful for that opportunity, she said. Her favorite player on the team was Jerome Bettis and she says that he was the reason she got the job.

“I was walking around the facility and happened to walk into the training room where Jerome walked in and asked what I was doing there,” Corbin said. “They told him I was interning for a job and he said ‘well let’s see how she tapes an ankle’ and he seemed to like the way I taped because I got the job right on the spot.”

From 2005 to 2009, Corbin was also a part of the Shorter University’s athletic training staff in Rome, Georgia.

In this world, it is good to expand your mind and get out of your comfort zone, and not be so one-dimensional. Athletic training isn’t the only thing Corbin is good at. She wrote an article on postural control that was published for the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation in 2007. The name of the article is “The Effect of Texture Orthotics of Postural Control.” In 2009 that same book was published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

“At first I was just researching for personal knowledge, but then I thought I should share it with the world,” Corbin said. “After the first publish in 2007 I was really happy and felt accomplished, the publishing in 2009 was just a bonus.”

The research found the significant change in the balance with orthotic in as opposed to when the orthotic is out.

Corbin is also a part of the National Athletic Training Association, Magna Chuma Lade, a 4.0 graduates, and American College of Sports Medicine.

When Corbin isn’t working she spends time with her pet dog, Jerome, which she named after her favorite Steelers player, Jerome Bettis. Her love for animals is unbreakable. She currently resides in downtown Utica and just down the road from her home she volunteers at Stevens Swan Humane Society in Utica, where she takes care of the animals.

Away from the Utica College, Corbin also works part-time at an inventory company called Regis.

“It’s a pretty easy gig to get extra money, I just go to stores and count their inventory, why not?” she said.

When she isn’t working she lives a pretty exciting and adventurous life; she loves to skydive. Most people are afraid to skydive, but Corbin actually finds it funny that one time her parachute didn’t open and she had to use her emergency chute.

“I hit the ground pretty hard and dislocated my shoulder, but it was pretty fun and comical now that I think back on it,” Dawn said.

Co-worker Christopher Warner really enjoys working with Corbin. He finds her sense humor being a way of getting through his day.

“Dawn is very funny without showing it,” Christopher said. “Dawn can tell a joke with no smile and in her low voice and it’ll still be funny, that’s why I love working with her,” Christopher added.

Kristin Garrity, another Assistant Athletic Director at Utica College since 2015, is also grateful to work with Corbin every day. She also gets a kick out of Dawns “serious” sense of humor.

“Sometime I am the only one laughing when she makes a joke because people take her too serious and I know when she’s being funny and when she isn’t,” Kristin said. “Dawn is Dawn, there is no misunderstanding of how she feels, she speaks her mind and I love it,” Kristin added.

College and University

DU Pioneers athletic training staff plays a big role in lacrosse team success


Article reposted from Denver 7
Author: Alison Mastrangelo

As the DU lacrosse team prepares for their first semifinal of the Big East Tournament in Providence, R.I., there are two game changers for the Pio’s that you won’t see in the game, but you will see them on the sidelines and in practice

Denver7 Sports Anchor Alison Mastrangelo met up with DU’s athletic trainer Josie White and strength coach Matt Van Dyke and shares what makes this athletic training duo so successful.