Friday, April 18, 2008

Skate-ing Away

Quick - Name the only person to be in the UNC Men's Basketball Team picture for 3 National Championship teams (1982, 1993 and 2005).

Give up?
It's Mark Davis, the team's Head Athletic Trainer for the past 31 years. Nicknamed "Skate" by former Tar Heel player Jimmy Black, Mr Davis recently announced his retirement.
While the team is still in the good hands of Dr Timothy Taft (team physician) and Jonas Sahratian (Strength and Conditioning Coach), Carolina Basketball will be hard pressed to find someone to fill Mr Davis' chair (and sweater vest) at the end of the team bench.
It's true that coaches and players get most of the attention, but athletic trainers are an equally important part of any good basketball team, especially those college and professional programs that have to make it through a long, grueling, and physical season of practices and competitions. Athletic trainers are often the hands-on providers in the management, prevention, recognition and rehabilitation of injured athletes.
Long hours, working with athletes in pain, and miles (and miles) of tape are all part of an athletic trainer's life. But so is helping players get back in the game and being a central part of any succesful team.
If your own NBA dream doesn't pan out, you might find your professional calling as an athletic trainer.
It may even help you make it to the NBA (or, in Mr Davis' case, to multiple Final Fours and Championship rings).

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