Celebrating Athletic Trainers!

Celebrating Athletic Trainers!

by evergreenpt, March 30, 2018

March is Athletic Trainers Appreciation Month!


One does not have to be an athlete to appreciate the role of athletic trainers. Anyone who is a parent, grandparent, sibling, teacher, coach or friend of a high school or older athlete can and should thank an AT. As true first responders ATs are at the front lines of safety. Working closely with many ATs Evergreen thanks them for all they do and for the dedication they have to minimizing injuries.

In this issue we give shout outs to some ATs we admire and appreciate, we give some inside scoop on the exciting places they can find themselves employed, and we also challenge folks to consider their own need for strength, agility, and stamina and perhaps the coaching wisdom of an athletic trainer for themselves.

Here are just a few of the many reasons we love them!

1. They are first-responders who literally save lives.
2. They create standards that  keep players safe and healthy.
3. They pour out 110% into everything they do
4. They see themselves as part of the team and patients or athletes as family.
5. They advocate for the safety and health of athletes
6. They multi-task like no-one but your mother can.
7. They communicate trust with athletes, parents, coaches, teachers, PTs, MDs, Chiros, Education Specialists, and EMT /Paramedics.
8. They keep crazy hours and rarely complain.
9. They understand athletes and their mind sets
10. They can be found in many work settings beyond just sports teams.

ATs on the sidelines and courts for Young Athletes …

The most common place for an athletic trainer to work is with a high school, college, or professional sports team. A few blocks away from Evergreen is one of our area’s most respected ATs who works tirelessly at the high school level. Kelly Wierema is the certified Athletic Trainer for Maranatha High School in Pasadena. Kelly is also the Kinesiology teacher for 2-3 classes per semester. It didn’t take long for Kelly to implement several potentially life-saving programs for the young athletes at the school.  Student cardiac screenings and IMPACT baseline testings have been routine in her advocacy for student / athlete health.  (You can read about the importance of cardiac screenings in youth athletes here on our blog and about how IMPACT baseline testings are important in the treatment and diagnosis of concussion injuries.)

As an ATC for high school sports, Kelly gets to know all 200-300 hundred of her athletes like family.  She gets to go with them through victories as well as set backs.  With vigilance, she must be prepared to deal cooly and calmly with injuries and often they occur at same time. Our own Dave Johnson has stood side line with her for hours and was amazed to see Kelly in action, and on one occasion she handled, simultaneously, a concussion, a wrist fracture, and an elbow dislocation on 3 different athletes!  She did so with great calm and wisdom and the ability to triage priorities and procedures.  With so many players and things happening so quickly these emergencies can occur all at once which requires a skilled, professional ATC trained specifically in triage and engagement of necessary steps of action. Because she invests so much in the well being of the students, her room is a popular hang out at lunch time and beyond. Kelly is one of the most capable, smart, and caring ATCs out there and we thank her for her service and commitment.
Thank YOU, Kelly!

The Unique Role of ATs in Physical Therapy Clinics

“We (ATs) hear what makes our athletes angry, or happy. We see their successes and build off of that in order to encourage them through an injury.”

So says Nick Tavoukjian, Evergreen’s resident ATC. “My job is to not only work through an injury at the time it happens, but also to recondition the person to getting back to what they want to do.  Usually this means making sure they’re mentally strong enough and physically strong.”  We all know injuries disrupt goals. Setbacks throw off competitive momentum. Disappointments cause doubt with our capability of staying in or on our game.Basically, injuries take their toll. Repeat injuries should not happen, but when they do, they disrupt confidence.

ATs have a unique skill set to breakdown a treatment strategy and provide a evidence based structure of  “periodized” training that respects the individuals body type, their current and past injury, the demands of their positions, role and sport,  and the importance of realistic achievable goals.  “They need to be “coached” to achieve success at a rate that challenges them and helps them see their role back in the game or on the job, in a way that doesn’t cause more hurdles,” says Nick Tavoukjian MA, ATC.

Nick has been with Evergreen for a couple of years now, both as a stand out student and experienced professional. He was brought on for his expertise in serving as both a ATC, a Certified Strength Coach, a Certified Tactical Strength Facilitator, and, just to make his day more diverse, to serve with our pediatric population. Evergreen’s Founder, Dave, recognizes that “ATs are required to have that quick thinking of first-responders which PTs generally don’t and also the long term heart of a coach, counselor and friend , which is a great combination for any PT clinic.”  Team oriented by nature, ATs collaborate well. They are team players themselves.  To them each person as an individual with different assessment  needs to play at a best level of performance. “When you are able to look at a patient not only from the physical well-being standpoint, but also from an emotional well-being standpoint, your patients become your family and you want to watch them succeed.” –Nick

Just because we can’t stop talking about Nick… here is some back story of a really cool guy that you want on your team. After receiving under graduate degree in political science and then joining the military,  a unique health condition (that he may tell you about) caused him to leave that post very reluctantly. Re-calibrating his future he discovered his passion for working with athletes and, in particular,  tactical athletes and to do so he received his Masters of Science in Athletic Training from Azusa Pacific University. He is also a Certified Strengthening Coach with unique skill set as a certified Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator. In these roles he is dedicated to bringing the latest and best practice to injury prevention, mission preparedness and recovery to all first responders, paramilitary and military clientele.

And if that isn’t enough of a story, Nick volunteers with Reach Out World Wide (ROWW) a nonprofit organization here in Pasadena and started by deceased actor Paul Walker of Fast and Furious fame. This worthwhile organization brings together military and paramilitary and first responders together for disaster relief, with whom Nick served after Hurricane Harvey in Houston Texas.

And, no!, he doesn’t work with puppies and kittens, but he does work with kids, and even infants. As a student intern, Nick completed training under Evergreen’s owner, Dave Johnson, a pediatric specialist, just to gain more knowledge of pediatric interventions.  Nick had two reasons to seek this opportunity: first his work in Armenia as the founding CEO of a nonprofit serving kids and soldiers / athletes with rehabilitation and athletic training needs, and, second,  because of his passion for use of knowledge of developmental kinesiology and it’s applications to the athletic and movement  and  performance world.

Visit his facebook page for the Armenian American Sports Medicine Coalition (AASMC) for a view in to his annual trips to Armenia. Cheers to health and staying IN and ON your game, what ever that may be.

The Life of a Traveling AT

Evergreen lucky to have another outstanding AT, Carlos I. Roel DPT, OCS, ATC, CSCS.  Nick is not the only show in town. Our family is “Evergreen-PROUD” of Carlos who just returned from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates serving the USA Volleyball Beach Teams at the Katara Beach Volleyball Cup 2018. Four, two-man teams represented Team USA and placed 4th (Olympians Phil Delhausser/ Nick Lucena) and several others tied for 9th (Taylor Crabb/ Olympian, Jacob Gibb), (Billy Ketch Allen / Ryan Doherty “aka Avatar”), and (John Hyden/ Theo Brunner).

Going solo as a dual ATC and PT, Carlos’ duties on Team USA medical staff were as a first responder for any onsite injuries and all taping of USA athletes. It was a huge honor for him to be selected out a pool of practitioners which includes ATCs, PTs, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, MDs, DOs, and acupuncturists. Overall, 66 teams competed from 29 countries for a week in Doha Qatar on Katara Beach. Carlos has traveled to over 13 countries in his role as AT / PT for USA sports and for his first time to the Persian Gulf, he came home with impressions of Qatar as very pleasantly multi-cultural with hot winters. Doha is a growing city both in paremeter and height with a brilliant skyline. He was surprised at how metropolitan the capital of Qatar was and it was very evident that large populations of people represented many continents.

Thankfully, no major injuries occured during competition, but Carlos was on-hand helping several athletes work through some prior injuries while still competing. In June, Carlos will board a plane, yet again, to work with the USA Soccer, Paralympic Team.
AT’s, again due to their unique first responder skills sets, can be found all over the world in very unique and exciting roles.

AT’s in Training at Evergreen

Evergreen is proud to be a training site for future Athletic Trainers. We feel it is important to provide rich learning experiences for future ATCs along side PTs and seek those who desire to put in the work and collaborate with us in a less traditional setting.  Below is a list of those who’ve taken the mantel and collaborated with us in pursuit of a true team approach. Congratulations to our past Athletic Training students and volunteers and we wish them great success in their job career endeavors.

Karla Velazquez, MS, ATC, MEd- Director of Athletic Training at USMC MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, CA.

Albert Torres, MS, ATC, CSCS- Head Athletic Trainer/ROP Sports Medicine Instructor at Diamond Ranch High School, Pomona, CA.

Mike Lee, MS, ATC- Head Athletic Trainer at South Hills High School, West Covina, CA.

Mckenna Newell, MS, ATC, CES – Intern Athletic Trainer at Grand Canyon University (Cross Country/ Track & Field).

Jacob Melgar, graduating summer 2018 from Cal State University, Fullerton with a BS in Athletic Training.  Entering Cal State University, Northridge’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Fall 2018. Current volunteer at Evergreen Physical Therapy and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach.



We are all athletes …
in our own way.

Webster def:  \  ˈath-ˌlēt –

... any person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina…

We would add to that definition any person with a life-task or enjoyed activity requiring any amount of strength, agility, or stamina.  Stay with us. Some times our sport do not have  a score board or championships. Often we compete against ourselves or our own barriers.  Some work outs at a gym, jog/walk around the Rose Bowl, hike on the trails of the San Gabriels, crawl on knees through a garden, climb flights of stairs at work, chase, lift, lower, and carry toddlers from one place to another. Some times, when in pain, it takes more strength, agility and stamina than we can muster just to walk down the hallway or sit up on the side of the bed. Take out the “competition” and we all find ourselves needing strength, agility, and stamina for our own events in our own day to day. We all want to stay in our game and not be sidelined.

We at Evergreen think our community needs a “training room”. The hub of any team is the training room and it’s where people are cared for, advocated for, and coached into top performance. An injury is not the pre-requisite for having a relationship with an AT. Rather a desire for injury prevention, for performance enhancement, and / or a need for an educated plan of implementation over the seasonal wax and wane of intensity. IF this resonates you can call our offices at (626) 683-8536 and set up a free consultation with Nick to see how he can help you realize your strength, performance, mobility, and conditioning goals. Nick is on your team and here to help. That’s what AT’s do best.


Call us at Evergreen (626) 683 8536 for your own personal Athletic Training sessions!

It’s time to have an AT on YOUR team. Have you ever thought of having your own personal athletic trainer?.  Why does the community at large NOT have access to ATs?  At Evergreen we believe we are all athletes in our own right. In that spirit, Evergreen offers Athletic Training Wellness and Performance programs. Give us a call today to find out more.


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