By DYLAN FOREMAN ’18
The assistant athletic trainer at Pacific Lutheran University goes beyond a normal athletic trainer’s job description by not only treating injuries but also caring for the people he helps.
Todd Yamauchi is in his twelfth year as a certified athletic trainer since graduating from Whitworth University. Over the span of his career, he has been a part of keeping multiple athletes’ dreams alive. Most people aren’t able to say they have done something that significant in people’s lives.
In his first job as an athletic trainer at the Division III school Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., Yamauchi helped fully heal a lacrosse player with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.This is also known as an ACL tear. The only reason the student had gone to Lycoming College in the first place was to play lacrosse and now it seemed he wasn’t going to be able to come back for his next season. He did, however, due to Yamauchi’s work ethic in rehabbing him. The student came back in nine months to play the start of his junior season.
“It felt good to see him on the field and accomplishing his goals,” Yamauchi said.
Yamauchi always loved sports growing up. No matter what it was, he loved being around them. He was never athletic enough to play but he never lost his passion for it. This passion, according to Yamauchi, is what sparked his interest in athletic training. He attended graduate school at Oregon State University where he continued to study sports medicine. While at graduate school, he was a graduate assistant trainer at Western Oregon University.
At Western Oregon University, he was on the road with the football team at an away game in South Dakota. During the game, one of the kids on the team was hit hard. At that point in time concussions were not as big of a deal as they are today. According to the Sports Concussion Institute, there is “75% chance for concussions” in football. Yamauchi experienced firsthand why that is. The kid didn’t know where he was or why he was there. He didn’t remember anyone around him. This was the first time Yamauchi had ever seen anything this severe while in his line of work.
“You never really know the toll it can take on someone’s personal life beyond football,” Yamauchi said. “It made me more conservative.”
Since that point in time, Yamauchi made sure to treat all injuries with serious care as to prevent them from ever happening again. One of the current players he is currently rehabbing for a broken ankle is junior Pacific Lutheran basketball player, Shane Jacob.
“He’s always in my ear making sure I complete all of my rehab,” Jacob said. “Todd is the first trainer I go to when I get an injury because I trust his knowledge and expertise.”
Assistant Athletic Trainer Todd Yamauchi works with a Pacific Lutheran University athlete in the training room Monday, April 13, 2015. He is taping the athlete on the ankle where the injury is present. Photo by DYLAN FOREMAN ’18
Jacob is one of the many student-athletes that have trusted Yamauchi with their collegiate careers. His approach to treating athletes requires communication, trust, and care. He finds it important to establish close relationships with his athletes. It makes the rehab process more beneficial when athletes know they are being taken care and can relate to the man fixing them up.
“I always say, we are treating the athlete, not the injury,”chi said. He continues to work on each athlete that comes to him with care, trust, and communication.