Jan 30, 2020
3 female athletic trainers make history at Super Bowl LIV
From the NATA

While Super Bowl LIV occurs during the NFL’s 100th anniversary, it also marks another historic achievement: For the first time, three female athletic trainers (ATs) will provide medical care during a Super Bowl.

hard rock stadium
Photo: A.J. Lipp

The ATs join other powerhouse females instrumental to Super Bowl Sunday: offensive assistant coach for the 49ers, Katie Sowers; and international sensations Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato and Shakira. They are in good company with female viewers of last year’s game comprising nearly 50% of Super Bowl viewers.

The three athletic trainers — Laura A. McCabe, LAT, ATC with the San Francisco 49ers; Tiffany Morton, MS, ATC, and Julie Frymyer, MS, ATC, DPT, with the Kansas City Chiefs — will take the field Sunday at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. They follow in the footsteps of trailblazing female athletic trainers who helped pave the way for them: Sue Hillman, the first female in NFL history to work on an athletic training staff (1997), and Ariko Iso, the first full-time female athletic trainer in the NFL (2002). The NFL currently has eight full-time female athletic trainers across all teams.

As health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses, these athletic trainers have the unique challenge of not only providing the gold standard of care to the athletes on the field, but to be vanguards in their profession while also under the watchful eye of tens of millions of viewers around the world.

“The accomplishment of these three athletic trainers leading up to the NFL’s biggest game is a testament to their commitment to player health, safety and well-being,” said National Athletic Trainers’ Association President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC. “The athletic training profession is more than 50% female and I am hopeful that through the examples set by the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers and others, female athletic trainers in professional sport will be commonplace.”

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“Between Super Bowl LIV’s two sports medicine staffs, there are three full-time female ATs, which displays the commitment of these clubs to assemble diverse staffs comprised of great health care clinicians who share common goals, drive, and a commitment to their athletes and their profession,” said Frymyer. “I believe it’s time that females in these positions are no longer considered a rarity, but as the norm. I commend the work the NFL has done with their intern scholarship programs for women and minorities to expand the network of athletic trainers in the league. We had our share of injuries this year and it’s extremely rewarding to see the hard work of our entire staff help this team be healthy and heading to Super Bowl LIV.”

“I’m so proud to be a part of an incredible sports medicine team and such a historic franchise,” said McCabe. “Athletic trainers, no matter their gender, have the health and safety of the players as their main focus. We are with the players every step of the way to help them compete at their highest level. I am grateful to John and Kyle as well as the York family for entrusting me with this role. I can’t wait to walk out onto the field on Super Bowl Sunday.”

“Every NFL athletic trainer dreams of helping their team reach the highest level of competition while preventing injuries and helping athletes return to play,” said Morton. “I started my career as an AT in Miami, so I’m especially ecstatic to return to my second home in front of friends and mentors. I hope the hard work and dedication to our team is obvious as we prepare for the biggest game in football. And while the spotlight is still very much on the players on the field, I am beyond excited to share a piece of this historic day with Julie and Laura as the three of us make a small name for women in professional sports.”

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 45,000 members of the athletic training profession. For more information, visit www.nata.org.

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