Aug 30, 2016
AT Comes Out

Working as an athletic trainer involves traveling and interacting with coaches and student-athletes frequently, which can add stress if you’re living a secret life. After many years of keeping his personal life under wraps, a college athletic trainer decided to let his colleagues and student-athletes know that he is gay.

In an article for, Henderson State University Athletic Trainer Rob Redding explains why he made the decision to come out to his team. After hearing about many other individuals having positive experiences with coming out, Redding decided he couldn’t continue maintaining status quo–despite his worries.

“Athletic trainers are medical professional who work very closely with student-athletes,” Redding writes on “In my case I am the Assistant AD for Sports Medicine. My primary sport coverage responsibilities are football and baseball. I am at every practice and travel to every game with my teams. I am responsible for evaluating and treating injuries to my student-athletes. A lot of time this requires close physical interaction with them. While I am very professional in all my interactions, I have long worried about how the athlete would feel if the guy doing a deep-tissue massage on his hamstring was gay.”

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Although he believes that most of his student-athletes may already have known, the 2015 football season was the first time he shared this information with student-athletes. Rather than alarming them, the student-athletes’ trust was strengthened.

“As so many others have expressed, far from my fears being founded I discovered my relationship strengthened by this sharing of my personal truth,” Redding wrote.

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