Aug 24, 2015
Bringing NBA ATC Staffs Together

After an injury-plagued year in the NBA, the Players’ Association appointed its first-ever Director of Sports Medicine and Research. Joe Rogowski, former Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets, recently spoke with the Associated Press about his new role, how he’s suited to it, and what he hopes to accomplish.

As reported at, Rogowski acknowledged the challenge of bringing the athletic training staffs of multiple teams together to prevent injury. To address this, he emphasized the importance of communication.

“That’s one of the real positives about myself in this position is the fact that I have good relationships with the teams because of my 10 years of experience in the NBA,” Rogowski said. “Being able to talk with the team’s trainer and the strength and conditioning coaches, doctors, communicate with the union what’s going on and the player what’s going on. Sometimes it’s as simple as a miscommunication. A lot of the issues can be easily resolved with communication.”

One particular challenge will be overcoming the idea that sharing information is in conflict with the highly competitive atmosphere in the NBA. Some squads may think a successful strategy for injury prevention should be kept as a team secret.

“Some teams do see it as an advantage, but a lot of times when you explain it in a way they understand, you can make them aware that this is not any type of advantage you’re giving away,” said Rogowski. “Now what they have specifically on their guys, they can keep to themselves. But if it’s a general concept on addressing injuries, I don’t think any teams or trainers will hold on to that. If the NBA as a whole is a better product and you have fewer injured guys, it’s great for everybody.”

One of the projects Rogowski is most excited about is setting up more health services for retired players.

“I’ve had so many players throughout the years that have gone into retirement. I’ve seen some of their struggles. And not even struggles, but ways we could pay them back for all their years of service,” he said. “Starting programs for them has been one of my passions, […] setting up medical programs for them and making sure once they’re done playing, they’re not just forgotten about. They’re still a focus for us, whether it’s orthopedics, cardiology, endocrinology; whatever it is, we’re setting up stuff for them to still be healthy after they’re done playing.”

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