Jul 9, 2015New Jazz Athletic Trainer Followed Different Path
In college, Brian Zettler was told by one of his professors that he wasn’t “athletic training material.” Now he’s the Head Athletic Trainer for the Utah Jazz.
But Zettler’s path to becoming one of 30 Head Athletic Trainers in the NBA was hardly traditional, as recounted by an article in his hometown paper in Waxahachie, Texas. Discouraged by the professor’s comment, Zettler took a job with State Farm Insurance after graduating from Texas A&M and appeared to be on his way to a successful career with the firm when he decided to pursue his dream of athletic training.
“I had so many people that thought I had lost my mind,” Zettler said about quitting his job at State Farm.
He spent three years as the Head Athletic Trainer at Southwestern Assemblies of God University, where he started the school’s sports medicine program, before becoming Head Athletic Trainer of the Dallas Desperados in the Arena Football League. He also helped with the athletic training staffs of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Cowboys, as well as the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Zettler joined the Jazz in 2003 as an Assistant Athletic Trainer and Equipment Manager before being tapped this June to replace Gary Briggs, who retired after a 15-year run as the team’s Head Athletic Trainer. Zettler’s previous responsibilities will now be split between two people.
Zettler’s success extends outside the training room as well. In 2013, he was named the Man of the Year for his efforts working on behalf of Utah’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which he detailed in this article for Training & Conditioning.