July 21, 2011
John Byczek, Texas Media Relations
Texas is known as an athletics powerhouse because of the elite coaches and athletes who perform on a national stage, but credit is also due to those working behind the scenes. The UT Athletics program boasts a top-notch support staff.
Two athletic trainers and one doctor from UT’s sports medicine staff have been invited to participate in international competitions. Athletic trainer LaGwyn Durden will assist the U.S. delegation at the 2011 World Track and Field Championships held in South Korea, athletic trainer Mike West is traveling with the USA Baseball 14U National team to the COPABE Pan Am ‘A’/14U Championships in Venezuela and finally, in November, Dr. Mark Chassay will bring his expertise to the Para Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Durden has been a member of the UT athletic training staff since 1993 and is currently the Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Women’s Track and Field program. She will head to Daegu, South Korea in late August for the world championships.
Durden is no stranger to travel or large international events. In 2008 she served as an athletic trainer for the U.S. National Track and Field team in the Olympic Games in Beijing. In addition, she assisted national teams in Munich, Germany in 2004, in Athens, Greece during the 2006 World Cup, and in Rio, Brazil during the 2007 Pan American Games.
Durden said she had the most memorable experience at the Olympic Games in 2008.
“I got to see people incorporate things and do things that I had not been exposed to, privied to, or ever had a chance to try,” Durden said regarding her time at the Olympics. “We were thrown into a big melting pot and got to learn from each other.”
Durden has a strong passion for track and field and says she loves working with athletes. She believes UT has opened many doors and created great opportunities for her.
“The fact that I’m already in a program that has elite student-athletes, with former and current athletes competing at World (Championships), allows me to meet people outside of collegiate athletics and get into these types of positions,” Durden said.
The 2011 World Track and Field Championship will start in Daegu on Aug. 27 and continue through Sept. 4.
West is the Assistant Athletic Trainer for the UT Baseball team. He has been a part of the athletic training staff since Jan. 2008 and has been training baseball players for 12 years.
West now has an opportunity to do something that he has never done before with the USA Baseball 14U team -- West has not been involved in an international event before, nor with a group this young.
“It’s a privilege to get invited to work with the USA Baseball National Governing Body 14 and Under team. I haven’t worked with this age group so it should be interesting to see how they manage pregame preparation, how they manage winning and losing, and how they take care of themselves regarding stretching, nutrition, hydration and workouts,” West said.
West also hopes to give the players an idea of what baseball will hold for them in the future, and he is hoping to have a very successful time in San Felipe, Venezuela.
“We’re going down there to win. From the director to the coaches that I’ve spoken to over the phone, this is the biggest time of the year for them and everything has sort of peaked to this moment,” West said.
Team trials and training will be held Aug. 1-10. The COPABE Pan Am ‘A’/14U Championships will then begin in San Felipe on Aug. 11.
Chassay is the Medical Director of the Athletic Training Education Program at The University of Texas, and also serves as Head Team Physician for Intercollegiate Athletics. Chassay is also co-founder of Texas-Sports and Family Medicine, PLLC. He has been practicing sports and family medicine since 1995.
Chassay served as a Medical Officer at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and for Team USA at the XXIX Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China in 2008. In 2005, Chassay was Chief Medical Officer for the United States at the VISA World Paralympic Cup in Manchester, England.
Once again, Chassay has been selected as Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Delegation at the Para Pan American Games. As Chief Medical Officer, he will be supervising any work that the volunteer physicians, athletic trainers, doctors, chiropractors and massage therapists may do.
The Para Pan American Games will Nov. 6-22 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“My experience in 2005 at the VISA World Paralympic Cup gave me a great appreciation and interest in para-athletes. It’s always interesting because not only do you have to worry about the orthotics working but the connections working and making sure they don’t break. It’s almost like making sure you don’t sprain your ankle before your sprint,” Chassay said.