Athletics medical staff making its mark on the U.S.
AUSTIN, Texas -- The current and former University of Texas student-athletes that are preparing for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, China are not the only Longhorns gearing up for a trip to the Olympics, as two members of UT's sports medicine staff are preparing for the 2008 Summer Games as well. Dr. C. Mark Chassay, Texas' head team physician, and assistant athletic trainer LaGwyn Durden have been selected to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) medical staff for the Olympics, while assistant athletic trainer Fred Burnett is serving as athletic trainer for the USA Archery team at World Cup events as it prepares for the 2008 games.
Chassay, a Houston, Texas, native has worked as a team physician at Texas since 1996 and has been the head physician since 2008. In addition to his duties at The University, Chassay is co-founder of Texas Sports & Family Medicine, PLLC and he has practiced sports and family medicine since 1995.
"I have always wanted to have a chance to work with the Olympic committee," Chassay said. "I have always wanted to volunteer my efforts to my country and at the same time challenge myself to perform at a high level."
Chassay's Olympic assignment follows his service as a medical officer with USA Baseball and USA Karate at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has also served as chief medical officer for the USOC at the Visa Paralympic World Cup which took place in Manchester, England, in May 2005.
"It was important to me to have this type of opportunity from a professional standpoint and this whole opportunity first started in 2003 when I spent two weeks at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista, Calif.," Chassay said. "After that time I decided that I wanted to continue to move on and I have done so by continuing to volunteer for the other events.
"I feel that my work at the Pan Am Games last summer and my job at The University of Texas have more than adequately prepared me for the day-to-day dealings with athletes, coaches and athletic trainers that I will experience at the Olympic level," Chassay noted.
Durden is in her 15th season at Texas where she works primarily with the women's track and field team. Durden has helped the Texas health-care program become one of the nation's best, and has worked with several USA Track and Field Championship teams, including the 2007 Pan American Games. Durden will again join the U.S. track and field program as an athletic trainer at the 2008 Summer Games.
"This is a goal that I have had for quite some time," Durden said. "Working the Olympic Games for USA Track and Field is an honor and I am very excited that I have finally attained my goal of working as a medical staff appointee in such a major arena."
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Durden joined the Texas program in 1993 and she is part of a sports medicine program which is renowned for its innovative attention and research in women's health. Durden earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in exercise and sports sciences at Florida, then completed one year of Ph.D. work in exercise physiology at Louisiana State University before joining the Texas sports medicine staff.
"My assignment is with the U.S. Men's and Women's Track and Field team and it will be a lot of hard work," Durden added. "We will be working with the athletes doing many of the same things we do here at Texas. However, it is a little different because there is a lot more at stake for these athletes at the Olympics. I look forward to working with the athletes as they prepare for competition in Dahlia, China as well as when we actually go to Beijing for the games."
Burnett serves as the athletic trainer for the Longhorns' men's basketball program, a position he has held since 2002. Burnett was chosen to serve as the athletic trainer for the USA Archery team during the 2007 World Championships in Germany. He also served as the athletic trainer for the USA Archery team in preparation for the 2008 Olympics at World Cup events held in Turkey and France.
"I will be working with the USA Archery team as they prepare for the Olympics," Burnett said. "I've always been interested in working with the USOC and it is a way that I get to represent our country and work with some of the best athletes in the world."
Burnett, a Centreville, Mich., native earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and exercise science from Michigan State in 1996. In addition to his responsibilities with men's basketball, Burnett also assists with the Texas football team.
The University of Texas has long been well represented on podiums throughout the Olympics and 2008 will be no different. However, this year these three members of the Longhorns' medical team will also have played a key role in helping U.S. athletes ready themselves to compete for their country in Beijing.