Missouri State University
Athletic Training Education Program
Department of Sports Medicine and Athletic Training

MSAT Alumni Update: Yuichi Sasaki

YS2014 MSAT alumni Yuichi Sasaki has some big things going on in his professional life. We are so proud of “Sasaki” as he is now working with the Malaysian Olympic, Parlympic, and Non-Olympic sports teams. Check out Sasaki’s story here:

Life after graduated from MSU SMAT 2014 (the first and the best class ever in SMAT history!)

What have I been doing?

  • After graduated from MSAT 2014 as a very first class, I relocated to Houston for this rehab tech job, which I didn’t know was what it was. After relocating there, things did not go well between me and my supervisor, and I became unemployed in the beginning of November 2014. It was the scariest and most challenging moment in my life but what I learned at MSAT was valued by some people, all of who took this strange Japanese man into their wings. One of them was Haji Takashima, MSU graduate and my mentor. I met him during my time as an intern at University of Houston 2011-2012 season. Because of my connection with U of H, I started volunteering my time even before the period of the unemployment. And, another one was Lee Fiocchi, who is the strength & conditioning coach of U of H baseball and also runs his own company, Dynamic Sports Training. I went to those places back and forth in my spare time while employed and more while unemployed. Coach Lee usually works with MLB and MiLB players in winter for off-season training. As I started volunteering, he trusted in me and gave me the opportunity to work with some of the premier MLB players. Also, thanks to Haji, I was able to audit the physical therapist fellowship program, Institute for Athlete Regeneration, where I learned joint mobilization and manipulation in depth. (it is legal for athletic trainers to do grade 5 joint mob in Texas that time. Either way, it was valuable to learn. I still use joint mobilization within legal limit. Why? Because of JMD of SFMA break down!) Looking back, unemployment helped me to refine and even better my knowledge and skills than while I was at this clinic. In January 2015, I was employed at Lee University, Cleveland TN,and started working with their baseball team. It was this time that my education and experience in MSU and life in Houston made a difference right away. During 2015-2016 preseason, I FMSed all the pitchers and majority of the field players (a few of them did not show up just like you can imagine! haha) and prescribed the injury reduction program along with the one-on-one prehab session with me a few times a week during the 2015 Fall semester. This gave us only one small shoulder surgery during the pre-season. I believe this was the huge success for me as an athletic trainer, considering baseball players at this level always have some kind of existing injuries in some way or another. Also, from January 2016, I started volunteering as a strength coach for our women’s soccer team and women’s& men’s tennis teams. I loved it. During MSU, I always wanted to be a strength coach like Brandon and Mitch, and it was a dream come true for me. Of course, I FMSed all the players before the session started and that gave me the clear big picture of strength training.  :)
What will I be doing with PODIUM program and Malaysian Olympic/Paralympic/National teams?
  • I will work with Malaysian Olympic, Paralympic and other national teams through PODIUM program.  In the easiest way to put, PODIUM program is the elite athlete program in which only the selected elite athletes in Malaysia can be in. Our goal is to win the gold medal in Tokyo Olympic 2020 and become #1 sports country in major Asian/Pacific international games.I already talked about my role in PODIUM program with my supervisor and I definitely will FMS all the players I am assigned to and will coordinate the necessary actions with physiotherapists, S&C coaches, and other sports therapists. I will create the FMS+ alpha screening and testing depending on the sport-specific biomechanical demands, which I already did with the pitchers of Lee University baseball team. For example, for overhead athletes, trunk/ hip flexions are the critical ability to have, since that will help them to decelerate their bodies after pitching, attacking and so on. So, I added SFMA’s multiflexion and sit-and-reach for my pitcher’s screening to have more in depth understanding of each pitcher’s body. I knew active straight leg raise can do the job but I wanted to be more precise and wanted to see if they can do it on seated and standing position. And, other than that, my role will be more like re-conditioning the injured athletes (the most fun part in Sports Medicine in my opinion :). Also, I will be the point guy to bridge the gaps among strength & conditioning coaches, team physicians and physiotherapists.  Since I can speak in both professional languages, strength& conditioning and sports medicine, thanks to the education I go from MSAT,this is the perfect opportunity for me to fully maximize my talent, knowledge, and educaiton.
How do I think my time in MSAT program has contributed to all of this?
  • I definitely became more logical and progressive (or too aggressive professionally in a way). What I mean by this is that, at MSAT, we didn’t learn any specific skills in depth at all (except a little bit more in depth in FMS, SFMA, and SFG, but you know what I am talking about if you are MSAT people), but we learned lots of valuable lessons/principles to fix human body as a sports medical clinician and to run the sports medical business/research, which help us to deliver the potential value to our patients and community. Of course, we learned how to do FMS, SFMA, ART, kettle bell and so on. But, in my opinion, none of them is nearly as important as the principles I learned from this program.  It was just a tip of iceberg. We cannot learn everything in this world, but we can guide ourselves correctly with the right principles, which we learned at MSU.  Mr. Raynor, Brandon and Karen always told us this is the program they wish they could have had when they were students. They were right. In my time at MSAT, I always wished I could have been 5 years younger, since I was one of  the oldest in the class (28 year old at the time of graduation.) I definitely felt that frustration because of my age since I wish I could have known those earlier. If asked what was the most important lesson I learned , then I would say it was Karen’s. She always taught us with “tough love” that “if you have a hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail.” She was damn right. Once I learned new technique, I really wanted to try that out for my athlete, even though I was not sure whether that skill would help him/her or not. Once I learned SFMA, every injury looked like the one I can figure all out with it and fix it! haha In addition to principles, MSAT easily fueled the fire inside me, as they put more emphasis on the vision each student has to have as a clinician. I still remember the story Dr. Hetzler shared with us during the business/leadership class. It was about her vision and the frustration. I believe it was then that I started seeking and trying to create my own  concrete professional vision, nobody else’s. And, MSAT gave me the tools to do so, in other words, cultivate and realize that vision into the reality, no matter how hard it may seem (no matter how crazy it may sound.). The tools are, of course, “principles” and a little bit of skills/ techniques. Also, Karen and Brandon used the story of behavioral study in which one different monkey out of the crowd to get a banana to encourage us to be the “one” who can make the difference from day-to-day. If you are the kind of person who wants to have a quick fix or bandage approach, then this is not the program for you. This program, in my opinion, focus not on How/ What/ Where,but on “WHY”. And, this program gave me that “Why”. Once you know your “Why”, you do not have to deviate from your goal. Lastly,  everyone in this program wants each student to have a successful career and personal life. I got so many personal advice from Dr. Hudson and that helped me a lot. (Of course, I got so many advice from others too!) I would like to say thank you for everybody in MSAT and MSU AMR giving me  the opportunity and being patient with me. Well, thanks to you all, I am on my way to make my dream come true. Thank you.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Congratulations Josh Bell

Congratulations to Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) student, Josh Bell for receiving an award for his poster presentation at the Graduate Interdisciplinary Forum (IDF)! MSAT students who have completed their research thesis or projects present their research each year at the IDF. This year, the 2016 IDF was held on April 23, 2016. Participants included 49 oral presentations and 111 poster presentations.


The IDF committee votes on oral and poster presentations and awards high-ranked submissions with multiple awards. Josh Bell was notified that his poster presentation received one of these awards.

Congratulations Josh!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tivener International Presentation

Kristin Tivener of the Sports Medicine and Athletic Training department traveled to Barcelona, Spain last week to present her research at the ESSKA Conference. The ESSKA (European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, and Arthoroscopy) conference is held annually and includes members who in the majority are sports medicine physicians and orthopedic surgeons in Europe. Kristin presented her research on the new special test that she developed with Dr. Louis Metzman over a novel special test to diagnose distal bicep tendon ruptures. This research (the Supination-Pronation Test) was published in the American Journal of Orthopedic this year in the United States.


Kristin states “I want to thank the SMAT department, the College of Health and Human Services, and the MSU Graduate college for their support and funding my travel to the ESSKA Congress. I could not have been more thrilled for the opportunity to present my research internationally.”

Well done Kristin!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2016 CHHS Student Research Symposium

Congratulations to all of our fourth year undergraduate athletic training students for their participation in the 20th annual College of Health and Human Services Student Research Symposium.

The event took place today, April 22, 2016 at Plaster Student Union on campus. As part of their research courses taught by Dr. Michael Hudson of the SMAT department, students participated in a year-long research project. Groups of students worked with faculty advisors in the department to design, conduct, analyze, and present research on a topic of their choice.

Their posters will be on display during the 2016-2017 academic year in the Professional Building Room #160 lab. Well done student researchers!






Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Special Olympics of Missouri Volunteer Medical Team Sign-Up

Attention all athletic trainers and athletic training students….

Looking for a fun and rewarding way to kick off your summer? Consider volunteering as part of the medical team for the Special Olympics of Missouri (SOMO) State Summer Games in Springfield, Missouri. As the world’s largest sports organizations with nearly 4 million athletes in more than 170 countries, Special Olympics uses the power of sports to empower people with intellectual disabilities to discover new strengths, abilities, skills, and success (www.somo.org). More than 2,000 athletes along with coaches, family and friends from across Missouri will converge in Springfield May 20-22, 2016 for the SOMO State Summer Games. Volunteers play a crucial role in putting on these games for athletes. At events, medical personnel are responsible for evaluating the extent of an injury, applying ice, Band-Aids, or simply determining the proper course of action. All medical volunteers are required, at minimum, to be first aid/CPR certified.


If you would like more detailed information on the medical aspect or are interested in volunteering your time as part of the medical team for the SOMO State Summer Games, please contact Kristin Tivener, MET, ATC the volunteer medical coordinator at KTivener@MissouriState.edu

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shannon Derricks Presents to ATC 241

Assistant director of Athletic Medical and Rehabilitation at Missouri State University and athletic trainer for women’s volleyball and men/womens swimming & diving Shannon Derricks presented kinesiology taping to the ATC 241 students yesterday. Shannon discussed basic differences between kinesiotaping and Rock Tape techniques, application, and indications. She also described limitation of the interventions and best practices for use.


This presentation included Shannon’s own perspectives which characteristically involves some humor. Best quote of the day was when Shannon stated “I got skillz with this tape!”

Thank you Shannon for your time!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Capitol Day 2016

Today the graduating class of athletic training students for Missouri State University traveled to the Capitol in Jefferson City to speak with their legislators as part of their Contemporary Topics in Athletic Training course.  Dr. Michael Hudson, Sports Medicine Athletic Training (SMAT) department faculty and instructor for the Contemporary Topics course along with SMAT faculty Dr. David Carr led the group of students in educating members of the legislation about the profession.  The students learned how to advocate for their profession and support current legislative efforts for the health care needs of those individuals in Missouri who are served by athletic trainers.


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Capitol Day 2016

Congratulations Dr. Tona Hetzler

Please join the Missouri State University Department of Sports Medicine and Athletic Training in congratulating our leader, SMAT program director and department head, Dr. Tona Hetzler for her upcoming award.

Tona HTona will be awarded the 2016 MAATA Athletic Training Educator of the Year award at the upcoming conference. This award is given annually to an athletic training educator who exemplifies excellence in the field of athletic training education. The recipient will show excellence in promoting athletic training education by demonstrating significant contributions to the education of MAATA members, students in the classroom, clinical education of students, development of an educational program, or through academic presentations and published work that will enhance the field of athletic training.

Tona will receive this award on Friday, March 18th at the MAATA Honor and Awards Banquet. For those of you who are going to the conference, please plan on attending this banquet to support Tona!

Congratulations Dr. Tona Hetzler!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Congratulations Dr. Allan Liggett!

BIG NEWS in the Sports Medicine Athletic Training Department this week! Pending Board of Governors approval, Dr. Allan Liggett has been promoted to Clinical Associate Professor. This promotion was in response to evidence of Dr. Liggett demonstrating outstanding contributions in the areas of teaching, service, and scholarship. Allan has worked very hard and contributed to many aspects of the MSU AT program and Mercy Sports Medicine.


Please join us in congratulating Allan on his pending promotion!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Congratulations Dr. Allan Liggett!

OFL Equipment Fitting 2016

Missouri State University SMAT faculty, MSAT students, and professional program AT students provided football equipment fitting for the Ozarks Football League last night. Approximately 700 middle school aged athletes attended the session for fitting of helmets and shoulder pads for the upcoming spring football league. In addition to the fitting of equipment, the SMAT Department provided literature to the parents and athletes regarding the profession of athletic training as a part of National Athletic Training Month #NATM2016.


Nice work everyone!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on OFL Equipment Fitting 2016