2014 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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.