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Oct. 14, 2006

A look at the people behind the scenes who are pertinent to Virginia football’s success

by Cathy Bongiovi
Assistant Director, UVa Athletics Media Relations

Title: Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer
Years at UVa: 24 years
Education: University of Kansas (physical therapy `78);
University of Virginia (Master’s ’86, Ph.d. ’92, Sports Medicine)
Family: wife Susan, son Sami (3 1/2)

Responsibilities: I have the responsibility of trying to coordinate health care coverage for all varsity athletes at the University. I try to make sure our facilities, our human resources, supplies, etc., are in place so we can provide total care. I have an opportunity to oversee football. We have great personnel that make it a smooth-running operation.

Favorite part of the job: The student-athletes. They’re highly motivated and goal oriented. They’re enjoyable to work with, and it’s very entertaining to watch their athletic talents. From a health care provider’s standpoint, you can’t beat having healthy people wanting to stay healthy.

Least favorite part of the job: The hours. The negative things tend to be relatively brief and passing, but it just takes lots and lots of time.

How has your job changed through the years: The volume. The expectations and demands of all of the sports have grown dramatically and so have all the resources that need to go into it. UVa tries to do it right. If you have those expectations, you put what needs to be put in place to make the teams successful.

Memorable UVa highlight: Oh my goodness. I’d have to say going to the Final Four with men’s basketball in the early 1980s.

You’re named the head coach for one season. What’s the first thing you’d do? Probably become overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities that fall on my plate. That’s something that behind-the-scenes folks get to see- that it’s more than just whether you win or lose, but all the different facets that go in to make football, or any sport, a successful endeavor.

One thing I want to do with the team: I’d love to experience a national championship with football. The successes along the way are very gratifying.

Favorite play: One that scores.

Favorite pro team: The ones that former UVa athletes participate in. I get plenty of sports, but I like to see good athleticism. It means a lot when you see people who have succeeded here and have continued to succeed in their athletic aspirations. The only way I can watch professional sports is if there’s a former UVa athlete out on the court or on the field.

Describe your ideal day: I’d like to have a day when I could get a lot done without a lot of distractions. It’s just a matter that at the end of the day have you lowered the level of things to do versus just accumulated more. A lot of things just happen spontaneously that you have to deal with. For me, the ideal day is one where I can get a lot of projects done.

Hobbies: I enjoy being outdoors. Whenever I get a chance to work in the field or be on the river, it’s always very enjoyable.

One thing I want to accomplish before I die: That’s a great question. Right now with Sami, just watching him grow up has added another dimension to my life that’s not comparable to anything else. It’s just a joy everyday to watch him go through his life.

My professional aspiration would be to continue to develop the gold standard of sports medicine for the University of Virginia. That’s enjoyable, because UVa does try to do it right.

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