Home of the LA Lakers, part II

Last year we wrote a story about the Corona HS health pathway teachers who visited the LA Lakers training facility in Hawthorne. The visit ended in a promise from the head athletic trainer, Mr. Marco Nunez, to arrange a site visit for the sports med class at CHS. That promise came to fruition this past week! Here's the story:

 Group shot at the UCLA Health training center for the LA Lakers.

Group shot at the UCLA Health training center for the LA Lakers.

You can probably imagine just how excited the CHS Sports Med class was to visit the LA Lakers training center as part of their exposure to the field of athletic training. Mr. Marco Nunez, who is a former mentee of CHS coach Jim Winn, welcomed the class and shared how his own interest in the field got started when he was in college and heard a presentation from an athletic trainer. One thing led to another and after a lot of hard work in school, he ended up with a B.S. in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Sports Medicine, an MS in Biomechanics, and certification with NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) and NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine). Since then he has worked as a trainer with the LA Sparks, the LA Avengers, the Carolina Cobras, the LA D-Fenders, and even has a movie credit under his belt for his work on "The Longest Yard." But all this hasn't gone to Mr. Nunez's head, even though he assumed the role of head athletic trainer for the LA Lakers in 2016 and works with some of the world's top athletes! His is still a humble guy who believes in giving back and inspiring the next generation of athletic trainers. 

Always remember to be professional. You are always being interviewed no matter what you are doing and who you are interacting with. They will always remember, even your peers.
— Marco Nunez, Head athletic coach, LA Lakers

Walking in the path of giants, the students got a rare look at every aspect of a player's life within the doors of the center. This included the regulation courts, open 24/7 for practice, the cryotherapy room for muscle recovery, the weight training and physical therapy rooms, and the underwater treadmills which live streams the player’s gait to a nearby screen for the trainers to watch. Working with guys nearing 7' tall brings some special issues, like the height of shower heads or the depth of jacuzzies. The students got a sneak peek at both (at this point we should throw out the disclaimer that these facilities were empty during the visit!) of these custom-built areas and felt like real Hollywood insiders when they were shown the barber chair (did you know the Lakers have a team barber?), the recreation and dining rooms, and even a quick glance into the locker room. 

The tour ended in the team's theater room where they assumed the role of athletic trainer and reviewed actual game and practice videos of the players. Mr. Nunez patiently answered all their questions and even threw in a few key facts, like what happens in the moments immediately following an injury on the court. Even before the player makes it to a treatment room, the instant replay video of the injury is sent to the trainer's cell phone, so they can quickly understand how the injury happened and decide the best course of treatment! 

While the students didn't leave with autographs, they certainly left with a sense of excitement and a better understanding of what it takes to be an athletic trainer. We want to thank Marco for opening up his world to these students and inspiring them to work hard to achieve their dreams. Go Lakers!!