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| Meet USTís Athletic Trainer Shusaku Hayashi |
In addition to the coaches and athletes, another important but lesser-known member of the University of St. Thomas Athletics team is the athletic trainer. For the past year, Shusaku “Shu” Hayashi’s expertise allowed UST student-athletes from each sport to compete at the top of their game.
Hayashi’s role as athletic trainer is to prevent, assess, manage and rehabilitate injuries and exercise-related illnesses. He is also a liaison among the athletes, coaches, team physicians, other health care providers and parents regarding the health status and care of every athlete on the rosters. He also manages the Athletic Training Facility.
“Growing up, I was always interested in athletics,” Hayashi said. “I played baseball in grade school and volleyball from high-school to college. My love for sports led me to want to help athletes after my collegiate athletic career had ended.”
Originally from Osaka, Japan, Hayashi said there were no sports training programs in Japan at the time. So he moved to the United States to attend the University of Alabama.
Hayashi has been certified as an athletic trainer with the National Athletic Trainer’s Association Board for 10 years. After studying at the University of Alabama, he worked as a graduate assistant Athletic Trainer and Faculty Athletic Trainer at the University of Central Arkansas, where he received his master’s degree in kinesiology and honed his athletic training skills in a variety of sports including football, men’s soccer, women’s basketball, volleyball and softball.
Athletic Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Todd Smith considers Hayashi an important member of the UST athletic program.
“A good athletic trainer is key, and Shusaka Hayashi goes above and beyond his job for our athletes at UST,” Smith said. “He is incredibly knowledgeable in his field, cares about the students and is committed to our teams and the University. We are lucky to have him!”
Hayashi’s trainees include student-athletes like Brian Kaase, a guard on the Men’s Basketball team who was sidelined this season because of an ACL injury. Hayashi has kept him on a regimented plan of physical therapy. “Shu is a great guy, and I appreciate everything he has done for me and continues to do,” Kaase said.
Lady Celts volleyball player Catherine Loth said she is impressed with Hayashi’s training for the University’s athletes. “With more than 60 student athletes under his care, he still manages to keep a mental list of everyone’s personal injuries,” she said. “I think that’s amazing.”
Hayashi said he enjoys the positive attitudes of the athletes and department staff at UST. “I am thankful to have found a place where I can realize my dream every single day I come to work.”