By: Director of Athletic Communications and Public Relations Kevin Ruple
When the most elite baseball players on the planet face off in Major League Baseball's 88th All-Star Game on Tuesday night, the American League will rely on BW athletic training graduate Nick Paparesta '94 as head trainer. Paparesta, in his sixth season as head athletic trainer for the Oakland Athletics, anticipates an exceptional experience in Miami.
"This is personally a very deep honor and maybe a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Paparesta. "I'm excited for the opportunity to work with the best baseball players in the world. I am looking forward to learning new things and 'picking the brains' of the best of the best to better myself."
Experience, Luck and Fate Collide
Paparesta was chosen through a process administered by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS). All MLB trainers with 10 years of service are put "on a wheel" and one is selected at random.
"It was interesting the way I was selected, and for this All-Star Game," said Paparesta. "It is a random selection, but interesting in the fact that I worked with Tito [Cleveland Indians and AL All-Star manager Terry Francona] when I was in Cleveland, and I worked with Joe [NL All-Star manager Joe Madden of the Chicago Cubs] when I was in Tampa Bay."
Career Route, BW Foundation and Mentor
Before signing on with the A's in 2004, Paparesta served in the Tampa Bay Rays organization for five seasons. The 2009 "Major League Athletic Training Staff of the Year" award winner began his career in the Cleveland organization where he spent 11 seasons, including three at AAA Buffalo.
All three, plus Brad Epstein '05, Cincinnati Reds director of physical therapy and rehabilitation, were mentored by current BW head athletic trainer Garry Miller. Paparesta calls Miller "an unsung hero in the AT [athletic training] profession."
"To have mentored and nurtured four guys who are at the major-league level of baseball as well as many other professionals in the industry is incredible," Paparesta said. "It is very impressive for a Division III school and an important reason I chose to study athletic training at BW."