Athletic Trainer of the Year 2016-17

2016-17 RRAC Athletic Trainer of the Year
Casey Hebenstreit, Our Lady of the Lake

WACO, Texas -- Casey Hebenstreit made his last year as the Assistant Trainer at Our Lady of the Lake a good one, claiming the 2016-17 RRAC Athletic Trainer of the Year award. The three-year veteran of the Saints' training room finished one spot ahead of OLLU Head Athletic Trainer Corey Beechner in the award voting, giving the school the top two trainers this year. 

Given annually, the award recognizes an NATA-certified athletic trainer from the RRAC who has distinguished himself or herself as a model of the profession in personal conduct and professional allied health service to student-athletes. The selection is determined through a peer vote with all conference athletic trainers voting.

"Casey is extremely deserving of this award," says RRAC Athletic Trainer Chair Lance Champagne of LSU Shreveport. "His passion for our profession and the student-athletes under his care is easily recognized if you spend any time speaking with him. The student-athletes at OLLu and those that visit their campus are in good hands. It is no surprise that his peers selected him for this honor. 

Hebenstreit relocated to San Antonio in January of 2014. While at OLLU, he assisted Beechner in incorporating ImPACT testing into the athletics program. ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Cognitive Testing) is a computer-based program that runs a series of tests on athletes to acquire a baseline, with the baseline being the normal cognitive function of an athlete before injury. The results from the baseline testing are stored and will be used to evaluate the athlete and determine if they are ready to return to their sport after an injury.

Hebenstreit and Beechner recognized the importance of having baseline testing in case a concussion does occur to one of the OLLU athletes. This information is crucial to the athletic trainers because baseline scores from an athlete provide a comparison point for a post-injury test. Concussions vary by person, so individuals are to be treated on a case-by-case basis. Athletes who do not have baseline scores are compared to the general population and don't receive the same individualized care.

All OLLU athletes are tested in the pre-season before the first day of practice. Implementing these tests gives us OLLU the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and find out beforehand whether there is something underlying going on with its athletes. This test contains assessments that are conducted in the pre-season to measure the athlete's reaction time, memory capacity, speed of mental processing and executive function.

"Casey has been an integral part of our athletics program for three years and has contributed immensely to our teams' successes," comments OLLU Athletic Director Jack Hank. "His organizational skills are unmatched, and his diligence in helping Corey tend to our athletes' health and safety are appreciated by every one of our coaches. On behalf of everyone here at Our Lady of the Lake University, I congratulate Casey on this highly deserving recognition."

Among his other accomplishments, Hebenstreit revised OLLU's Lightning Safety Policy and was key in revising the RRAC Lightning Policy in fall to stay in line with updated standards from the NATA. Along with Beechner he worked with a massage therapist to learn medical massage techniques to incoporate into treatment plans for OLLU student-athletes. He also underwent Alcohol Awareness training to help OLLU student-athletes in the event of struggles with alcohol-related issues. Hebenstreit was also a volunteer athletic trainer for the college event at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, and he served on the committee that selected OLLU's Big Blue Top Saint.

A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Hebenstreit completed his undergraduate degree in Athletic Training from Indiana University and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Kinesiology. His certifications include National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification, Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) and Texas State Licensed Athletic Trainer (LAT). He is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, Southwest Athletic Trainers Association, Texas State Athletic Trainers Association and the NAIA Athletic Trainers Association.

While at Indiana University, Hebenstreit worked with a multitude of sports at Indiana as well as at Bloomington South High School and with the Volunteers in Medicine in Bloomington. He was a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, Calif.,  before taking the job as the head athletic trainer at Half Moon Bay High School in Half Moon Bay, Calif. While in California, Hebenstreit worked as track side medical for the Moto GP U.S. Grand Prix and FIM World Superbike Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He was also a volunteer athletic trainer for the 2012 U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials and the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships both held in San Jose, Calif. 

In May, Hebenstreit and his wife Melissa moved back to Indianapolis.