Ironton trainer will ‘go for the gold’

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2005

There won't be an awards' podium nor any gold, silver or bronze medals. But Dave Coburn already feels like an Olympic champion.

An athletic trainer and physical therapist, Coburn will use his gold medal-like skills as he prepares for a chance to be a United State Olympic Team athletic trainer.

"I'll be assigned to one certain sport like track or skiing. They'll test my work and see how the athletes respond to me. If they like me, then I'm in," Coburn said.

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Based on his work experience, Coburn could get a chance to work with the USA Olympic team.

Coburn has worked at Ironton Physical Therapy the past seven years after graduating from Marshall University in 1997 with a duel degree as a physical therapist and athletic trainer.

Coburn has had plenty of experience working with athletes. Ironton Physical Therapy works with athletic programs at Ironton, Coal Grove, Raceland, Ky., and Spring Valley, W.Va., along with athletes from other schools on a walk-up basis.

The process began last year during the Summer Olympics. Coburn logged onto the Olympic web site and sent a resume and application.

About a month later, a packett arrived inviting Coburn to attend the training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo. Before he was accepted, Coburn had to do an FBI background check.

At first, Coburn was asked to attend this summer's training center only to decline. He will work in Colorado Springs next summer, then work at the Pan-Am Games before going to the Olympics in Beijing, China.

Coburn has several reason to balk regarding this summer's testing period, mainly because of family and job-related commitments. Coburn said he had no one to cover for his high schools and he did not want to spend time away from his 1-year-old son Max and his wife Angela.

"I have the training center, football games and two-a-day practices, and it was going to be tough being away from my family. My son is little and it's not easy to be away from him and my wife," Coburn said.

Joe Isaac, co-owner of Tri-State Physical Therapy with Paul Castle, said Coburn is very deserving of an appointment whether it's now or in the near future.

"The Tri-State is figuring out what we've known for a long time," Isaac said. "Dave is one of the top athletic trainers and physical therapists in the area.

"His experience and physical training along his athletic training make him one of the most qualified candidates for this type of position. When it comes to sports training and rehabilitation, Dave's as good as it gets."

Not only will the USA trainers work with their country's athletes, they are often asked to help athletes from other countries.

"Other countries can't afford trainers, so the other athletes come to see you. And you have a country like China that doesn't know much about athletic medicine. They use a lot of massage therapy," Coburn said.

While staying in other countries, Coburn said he doesn't plan to stray too far from his own countrymen.

"I plan to stay with our group so I won't run into any bad situations," Coburn said. "But I think it will be an awesome experience, especially for someone like me who's a homebody."