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Cal U Student Interns with Arizona Diamondbacks

Photo of Rumi IsogaiWhether it is a popular professional sports league such as the National Football League, the National Hockey League or a college or university that competes at any athletic level, chances are that a California University of Pennsylvania Athletic Trainer has toiled his or her craft with one of these teams.  With Cal U's Global Online, the number of athletic trainers currently working with professional or college teams continues to increase dramatically.  While online education is unquestionably the trend of the future in education, Cal U's commitment to and effectiveness of producing quality athletic trainers through the traditional setting remains consistent.

Looking to add to this distinguished list of prominent athletic trainers who have made a positive influence on teams other than the beloved Vulcans is Rumi Isogai.

A native of Hokkaido, Japan, Isogai has made the transition from not being able to speak English a few years ago to being one of 12 Japanese athletic training students nationwide who was selected for a prestigious internship.

This past winter, the Kinesio Taping Association and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society selected Isogai for an athletic training internship with Major League Baseball.  From February 28 through March 15, Isogai interned with the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

"I learned a lot of skills with the baseball team, and the internship helped me become a better athletic trainer," said Isogai. ‘There was more of an emphasis and specialization on shoulders and elbows.  I was really impressed with their rehabilitation and conditioning techniques. We did a lot of observations but also got hands-on skills at home games."  As impressive as landing her internship was, Isogai's development at Cal U and adjustment to life in the United States has been more remarkable.

Initially, Isogai came to the city of Pittsburgh to learn English, and she became aware and eventually interested in California University after meeting a now-graduated Japanese Cal U athletic training major, Kinji Kusomoto, at the airport.

"I toured the school, and he [Kusomoto] showed me all around," Isogai said."My family wanted me to stay in a safe place in the United States, and this was a much safer place. I have enjoyed myself."  Isogai commended Cal U's faculty members in the Department of Health Science and Sport Studies (HSSS).  One of the many helpful faculty members is Dr. Bruce Barnhart. 

"I still have trouble with the language, and I am so fortunate that the faculty here was so patient and understanding.  They have experience teaching international students, and you could tell.  I needed extra time for really everything, and both the faculty and my classmates took the time to help me.  I don't know if I would have made it without the faculty and my classmates.  I am so glad to have Dr. Barnhart as an advisor.  He is so nice."  At Cal U, Isogai served as an athletic training student with the women's soccer team and last fall and spring was part of the Vulcan football team's athletic training staff.  Cal U football won its first PSAC-West championship in 21 years last autumn, and the efforts and commitment of Isogai and the other athletic trainers did not go unnoticed. 

"I got a big ring," said Isogai enthusiastically.  "They had a very good season, and it was lot of hard work and fun." A Registered Nurse in Japan, Isogai's collegiate career has been Cal U gold according to Barnhart, longtime professor who is the director of Cal U's undergraduate athletic training program.hoto of Rumi Isogai taping up an athlete's leg

"Rumi is by far the hardest working student that I have encountered," Barnhart said. "She came here as a freshman and learned anatomy and all of her other prerequisite courses in English, which certainly was not her native tongue by any stretch.  She has greatly improved her English in her four years, and now, all the coaches when asked who they would like to have assigned to their sport request Rumi."  Barnhart said that Isogai continues a Cal U athletic training tradition that has been established during the past 12 years or so ­ having native Japanese students in the program.  Another recent Japanese athletic trainer who has preceded Isogai along with Kusumoto is Ryosuke Sakamoto, while Daisuke Shibata is currently in his sophomore year.

Though Isogai is looking to diversify her education at other locations and has even interviewed at graduate school at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (now accepted), she has no qualms about advising any aspiring athletic trainers, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, to attend Cal U.

"Cal is a really good school, but I believe it is important for me to have a diverse education from several places," she said.  "I would recommend Cal U and its athletic training program to anyone."  While her internship with the Diamondbacks concluded last month, Isogai is working as an athletic training student this spring with Washington and Jefferson College's baseball team.  She is doing this through a partnership between Cal U and W&J that has Cal U provide graduate assistant and undergraduate athletic training students to W&J.

W&J's head athletic trainer and assistant athletic trainer are twin brothers and Cal U alumni Mike ´93 and Mark ´93 Lesako.

Isogai will receive her degree at Cal U's May 13 Commencement ceremony and hopes to land an athletic trainer's position with either a professional or collegiate team.  She also realizes her Cal U experience will help make this quest a reality."Not just athletic training but all of the HSSS faculty have such good connections," Isogai said.  "They can help you in so many ways, and I will travel anywhere I need to for an athletic trainer's job."  In the near future, Rumi Isogai is going to be a welcomed addition to a fortunate athletic team's athletic training staff.  No one at Cal U will be surprised.