Athletic trainers often go unrecognized for the hard work they put in keeping players healthy and prepared for their sport. But Dan Matte’s presence in York is something that coaches and athletes notice.
As an athletic trainer, it is Matte’s job to help student athletes recover from minor and major injuries. But what is otherwise a pretty straight forward responsibility, Matte puts his own spin on it. Matte uses a different approach to his practice by utilizing evidence-based medicine to treat his players.
“There are a lot of people in athletic training right now that do not follow evidence-based practice,” said Matte. “They do things just because they’ve been told to. It’s not necessarily the right way but they just do it anyways.”
Matte grew up in Connecticut. As a child, his mom worked at a hospital and brought medical supplies that emboldened his passion for the medical field. All the while, Matte still continued his second passion: his love for sports.
“I played football in high school and college,” said Matte. “I fell in love with football when I was 14 or 15 years old. All my friends were playing sports.”
In college Matte worked as a paramedic. It was in college that he knew he wanted to merge his two passions sports and medicine into one unified career path.
“I went to my first rugby game and I was focused. I wanted to do something with sports and I wanted to do something with medicine,” said Matte. “I wanted to bring together my two passions and come up with a field that I wanted to be in. Athletic trainer was the answer.”
What Matte couldn’t prepare for was the intense hours required for the program and abiding by the strict curriculum. Many of his colleagues dropped out, Matte said. But that only pushed him to continue.
“I think people get motivated to do what they do by being successful.” said Matte. “So if you like it you work hard towards it. As a result you’re successful, which in turn helps motivate you to be successful.”
Matte is a certified athletic trainer graduate from Central Connecticut State University. He attended Sacred Heart University and earned his Master’s degree in education. He has worked at York for about 15 years and is currently working on his doctorate.
“What we are concentrating on right now is a lot of evidence-based medicine,” said Matte. “The way we’ve been doing things is making sure our evidence to backs it up. What we need to do is start doing research, keeping our results on patients that actually have successfully completed a rehab program and use those outcomes to continue with evidence based medicine.”
Student athletes and coaches have taken notice to the dedication he gives to the athletes everyday. Track Head Coach Mark Benjamin believes Dan is an excellent athletic trainer and works well with the team. He says that they all appreciate his knowledge on strength training and rehab.
“I think Dan does well working with the athletes.” said senior Derrick Clinton. “He’s always available and he’s clearly dedicated to what he does. He’s helped me recover from my major injuries throughout the track season as well. My most major injury that Dan helped me with was last year in indoor track when I had strained my left hip. He gave me a heat treatment and an ice bath. Eventually I was good as new before the outdoor season.”
Clinton also mentioned Matte’s connection with the team as one of his noteworthy traits. “Other athletes also appear to rely on him as much as we do,” said Clinton. “I would say his presence is effective to both the athletes and coaches.”
Junior Eric Normil Mendez, teammates with Clinton also appreciates his presence around the team.
“He’s always willing to help you out,” said Mendez. “He’s reliable and always has a solution. He’s serious about health and injury prevention and when I have a problem he helps out and also makes sure that athletes get checked out by a doctor.”
Players and coaches aren’t the only ones taking note of the hard work he puts in. Faculty members working in the athletic department also see it.
“The trainer is an important part of any athletic program,” said John Scarinci, sports information director and scheduling coordinator. “He helps keep our athletes healthy on the field and that’s really every athletes goal out there. Dan does handles his job well. People are pretty happy with him. He will probably be here for the foreseeable future.”