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College athletics to the NBA and back

Mark Kyger, ‘01

Mark Kyger, PhD, DPT, OCS, COMT, ATC, CES, PES, CSCS, is a rehabilitation coordinator and physiotherapy associate. Every one of the abbreviations after his name show his high-level of certification, his ability to instruct the trainers of elite athletes and his extensive knowledge of sports medicine.

He currently works at Arizona State University (ASU) having just completed a three-year hiatus to work with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Working for the NBA had always been a goal,” said Kyger, but his return to ASU was sparked by his passion for college athletics and
student-athletes. At ASU, each day is different as he works with a variety of student-athletes.

As sports medicine has become the first line of defense for athletes, Kyger is there to ensure the student-athletes’ physical, emotional and mental health. Many of his conversations with athletes concentrate on helping them balance work, home life, their education and their sport. Kyger also constantly works with student-athletes to lessen the physical toll their sport places on their bodies. He scrutinizes what can make the athletes move better in their sport, which directly impacts their game-time performance.

Kyger learned how sports comradery and mindset can affect success from his mentors at Mesa including professor Gig Leadbetter and Robert Ryan. It was Ryan who saw Kyger’s ability and dedication for sports medicine and allowed him to get his required observation hours in Ryan’s training room.

“It was practically an internship,” said Kyger. Ryan saw Kyger’s potential as an athletic trainer and knew he could handle the physical and mental requirements needed to pass the academic and clinical components. In addition to all of his medical knowledge, it was Kyger’s time at CMU that taught him about building a championship culture and a community of sportsmanship.

The father of three and former Mavericks basketball player still follows Colorado Mesa University sports. •


Written by Suzanne Bronson