Former Texas A&M athletic trainer Karl Kapchinski says football coaches used to pressure him to clear players to return to the field before they were fully healthy, he told Jon Frankel on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
“[The coaches] would always, you know, tend to put pressure on you to get good players back,” Kapchinski said.
Kapchinski said he believed the head coach viewed trainers as “subservient to his situation,” and that he would challenge trainers’ character and credentials if they suggested holding players out for additional time as a precaution. Kapchinski served under five head coaches during his time at A&M.
Kapchinski said there were times when he regretted clearing players under pressure from the coach because it resulted in players incurring additional injuries.
“There’s been a lot of great quality athletic trainers that have subsequently lost their jobs because they stood up for the players or were doing the right thing,” Kapchinski said.
Kapchinski worked at Texas A&M for 31 years after graduating from the school in 1979. He was fired suddenly in 2013 at age 56, and has filed a lawsuit against A&M claiming he was removed because of his age.
He was inducted into the Southwest Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame in 2014.