BP Scibek named Duquesne’s athletic training department chairman
Like a lot of kids growing up, Jason Scibek of Bethel Park thought he was going to play professional sports. However, during his junior year at West Stockbridge High School, the Massachusetts native fell in love with sports medicine.
“I knew then that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.
Today, that’s exactly what Scibek does. Prior to the start of this semester, Duquesne University named Scibek chairman of its department of athletic training. He has been a member of the faculty at the John G. Rangos School of Health Sciences since 2006.
Although his high school didn’t have student athletic trainers, Scibek knew he wanted to pursue the career. So he ended up going to Gettysburg College where he majored in sports medicine with an emphasis on health and exercise science. He chose Gettysburg because it had that familiar small-town feeling. Plus, he added, “it was one of the only schools that had this major.”
After graduating from Gettysburg in 1997, Scibek then earned his master’s degree in sports medicine from the University of North Carolina and his Ph.D. in kinesiology, the study of human movement, from the University of Michigan. In between his master and doctoral studies, Scibek taught at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, worked as an athletic trainer, and taught at Eastern Michigan University.
While finishing up his doctoral work, Scibek met his future wife, Robin, a Pittsburgh native. In 2006, the couple returned to the region, making their current home in Bethel Park, and Scibek accepted a position as an assistant professor in the athletic training department at Duquesne.
In the field, athletic trainers have varied responsibilities including the opportunity to prevent injuries from happening. Trainers also have the advantage of often being able to see the injuries the moment they happen and evaluate and treat them more quickly. They work under the direct supervision of a physician.
As for the academic side of athletic training, Scibek said that becoming an educator was a natural progression.
As director of the department he oversees a staff of professors, an administrative secretary and a graduate assistant. He also teaches several classes including applied arts and sciences of athletic training II; psychological issues in healthcare; and therapeutic modality. In the spring he will help teach functional biomechanics and kinesiology. Occasionally, he also teaches doctoral-level classes.
Scibek said academics has its highlights, but the most rewarding apsect of his career is “being able to take a student who has interest and passion for athletic training and helping them become that certified athletic trainer.” An added bonus is “watching that student become successful.”
This time of year is always fun for Scibek. He said he enjoys watching the “light come on” for students and seeing how the upperclassmen have evolved over the summer through their internships.
“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to work with such a great staff and the students are exceptional,” Scibek said.
He added that 98 percent of the students in the program go on to pass their athletic training certification exam.
“To have all of that come together is a lot of fun,” he said.
As chairman of the department, Scibek said not much will change under his leadership because Paula Sammarone Turocy is not leaving the department. The former chairperson is only taking a step back to do more research.
“Our track record speaks for itself,” Scibek said of the department.
Some changes to Duquesne’s program could be coming in the future. For instance, the department is looking into whether athletic training should be a bachelor’s degree program or an entry-level master’s program.
“We’ve always set the bar very high,” he said.
In the short-term, Scibek said his goal is for students to “develop into patient, centered clinicians.”
Scibek’s advice for people thinking about a career in athletic training is to do a lot of research. He also encourages “getting out and shadowing an athletic trainer to see what it’s all about.” Scibek recommended the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s website at www.nata.org as a good source of information for those thinking about a career in the field.
“I can’t imagine not being in athletic training,” Scibek said.