October 31, 2011
The Dodgers have been known to be pioneers in the game of baseball ever since they signed Jackie Robinson back in 1945. The team hasn’t been afraid of making history and becoming the “first” franchise for signings and hirings.
On this date in 2011, the Dodgers officially hired Sue Falsone as their head athletic trainer making her the first female head athletic trainer in any of the four major sports. This came after she became the first female physical therapist in the major leagues in 2007 with the Dodgers. Along with fellow trainer Nancy Patterson, the duo became the first pair of female trainers in major league history.
Falsone was promoted after the promotion of Stan Conte to senior director of medical services. She spent 2008-2010 as a physical therapist with the team before returning full-time to the Athletes’ Performance Institute in 2011, but remained a consultant for the team. After the 2011 season, the Dodgers decided to offer Falsone the position and she accepted. She remained with API as Vice President of Performance Physical Therapy and Team Sports.
Falsone received praise from former major league pitcher and ESPN analyst Curt Schilling when he found out about her potential hiring. She worked with Schilling in 2004 after his ankle surgery and directed his rehab.
In 2013, the Dodgers faced a significant amount of injuries and some of the blame began to find its way to Falsone. Although management nor players had no problem with Falsone, many took the Dodgers’ injuries as her fault. The Dodgers were able to overcome the injuries to make the playoffs and encountered more injuries there. The team was eliminated in the NLCS by the St. Louis Cardinals in six games.
After the season, Falsone announced that she would be leaving the Dodgers to pursue other opportunities. With her resigning, there are no longer any female head athletic trainers in professional sports.
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