Coastal Orthopedics athletic trainer wins Southeast Athletic Trainers’ award

Coastal Orthopedics athletic trainer wins Southeast Athletic Trainers’ Association award

Steve Favia stands off to the side watching the action unfold.

For several hours a night, Steve, an athletic trainer for Coastal Orthopedics and Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School is a fixture on the sidelines and in the dugout. He offers congratulations and encouragement to every athlete that walks off the field.

But it’s in those instances when the game takes an unexpected turn and the athletes can no longer help themselves that they turn to Steve for support.

As the first responder on the field, Steve is tasked with not only assessing and treating an athlete’s injury but also trying to calm his or her emotions and fears.

“Most athletic trainers would agree that being out on the field is where we thrive,” says Steve. “The beautiful thing about athletic training is that if I’m not busy, it’s a good day.”

In addition to working for Coastal Orthopedics and serving as the Cougars head athletic trainer, Steve also owns his own practice providing ergonomic and onsite industrial athletic training services.

Earlier this month, Steve was named the recipient of the 2018 Southeast Athletic Trainers’ Association (SEATA) Clinic/Industrial/Corporate Athletic Trainer of the Year award. March is National Athletic Training Month, with the goal of spreading awareness about the important work of athletic trainers.

The annual award is presented to an athletic trainer who best represents their profession in a clinic, industrial or corporate environment while educating the public to the benefits of having an athletic trainer in the workplace. This is the first time that Steve has won the award.

“I was happy and surprised by this honor,” says Steve. “In athletic training, the thanks I receive from the student athletes, parents and coaching staff makes it very rewarding. For an association to honor you in such a way, it makes it that much more special.”

Growing up in Spring Hill, Florida, Steve knew next to nothing about athletic training. With a passion for sports, Steve majored in kinesiology at Tennessee Technological University. It wasn’t until one of his professors told him that he would make a good athletic trainer that Steve began researching the idea.

He spent nearly three years working alongside former Tennessee Tech head athletic trainer David Green as an undergraduate assistant before earning his master’s degree in athletic training from the University of Arkansas. He joined the Coastal Orthopedics team in 2011 and also began working with the Cougars.

“Steve has proven to be a great trainer and a trusted supporter for his student athletes,” says Coastal Orthopedics sports medicine physician and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel Lamar. “He truly cares about their safety and always goes the extra distance for them.”

While most people in the sports medicine world only deal with a portion of an athlete’s injury, Steve stands beside his athletes throughout the entire process. Over the years, Steve has been fortunate to watch the majority of his athletes walk off the field and eventually return to form.

Although, it’s those catastrophic instances, when he’s been forced to call in Bay Flight, and those rare instances when a common injury, such as a concussion, accidentally uncovers a cancer diagnosis that Steve remembers the most.

“It takes an emotional toll,” says Steve. “You’re trying to keep everyone calm because it’s their baby out there, but at the same time, you have a job to do. There’s a fear associated with that. My patients are supposed to get healthy, so when you’re attached to something like that it’s tough.”

As the needs of Cardinal Mooney have changed, Steve has taken a more active role at the high school, routinely being there for the student athletes and helping them through their rehabilitation process — the majority of which is now done at the school.

“Steve is an outstanding athletic trainer,” says Cardinal Mooney athletic director Bill Donivan. “He is caring, enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable. He does a great job communicating with our parents and being the liaison between Coastal Orthopedics and Cardinal Mooney.”