Oregon State’s very own, Ariko Iso, Head Athletic Football Trainer was in Eastern Oregon for the annual Japanese American Citizen League (JACL) celebration honoring 10 local high school seniors. The event was held at the Four Rivers Cultural Center in the heart of beautiful Ontario on May 1st. The Argus Observer newspaper reported this about the evening;
The keynote speaker was Ariko Iso, the head football trainer at Oregon State University. She gave a very inspirational talk about her life and her journey from Tokyo to OSU, to San Jose State University, to Portland State University, to the Pittsburgh Steelers and back to OSU in 2011. She has been the ONLY female head athletic trainer in the NFL, but that was not her original goal. She wanted to be a trainer in the National Basketball Association (NBA), but she is grateful where her life’s work has taken her and she enjoys going to work every day. Ariko says she has been fortunate to have gone to 8 NFL playoff games and 3 Super Bowls. She was never intimidated by super star athletes, since she didn’t know who they were as she worked 6 days a week and didn’t spend Sundays watching NFL games. One of the coaches told her that everyone’s elbows and knees are still just elbows and knees, no matter who’s body they are on. She never thought that being Asian or female hindered her employment possibilities since she just wanted to be known as an athletic trainer. She reminded the graduates that you need to love what you are doing, that you take one day at a time, and her motto is, “work hard and play hard”. Several of the seniors spoke to Ariko at the end of the evening since many of them are athletes and want to go into health related or physical therapy occupations.
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