View Full Version : Pioneer Steelers trainer is Asian secret weapon

01-29-2009, 06:52 PM
Pioneer Steelers trainer is Asian secret weapon
by Jim Slater Jim Slater Thu Jan 29, 2:31 pm ET

TAMPA, Florida (AFP) Ariko Iso, the only woman to work as a full-time athletic trainer in National Football League history, has been a unique global attraction for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday's Super Bowl.

The 38-year-old Japanese sports pioneer is in her seventh season as an assistant trainer for the Steelers, having already worked on a Super Bowl championship squad in 2006, and is a top draw for Asian reporters this week.

"I'm surprised to have so much attention," Iso said. "I know everybody in the world is watching. Just to work in this event is an honor.

"I don't think of myself as a pioneer. I don't see myself that way, but I know I am," Iso said.

"I want to do my job well. I don't want to do a bad job so other women who might want to get into the profession have less opportunity because of me."

Iso's family lives in Japan, where her father watched American football during her youth.

"I was always the adventurous one in the family. I wanted to go to different countries," Iso said. "I wasn't sure what I wanted to study but through playing sports I started to have a focus on the goal of sports training."

Iso's journey led across the Pacific Ocean to Oregon State University for a science degree and to San Jose State for a masters in art.

She took a job on the training staff at Portland State University in Oregon and spent six years there, five of them as the chief trainer for the school's American football squad.

In 2000 and 2001 she served internships with the Steelers and they were so impressed with Iso that they offered her a job.

"I had never thought of working for a professional team," Iso said. "I met some students today and they said, 'You are doing my dream job. How do I get your job?' I know they would like to trade places."

Iso found easy acceptance as the only woman in a man's world because most NFL players had women trainers on their training staff at US colleges.

"They always worked with female athletic trainers in college. It's not such a big deal for them as professionals," Iso said. "They just let me do my job. They see me as part of the team."

01-29-2009, 10:24 PM
:applaudit: Another uniqueness about the Steelers. :applaudit: :tt02: