Dodgers Tab Sue Falsone Head Athletic Trainer

The Dodgers have hired Sue Falsone as Head Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist, making her the first female head athletic trainer in the history of major professional sports. Falsone became the first female physical therapist in the Major Leagues when she was hired by the Dodgers in 2007 and worked in that role through the 2010 season.

Dodgers Name Sue Falsone Head Athletic Trainer First female head athletic trainer in major pro sports; In addition to her new responsibilities, she will continue to maintain her role working for Athletes' Performance (AP) as the Vice President of Performance Physical Therapy and Team Sports. Falsone will spearhead a new partnership between the Dodgers and AP, which is located in Phoenix, AZ.     

"This is a very special day not just for Sue, but for the Dodgers and Major League Baseball," said Colletti. "The Dodgers have always been an organization of firsts and this promotion for Sue continues in that tradition."

Stan Conte has been promoted to Senior Director, Medical Services.   

The Dodgers' role as pioneers began in 1947, when Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball. Following that watershed moment in American History, the Dodgers were the first Major League team to move to the west coast of the country in 1958, the first organization to have both a Korean-born player (1994) and a Taiwanese player (2002) play in the big leagues, the first club to play a Major League game in China (2008) and the first team to establish a state-of-the-art academy in the Dominican Republic. In addition, the signing of Hideo Nomo in 1995 paved the way for Japanese players to compete in the big leagues.      

"Sue's credentials, previous sports medicine and strength and conditioning experience as well as her involvement with the Dodgers over the past four years make her uniquely qualified to lead the club's Medical Department into a new and exciting direction," said Conte. "She brings a fresh perspective to injury prevention and management that I strongly believe will reduce lost time due to injuries for the Dodgers."   

In addition to working with the Dodgers, Falsone (fal-SONY), 37, has spent the past 10 years at AP and is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy (SCS), a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Falsone graduated from Daeman College in Buffalo, NY and earned her Master's degree in Human Movement Science with a concentration in Sports Medicine at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. The New York native travels throughout the Unites States and internationally to speak on a variety of topics and holds an adjunct faculty position with the Human Movement Program at A.T. Still University. She has also worked with athletes from the NFL, NHL and NBA.   

"It is a true honor to be given this opportunity with such a progressive and historic organization," said Falsone. "My work with the Dodgers over the past few years as well as my time with AP will serve me well in taking this next step.  I look forward to helping develop innovative and creative programs to reduce injuries and keep our players on the field so that they can achieve their potential."   

Falsone and returning Assistant Athletic trainer Nancy Patterson give the Dodgers the first pair of female trainers on one staff in the history of Major League Baseball.   

Conte becomes Senior Director, Medical Services after spending the previous five seasons as the Director of Medical Services and the Head Athletic Trainer for the Dodgers. In his new role, Conte, 56, will manage the Major and minor league medical departments and also handle medical risk assessment and injury management. With his added responsibilities, Conte will no longer be in the dugout during games and will not travel with the team. Before joining the Dodgers prior to the 2007 campaign, Conte spent 15 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, including the last seven as Head Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist.   

Rounding out the medical staff for 2012 will be Patterson, Assistant Athletic Trainer Greg Harrel, Strength and Conditioning Coach Stephen Downey and Massage Therapist Ichiro Tani.   

Patterson is set to begin her second season on the Dodgers' Major League medical staff as Assistant Athletic Trainer. The 28-year-old joined the organization in 2009 with the Single-A Inland Empire 66ers and worked for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts in 2010. Patterson is a native of Yorktown Heights, NY and earned her degrees in Athletic Training and Clinical Exercise from Ithaca College. She and her fiancée, Dustin, currently reside in Fort Myers, FL.  

  Harrel enters his sixth year with the Dodger organization and his first season as an Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Major League club. Harrel served as the club's Triple-A Athletic Trainer with Las Vegas (2007-08) and Albuquerque (2009-11) and was appointed as the organization's Head Minor League Athletic Trainer in 2008. Prior to joining the Dodger organization, Harrel worked for the Rangers (1986-2003), Marlins (2004) and Padres (2006), including one season on Texas' Major League staff as an Assistant Athletic Trainer in 2003. Harrel, 48, earned his Bachelor's degree in Physical Education with a business minor from Central State University (now University of Central Oklahoma). He is a certified athletic trainer and is also licensed as an athletic trainer in Oklahoma and New Mexico. He resides in Cashion, Oklahoma with his wife, Michelle, and three children, Ryan, Joshua and Emilie.   

Downey enters his first season as the Dodgers' Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach after spending the past three years in the same role for Triple-A Albuquerque. Prior to his time with the Isotopes, Downey was the Strength Coach with Single-A Inland Empire in 2008 and Single-A Great Lakes in 2007. Downey, 31, played college baseball at the University of Central Missouri before graduating in 2005 with a degree in corporate fitness specializing in exercise physiology and kinesiology. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach (RSCC). He and his wife Rachel have a son, Woodson.   

Tani enters his eighth season on the Dodgers' training staff after working with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan for 10 seasons. Tani and his wife, Yoko, reside in Pasadena with their one-year-old daughter, Haruka.  

Athletes' Performance will partner with the Dodgers, focusing on helping to build a program of player physical development across the minor and Major League systems. The fully integrated program – from medical to athletic training to strength and conditioning – is established from the top down and is carried out 12 months a year across all organizational levels. Athletes' Performance brings its decade-plus of industry leadership, integrated performance systems and a team of over 100 of the leaders in the field to support the partnership.

Kuo to Undergoes Fifth Surgery
Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo had a fifth operation on his left elbow on last Friday. Kuo, an All-Star in 2010, had a loose body removed arthroscopically by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. It is estimated that he will be able to resume throwing in six to eight weeks.

He developed soreness this week just before he was scheduled to leave and pitch for the Taiwan National Team in a five-game exhibition series against a Major League All-Star team.

The 30-year-old, who has been in the organization longer than anyone else on the roster, has survived five Dodgers managers, five general managers and two owners.

Signed out of Taiwan at age 17, he struck out seven of the first 10 batters in his professional debut and also blew out his elbow, leading to the first of two Tommy John operations. After his second operation, he was be talked out of retirement by teammates Darren Dreifort and Eric Gagne and Acey Kohrogi, executive director of Asian operations. His most recent operation was in 2007 for bone chips.

"This offseason for me will be more interesting because I have to decide if I can get my mind set to do whatever I have to do to enjoy baseball again," he told Ken Gurnick of If not, Kuo said he will turn the page on baseball entirely, maybe open a restaurant back home.

The latest injury makes Kuo a more likely non-tender candidate. He earned $2.725 million this year and is eligible for a raise through arbitration.

Dodger Blue Notes --The Dodgers, with 10 free agents. the most in baseball, have until 9 p.m. Wednesday before the players are free to also negotiate with other teams. Catcher Rod Barajas is a Type B free agent and would provide a team a supplemental draft pick if the Dodgers offer arbitration. Barajas, 36, earned $3.25 million last season with a one-year contract. The Dodgers are looking at going young behind the plate and not expected to offer him arbitration. The Dodgers' other free agents are: infielders Casey Blake, Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles, pitchers Jonathan Broxton, Jon Garland, Hiroki Kuroda, Mike MacDougal and Vicente Padilla, and outfielder Juan Rivera. ...The Braves traded P Derek Lowe to the Indians for minor league P Chris Jones and St. Louis declined their 2012 options on a pair of former Dodgers, SS Rafael Furcal and P Octavio Dotel. ...The New York Mets have announced that Tom Goodwin will take over as first base coach. The 43-year-old Goodwin just finished his fourth year with the Red Sox organization and his third as the team's minor league outfield and base running coordinator. He coached Class A Lowell in 2008, leading the Spinners to a 40-33 record. Goodwin also managed Lewisville of the independent Continental Baseball League in 2007. Goodwin played 14 seasons in the majors for the Dodgers, Royals, Rangers, Rockies, Giants and Cubs.

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