Pima’s hall of fame athletic trainer

By AMY ZAMBRANO
Photo by LEFTRICK HERD

Athletic trainer Ben Carbajal is a Pima Community College institution.

Carbajal, who was born in Moroléon, Mexico, in 1954, has been at PCC since 1979.

He earned a master’s degree in athletic training from the University of Arizona. Carbajal is a PCC program specialist and adjunct instructor, teaching a class called Introduction to Sports Injury Management.

Ben Carbajal

Carbajal is one of the longest serving athletic trainers in Arizona and in 2009 was inducted into the Arizona Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame.

Athletic trainers are health professionals who work to prevent and treat injuries.

Q: What changes have you seen at PCC?
A: The professionalism, the services, everything has improved. Pima is a better place. It’s become more refined. The way that we provide services to the students. It’s just a better place. The mission has been defined and everybody contributes towards taking care of the student’s property. I think it’s a great place for students.

Q: Have you seen any growth in the athletes from the first years to now?
A: Being here as long as I have, I’ve also had kids of students that were here when I started. I’ve had the opportunity to have some of their sons or daughters who also have been Pima student athletes and that has been kind of fun to say, ‘hey I knew your mom’ or ‘I knew your dad.’”

Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I just think in athletics the objective is to be the best that you can be and I think that the kind of attitude is what I like here, cause you’re always trying to do the best that you can, you’re always trying to improve, you’re not only doing the same thing. You’re aspiring to be the best and that is the great attitude that carries over into your everyday life. I think that for young kids athletics it’s a great environment for them to develop leadership skills.

Q: Has your job helped you grow?
A: Yeah, you’re always learning. Things don’t stay the same. I have to change constantly, you know, since I started working here for example, I have learned to use the computer, you know there were no cell phones at one time. In order for me to continue to be able to do my job, I had to learn to adapt to the technology and the changes. There’s always change and you have to accept that and make the adjustments if you want to continue to be effective and you can’t provide the service and do your job if you do not make those adjustments.

Q: What made you choose athletic training?
A: I have always enjoyed the athletic culture. Aspiring to be your best. I like medicine and I like sports, so athletic training is a good combination for that.

Q: Have you seen injuries change someone’s life?
A: I have had several athletes that came to Pima and were injured; after that they went into athletic training and now they are working as athletic trainers. The athletic trainer in Nogales is one of our former students, the athletic trainer at Sahuarita High school is one of our former students. We have athletic trainers all over the state and the country that were former Pima students.

Q: Were you an athlete?
A: Oh, I tried but I wasn’t very athletic. I broke my wrist playing football, and I said “that’s enough of that.”

Q: Favorite sport?
A: Every sport has something that appeals to me, but I like the distance runners. It’s a different kind of sport. You really have to train hard. There is not a lot of glory associated with distance running.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Photography and I like to travel; outdoor type of stuff, fitness activities, but I don’t have a lot of time because I am always at work.

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