When George Young first arrived at North Texas in 1984, he had little more than a small room and a table to work with while helping hundreds of athletes as the school’s athletic trainer.
In the years since, he has seen the profession grow, from the addition of facilities and staff at UNT to high schools adding full-time trainers.
Those who know the profession best say that Young played a key role in the growth of the field in the Denton area, and they will honor him for his contributions today when he is inducted into the Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame during the organization’s annual meeting in Addison.
Young was a trainer at UNT from 1984-94 and has been the sports medicine manager at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton since leaving the school.
“It’s been great to see the profession grow and change,” Young said. “The facilities at UNT have changed dramatically from the training room and staff I had to what [current UNT trainer] Dustin Hill has now and what TWU has now. The facilities at the high school level have also changed. There is more of an emphasis on having good athletic trainers now.”
Young has seen just about every development in the profession during his 43 years as a member of SWATA, including a stint as the organization’s president from 1986-87.
The 2012 football season will be Young’s 39th to work as a trainer, dating back to his first job as a trainer at Bay City High School in 1973.
Young has seen the Denton sports community grow over the last several years. He has been a part of some of the area’s best and worst sports moments of the last few decades.
“The 1998 basketball season when North Texas went to the NCAA tournament is one of my best memories,” Young said. “We played North Carolina in the first round. Back then, North Texas was in I-AA and made the playoffs in football.
“I was also there for some of the lean years in I-AA and when we made the transition back to Division I-A.”
Young worked with UNT Hall of Fame running back Erric Pegram and linebacker Byron Gross. Pegram went on to play six seasons in the NFL, while Gross was a Division I-AA All-American his senior year.
Young knew Gross from his time in San Antonio before coming to UNT and played a role in selling one of the best linebackers in school history on the idea of playing for the Mean Green.
Kathy Dieringer has known Young since she was the head trainer at TWU beginning in the mid-1980s.
“When I think of George, I think of someone who wants to leave the profession in a better position than when he got into it,” said Dieringer, who is the co-owner of D&D Sports Med in Denton.
Perhaps Young’s longest-lasting contribution has been his work with high school trainers. He holds several continuing education seminars for high school trainers to bring them up to date on the latest methods for handling injuries like concussions, where treatment methods continue to develop.
When Young began working with high school trainers, they were a rarity in the area.
“One of the aspects of my career I am most proud of is that the smaller schools like Aubrey, Argyle and Krum now employ trainers to take care of their athletes,” Young said.
Young also has served on the Greater Denton Sports Commission, which promotes athletics in the area.
Dieringer said that Young’s impact on the local sports scene reaches beyond his work as a trainer, which has served as a platform that allowed him to contribute to the Denton community in several ways.
It’s that work as a trainer he will be honored for today.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .