Miyazawa to Lead USA Beach Volleyball Sports Medicine Department
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Behind the scenes, Kansas volleyball consists of specialists of every kind. The student-athletes and coaches take center stage, but with them are strength coaches, student managers, team doctors, photographers, nutritionists and many more. This week, the Jayhawks said goodbye to an all-time favorite behind-the-scenes ace, certified athletic trainer Aimee Miyazawa.
After nearly 10 years with Kansas volleyball, Miyazawa will take her talents to the national level. The USA Volleyball Beach Team has hired Miyazawa as the head athletic trainer for its new Beach National Program facility in Torrance, California. The Colorado native will lead the sports medicine department and create athletic training programs for the national team athletes.
“It’s always been a lifelong goal to reach that level,” Miyazawa said. “I’ve worked and helped out with USA Volleyball throughout my career. Before I came to KU, I was at the Olympic Training Center so I got some exposure and experience there. It’s always been a goal of mine to work for an organization of that caliber and have the chance to go to the Olympic Games.”
USA Volleyball beach athletes have won at least one gold medal at every Olympic Games since the discipline was added in 1996. U.S. beach teams have also won four FIVB world championship gold medals, four silver and four bronze since the event started in 1997.
Miyazawa will work with beach athletes in the Torrance facility and on the road at events, including the 2015 FIVB Beach World Championships. She is set to work with both the men’s and women’s beach national teams. Although the format will be different than the women’s indoor volleyball she’s accustomed to, Miyazawa will no doubt find instant success.
“I don’t think it matters what sport she’s helping with, she has a special servant nature about her,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “She puts those student-athletes ahead of herself and is a proponent of theirs. I know (Team) USA has her work with them in the summers for different events. Obviously, they know what kind of individual they’re getting and we’re very aware of the kind of individual we’re losing. We’re extremely happy for her, and it’s a great opportunity. I think every parent, every student-athlete, every coach that has been around during her nine-plus years here, is indebted to Aimee at some level because of the service she gave to our student-athletes and our volleyball program.”
Aside from her expert care in Division I athletics, Miyazawa has extensive international experience. In October 2011, Miyazawa was selected to work the 16th Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she worked primarily with men’s and women’s indoor volleyball, while keeping regular hours staffing the Team USA clinic.
Additionally, Miyazawa spent time in June 2009 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., working for the USOC Volunteer Medical Program. She worked with a variety of different athletes including those in sprint kayak, BMX, cycling, archery and speed skating. Also, during the summer of 2008, Miyazawa served as an athletic trainer for the USA national men’s volleyball team, which won the gold medal in the Pan-American Cup.
“The addition of a head athletic trainer for the Beach National Teams will allow USAV to better care for our athletes as they prepare to compete against the world’s best,” said Sean Scott, USAV manager of beach national teams in USA Volleyball’s press release. “We are very fortunate to have Aimee filling this role as her experience as an ATC and with USAV and the USOC will be invaluable to the program.”
Miyazawa came to the Jayhawk program following a fellowship with the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., during the 2004-05 academic year. While at the Olympic Training Center, Miyazawa worked primarily with the women’s volleyball, weightlifting and men’s freestyle wrestling national teams. Her travels with the women’s volleyball national team took her to China, Korea, Thailand and the Dominican Republic.
That worldly traveling will soon return to Miyazawa’s everyday life, but a little piece of her will always be in Lawrence.
“The past nine and a half years have been great,” Miyazawa said. “I love everybody here, the program, the people, the players, the alumni. It’s those relationships that you build that really make a place special. That is what I will miss the most.”
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