John Kasik

Associate AD of Sports Medicine
  • 22 years working in the NFL with three professional teams
  • 8 years at head athletic trainer with Carolina Panthers
  • 13th year overseeing sports medicine at South Carolina

WHAT I DO: “I oversee the healthcare of all our student-athletes. I oversee our staff of 10 certified athletic trainers, 10 graduate assistant certified athletic trainers, and I work with our physicians in the healthcare of our student-athletes.

“We have everything that you can possibly have to take care of our student-athletes. I think we have all the resources that your child is going to need while they’re here; mentally, physically, and emotionally. Anything they can possible need, we have. We have nutritionists. We have dietitians. We have strength and conditioning coaches. We have physicians. We have psychologists. We have psychiatrists. We have general medical physicians. We have orthopedic physicians. We have consultants that cover every aspect of the human body that you would ever need. And if we can’t find them here, we’ll find them somewhere else and get you take care of.”

HOW DOES SOUTH CAROLINA’S CARE FOR STUDENT-ATHLETE GO ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT MOST FOLKS MIGHT EXPECT?
“Our level of care always been good, but there are some areas that have pushed themselves to the forefront, especially in the area of mental health. We had a very good program with a lot of people around to help our student-athletes with any mental health or substance abuse problems when I first got here. With hiring Sarah (Noll) to triage those sorts of things, it is going to help expedite the process. I think we’re doing as much, if not more, than anybody else in the country when it comes to helping our student-athletes, not only with health care, but also in handling psychological issues and substance abuse issues.”

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LATEST TOOLS OF THE TRADE AVAILABLE TO SOUTH CAROLINA STUDENT-ATHLETES FOR REHABILITATION OF INJURIES?
“We have hydroworks, we have underwater treadmills, we’ve got every modality that you can think of for treating injuries. We have all the latest and up to date machines for conditioning and strength training. We have a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. We do the research on things to make sure the evidence is there to support these things. We’re not buying things just because somebody else has them or it has a lot of bells and whistles on its. We’re getting things that are going to help our student-athletes get better, faster and safely.”

WHAT IS SOUTH CAROLINA DOING IN TERMS OF MONITORING FOR CONCUSSIONS?
“With concussions and head injuries, everyone is baseline tested as part of concussion management policy that all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff abide by. The policy is that you’re going to do everything we tell you to do to make sure you are 100 percent healed before you return to activity. Some concussions and head injuries take longer to heal than others. We get everyone involved in the treatment in that, which includes coaches and professors to be sure we’re doing the right thing.”

WHAT ELSE ARE WE DOING AS STANDARD PROCEDURE THAT YOU MAY NOT FIND EVERYWHERE ELSE?
“Every student-athlete gets an EKG when they first get here. Within the last two years, we started doing echocardiograms on everyone as well. Not everybody is doing that. It’s pretty rare. It’s used to weed out any cardiac problems you may have. It’s impossible to pick up every anomaly, but we’re trying to narrow it down and weed out issues before they become a problem. If we have to disqualify someone we will.”

“We’re going to do what’s best for the student-athlete.”

“We’ve always taken care of student-athletes for two years after they’ve left here. The NCAA recently mandated that, but we were already doing it. If a student-athlete is having an issue with something, we’re going to take care of that for two more years after they’ve finished here for that injury that happened here, and we’ll take care of that with our physicians.”