As part of its new partnership with Mohegan Sun Sports, Select Physical Therapy will be providing athletic trainers to the Connecticut Sun and New England Black Wolves. This season, former New York Liberty and UConn athletic trainer Rosemary Ragle has been assigned to the Connecticut Sun.
Inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, Ragle worked at UConn from 1998 through 2016 before leaving for the New York Liberty.
She took a few minutes recently to discuss her new position.
How does it feel to be back in Connecticut, where you spent so much of your professional career?
“Oh my gosh! When I got the call that the Sun position was available, I do not think I knew how much I wanted to return to Connecticut until that moment. I was so excited. After living up here for twenty years, it’s home for me. My friends are here and people I know are right down the road. It felt right. I am very excited about being back in the Connecticut community.”
As a visiting trainer, what was your impression of the experience and the atmosphere at Connecticut Sun games?
“In all honesty, it reminds me of UConn games. They seem to have a similar fan base. The Connecticut Sun does a great job filling their seats. They love their ladies who play for the Sun. It’s a very friendly family environment, and that is something I noticed right off the bat.”
You have said you are proud of the relationships you have built with athletes over the years. Is that something that came naturally?
“It was a maturing process for me. When I was younger, I was very head strong. I didn’t expect people to be late. And when they were late, I would get all over them. So it took a couple of years for me to develop a nice balance so that I wasn’t too hard on them where they wouldn’t trust me and come back to the athletic training room, but they respected who I was as a person. So it was just a work in progress. But over time, it became something that I was very proud of. I think I had a nice balance of empathy and sympathy in order to get the athletes back on the court.”
And the athletes are always different, right? So there is that challenge of trying to figure out the best approach to each athlete as you are treating them.
“Absolutely. And I think because I was at UConn for 18 years, it afforded me a larger learning curve to figure out who those players are. Who needed a little more attention and who needed me to back off.”
How did you get started as an athletic trainer?
“When I was nearing the end of high school, my dad drove me to visit his mentor at Troy (Alabama) University. His mentor happened to be his athletic trainer. His name is John H. Anderson. As I sat in his office listening to him tell me stories about his career, I knew I wanted to be him. That day sealed the deal that I would be an athletic trainer. He was and still is very passionate about athletic training.
Do you still keep in touch with him?
Does he still give you good advice or do you give him advice now?
“(Laughs). Back-and-forth. He actually was just recently inducted into the National Athletic Training Association Hall of Fame!”
Speaking of which, you were inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. What was that like?
“It was pretty cool. I think a lot of people have already heard this story where I had gotten a couple of e-mails and gotten a couple of phone calls. It was during the summer so I wasn’t really checking the little red light on my phone as often as I should. It turns out I had missed several attempts by the New England Basketball Hall of Fame to get in touch with me and they were getting worried. And when I finally got the voicemail, I was like, ‘No, this isn’t real,’ and I hung up. So then I ended up making contact with them. It was pretty cool.”
You are from Alabama, and when you moved to New England, you said you were not necessarily a big women’s basketball fan. You end up working for the dominant college women’s basketball program, and you are inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. That is quite a journey.
“It was a perk to work for the best college women’s basketball program in the country. I’ve been very, very fortunate and it has been so much fun for my parents. A lot of the snow birds head down to where my parents live in the panhandle of Florida, and my dad is always wearing his UConn hat when he’s walking on the beach. And these people were walking by and they said, “Hey, UConn!” And he answered, “Yeah!” And they asked him what he knew about UConn and he said, “Well, my daughter works up there.” And they asked, ‘What’s your daughter do?’ and my dad said ‘She’s the athletic trainer for the women’s basketball team.’ And they said, ‘Rosie??!’ My parents have never been prouder.”
What is the key to being a successful athletic trainer?
“Number one would be patience. Number two would be not being stuck in your ways because you’re dealing with all sorts of different personalities. And (three) just to be caring and let them know you are looking out for their best interest and that you’re not going to put them in harm’s way. You’re there to get them better and as close to 100 percent as possible. Know your weaknesses and display your strengths.”