A ‘major league’ success

By Alex Branch

Steve Carlin and his wife, Tiffany (Hambrick) Carlin PT, DPT, a 2015 UNTHSC grad
Steve Carlin and his wife, Tiffany (Hambrick) Carlin PT, DPT, a 2015 UNTHSC grad.

A 2015 School of Health Professions graduate will help put injured Miami Marlins baseball players back on the playing field this summer.

Steve Carlin PT, DPT, will treat players throughout the organization as the rehabilitation coordinator at the Marlins spring training facility in Jupiter, Fla.

Carlin, 28, is tasked with post-operative and non-operative injury management and developing strategies to keep players from suffering future injuries.

“As a sports PT, you have to wear a lot of different hats in this environment,” Carlin said. “You draw on experience in psychology, nutrition and strength and conditioning, and learn the injury patterns that come with these athletes.”

Carlin arrived at UNT Health Science Center with a goal to prepare himself to treat professional baseball players. A pitcher in his Oklahoma high school and at Bucknell University, he suffered an elbow injury and underwent so-called “Tommy John” surgery – replacement of the ulnar collateral ligament with a tendon from elsewhere in his body.

The injury derailed his playing career, but sparked his interest in sports medicine.

While in PT school, UNTHSC faculty helped Carlin prepare to work in sports medicine by establishing a new student rotation with Mercy Sports Performance in his hometown of Edmond, Okla.

“It was really helpful that the faculty started the rotation so I could get that firsthand exposure to high-performance athletes in a physical therapy setting,” he said. “It was a great chance to improve my clinical skills.”

Before joining the Marlins, Carlin did a six-month fellowship with the Kansas City Royals at the organization’s training facility in Arizona. His own experiences playing baseball helped him quickly adapt to working with professional players so soon after graduation, he said.

“You work with a really diverse group of players,” he said. “Some may be as young as 17 and were born here the U.S. while others grew up Latin America. All different walks of life and backgrounds.”

Carlin won’t travel with the Marlins. When players sustain long-term injuries, the organization often sends them to the Jupiter training facility where Carlin and other team medical staff work full time.

Carlin joined the Marlins in November and, because it is the offseason, the training facility hasn’t been busy. He and his wife, Tiffany (Hambrick) Carlin PT, DPT, a 2015 UNTHSC graduate who works in an acute care hospital, have settled into South Florida.

But pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14.

“It will get busy soon enough,” Carlin said. “I’m looking forward to the season.”

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