Scott Oliaro is Head Athletic Trainer and Associate Director of Sports Medicine at UNC Campus Health. This means he oversees the entire athletic training program – supervising staff athletic trainers, clinical graduate assistants and running the main training room at the Stallings Evans center. In addition, Scott supports several varsity teams at UNC - Field Hockey as well as Men’s and Women’s Golf teams, and during his tenure at UNC, has worked with athletes from almost all of our 28 sports teams.
Oliaro graduated as a pre-medicine/nutrition major from Cornell University. During his tenure at Cornell, he took classes in athletic training as well as exercise and sports studies since he was still deciding whether to become a physician, athletic trainer or physical therapist. “Basically, I was pre-everything,” he laughed. “It forced me to take a lot of courses and helped me realize I wanted to work with athletes.” Oliaro came to UNC for his master’s degree and graduated in 1996. He got his first job at American University in D.C. and worked there for 2 years while also supporting the Washington Capitals hockey team.
Oliaro returned to UNC in 1998 to work with the football team under Dan Hooker. Over the next ten years or so, his job evolved as he took on more responsibilities. “Every time there was a chance to move on, I would stay and take on more responsibilities,” Oliaro said. Upon Dan Hooker’s retirement, Oliaro was asked to step into the head athletic trainer role where he supports his staff in providing services to athletes and students. He finds his staff collaborative and knowledgeable. “We all look at things a bit differently, and recognize that someone else might have a better approach for how to handle illness, injury or a difficult situation,” he noted. “It’s good to get perspective from each other.” He encourages the athletic trainers to discuss what they see and what they have accomplished while looking towards what they can do better.
Athletic Training Clinic
The AT Clinic is open in Stallings from about 8:00 a.m. until the evening hours when intramurals or sports clubs are finished. They offer a walk-in triage clinic for students, sports club athletes or anyone that is active to come in after being injured for evaluation, education, treatment and advice. Athletic trainers see all types of students including supporting one or two teams. Students may be referred to a physician, nurse or emergency department, but mostly are given answers and peace of mind before leaving the clinic. “It’s a great resource to have on campus and a great benefit students receive from their health fee,” Oliaro said. “Students can come in a see an expert without having to miss classes or even have much interruption to their day.” He did note the high expectations for miraculously quick recovery times after injury. “People expect answers that are impossible to get….everyone wants to be better the next day. I’m not a miracle worker,” he joked. “Well…sometimes I am. It just depends on the miracle.”
Passion for Biomechanics
Oliaro spoke about his passion for biomechanics. “We look at preventing injury, decreasing stress and moving efficiently while building performance. It’s really interesting,” he said. One of his first professional development experiences after being assigned to the golf teams was attending a Titleist Performance Institute where he learned about golf biomechanics and how restrictions in human movement effects one’s golf swing. “We have such talented athletes at UNC,” he explained, “I get to gain an understanding of their skills and biomechanical needs to help them perform their best.”
Mia Hamm connection
Oliaro loves his work with UNC athletes, and explained that he’s also had some cool experience with a UNC Alumna. His son and Mia Hamm’s twin daughters are the same age, so after Oliaro took on the job as youth soccer coach, Mia asked if her daughters could join the team and she offered to help assist. Oliaro couldn’t turn down the greatest women’s soccer player on the planet. “She was the best assistant coach I could ask for,” he laughed. Oliaro has since coached youth baseball and basketball as well – “having her as my assistant in soccer gave me a good springboard.”
Come see for yourself
The sports medicine clinic operates out of Campus Health in the physical therapy clinic on the ground floor and the Stallings-Evans Sports Medicine Center. Also, depending on the sport, there are satellite training rooms in the Smith Center, Kenan Football Center and other spaces used just for practices.