Shaler Area grad to attend Super Bowl 50 as athletic trainer for the Panthers

While millions of viewers will be tuning in to watch Super Bowl 50 from their homes, Steve Labate will be monitoring the game from the sidelines.

Steve Labate, a 2008 Shaler Area graduate, is one of the Carolina Panthers’ six athletic trainers, which includes four full-time trainers and two seasonal assistants, who together monitor the players rather than the plays to provide the athletes with the medical attention they require on and off the field.

Labate became interested in sports medicine while watching athletic trainers work with the Shaler Area athletes. Shaler Area contracts with UPMC Sports Medicine to provide athletic trainers to service the district’s student athletes.

After Labate graduated from Shaler Area, he attended California University of Pennsylvania to receive his bachelor’s degree in athletic training. While there he spent two summers interning with the athletic training staff of the Cleveland Browns and then Buffalo Bills and fell in love with the NFL experience.

“I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life,” Labate said.

After graduating from California University of Pennsylvania in 2012, he went on to earn his master’s degree in exercise science from South Dakota State University and serve as a graduate assistant athletic trainer for two years.

Labate was hired by the Panthers in the spring and has spent the season working with the players.

A typical day starts at 5:30 a.m. for Labate and the other athletic trainers and ends at 7:30 p.m. The athletic trainers work with a team of specialists to provide medical coverage to the players during the game and treatment throughout the week

“I definitely have a greater respect for the game and players,” Labate said. “What the fans see on TV during the game is a small snapshot of what the players and athletic trainers do throughout the season.”

Labate said while the job can be stressful and demanding with many holidays spent at games or on the road, he enjoys it.

“We have a great organization down here, from the players to the executives to the trainers,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked to work for a better organization.”

After the conference championships, Labate worked with the athletic training team to begin the process of packing all of the equipment to be shipped to Santa Clara, Calif. The athletic trainers will spend the week working with the players in preparation for the Super Bowl game against the Denver Broncos, on Feb. 7.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to go to the Super Bowl and be in this position,” Labate said. “It’s so hard to get there. … To be going to the Super Bowl at a young age is a blessing and a dream.”

Steve Labate is the son of Frank and Susan Labate of Shaler Township. He also has a sister, Kristen Labate, a senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Shaler graduate goes to the Super Bowl as part of Panthers training staff
TribLIVE | Neighborhoods article Jan. 29, 2016
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1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard     Glenshaw, PA. 15116     P 412-492-1200     F 412-492-1236
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