FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Tomohiro Katashima and Yuta Masuda are thousands of miles from Waseda University in their home country of Japan. The contrast between Tokyo and Fayetteville may be stark, but both students are happy to be in Arkansas, bolstering their studies in athletic training.
Katashima and Masuda spent the first week of August working with the University of Arkansas football athletic trainers, honing skills and learning new tips of the trade to take back to Japan. It was Katashima’s first time in Fayetteville, while Masuda had previously been on campus in winter of 2014.
When asked why they traveled so far to study under the University of Arkansas football athletic trainers, both students gave similar answers- they like sports and athletic training in the United States offers different and more varied opportunities than in Japan.
In Japan, Katashima and Masuda explained, athletic trainers are not recognized as medical providers like they are in the U.S. Because of this, it is very difficult to attain jobs in the field. The students also spoke about the differences in what athletic trainers do in the two countries. In Japan, like in the U.S., athletic training is focused on treatment and recovery, but often lacks the first aid aspects that Katashima and Masuda learned at the University of Arkansas.
The University of Arkansas athletic training staff has also enjoyed the extra help from students wanting to learn more about the athletic training profession.
“Tomo and Yuta have done a great job,” head football athletic trainer Matt Summers said. “They are very humble and eager to learn as much as possible in the little bit of time they have been around. Their work ethic is contagious and they have learned a great deal about athletic training at the Division I level.”
Katashima and Masuda are not the only Japanese students to travel to Fayetteville to study athletic training. Current Razorback football training graduate student Satoshi Iida also studied at Waseda University in Tokyo before coming to Arkansas. Iida said that there is at least one student a year that comes from Waseda to obtain an entry-level master’s degree in athletic training under the College of Education and Health Professions program director Dr. Jeff Bonacci and clinical coordinator Dr. Brendon McDermott.
As for the future, Katashima and Masuda would like pursue careers in athletic training. Neither student has decided whether he would like to ultimately work in Japan or the U.S. However, Masuda said he is interested in working with football, racquet sports or soccer, while Katashima would like to work solely with contact sports.