Vivien Ip plays an important role in making sure players are achieving their peak performances and are pain free while they’re on the hardwood.
Ip has been certified as an athletic trainer for three years and has worked with the Movin’ Mavs programs for over two years.
“It’s funny because I always wanted to do it when I was a kid,” Ip said. “I never knew about the actual profession until 2012. That’s actually the first time I heard about athletic training, and I was like, this is what I have been wanting to do, and I jumped right into it.”
As an international student from Hong Kong, Ip came to Texas in 2011. While enrolled in community college she was able to find her mentor, Tracey Jaurena, who introduced her to the field of athletic training.
“She’s been in the business for a long time,” Ip said. “I don’t know if you would use the word pioneer, but back in the day it was harder to let a female go to college, let alone work around athletes. She’s definitely somebody I really look up to.”
In 2015, Ip graduated from Fresno State University with a degree in kinesiology and athletic training.
She began her journey at UTA in fall 2016. Ip enrolled in the university’s Master of Science in Exercise Physiology two-year program. The rest fell into place from there, she said - the Movin’ Mavs needed a trainer and she was the one for the job.
During her time with the wheelchair basketball program, Ip has made many memories but can’t quite pick the fondest, other than the individuals she gets to be around on a daily basis and the unique personalities she gets to interact with.
“I love working with [the Movin’ Mavs],” she said. “They are a group of interesting individuals.”
When it comes to having a professional relationship and a friendship, Ip doesn’t like to mix the two together but said she is always available to talk to players whenever they need her help.
Graduate student Morgan Wood said her fondest memory of Ip is when she brought a stray dog to her house, knowing Wood already had a dog and would welcome another addition to her family.
On the court, Wood said she would be in a lot more pain to this day if Ip hadn’t helped her recover from all of the back injuries she’s sustained throughout her intercollegiate career.
Sophomore Clarence McCarthy-Grogan said, as an adaptive athlete, he’s tried his best to work and communicate with Ip effectively so she can fulfill her full potential with the team.
“She has to know the ins and outs of everyone’s personal and professional life,” McCarthy-Grogan said. “I’m going to give her as much information about myself. If we don’t give her as much information she can’t really help us to get better and be back on the court.”
Throughout her stint as a trainer, Ip has worked with both able-bodied athletes and adaptive athletes, something she never thought she would get into when she started her career.
When the opportunity came to work with adaptive athletes, she jumped right on it and has been learning on the go ever since.
“Viv’s always here right when you need her,” junior Mikila Salazar said. “It’s nice to have somebody that has the training and knows what they’re doing and is actually helping you make your body get better for competition.”
Graduate student Alhassan Sedky said he finds Ip’s transition interesting, as she went from an international student who knew nothing about adaptive athletes to an athletic trainer who hopes to continue to work in adaptive sports.
Sedky said when he comes to Ip about a physical problem, she knows what’s going on, which is important for a player. He added that he appreciates the amount of time Ip has put into her craft since she has been with the program.
As the only available athletic trainer for both the Movin’ Mavs and the Lady Movin’ Mavs, Ip is responsible for making herself available to both the teams’ players while juggling her schoolwork at the same time.
“[My] schedule can get a little crazy because guys practice early in the morning, and girls like to practice at night,” Ip said. “I could spend all day here.”
Just like any UTA student trying to achieve their dreams while in college, Ip said she had to deal with numerous challenges on her way to being a trainer.
With her textbooks not providing the adequate information to deal with certain scenarios in the training room and game action, Ip said she communicates with team physicians and doctors to better educate herself.
“She’s there to do a job, and she does it pretty well,” McCarthy-Grogan said. “Look at us, we’re doing alright so far. It will be interesting to see who we get for next season.”
Upon completion of her education in May, Ip said she hopes to stay in the field of athletic training.
“The adaptive population definitely interests me,” she said. “If there is another opportunity, I will jump for it.”