Success on the Gridiron
There are no goalposts at Keene State's Owl Athletic Complex. Football was discontinued as a varsity sport in 1932. But Eric Laudano '99, who graduated nearly 70 years later as an athletic trainer, ended up on a football field anyway. "I wanted to be a head football trainer before I was 30, and I achieved it," he says. This fall, the 29-year-old Laudano took over as head football trainer at Indiana State University (ISU) in Terra Haute.
Even though KSC lacks a football team, Laudano knows the school's athletic training program prepared him well to work in the sport. "Thanks to the excellent classroom instructors and clinical instruction, the program doesn't limit your opportunities when you graduate," Laudano says. At KSC, he worked with several Owl teams and the Keene High football squad. "The program exposed me to the truth of athletic training in terms of the long hours, road trips, early mornings, and late nights," Laudano says. "But it taught me to work hard and always strive for your goals."
After graduation, Laudano worked as an athletic trainer at Yale University, in the Arena Football League, and with the Buffalo Bills. He also did summer camp work with the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers before landing his position at Indiana State.
Known as the school where Larry Bird played basketball, Indiana State is rebuilding its Division I-AA football program. Occasionally, the Sycamores move up and play top teams. This season, ISU began its season in front of 50,000 fans at Purdue University.
Laudano had to go onto the field several times to attend to an injured player. "When you're on the field during a big game everything becomes silent. It's pressure, knowing millions of eyes are on you, but that's what makes this profession so much fun." says Laudano. "Your books are not with you on the field, so your work in the classroom and as a student is priceless.
"When I was at Keene State, I never thought I would get this far. But I never gave up on becoming a head football athletic trainer, and I'm thankful every day to everyone who helped me along the way. And it all began with the staff and program at Keene State."