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Sue Falsone made Major League Baseball history in 2007 when she became the first female team physical therapist while working with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2012, she went on to replace Stan Conte as the team’s head athletic trainer for two seasons, the first woman to do so in major American sports.
While there was some pushback from some belligerent “fans” across the more frustrated corners of Reddit and Twitter, Falsone was beloved by the team during her tenure with the Dodgers.
Falsone discussed her approach to the health of her athletes, as well as some popular misconceptions about health and fitness. The former Los Angeles Dodgers trainer also talked about the pros and cons of breaking glass ceilings, changes in recovery methods, and how sleep is currently viewed in the fitness industry.
“[Clients] don’t care what gender you are, what color you are, what color your hair is, what color your eyes are,” she says. “When people are injured or they’re in pain, they’re seeking understanding and they’re seeking help. If you can help them and offer some type of solution to help improve their quality of life, that’s all they care about. The athletes were fantastic. They were really great, really respectful.”
Falsone’s results speak for themselves, and she’s currently working with Structure and Function, a rehab and performance educational company, and recently published a book, “Bridging the Gap From Rehab to Performance.”
As far as her own health, Falsone is a vegetarian. Contrary to popular belief, a plant-based diet isn’t a magical cure; it just seems that way for people who switch from a severely unhealthy diet: “People have all of these misconceptions about what the buzz word for nutrition is for the day. I think it’s just different stuff for every body. I don’t think there’s one right way to eat.”
Today, Falsone is also getting a lot of mileage from applying intermittent fasting to her vegetarian diet, as well as lessening her dependence on caffeine and sleeping pills, an unfortunate symptom of life on the road with a major league baseball team:
“I got into the same issues that the athletes get into,” she admits. “I was eating Ambien every night, drinking alcohol every night. Waking up, downing Red Bull, downing caffeine, coffee, to kind of get up all day. You get into this cycle, and I got to that point where I was not going to bed if I didn’t have 10mg of Ambien.”
Life on the road is tough, but it was a job in which she performed admirably, and Falsone’s name will forever be part of sports history for helping advance the role of women in baseball.