PBATS celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

PBATS celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

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Andrew Hauser, Arizona Diamondbacks Minor League medical coordinator, has always been a sports fan, an athlete and an overall active person. Growing up in Kansas as the youngest of three, Andrew spent his childhood playing every sport imaginable – baseball, basketball, ice hockey, football, track, soccer and more.

Then tragically, Andrew lost his left leg in a car accident during high school on his way home from his state baseball tournament. The injuries he received as a result of the accident were so severe that Andrew’s leg needed to be amputated on site. But that did not stop him from finding a way to play, study and continue in the world of sports. He was determined to go on with his life and accepted his newly acquired disability as a challenge.

Entering his freshman year at Kansas University he wasn’t sure what he wanted to study, but Hauser – who has always identified himself as an athlete – decided that he wanted to try to walk-on to the Kansas baseball team. He began working with an athletic trainer two times per week, and he loved being pushed past his physical limits and challenging himself.  Throughout his training he fell in love with the profession of athletic training and strength and conditioning.

Eventually, Andrew decided to pursue his degree in athletic training. And during his junior year of college, he interned with the Arizona Diamondbacks working with both long-term rehabilitation and the AAA team in Tucson, Arizona. He immediately knew he belonged in baseball, and that the game of baseball was accepting of his disability.

After his internship, Hauser got his first job with the Phillies as a strength and conditioning coach and assistant athletic trainer for their High-A team in Clearwater, Florida. Eventually he landed a job with the Tampa Bay Rays where he would spend the next three years in their minor league system working to perfect his craft as an athletic trainer. During his off-seasons, Hauser worked at a physical therapy clinic in Farmington, New Mexico, doing anything he could to educate himself about the world of athletic training, strength and conditioning and physical therapy.

In 2012, Andrew was hired by Diamondback’s head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw to be their manual and performance coordinator. The position combined his skills as an athletic trainer and a strength coach – the exact skills that Hauser worked hard to learn throughout college and the early years of his career. After one year in that role, he was promoted to his current position as Minor League medical coordinator.

“Andrew has excelled in the athletic training field as well as the performance field. He is a tireless worker that is committed to learning every day,” Crenshaw said. “His disability just drives him to excel, so in my opinion he has no disability. His mentality is to push beyond what most people are willing to do which is a huge asset to him and us.”

Beyond the playing field and the athletic training room, Hauser is a role model for people with disabilities all across the country, especially those looking to pursue careers in sports.

When asked what he would tell young people with disabilities about pursuing their dream of working in sports, Hauser said, “Don’t put any limitations upon yourself because you’ve had to go through things that most people could never dream of.  Everything you go through will teach you a lesson that will benefit you both as a person and in the field you choose to pursue. Don’t take anything for granted. If it’s the path you want to go down, then don’t let anything stop you from pursuing it.”

Hauser has traveled a long and sometimes difficult road to get to where he is today as someone who holds an extremely valuable and integral position within Major League Baseball. But throughout his journey he’s learned to maintain confidence in himself and in his peers who treat him exactly as they should – like someone who is valued for what he can do, rather than being judged for what he cannot do because of his disability.

During this the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Hauser hopes to spread his message and let everyone know that baseball, sports and all other industries should focus on what a person can do and not what they can’t do. And he’s clearly proven that having a disability should never get between a person and their dreams. With hard work and a consistent positive mindset, Andrew has shown that anything is possible.

“If I’m not wearing shorts the majority of people don’t realize that I’ve lost my leg. I can do everything I did before my accident and I have never considered it to be a deterrent. I probably get a few double takes by people that haven’t been around me before, but if you’re confident in who you are as a person, then it’s a non-issue from my perspective.”

The Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society is proud to have Andrew as a member and we salute him for his perseverance and serving as a role model for others with disabilities, but more importantly, for helping to prove to the business community that people with disabilities can be tremendous assets in the workplace – if given the chance.