Bernard Stento is an athletic trainer and health teacher at Chesterton High School, a position he has been dedicated to full time since the new high school opened in 2000. Recently, Stento was nominated for a National Athletic Trainers Association Service Award which is given to those who have done something at the local or state level to provide service to the profession of athletic training and advancing the profession, something he is very passionate about.
Stento is originally from Binghamton, NY, south of Syracuse, and went to Ithaca college for his undergraduate and University of Arizona Tuscon for a Masters in Athletic Training. However, he moved to Chesterton in 1995, as his wife is a native of Valparaiso. Since moving to the area they have put down roots and really come to value the Chesterton community and the environment that it has provided them and their family.
At the school, Stento teaches Advanced Health and Sports Medicine and after school he helps Chesterton High School’s athletes perform and maintain their physical wellbeing as one of the school’s two athletic trainers along with Marnie Flynn Smith.
“We deal with all the injuries and rehab and getting kids back out safely to their sports so there’s a lot to do. We’re never short on customers,” Stento explained of his responsibilities as athletic trainer. He and his colleague evaluate injuries, rehabilitation and management of injuries.
And when he says they are never short on customers he isn’t kidding. Stento oversees athletes in soccer, football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, track, wrestling and gymnastics at the high school.
“I never get bored doing things because there’s always something new going on, there’s always plenty of action; lots and lots of activities. It’s a constant battle to keep up with the schedule.”
With that kind of busy schedule, one would think Stento wouldn’t have much spare time, but he meets twice a year with other athletic trainers in the area to get together and talk about different sports medicine topics and issues at the high school level that they would like to address and to keep current. He also acted as Education Chair for the Indiana Athletic Trainers Association for nine years and the Honors and Awards Committee for four years.
“You learn how to schedule and find what’s most important and do the things that are good for the family and find happiness with your life as well as meaningful work and all those work-life balance issues,” Stento said of the demands of the profession.
When asked what he and his family do in their spare time, Stento further revealed his passion for athleticism and health: “We like to exercise, it’s part of our lifestyle, teaching about health and the body. So we try to fit in a workout and try to keep ourselves feeling good and energized and I think it’s a great stress reliever.” The family also has plenty of activities between sports and other activities for their kids as well as academics, which Stento stressed as central to his children’s success.
When he’s feeling more in the mood for a relaxing kind of activity, Stento enjoys reading, which could be a novel or something related to sports medicine to keep current with the field or just enjoying a nice afternoon on his back porch.
Talking of his long running passion for sports Stento had a lot to say, “I just really wanted to do something in sports medicine in high school back in the early 80s. It was something I was exposed to in my high school and then I decided to look more into it and found an accredited program in my area, about an hour from home.”
“I always had an interest in sports and the injury part; I had some friends who were injured in high school and I kind of looked a little bit more into it and then, you know, one thing led to another… I decided to go and study more about it and was fascinated with how the human body worked and it seemed to be a natural kind of fit,” The career was such a natural fit, Stento himself married another athletic trainer, who was the high school’s first trainer back in 1995.
As can be imagined, Stento’s dedication to the profession has not gone unnoticed and last year he was nominated by a colleague, Craig Vole, for the National Athletic Trainers Association Service Award held in Houston with 34 of his fellow trainers.
“I felt very honored to receive the award with some of the other people that have been around for a long time in the field. I got into it because I wanted to give back to the profession. You don’t do it with the intention of trying to get an award, you do it because you want to get involved, you want to help,” Stento said of the humbling experience.