Bison football’s 40-year-old training student source of Veteran’s Day inspiration

Bison football’s 40-year-old training student source of Veteran’s Day inspiration

He asked athletic training student Demetri Hospidales to join him. The reason: Hospidales is a veteran who joined the U.S. Navy when he was 18 years old.

“I was not expecting that,” he said. “I was a little embarrassed; people did way more and sacrificed way more than I did.”

Hospidales is 40 years old and going back to school at the NDSU Master of Athletic Training program.

It was time to change the career path.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

North Dakota State student trainer Demetri Hospidales, left, watches the Bison football players go through a drill during practice. NDSU Athletics photo

North Dakota State student trainer Demetri Hospidales, left, watches the Bison football players go through a drill during practice. NDSU Athletics photo

The last 20 years have been a consortium of military and law enforcement jobs that took him around the world. He was part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the name given to the global war on terrorism following the 911 attacks.

Hospidales served in Iraq. He ended up in law enforcement in the military until 2010 when he decided it was time to get out. He ended up at the VA medical center in Fargo as a federal law enforcement officer and did further training in the fraud investigation field.

That morphed into a position in western North Dakota working for the North West Narcotics Task Force in the oil patch of McKenzie, Williams and Divide counties. The oil boom was getting out of control.

“They needed a lot of help,” Hospidales said.

He helped for three years. Gradually over time, injuries suffered while on active and law enforcement duty began to catch up to him. Specifically his knees weren’t in top shape anymore.

That led him to the athletic training field working with Bison football and women’s soccer this semester.

“At least here in football, it’s very much like the military,” Hospidales said. “There’s a wide range of people from all over, but a lot of camaraderie and everybody trying to do better all the time.”

He’s become popular with the players.

“I don’t know if they know I’m 40, but they know I’m old,” Hospidales said with a laugh. “I look pretty tore up.”

Working with NDSU football will have its benefits when he finishes the program. The plan is to take his knowledge and give back to the military, which considers soldiers as tactical athletes. In other words, if a college football player needs medical attention during the season, why wouldn’t a soldier in the field need the same attention?

“It’s kind of a new concept,” Hospidales said. “I wouldn’t mind helping them get some of the help that I never got.”

The Bison are 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference heading into Saturday’s regular season finale against the University of South Dakota. A win would give NDSU the outright conference title and a possible top two seed in the Division I FCS playoffs.

On game days, Hospidales feels the adrenalin.

“I kind of get pumped up,” he said. “I feed off the players. You can feel they are up and you can feel when they are down. I’m still new here so there’s not a lot of confiding, but I’ll talk to guys not just about on the field things, but personal stuff like a college degree. It’s hard to decide sometimes what to do with a degree. Sometimes they’ll ask me about my degree.”

There are 40 years of answers to those questions.

Credit: Source link