In high school, Matthew Castiana played as many sports as he could, including football and basketball.
During his offseason, he injured his ankle and sought medical attention from a doctor and physical therapist. Early in his treatment, Castiana became frustrated at the lack of support and advice from his medical team, who did not provide information on injury prevention or steps to make his recovery smoother.
Several years later, he still feels the lingering effects of his injury, but his experiences changed the course of his education, inspiring him to help others in similar situations.
After graduating from San Juan High School in Blanding, Utah, Castiana enrolled at Utah State University, where he earned his associate degree, but the university didn’t feel like the right fit for him. After consulting with his friends and family, he enrolled at Weber State.
“I wanted to come to Weber State while I was still in high school. I applied with my friend and we were both accepted, but I took a different route,” Castiana said. “I didn't know what I wanted to pursue at the time, but after USU, I looked at Weber State and knew this is where I wanted to go.”
After dabbling in the chemical engineering and microbiology programs, Castiana found his true passion in the athletic therapy program, now known as rehabilitation sciences.
“I love sports, and with athletic training you’re there with the athlete from the beginning,” Castiana said. “You’re on the sideline if they’re injured and you’re there to help them after.”
Castiana earned his bachelor’s degree in athletic therapy in 2019 and a master’s in athletic training in April.
“I’ve worked with a variety of athletes, all of them from different backgrounds. I get to help treat their injury, but I also get to see their personalities. It’s really fun to be around,” he said.
Castiana worked with many WSU athletes, including volleyball players, cross country runners and the women’s soccer team. He was tasked with evaluating injuries, aiding in emergency situations, preventing heat illness and athlete rehabilitation.
Earlier this year, Castiana and a classmate submitted research to the National Athletic Training Association Conference, which features the largest exhibition of athletic training products and services in the world, and presented their research at the conference.
“All of the Weber State faculty have been there for me since day one, but especially Valerie Herzog,” Castiana said. “She’s helped me from undergrad all the way here and she pushed and guided me with the conference submission. She saw something in me that I didn’t know I had and she’s helped me get to where I am today.”
Castiana also credits his family for his success in school, especially his great uncle, whom he lived with for two years in middle school. Castiana said his great uncle always pushed him and his four younger siblings to pursue higher education.
Unfortunately, Castiana’s great uncle passed away before Castiana told him he was accepted to the master’s program, but Castiana said his influence helped him reach his summit at Weber State.
“Weber State gave me all the tools and guidance I needed to become a successful athletic trainer,” Castiana said. “But it also taught me perseverance and to be confident in who I am and to continue to grow."