Photos by Kurtis Stewart – UltiPhotos.com

Every time the Nighthawks play a home game, there are 25 players giving their all out on the field, but there are also more than double that number of staff members toiling away behind the scenes to support the players and deliver the experience that draws the fans.

Most of the staff are happy to stay out of the public eye; in fact for many the only time they are noticed is if something has gone wrong. But there is one staff member who has captured some attention, perhaps because he actually does enter the field during games. Sometimes he even get his own fan signs in the stands!

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Dr. Stephen Mogatas has been the trainer for the Vancouver Nighthawks since their inception. Due to his ubiquity on the Vancouver ultimate scene as the go to guy for ultimate injuries and training, he was an obvious choice, according to Nighthawks GM Brian Gisel.

“Stephen is well established in the Vancouver Ultimate Community as ‘the man’ for working with Ultimate players on injury prevention and recovery chiropractic treatments,” says Gisel. “The Nighthawks are very happy to have Steven and Jointworks partnered with the team for the 2015 MLU Season.”

Mogatas began his medical career as a registered nurse in 2002, but became interested in chiropractic, graduating from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 2009. He has undergone extensive training, and he is an affiliate member for the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences (Canada), a Sports First Responder (SFR), full-body certified in Active Release Techniques (ART), a Certified KinesioTaping Practitioner (CKTP) and certified in Graston Technique (GT).

“I started playing in the Vancouver Ultimate League in 1998 and have loved it ever since,” said Mogatas. “Some of my best memories are playing ultimate with my family and friends, but my most memorable moment was playing with Furious George at the World Ultimate Club Championships in Italy last year. I even scored a game-winning point; needless to say, I have that disc hanging on the wall at Jointworks!”

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Jointworks Chiropratic is a local practise that features a number of other practitioners well steeped in ultimate. Besides the Nighthawks, Jointworks also supports all the top local teams, including Furious George, Traffic Ultimate, UBC Ultimate and Team Canada Ultimate, plus the Vancouver Ultimate League. They also work with a number of individual athletes in other sports, including elite runners, triathletes, dancers, weightlifters and gymnasts, but Mogatas really enjoys working with ultimate players.

“Ultimate players are a special breed, though I’m sure every trainer says that about their sport,” said Mogatas. “There isn’t a lot of quality research on ultimate related injuries, but I have read the top sports medicine journals available on field injuries, throwing injuries, concussion management, injury prevention and so on, and have developed a proprietary program for ultimate athletes.”

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With the Nighthawks, Mogatas performs a variety of duties.

“Game day duties traditionally involve manual therapy and athletic taping, but I am mainly responsible for emergency care for both teams,” he said. “I really enjoy checking in with the guys before each game since it’s our time to chat and it gives me a heads up on how they’re feeling that day.”

Off the field, Mogatas spends quality time with each player at Jointworks, focusing on manual therapy, physical rehabilitation, strength conditioning and sports performance.

“I like to think the players feel at home at Jointworks since they are usually there all year round for maintenance care, and to use the squat rack,” said Mogatas.

So give Stephen Mogatas a hand next time you see him. He plays a big part in maximizing the Nighthawks players’ performance on the field.

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