After the departure of Head Athletic Trainer Chris Thew in the spring of 2017, Central Washington University was in desperate need of a new Head Athletic Trainer. While the school searched for a trainer to fill that role, they asked assistant athletic trainer Isaac Perry to fill in as the interim Head Athletic Trainer.
Perry knew the transition would not be an easy one, but he put his head down and used his famous work ethic to make the most of the opportunity that he was given.
“It was tough at first. A leadership role is something I’ve never been in, so that took some getting used to,” Perry said. “When I was here as an assistant, I tried to do as much as I could, so that helped. Having my hands-on stuff already and knowing how to do things, but there was a little bit of a learning curve at first.”
Perry grew up in Santa Cruz, California, with his parents and his sister, and attended San Lorenzo Valley High School. At San Lorenzo Valley High School, Perry participated in Track and Field, Cross Country, and played a little bit of soccer.
In high school Isaac Perry originally wanted to pursue physical therapy as a profession.
“Growing up I had a lot of injuries in high school. We didn’t have an athletic trainer at the High School, but I worked with a lot of physical therapists around the community that helped me out. That’s what I originally went to college for,” said Perry.
Perry attended Fresno State University after graduating from San Lorenzo Valley High School in 2006. Perry chose Fresno State for their physical therapy program and because he would compete on the school’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams.
Perry soon learned that maybe physical therapy wasn’t the career path that he wanted to follow. Luckily, Fresno State had an athletic training program.
“It wasn’t the most exciting thing to work with old people all day, then one person said I could work with athletes and basically do the same thing. That sounded pretty cool to me. I slide right from PT to athletic training and it was the perfect spot for me,” said Perry.
After Perry made the transition to athletic training, he got the opportunity to work with the athletes at Fresno State. He enjoyed getting to work with some of his former teammates on the Track and Field and Cross Country teams, and Perry was able to see how they continued their careers yet still have an influence on them.
When Perry was at Fresno State, he also worked with a small NAIA school at the time called Fresno Pacific and he enjoyed his time helping out there.
After Perry graduated from Fresno State with his Bachelor degree in athletic training, he left to work for a small division two school in Northern California called Chico State to get his masters degree and work as a graduate assistant in their athletic training program.
“Chico State was one of the options. I really liked the small atmosphere and they have family style similar to Central Washington which is what I’ve always stuck with and that’s what drew me to Chico,” said Perry.
Perry grew up in a small town and felt that’s why he has always been drawn to smaller schools. With only 100 kids in his high school graduating class, Perry has been around small schools his whole life. Getting to know everyone in the department and building relationships with his co-workers has always been important and that is why Perry wanted to go work at the smaller schools after leaving Fresno State.
Perry started at Chico State in the fall of 2012 as a graduate assistant athletic trainer. At Chico State, Perry was the athletic trainer for the Men’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball teams. Working with two different teams with completely different atmospheres was something he found challenging, yet worthwhile.
Perry enjoys working with the players and the different injuries that happen in both sports, but the community atmosphere is what he enjoys most. He felt that they accepted him into their Chico State Athletics family with open arms during his two years there.
After graduating from Chico State with his Master’s degree in Kinesiology, Perry began looking for a job on the west coast at a division two school. Isaac’s parents moved into Kingston Washington after his father retired, so following graduation Perry went to stay with his parents and look for a job. That’s when he got an on-campus interview at Central Washington and soon was offered a job as an assistant athletic trainer in July of 2014.
During his time as an assistant athletic trainer at CWU, Isaac liked to bring humor to the workplace. Graduate assistant athletic trainer Morgan Mensen said that Perry likes to joke around in the training room.
“He likes to say ‘MORGAN’ (in a funny voice) it’s because a fellow athlete used to come in and say my name like that and he caught on. Now he does it all the time. It’s the first thing he says when he gets in the office,” said Mensen.
After CWU Head Athletic Trainer Chris Thew’s departure in the spring of 2017, Perry took on the role of interim Head Athletic Trainer. After an extensive search by Central, the university found that they already had the right man for the job and hired Perry to be the Head Athletic Trainer full time in August of 2017.
Co-workers and athletes were thrilled with this move by the University. Lindsay Renterias, a Graduate Assistant in the athletic training room at CWU, felt that the transition for Isaac to Head Athletic Trainer, was a smooth and painless process for co-workers and athletes alike.
“I think it was pretty easy because as soon as Chris left, he took on that leadership role, even though he was pushed into that position initially,” said Renterias. “It was an easy transition with us because he was so familiar with us, but then as soon as realized this would be a more permanent position he began pushing the leadership role, the instructor role and making sure we were on our game more than before.”
Perry has brought a youthful energy to the role of Head Athletic Trainer and athletes, coaches, and co-workers have all taken notice of the new and improved athletic training facilities. The always humble Perry will always deny credit himself and give it to his staff or those who came before him, but everyone knows he was the right man for the job and will hopefully be the CWU Head Athletic Trainer for years to come.