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Lakers promote Nina Hsieh to head athletic trainer

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The Lakers have a new athletic trainer, but she’s been with the organization for nearly a decade.

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Following yet another injury-riddled season in Los Angeles, the Lakers parted ways with their head athletic trainer, Marco Nuñez, in April. After a long and thorough search for a replacement, the Lakers have decided to promote Nina Hsieh to head athletic trainer, the team announced on Wednesday. Hsieh has served as the assistant athletic trainer for the last three seasons.

Here’s what general manager Rob Pelinka had to say about the latest move within the team’s staff:

“Nina has been an invaluable member of the Lakers and South Bay Lakers training staffs for over a decade,” said Pelinka. “Her wealth of experience, ability to forge relationships of trust with the players, as well as the knowledge and passion she brings to this position, make her the perfect fit for this role, and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

According to a press release sent out by the team on Wednesday, Hsieh will be responsible for the “care, prevention and treatment of injuries to the players, as well as the emergency on-court procedures. Hsieh will work under director of sports performance Judy Seto, who served as the head physical therapist for the Lakers from 2011-2016. Hsieh also also spent quite some time working with the organization.

Prior to being named the team’s assistant athletic trainer in 2016—the same year Nuñez was promoted to head athletic trainer—Hsieh served as the head athletic trainer for the Lakers’ G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, for seven seasons. During that time, she was in charge of strength and conditioning programs, equipments and travel scheduling in addition to her day-to-day duties. Prior to that, Hsieh worked with UC Santa Barbara in the same role for the women’s basketball team (2004-08) and men’s soccer team (2010-11).

Health will play a big role in everything the Lakers do next season, particularly the health of LeBron James, who suffered the worst injury of his career last season, and Anthony Davis, who has been known to pick up small, nagging injuries that keep him sidelined for dozens of games during the regular season. Hopefully with Seto and Hsieh running things, the team will have better luck with injuries next season.

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