Athletic trainer achieves balance

Ever since she can remember, athletics have been a part of her life.

As a youngster back in Nigeria, Africa, it didn’t matter whether it was volleyball, soccer or track and field, if it had anything to do with sports, she could be counted in.

Akim Abrakata-Dina’s love for athletics as a child carried over into her teenage years. Coming out of high school, Abrakata-Dina earned a scholarship in track and field from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., where she participated in the high jump and javelin competitions.

She didn’t stop there. Abrakata-Dina went on to earn a bachelor’s in education and a master’s in sports medicine from the United States Sports Academy in Montgomery, Ala.

According to Abrakata-Dina, academics have always been important.

“Back home we didn’t only challenge ourselves in sports, but we challenged ourselves in academics as well,” Abrakata-Dina said.

“When we got report cards, and if you didn’t make the grades you didn’t want to come outside, but if you made the grades you had fun.”

So with her love for academics, as well as athletics, it’s not surprising to know Abrakata-Dina is still involved in both.

Abrakata-Dina has been a part of FAMU athletics for 16 years, and she’s spent the last 10 years as the Rattlers’ Head Athletic Trainer for all 18 athletic programs.

Around campus, Abrakata-Dina in simply known as “Mrs. A.,” and according to the athletes, she is appreciated.

“Mrs. A. is a nice person, and she knows what she is doing. And she is going to take care of you,” said Rashard Pompey, starting tailback for the FAMU.

“Mrs. A. is very important. She keep our players healthy, wealthy and wise.”

Mrs. A. takes pride in building relationships with the athletes.

“I love what I do,” Abrakata-Dina said. “The players are very responsive to me and we get along well. I want to see the athletes do well, and I want the athletes to recover as quickly as possible. That is my whole job…prevention. I feel that is important when it comes to what I do.”

Many people would have a hard time trying to balance family life and a demanding job that consists of 10 to 14 hour workdays, but Mrs. A. handles it without a wrinkle.

“I try to balance my job in with everything else,” said Abrakata-Dina, who’s been married for four years.

“I’m not a partier, so I find time to spend with my husband and I find time to go to church.”

She’s not only a trainer, she’s also considered to be a teacher for her student-trainers.

“Mrs. A. has taught me how to build relationships with the players and learn how to endure,” said Shana Ferguson, 19, a sophomore health science student from Miami.

“With Mrs. A. you learn a lot, and you just can’t sum it up in words,” Ferguson said.

According to players and coaches on FAMU’s campus, Abrakata-Dina’s value is considered priceless.

“Mrs. A. is very hardworking and serious about her craft, and she has the experience to really do her job,” said Billy Joe, head coach of the football team.

“All of the players and coaches are very happy with her performance.”

Contact Ryan Boyd at