Committed to Providing Care for Dedicated Athletes and Educating Student Trainers

Shigeki Izumi, Professor

Shigeki Izumi, Professor
Department of Sports and Health Studies, Faculty of Sports and Health Studies

Posted Feb. 25, 2019

Faculty Profile
As a student, Professor Shigeki Izumi was a keen member of the Hosei University boxing club. Today, he draws on his understanding of an athlete’s frame of mind as he endeavors to support students to devote themselves to performing in their sport to the peak of their ability, free from injury.

Hands-on guidance on training aimed at developing physical strength without injury

I specialize in sports medicine. As a Japan Sport Association-certified sports instructor (athletic trainer) I provide health care to dedicated student athletes and educate student trainers.

In the practice of sports medicine, doctors treat injuries and physical therapists support physical recovery to ensure that the patient can go about their daily life unhindered. At the same time, for athletes to compete at the forefront of their sport, they need outstanding physical performance. The role of an athletic trainer is to assist athletes to recover and improve that physical performance. We do this by using exercise therapy and providing guidance on an athlete’s individual training program.

We start by observing the way the athlete moves, and, if we notice anything—such as a habit that is difficult for the athlete themselves to detect—we advise the athlete on any training that may be required to correct it. In addition to our efforts to prevent injury and improve performance through such adjustments to athletes’ training programs, we are also responsible for providing emergency treatment and assisting rehabilitation when athletes are injured, which means we have a wide range of roles to play.

The Athletic Training Room—or “AT Room”—which is on campus and open to all on Monday and Thursday evenings, is intended as a place for students of the Faculty of Sports and Health Studies to seek and receive advice, as well as providing opportunities for student trainers to learn by gaining hands-on practice.

Student trainers are affiliated with the sports clubs based at Tama Campus, and provide care to athletes who train with and compete for university clubs. Here at Hosei University, where we have a rich tradition of university sports and many of the clubs boast outstanding results, we have the perfect environment for students to gain firsthand experience as trainers. Through such practical experience they acquire the skills and knowledge they need to give athletes the advice they need—such as which muscles they should train to boost their performance or what taping techniques to use.

Experience teaching skills for living prompted a commitment to education

I have loved sports since I was very young. I took swimming and artistic gymnastics classes, and I later started boxing when I was in the second year of junior high school. I kept up boxing until I became champion of the Japanese adult amateur league when I was 25. At the same time, I was often injured and was constantly visiting a local osteopathic clinic for treatment. It was the clinic’s head osteopath and the way I felt I could trust in his treatment that inspired me to become an athletic trainer.

There is no public qualification for trainers, so I decided to start gathering practical skills by studying for a qualification in acupuncture and moxibustion. I spent two years as a practitioner, during which time I qualified as a teacher of these therapies. I then went on to work for three years at a school for people with visual disabilities in Hokkaido. Looking back on it, I believe my experience at the school became a significant turning point that determined the course of my life.

For people with visual disabilities, acupuncture, moxibustion and massage make up one of a limited number of fields in which they can earn a living. The teacher therefore needs to recognize how important it is to their students to learn these skills and reflect this with an earnest approach in order to be able to encourage students to fully commit to such work. I learned to devise teaching methods tailored to individual students by considering what kind of approach they would each respond to, and this experience prompted me to become committed to teaching and working closely with each and every student.

Teachers also need to keep brushing up their knowledge and skills in order to stay on top form. In addition to teaching and engaging in research at Hosei University, I also polish my skills through activities outside the university, such as accompanying athletes to international competitions as their trainer.

My goal of educating fellow trainers in an environment that embodies “practical wisdom”

I had the good fortune to be able to come back at my alma mater, Hosei University, as a faculty member, and the opportunity to be involved in the Faculty of Sports and Health Studies from around the time of its establishment. I have seen the transitions it has undergone over the nine years since it was established, and I believe it has developed into a faculty capable of providing high-quality education adapted to the developments and changes in sports over the years.

As the years go by, the skills demanded of athletes become increasingly greater and more complex. In order to be able to compete successfully, athletes need to train not only their mental strength and determination, but also engage in a program of training, nutrition, and rest that is based on objective analysis of data. The Faculty of Sports and Health Studies allows students to not only learn the theory, but also physically experience its actual effects, and then draw on that experience to solve the issues. In this sense, the faculty truly embodies the concept of “practical wisdom,” that Hosei University holds so important. The establishment of the Graduate School of Sports and Health Studies in the 2016 academic year has generated positive synergy with the faculty, as it has made it easier for students who aspire to become trainers or strength coaches to pursue their studies further.

I also try to give back to society in my role as a researcher by conducting objective analysis of the data I gather through practice and publishing the results in the form of a paper once a year.

Before long I hope to see a time when athletic trainers are active in all forms of sport, whether it be at professional or amateur level.

Our ageing society and the importance of ensuring that everyone can enjoy physical activity unhindered

In addition to my work supporting university sports here at Hosei, I have also assisted athletes in a number of sports competitions outside the university—partly thanks to the connections I have with fellow trainers in various fields of sport. In the last few years, I have been focusing on supporting rhythmic gymnasts, and I have assisted the Japanese team at the international university sports event the Summer Universiade in 2013, 2015 and 2017. I had the opportunity to go to the Universiade in Taipei in 2017 as the accompanying trainer for the rhythmic gymnastics team competing in the group competition. Sharing the athletes’ happiness when the group team won a silver medal was a special experience for me as a trainer.

I have also supported players of rugby sevens, which was first included as an Olympic sport at the Rio De Janeiro Olympics, and worked with the Japanese national women’s deaf volleyball team. The Japanese women’s deaf volleyball team won the gold medal at the Deaflympics held in Turkey in 2017 with a former student of mine as their accompanying trainer, which was a really memorable moment for me. I am currently also the trainer of the Japanese men’s Paralympic goalball team. (Goalball is a three-a-side sport for athletes with visual disabilities, in which players, all wearing opaque eyeshades, aim balls at the opposing team’s net).

I am also involved in training aimed at the general public, running and supervising a fitness course for older people, as part of an initiative by the city of Hachioji. In the course, which is held at Esforta Arena Hachioji (a gymnasium run through a private finance initiative in Hachioji), we instruct and advise participants on fitness training and other such ways of boosting the core body and leg strength needed for the basic movements of day-to-day life, such as standing up, sitting, or lifting.

I believe that it is also my duty as a researcher to take the knowledge I gain in my work as a trainer and publish it in the form of up-to-date clinical data so that it can be shared as widely as possible. One way in which I try to do this is to ensure that I present at academic conferences or write papers every year, and I have steadily kept this up.

Whether a competing athlete or an older person going about daily life, it is the ability to move our bodies freely and without injury that allows us to enjoy a sense of fulfillment in our lives. While I may only be able to do a very little, I hope to continue working as a trainer for as long as possible and to do my best to help as many people as I can to be able to take part or compete in sports without being held back by poor health or injury. I hope that I will be able to do my bit to support Japanese society and our ageing population by helping people to develop their physical strength in a healthy way.

Shigeki Izumi, Professor

Department of Sports and Health Studies, Faculty of Sports and Health Studies

Born in Chiba in 1971

Graduated from the Hosei University Department of Business Administration at the Faculty of Business Administration, completed a master’s program in health and sport sciences at the University of Tsukuba Graduate School of Physical Education, followed by a doctoral program in sports medicine at the University of Tsukuba Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences. He obtained a PhD in Sports Medicine. After teaching at the Hokkaido Prefectural High School for the Blind, he became a full-time lecturer at the Hosei University Faculty of Social Policy & Administration in 2008 and at the Faculty of Sports and Health Studies in 2009. He was appointed associate professor in 2013 and has been a professor since 2017. He is also actively involved in sports outside of the university, and his work as a trainer has included accompanying the Japanese rhythmic gymnastics team to the 29th Summer Universiade held in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2017.

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