United States Sports Academy graduate Dr. Thomas Sather said his master’s and doctoral degrees from the institution opened doors to his career serving the U.S. Navy and the Defense Health Agency (DHA).
Sather is the chief of policy and programs, education and training of the DHA, a joint, integrated Combat Support Agency that enables the Army, Navy, and Air Force medical services to provide a medically ready force and a ready medical force to combatant commands in peace and wartime. He previously served as in several roles for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps for 19 years. He earned both his Master of Sports Science (M.S.S.) degree and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degrees from the Academy.
“The United States Sports Academy was key to opening doors of opportunity for me,” Sather said. “Given that the origin of the Academy in 1972 was to address the fact that poor preparation of coaches led to injuries incurred by the athletes they supervised, the training I received has carried the lessons of that origin which I have applied in my career.
“The lessons and guidance I received as a student shaped how I tackle the challenges I have faced in my military career. I value the Academy’s commitment to exercise, health and the value of commitment to healthy living. enthusiastically recommend that any person seeking a career in the sports industry or related fields consider giving the Academy a look. Whether you are a coach, trainer or manager, the knowledge taught, skills developed or tasks worked on at the Academy will prepare you to flourish wherever you are.”
Sather said his Master of Sports Science degree in sport fitness and sport medicine opened the door to his accepting a commission as a Medical Service Corps officer with the U.S. Navy. The Medical Service Corps is Navy Medicine’s most diverse corps with 31 specialties and more than 3,000 active and reserve officers practicing or training in more than 31 different health care specialties.
“The Academy prepared me for both of my career paths in the military,” Sather said. “Due in no small part to the master’s degree I earned at the Academy, I became board certified as an Aerospace Physiologist (CAsP) by the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA).”
After 15 years serving the Medical Service Corps, Sather earned his Ed.D. degree in sports management with a sports leadership specialization. That degree led to his work at the DHA.
“My Academy doctoral degree facilitated my move the Defense Health Agency, where I continue to applies the lessons of performance optimization at a much grander scale,” Sather said. “Without the flexibility and willingness of the Academy to work with students like me, I would not have been able to achieve the kind of academic success that I have.”
Today Sather works in the DHA’s Education and Training (J-7) department that is focused is on developing skilled and knowledgeable employees who are adaptive, flexible, and focused on the future through innovative training solutions. His particular area of focus involves education of medical personnel within the Department of Defense’s Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF) (51 hospitals, 381 clinics, and 247 dental clinics at facilities across the nation and around the globe) and management of training programs that direct, among other things, basic and advanced life support programs of adult and pediatric patients.
“The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that what I do contributes to improving the lives of the 9.4 million beneficiaries across the globe while also optimizing healthcare and readiness of our military forces,” Sather said.
Sather has held many jobs within the Navy, both operational and academic, focusing on human performance optimization of both officer and enlisted members of the Navy and Marine Corps. He has been assigned to the Marine Aircraft Group 26 & 29, deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom with II Marine Expeditionary Force, flown both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, and had to opportunity to work with high tech equipment such as high-energy lasers, night vision goggles and thermal imagers. With the Navy, Sather has supported the Navy’s Test Pilot School, taught aviation survival at the Naval Academy, and responded to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill with the Coast Guard.
“I am grateful for the education that I obtained from the Academy the both times I attended,” he said. “Even today, 25 years after I first attended the Academy, I am still in touch with some of the professors and students I met there. It was due to the involvement of the professors in mentoring their students, their tradition of excellence in scholastics, and commitment of helping students become leaders, that I have been able to advance as I have.”