Longtime University of Utah athletic trainer Trevor Jameson, left, consults with Utah Ute guard Marco Anthony during the 2022-2023 basketball season. For almost a quarter-century, the Latter-day Saint trainer has helped scores of Runnin’ Ute basketball players stay healthy and on the hardwood. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)
From Bogut to Kuz, Latter-day Saint trainer Trevor Jameson has spent decades keeping the Runnin’ Utes healthy & on the hardwood
Veteran University of Utah athletic trainer still draws upon service-driven lessons he learned as a missionary in Micronesia more than 30 years ago.
By Jason Swensen
5 Jul 2023
The same could be said of former NBA champ/#1-draft-pick Andrew Bogut, league veterans Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright — and scores of other Runnin’ Ute men's basketball players who have sported the red and white over the past two-plus decades.
In the ever-changing college basketball world, players and coaches come and go. But Jameson’s steady presence near the Utah team bench has been a constant for almost the past quarter-century. His daily efforts to keep the players healthy, safe and advancing toward their hoop dreams has made the lifelong Latter-day Saint something of an unassuming institution inside the Utah athletic department.
Listen to the words of several former Utes who paid tribute to Jameson via Twitter earlier this year during National Athletic Trainers Month:
From Bogut, the 2005 Naismith College Player of the Year: “I always remember that [when] working with you, no task was ever too hard. You always tried to find a way…to get us back out on the court…and doing what we love as quickly as possible.”
From former Ute point guard and New York Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant: “Just wanted to tell you, ‘Thank you — appreciate you’. …Continue to keep impacting lives.”
And from former Ute big man Jason Washburn: “There’s no one on this planet I trust more whenever I’m hurt.”
While Jameson appreciates the kind words from “the guys” he worked with — and treasures their friendship — he doesn't have much time for nostalgia. There’s always another tender ankle to examine. Another knee or shoulder to evaluate.
University of Utah basketball trainer Trevor Jameson, left, converses with Kyle Kuzma when the current NBA star was a member of the Runnin’ Utes squad. (YouTube screengrab)
“You’re always working with the team that’s here now, so you’ve got to keep present-day things on your mind,” he told Church Ball Magazine.
Still, Jameson marvels at the path that has taken him from being a hoops-loving gym rat, to sharing the gospel as a missionary in distant Micronesia, to discovering his athletic training profession and, ultimately, becoming the director of sports medicine for the athletic training program at his hometown school, the University of Utah.
Along the way, Jameson married (Angie), had five children, became a grandfather — and relied upon his deep Latter-day Saint faith and the support of his family, many friends and the Runnin' Utes while battling cancer.
“I have crossed paths with so many people,” he said, taking a rare moment to reflect on his life’s journey.
Traveling a global trek to the Runnin’ Utes
Now in his mid-50s, Jameson can’t recall a time when the gym wasn’t his second home. His father, David Jameson, was a junior high and high school basketball coach in Taylorsville, Utah.
(Author’s disclosure: I proudly count myself among the hundreds of Taylorsville kids who played for Coach Jameson.)
Both of his parents, David and Marilla, were Brigham Young University alums, so Jameson and his siblings grew up Cougar fans. But the family often attended Utah basketball games at the Huntsman Center — and Jameson’s younger brother, Teren, enjoyed a stellar distance running career at the “U”.
After graduating from Taylorsville High School in 1987 and spending a year at BYU, Jameson opted to serve a mission. When a call arrived assigning him to the Micronesia Guam Mission, Jameson originally thought he was bound for Central America. Only after pulling out an atlas did he correctly locate the collection of tiny tropical islands in the Pacific that would be his home for two years.
Saying that young Elder Jameson experienced “a bout of culture shock” after arriving in his mission is a comical understatement. For starters, the Missionary Training Center in Provo did not provide language training for the distinct languages spoken on the Micronesian islands. So Jameson and his fellow missionaries tackled the local dialects only after they arrived in country.
Elder Jameson battled homesickness. He missed Taylorsville.
“I sometimes thought, 'If only there was even one 7-Eleven here',” he said, laughing.
But the young missionary was determined to do his best to fulfill the call he had accepted.
“My attitude was that I would figure things out and always try to be a light for Christ.”
He also learned a universal gospel principle that would serve him well on his mission — and during his ongoing professional career: Lose yourself in caring for others.
He loved the Micronesian people. He found joy serving them.
More than three decades have passed since Jameson’s missionary labors in Micronesia. “But not a week goes by that I don’t think about my mission.”
The power behind the “Others Before Self” mantra was reinforced when Jameson returned home and re-enrolled at BYU.
During his professional studies and development, Jameson said he was inspired by the late Floyd Johnson, BYU’s long-time equipment manager and a storied figure in the Cougar athletic department. Johnson was a family friend and something of a hero for the future Ute trainer.
Jameson admired Johnson for how he connected with the Cougar athletes and took interest in their lives outside of sports. He has used Johnson’s example as a personal standard in his own interactions with the athletes he would serve.
After earning a master’s degree in athletic training from Indiana State University, Jameson landed a job as an assistant athletic trainer and instructor at Indiana’s DePauw University. He and his wife, Angie, and their growing family enjoyed their years in the Hoosier State, but when a job opportunity arrived from his home state, Jameson jumped.
“Coming back to Utah in 1999 and working with the basketball team was like living a dream,” he said.
University of Utah basketball trainer Trevor Jameson, bottom right, celebrates the team’s 2005 Mountain West Conference championship along with star Andrew Bogut and fellow Runnin’ Utes. (YouTube screengrab)
Anyone who works in a college athletic department for 20-plus years will witness program highs and lows. Jameson has celebrated alongside the Runnin’ Utes after exciting NCAA tournament wins. He has also watched coaches and players come and go during the rough patches.
But regardless of the Runnin’ Utes’ win-loss record on the hardwood, all connected to the team have relied upon Jameson’s steady hand, professional care and personal support.
As he learned as a missionary in Micronesia, the joy is found in caring for others.
Battling an unexpected foe
As a veteran sports medicine professional, Jameson is seasoned in caring for others when their bodies seem to betray them. He sometimes has to deliver the bad news to an injured athlete that his season or even career is over.
He has been at the side of young ball players during their worst moments.
But in November of 2013, Jameson found himself on the receiving end of bad news.
For several months, Jameson had returned home from work each day feeling exhausted. His fatigue, he told himself, was a byproduct of long work hours in a high-paced environment. Then his back began hurting.
After finally agreeing to be examined by a doctor he received grim news: Jameson had multiple myeloma, a form of cancer formed by malignant plasma cells. Additionally, his vertebrae was fractured in six places.
Suddenly Jameson was standing face-to-face with his own mortality. He was still a relatively young man with a wife and five children at home. The cancer diagnosis was staggering. He knew his life would never be the same.
But during a solitary moment alone in the examination room after learning of his illness, Jameson discovered peace from a heavenly source.
“As I was sitting there by myself, I felt a strong [impression] that said: ‘Don’t worry. You are in My hands. Everything will be okay’.”
Jameson would undergo chemotherapy and then, in 2014, a stem cell transplant. That was followed by two years of medication cycles and frequent visits to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
And with each appointment, he again experienced a sacred, quiet peace.
“The Lord knew,” he said, “that I would need that assurance.”
In 2016, Jameson received happy news. Doctors could not find any trace of cancer.
He still continues with visits to his health care team several times a year to monitor his health.
One of the fundamental roles of an athletic trainer is to provide support for athletes immediately after an injury — and again during the sometimes lengthy rehabilitation period. Jameson has offered such support on countless occasions at Utah.
But in the aftermath of his cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments, Jameson was the one lifted by the support of the Runnin’ Ute basketball players, coaches and folks in the Utah athletic department. They reached out and encouraged him. They assured him that he remained a key element of the Runnin’ Utes program.
Former Ute basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak, added Jameson, was especially generous with his support.
“Coach Krystkowiak did a lot to make sure that I was still included with the team.”
Those friendships offered Jameson the drive to push forward “through the tough parts of my treatments.”
As a cancer survivor, Jameson brings an added layer of empathy to his role as an athletic trainer. It is common for an athlete to feel isolated following a serious injury. Beyond the physical pain, it can be mentally excruciating for an injured ballplayer to see teammates and coaches continue on with the season without him or her.
“Now I can share my experience with them and how I handled it,” said Jameson.
His concern and day-to-day support are reminders to damaged athletes that they are not alone.
“You sit down with these kids and try to help them see the big picture,” he said. “You talk to them about how they are going to get better and how they can get back.
“You help them to see that things are going to be okay.”
The Runnin’ Utes are still months away from their 2023-2024 campaign, but there’s really no off-season in Division 1 athletics. So Jameson’s days are filled with a long list of tasks, even as he works to keep the squad healing and healthy.
But the veteran trainer also finds time to count his blessings.
Jameson is grateful for his family. He is grateful for lessons he learned decades ago in a distant mission land. He is grateful for the scores of athletes he has cared for and befriended — both the multi-millionaires and the “regular guys.”
And Jameson will forever be grateful for the peace that he knows can only be offered by heavenly supporters.