Former UH Athletics trainer reflects on trials

By Ashley Nonaka

Former University of Hawai'i athletic trainer Melody Toth was so passionate about her life at UH that she wrote a book about her experiences as an athletic trainer. She held a book

Former Rainbow Wahine and silver Medalist, Robyn Ah Mow Santos came out to support Melody Toth at her book signing at the Phtien Hawaii Store.
Photo by: Ashley Nonaka

signing event at the Phiten Hawaii store in September, to promote her book, Let’s Go ‘Bows! Behind the scenes with University of Hawai'i Sports. Toth spent 30 years at the University of Hawai'i maintaining the health of numerous athletes spending 14 hour days, seven days a week, with her only day off coming when they were on an airplane.

When Toth became a certified trainer, the field was a closed to women, but Toth didn’t let that stop her from her desire to help people. She passed her certification exam with a certification light of “D8130”, and at the time was in the top 30 women to ever be certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association. “Back in 1977, when I first came here, I couldn’t work at San Jose State anymore because they hired someone else,” Toth said. “So basically God wanted me in Hawai'i, and when I applied for the job, it was the only one open in the entire United States for a woman and that’s why I came here because there weren’t a lot of women taking care of women athletes and I wanted to help them, so that’s why I became an athletic trainer.”

Although the amount of education has changed since Toth first started, the duties of an athletic trainer still remains. “An injury is an injury and athletes are going to get hurt, and that’s what it’s about,” Toth said. “We service a need, we take care of injuries, we try to prevent the injuries before they happen, we help with nutrition and we do a lot of different things that most people don’t even give us credit for.”

In Let’s Go ‘Bows! Toth talks about some memorable moments in UH athletics history as well as gives some inside information that you probably haven’t heard anywhere else. She said she was able to put this book together by writing things down as they happened, sort of like keeping a diary of all the events that she has witnessed while sitting courtside at the numerous sporting events.

Melody Toth spent 30 years with the UH athletics department and retired last year to care for her parents.
Photo by: Ashley Nonaka

“The reason it was important for me to write this book was because my 30 years in Hawai'i has taught me that, it’s part of the state motto where, the life of the land is perpetuated in its people, and the life of the Rainbows is really perpetuated in the fans in the state of Hawai'i,” Toth said. “I wanted to give them my gift of aloha, my farewell gift to say thanks for letting me be your trainer and taking care of these athletes,” Toth said.

“Without any professional sports, all eyes turn to UH because it’s the only Division I school, so it’s important to the fans because they love their Rainbows and it’s just a way for me to give back and help them to re-live some of the moments where the TV and the paper stopped.” After 30 years of meeting the needs of athletes that have come and gone, Toth has recently returned to Pennsylvania to care for her father, 94, after her mother passed away in February. She plans to continue helping others, as she hopes to work at a church camp in Pennsylvania, even though she admits that she misses being around all the athletes and the ‘aloha’ atmosphere.

“I love the people and the athletes…and sitting on the side of a UH game was priceless, and that’s what my life was, priceless,” Toth said.




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News | Features | Videos | Slideshows | UH Today Back Issues
UH Today is produced by students in the Journalism program at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.
© 2008 UHM Journalism program and students. Use of copyrighted materials is granted for educational use only.