For the first time in 30 years, the Kansas City Royals won the World Series, completing an extra-inning comeback in Game 5 against the New York Mets on November 1. In the middle of the celebration at Citi Field stood a very proud Southern Utah University alumnus, Kyle Turner.
Turner, who graduated from SUU in 1998, is entering his fourth season as an assistant athletic trainer with the Royals. From 2007 to 2009, he served as the club’s minor league medical coordinator after spending seven seasons with the Texas Rangers organization in different capacities.
Turner played four years of Division I baseball for the Thunderbirds with the ultimate goal of working for Major League Baseball. “I was ecstatic to make it to the majors. It was a lifelong dream and to finally get there and achieve a goal that you set out for forever, it’s amazing. You watch the World Series on TV growing up, and to actually get there was incredible.”
Turner refers to his time at SUU as a “building block” and the education that he received laid the foundation for his career. He’s been fortunate enough to work almost exclusively in athletic training, beginning as the head athletic trainer at Northern Oklahoma College.
In his capacity for the Royals, Turner’s responsibilities are endless, but his overall objective is the day-to-day maintenance and care of the players. Working with the players before, during and after the games, Turner is kept busy and is sometimes unable to even watch the games.
“The most rewarding part about my job is helping a player that’s been hurt and then working with him to get him back out there competing at a high level,” he said. “Knowing you played a key part in that is almost as rewarding as winning the World Series.”
Gabrielle Strand, Turner’s mother-in-law and AmeriCorps program specialist at SUU, said the reason he has been successful up to this point is his personality. “He is very personable and very well-liked by the players. He’s very patient, hardworking and knowledgeable,” she said.
What’s Strand’s favorite part about her son-in-law working for MLB?
“It makes my vacations really fun,” she said.