David Stickelbault, known to most of as “Stick,” is a native San Antonian. A graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in 1975. With his father’s passing, at age 15, he looked up to his mom, and coaches as his father figures and role models. He had a great respect for athletes and knew from an early age that he was never going to be one, so he chose a career to be close to athletes. As an athletic trainer he would be around his favorite people in the world, coaches and athletes.
When he arrived at Southwest Texas State University, he met the most incredible coaches, professors, future athletic trainers, physical therapists, physiologists, student athletes which are lifelong friends. He felt like the luckiest student trainer in the world working with Dr. Bobby Patton, Tim Kirschner, Coach Jim Wacker, Dr. Jack Ransone, and having quality students in the high school level like Chris Granger, now a superintendent and Chris Cortez, the head Athletic trainer of the Las Vegas Raiders. He considers Coach Jim Wacker the best teacher in the world. He was the ultimate father figure. He taught Stick what high school and college athletics was all about, a never-ending system of learning to do and be the best of whatever any future endeavor one sought.
He started his professional athletic training career at Roosevelt High School in 1983. He was green as they come, but he learned fast, felt the heat and stumbled his way working with Coach John Ferrera his first nine years. He taught him what character really was, about integrity, commitment, loyalty etc. Each year he learned more and more and realized that high school athletics was not just about winning a football game, but also developing a young mind. In 1992, he received a chance to work with Ray Ramirez and Judson High School athletics. Working with Coach Ferrera prepared him well to work with Coach D.W. Rutledge, Coach Frank Arnold, Coach Jim Rackley, Coach Sterling Jeter, Coach Sean McAuliff, Coach Rodney Williams, Coach Mike Miller, Coach Pete Gibbens and Coach Charles Bruce at Wagner High school. He learned different lessons from all of them on how to help develop young minds and change their attitudes to good habits on their way to seeking success in their lives.
Coach Rutledge, who looked up to Coach Jim Wacker as a father figure after he lost his father at age 18 had a bunch to share with me and all his coaches about the most important thing we were left in charge of with on a daily basis– all of our athletes. He asked us to treat them like you would like your son to be treated like in high school. He set the tone for me. It wasn’t about how fast you taped an ankle– sometimes it was. it wasn’t just about treatment or rehab, or getting them a doctor appointment, talking to insurance companies, speaking to P.T.s, parents, and on and on. It was about developing lifelong relationships. He says, if we invested our time and effort in making sure our athletes’ attitudes were the best in integrity, character, discipline, commitment etc. to give them the tools to become good citizens they would have a better chance of being successful in their life and on the football field.
The most important person, he says, that he feels lucky to know is Dr. “Bud” Curtis and the San Antonio Sports Medicine Associates physician group. Dr. Curtis and Dr. Schmidt go far and beyond to help our athletes to return to play after serious injuries. He says that what he has learned about medicine comes from Dr. Curtis a great friend and teacher.
In conclusion, his Christian values speaks volumes about him. You’ll find that he will speak about the savior every chance he gets and show his love for the savior who guides his life.