Athletico Physical Therapy Announces 6th Annual Coach of the Year Award Winner

Posted on

Oak Brook, IL — Athletico Physical Therapy is proud to announce Karen O’Brien of St. Mary Catholic Central High School in Monroe, Michigan as the winner of the 6th Annual Athletico Coach of the Year Award. In addition to receiving a commemorative plaque, Coach O’Brien received four tickets to the Big Ten Football Championship game held on December 1, 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Athletico Coach of the Year Award was created to recognize coaches for all they do to serve their local communities, including sportsmanship, coaching success and classroom involvement.

“Karen O’Brien has brought meaningful change both on and off the court. As a successful coach, she has held her student-athletes to a high standard of accountability while also creating community awareness after winning a battle against ovarian cancer,” said Jason Bannack, Vice President of Outreach Services at Athletico. “Her determination in these, plus many other endeavors, makes her an undisputed recipient for our Athletico Coach of the Year Award.”

Nominated by an Athletico employee and member of the local St. Mary Catholic community, Coach O’Brien has impacted the sport of volleyball for the past 35 years, coaching at the collegiate and high school levels. Since taking the reigns as head coach at St. Mary’s, Coach O’Brien has a record of 113-27-2, featuring 3 Huron League titles, 4 district titles and 2 regional titles. Her winning attitude on the court is mirrored by her athletes’ success in the classroom, and it all starts with respect and her TEAM-approach mentality.

Karen O’Brien serves as much more than a coach to the SMCC community, she is also a role model. Coach O’Brien battled through an ovarian cancer diagnosis with the help of the school, the SMCC community and her husband Dan. Together they launched TEAL ATTACK, an ovarian cancer awareness fundraiser, to help educate and raise awareness to her diagnosis.  TEAL ATTACK events take place every year in high school and collegiate sporting events. The fundraisers involve all sports.  In its fourth year, these events have raised almost $200,000 for Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MIOCA). These donations provide support to survivors, grants for research and supply educational opportunities for those in the state of Michigan. Despite this health challenge, Coach O’Brien remained on the court leading her team to success and challenging them to be active members of the community.

“Coach Karen O’Brien is a great role model for the whole SMCC community and we are very lucky to have her leading our volleyball program” said Chad Myers, St. Mary Catholic Athletic Director. “She holds her teams to a very high standard and they respond to her challenges and are grateful for the life lessons that she teaches them along the way. Coach O’Brien is a shining example of how to deal with adversity and how to empower yourself through any difficulty that life might throw at you. We are a better school and community for having Coach O’Brien in it, and are thankful to her for all that she gives. We are truly blessed to have such a great woman leading and empowering our young women at SMCC.”

The Coach of the Year Award was open to any junior high or high school level coach within the states of Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin. Nominations were open to the public and submitted via an online entry form. Nominators were required to explain why their coach should be recognized. A selection committee within Athletico reviewed the nominations before selecting Coach O’Brien as the winner. Nominations for the 2019 award will be accepted next fall.

About Athletico

Athletico Physical Therapy provides the highest quality orthopedic rehabilitation services to communities, employers and athletes in over 450 locations throughout twelve states with more than 5,000 employees. Athletico is committed to our patients and referring physicians through our patient-centric focus, positive work environment, attention to quality and high standard of care. Athletico measures patient outcomes and satisfaction and is dedicated to continuous improvement. Athletico was named #1 Workplace in Chicago, “Best Physical Therapy Practice in the Nation” by ADVANCE magazine, Top Workplace in the Nation and has been recognized as a leader in employee volunteering and charitable giving.  Our services include physical and occupational/hand therapy, workers’ compensation, women’s health therapy, concussion management and athletic training. For more information, or to schedule a free injury screening, please visit and follow us on Twitter at @athletico

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Find an Athletico.