By Catherine Duncan
Soccer player helps others prevent injury
Since completing her years at the University of the Incarnate Word as a soccer player and undergraduate student, Christie “CP” Powell has dedicated her life to providing physical therapy and injury prevention training to athletes while continuing to pursue her own education.
“I built my physical therapy program around soccer players and helping them. I played soccer at the higher level, and I got hurt,” she said. “I learned that I had to stay healthy. Although I am no longer able to play, I can still coach.”
Inducted into the UIW Athletic Hall of Fame in August, Powell began playing soccer in 1991 at what was then Incarnate Word College, and she continued to play through the transition to the University of the Incarnate Word in 1996. She graduated cum laude in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. She was honored three times as a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ (NAIA) Academic Scholar-Athlete.
While at Incarnate Word, she earned NAIA All-American status in 1996. Powell helped Incarnate Word achieve a 58-15-8 record during that four-year period. The team reached the regional tournament twice and the NAIA national tournament once.
Powell went on to earn a master’s degree in physical therapy from Texas State University and is working toward a doctorate in kinesiology, specializing in movement science, from the University of Texas at Austin.
She is co-owner and director of physical therapy at CATZ Sports Performance & Physical Therapy in Austin. Powell, a licensed physical therapist, works primarily with youth and adult soccer players. She also works with Austin-area physicians to provide free injury assessments and injury prevention seminars to athletes, their parents and their coaches.
Powell attributes much of her success both academically and professionally to her time at Incarnate Word.
“From an academic standpoint at Incarnate Word, I was very challenged,” she said. “I loved the small classrooms. It was great for my learning style. Since I was busy on the soccer team, it helped me to become organized.
“I had to step up my game because I was doing academics and athletics. It helped push me to continue school. Now that I am a business owner and pursuing my doctorate, I have to be able to juggle all my responsibilities.”
Powell feels grateful to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
“This is very inspirational for me,” she said. “I have an undying love for soccer.
“I am able to give back to the community by creating a rehabilitative program for other athletes. I am truly blessed.”
Pitcher teaches students value of education
Some athletes leave their college studies to pursue a professional baseball career, but few return to complete their education. Hector Degadillo believes in returning home – in more ways than one.
Delgadillo also saw a transition during his four years at Incarnate Word. He began pitching for the Crusaders in 2001 and continued through the 2004 mascot change to the Cardinals. With his help, the university achieved a cumulative 137-87 record and reached the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II regional tournament. The team also won a Heartland Conference title.
Delgadillo still holds many school records: most wins in a career, most complete games, most complete games in a single season, most innings pitched and most strikeouts in a career. While at UIW, he was named American Baseball Coaches Association All Region Athlete, Heartland Pitcher of the Year and five-time Heartland Pitcher of the Week. In August, he was inducted into the UIW Athletic Hall of Fame.
He was drafted in 2005 by the Toronto Blue Jays. He played two seasons of minor league baseball before deciding to return to UIW to complete his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2008 and a master’s in kinesiology in 2010. While working toward these degrees, Delgadillo assisted with the baseball team and Coach Danny Heep.
“When I first started school, I thought I wanted to be a trainer, but I really enjoyed working with the baseball team while I was finishing my studies,” he said. “I decided I wanted to coach and teach. I wanted to go back to the high school where I went to school.”
Delgadillo, who graduated from South San Antonio High School in 2001, returned to his alma mater where he now coaches freshman football and varsity baseball and teaches a Foundations of Personal Fitness class.
“I believe I can relate better to the kids in this community. I have told them my story. I grew up a block from the school. I was in their shoes at one point,” he said.
“I try to get them to understand that without a college education, there is not much you can do. Knowledge really is power. That is the key to their future,” Delgadillo said.
As a high school coach, he emphasizes to his students that there is a lot more to playing sports than just the sport itself.
“You can learn a lot about life through athletics. Once you start something, you cannot stop. This shows them that succeeding in life is not easy,” he said. “You must work hard each day. You must work with your teammates and coaches. There is a lot of that in the real world.”
Delgadillo says it is an honor to be recognized by the university as an Athletic Hall of Famer.
“I am grateful to have been nominated and to receive this award. It is great to be able to show my students,” he said.