Injuries and Anthems: The story of Dr. Brandon Holland

by Ian Domeika

                Dr. Brandon Holland singing the national anthem (Esther Frances)

Injuries in sports are an unfortunate reality. Players’ careers can be set back in the blink of an eye during athletic competition. Having an experienced and well-versed athletic trainer can be the difference between minor setbacks and major injuries. Luckily, the Big Train has one of the very best.

Dr. Brandon Holland is in his first season with the Big Train. A coworker of manager Sal Colangelo at C.D. Hilton High School in Woodbridge, VA, Holland has already begun making a major impact on the team.

“This is an opportunity to do something fun over the summer. My schedule was open to do something new and to meet new and exciting people and watch some good athletics,” said Holland.

Athletic training becomes a challenging job at the higher levels of athletics, including Division One baseball. Players are often too tough for their own good, playing through injuries that could set their careers back indefinitely. Dr. Holland makes sure all his athletes know the risks of their injuries before heading back out on the field.

“I just advise them. There are a few injuries I’m adamant you don’t play through, but a lot of it is how much can you tolerate as far as your discomfort, and then some of those injuries are going to be in a space where they have the potential to get worse, and I’ll advise the athletes about their worst-case scenario,” explained Holland.

While athletic training may be what Holland is up to this summer in Bethesda, it is just one of many talents the doctor possesses, including a multitude of college degrees.

“It’s not as romantic as it sounds. I started as a health and physical education major. Then I added exercise and sports science for a double major. I then met a friend who introduced me to athletic training, so I added that as a major also. So, I ended with three undergrad degrees,” explained Holland.

But the academic accomplishments did not stop there for Dr. Holland, who went on to receive a doctorate from A.T. Still University in athletic training, along with a PhD from Concordia University Chicago.

“A lot of it was because at first, I really wasn’t sure what I should be doing, so I just kind of did everything. Now I’m really focused on kicking down doors for people behind me. I’ve learned that people are watching what I do and they’re inspired by what I do,” said Holland.

Dr. Holland has been busy setting an incredible example for those watching him. Along with his degrees and job here at Big Train, he is deeply involved in his community back home in Virginia.

“I’m a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, and I serve as the Virginia State Representative for the Ethnic Diversity Advisory Committee. We support ethnic diversity in athletics from an athletic training standpoint, providing more inclusive and culturally aware care to athletes of diverse backgrounds, and increasing the diversity of people studying athletic training,” said Holland.

While most athletic trainers never garner much fan attention, Dr. Holland took Shirley Povich Field by storm earlier in the year, when he surprised fans by walking to the pitcher's mound and singing the National Anthem. The crowd erupted at Holland’s phenomenal singing and cemented a special moment that will live at the ballpark forever.

“Music is a passion of mine. A hobby I probably have spent too much money on. I’ve always been enamored with sound and how sounds change when you add small changes to your environment. It's something that has always been enticing to my nerdy side.”

You can catch Dr. Holland at every Big Train game on the sideline, helping out our athletes. And if you're lucky, maybe you’ll catch him singing the National Anthem too.