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Marion, IL – The Southern Illinois Miners have announced Athletic Trainer Chris Stone has been accepted to the540196_10100259202812657_868384614_n Penn State College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Stone will begin his class work at Penn State on May 19, 2014.

“I would first like to thank everyone with the Southern Illinois Miners and the Orthopedic Institute of Southern Illinois for entrusting me with the responsibility of caring for these athletes for the past seven seasons”, said Chris Stone.  “This experience has given me so many memories and friendships that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I want to thank Mike Pinto, Ralph Santana, John Lakin and all of the other coaches who I’ve worked with over the years for all of the trust and respect that they have given me to do my job to the best of my ability. Thank you to the Simmons family; you all have built something special and I’m glad I got to be part of it.  Lastly, I want to thank all of my players. Thank you for all of your hard work. Thank you for trusting me with your careers. I promise that I did everything I could to help you be successful and healthy on a daily basis. It has been an honor to serve you all.”

“We are incredibly happy for Chris and his new challenge ahead”, said Miners manager Mike Pinto.  “It is well-deserved and he will excel at any medical career he pursues.  Chris’s standard for excellence in the last seven seasons for the Miners has been a key part of any success we have had on the field.  His role was that of a critical, valued and trusted member of our staff.  I will miss him professionally but I will miss him even more personally. I have come to rely on him for his expertise and trusted him implicitly when it came to the health and care of our guys not to mention his friendship which I value most.  Chris was extremely dedicated to the Miners Way and making us a premier organization.”

“We are pleased that Chris has decided to join us at Penn State”, said Christine Bruce, the Program Director and Associate Professor of the College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.  “Being an athletic trainer, Chris became attractive to us because of an athletic trainer’s ability to have the athlete’s best interest at heart.  Chris will be apart of the first ever class at Penn State and we are thrilled he’s going to be a part of it.”

“It has long been my desire to help people who are sick or injured and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to further my education in medicine with the Penn State School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program”, added Stone.  “Mrs. Bruce has an exciting vision for the program and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.  I have worked very hard to help my athletes chase their dreams and I can’t wait to take the next step in chasing my own.”

Stone will be joining a very selective group of people to Penn State.  According to Bruce, former members of the United States military will be joining the program in conjunction with the local Veterans hospital in Hersey, Pennsylvania.

In addition to Stone being selected to attend Penn State, he has been named the Strength and Conditioning Consultant of the Southern Illinois Miners.

“I’m very excited that he will stay on with us as our strength and conditioning consultant”, added Pinto.  “Chris has been instrumental in developing a program for our players that not only builds strength during the season, but keeps them on the field and improves performance.  We will continue to utilize these programs and Chris will remain part of our staff in establishing the best strength and conditioning efforts available to players.”

Stone, a graduate of Arkansas State University in 2005 and Southern Illinois University in 2007, had been provided to the Miners through the Orthopedic Institute of Southern Illinois.  With an extensive background in athletic training, Stone had been instrumental in the team’s physical well-being and rehabilitation when a player gets hurt.  As the team athletic trainer, Stone conducted rehab treatments, lead conditioning and stretching exercises.  Another task that Stone fulfilled with the team was dialogue about the team’s health status with manager Mike Pinto.

“In the midst of all of the exciting changes that are taking place, I have been very aware of how much I’m going to miss being a part of this team!” added Stone. “When Mike approached me about this new position I knew it was the perfect way for me to stay involved. We have had tremendous success with the program that I have built over the last two years. The players have taken to my methods and I’m excited to continue in my new role going forward.”

Throughout his tenure with the Miners, Stone had been featured on various media outlets in the Southern Illinois area for his dedication to the team and his innovative progressive training approaches.  Stone is a former Frontier League Trainer of the Year, an honor he achieved in 2008 and the only athletic trainer in team history.

The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2012 Frontier League Champions and have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year three times since its inception.  It has also set a new Frontier League attendance record in 2007.  For media inquiries concerning the Miners, please contact Mike Ventola, Director of Media Relations 618-998-8499 ext. 8547 or  For ticket information please contact the Rent One Park Box Office at 618-998-8499.  For any additional information, visit our website at

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