Alumni spotlight: WWE Athletic Trainer Nicole Faso

Alumni spotlight: WWE Athletic Trainer Nicole Faso

In recognition of National Athletic Training Month, we caught up with Nicole Faso, the only female athletic trainer on the road with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). For her role, Faso travels globally, providing vital medical care to WWE performers at major televised events like SmackDown and non-televised live shows nearly every weekend.

Faso credits experience in WVU’s Athletic Training program with preparing her to thrive in the fast-paced, travel-intensive environment at WWE.

What made you want to pursue athletic training, and why WVU?

I chose athletic training after experiencing an injury in high school. Physical therapy helped me recover, and a friend from my hometown who was studying athletic training at WVU introduced me to the field. When I visited WVU with my mom during a football weekend, I knew it was the right place for me.

How did your AT degree from WVU prepare you for your future and which experiences stood out to you?

WVU gave me great groundwork for not only certified athletic trainer skills but also network connections that have and will help me in the future. I particularly enjoyed the fall football rotation due to its connection to my interests, as well as the club sports rotation where I got to work with hockey, a sport I had always wanted to be involved in.

Can you share your career progression, including the jobs you’ve had and how you ended up at WWE?

Initially, I aimed to become an NHL athletic trainer and worked in grad school at Ohio University as a Men's Hockey athletic trainer. However, family health issues prompted a shift, and I worked at a clinic and in high school outreach before accepting a position at Bridgeport University, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, working Men’s Soccer and Women’s Gymnastics. Eventually, I saw an opportunity at WWE and moved up to the "Main Roster" or TV in 2021 and have been with SmackDown since then.

What are your job responsibilities at WWE, and what is your day-to-day like?

I am one of four athletic trainers on "Main Roster" with two for Raw and two for SmackDown, but I mainly work Friday Night SmackDown. My schedule is opposite of others, as I fly out on Thursday night to whatever city we're in, work the show on Friday, and either fly home on Saturday morning or continue working small house shows throughout the weekend. During shows, I help get the “talent” -- another name for the wrestlers -- ready (tape, stretch, etc.) and then I am there for injuries that may occur during the show. We travel every week, 52 weeks a year since we do not have an off-season.

What do you love most about your job and what challenges do you face at WWE?

The travel is probably my favorite part of the job because I get to see all of these amazing places that I most likely would not get to go to on my own. The talent who I work with are also amazing. I've been almost everywhere in the U.S., as well as to Canada, Mexico, Europe, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Is there a common misconception people have about your job?

Everyone has the misconception – "WWE is fake so why do they need medical?" Our talent are world-class athletes who complete extreme moves and tasks during their matches. I also tell people that yes the storylines may be predetermined but everything you see is real, especially the chairs.

What is your dream job? Are you currently working on it?

I would still love to work hockey someday, but I absolutely love my job now. I am the only female AT on the road for WWE, working a professional sport at only 31 years old. I also would love to get a sports psychology certification/minor.

Is there anything else you'd like to mention about your experience at WVU or your passion for the profession?

I am so grateful for the education WVU gave me and for letting me fall in love with this profession. I couldn't think of anything else I would love to do more.