She’s making strides!
Marissa Figueroa is a California native, holding a degree in Kinesiology from Humboldt State and a master’s degree in athletic training from California Baptist University, Black Enterprise reports. She got her start as an intern with the San Diego Chargers in 2018, working her way up to an assistant position with the Buffalo Bills in 2021. Now Figueroa has made history, becoming the first woman to serve as a full-time assistant athletic trainer with the Buffalo Bills.
Figueroa will be an integral part of the Bills’ team moving forward. She has been an active member of the training staff and served as one of the medical personnel who performed the life-saving emergency care for Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin this past season. Figueroa will work alongside head athletic trainer Nate Breske, rehabilitation coordinator and physical therapist Joe Micca and fellow assistant trainers Denny Kellington and Tabani Richards.
Figueroa now joins an elite group of women diversifying the NFL. In December 2021, Jennifer King made history with the Washington Commanders as the first Black woman position coach in NFL history. The following month, Maia Chaka made history as the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game. In July 2022, Sandra Douglass Morgan was named president of the Las Vegas Raiders, making history as the first Black woman team president in NFL history. And who can forget about football agent Nicole Lynn, the first Black woman to represent an NFL quarterback in the Super Bowl who was recently named the first President of Football for Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Group.
The league has more than 100 certified athletic trainers for its 32 teams, with only 21 of those being women. There are currently 15 women coaches in the 2022 season but despite progress, there are still no women in the head coaching position in the NFL. Figueroa’s name can now be added to the list of pioneering Black women.
Cover photo: Buffalo Bills name Marissa Figueroa as the first woman to serve as a full-time assistant athletic trainer/Photo Courtesy of Buffalo Bills