Macon business owner serving as the racquetball sports coach for Team USA at the 2022 World Games

Rodger Fleming was an athletic trainer for seven years with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and three years with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

MACON, Ga. (41NBC/WMGT) — The 2022 World Games began Thursday, returning to the United States for the first time since the games opened in 1981.

This year, an athletic trainer from Macon will ensure Team USA racquetball athletes are in top form to win gold.

Rodger Fleming, athletic trainer, massage therapist and owner of Body Awareness Performance and Therapy in Macon, was at Team USA’s track and field trials for the Tokyo Olympics last summer when a colleague offered a position with the USA racquetball team.

“My boss there reached out and said, ‘Hey, I can’t go due to a scheduling conflict, but would you be interested in helping out USA Racquetball? They are looking for a double degree. So that was for the World Championships in Guatemala in December 2021,” said Fleming.

Due to his exceptional work at this event, Fleming has been invited back as an athletic coach for the USA racquetball team, which will compete at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. For Fleming, it’s kind of a homecoming as his history with athletic training began in the southern state.

“When I grew up in Alabama, I loved sports and played football and baseball in high school,” Fleming said. “And at 5’8”, I was naive, and I had this ambition of wanting to go to college to play sports. And my high school football coach was like, ‘Roger, no, no, but there’s this new job called sports coaching. I think you would be perfect for that.

Fleming attended the University of Toledo and then lived the gypsy lifestyle for several years, spending one year coaching a professional basketball team, seven years with the Arizona Diamondbacks and three years with the Tampa Bay Rays. When he sought to finally settle down, Fleming reconnected with a past love.

“What brought me here was I reconnected with my high school sweetheart, and we dated a really long time ago. I mean, our friends were Fred and Barney from The Flintstones, and then we got together. reconnected 20 years later. I knew I was leaving baseball and said she was an established pro. I’ll go to her, and that’s really how Macon became my home,” a- he declared.

Once in Macon, Fleming coached athletics at Stratford Academy, Central Georgia Technical College, and Fort Valley State University. Eventually, something a loved one said to her one day changed her perspective on her career.

“So my grandmother, who’s since passed away, she would tell me, ‘Roger, I know why God put you on this earth, and it’s to help people,'” Fleming said. “And that really started to make me think about being more than just a baseball sports coach. I wanted to help people; I guess more of my calling. So I left Fort Valley and chased my dream. of owning my own business. And for three years, I worked in a 100 square foot room, and I put everything back into the business. And then on Memorial Day weekend 2019, I opened the performance and body awareness therapy.

Fleming won’t be in Macon for a while as he travels to Eugene, Oregon after the World Games to help out at the 2022 World Championships in Athletics. The one thing he’s looking forward to most is to be able to learn from all the other great coaches who will be there.

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