CANTON  Malone University athletics teams will be without their head athletic trainer this weekend, but it’s for a legit reason.

Chris Watson, who is also the school’s director of sports medicine, is serving as the head athletic trainer for Olympic development athletes at the 123rd-annual Penn Relays, which begins today and continues through Sunday at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The Penn Relays are the world’s oldest and largest ongoing track and field competition and the four-day event features nearly 15,000 participants at the high school, college and international levels. 

USA Track and Field, the national governing body for the sport, partners with the Penn Relays to put on a number of Olympic development events to be held across the weekend. Watson’s role at the relays will be as the head athletic trainer for athletes in those events.

It’s a return to a familiar setting for the Green resident, who has been appointed to the medical staffs in six prior USATF competitions. He most recently served as the head athletic trainer for Team USA at the 2016 National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) U-23 Championships last July in El Salvador. 

He was also part of the staffs at the 2007 Junior Pan Am Games in Brazil, the 2008 Chiba Ekiden in Japan, the 2009 Pan Am Junior Championships in Trinidad and Tobago), the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Spain and the 2015 Edinburgh International Cross Country Challenge in Scotland.

Watson has served in his current dual roles at Malone since 2003 after earning his bachelor’s degree from the school in 2001 and his masters degree in education from Ashland University in 2003. He resides in Green with his wife Angela and their children, Amber, Kalie and Bryce.