He was always there


It was apparent Pat Forbis stole this idea from the 1996 Michael Keaton movie, because Pat was everywhere.

There had to be more than one of him.

Name a sport, he was there.

Name a time, he was there.

And Pat always seemed to be at the right place at the right time when he was needed most.

"He showed up at a lot of different places,"ã??said Ben Kuster, a friend and co-worker of Pat's at St. Mary's Sports Medicine for the past 12 years. "He was always there; if something needed to be done, he was the one that was on site to do it.

"Personally, he was not only a good friend, he was my mentor. He taught me to be the athletic trainer that I am today. I respected him so much."

Forbis was as much a part of the game as the ball.

"He was certainly a guy who served a lot of people and he did it for a long time," Helias girls basketball coach Doug Light said. "He took care of a lot of athletes and got them back to where they could compete.

"That was what he loved to do, that was his profession, it was his passion."

Pat Forbis was an athletic trainer for more than 30 years in Central Missouri. He died Wednesday evening.

He was 58. He is survived by his wife, Laura, and their 19 year-old son, Jay.

"You never expect anything like this to happen," Kuster said. "He didn't expect it, because he was just talking about meetings to set up for this week and things we needed to get done."

Pat was the clinical coordinator at St. Mary's Sports Medicine. He did a lot more than tape ankles, as he specialized in the rehabilitation of ACL reconstruction and other athletic injuries.

Sunday morning, he suffered a pulmonary embolism from which he never recovered.

Kuster said Pat wasn't feeling very well last week. He had an asthma attack early in the week, which was followed by shortness of breath.

"He was having a hard time catching his breath," Kuster said, "and he thought it was from the asthma attack."

One of Pat's final working acts was last Thursday at Helias.

"He had come over to work with one of our athletes who had an injury," Light said. "We had a game on Friday and he wanted to make sure she was ready to go.

"That's what he was about. It was business as usual."

The girl played Friday night, by the way.

"He'd go out of his way to help you," Light said.

Life's path for Pat, a 1974 graduate of Jefferson City High School, was seemingly set at an early age.

"When he was one of our student managers, he showed a lot of interest in the training room procedures," said former Jefferson City Jays football coach Pete Adkins.

"He wanted to learn how to tape and bandage things ... he had a lot of interest along those lines, a lot more than most student managers. A lot of them were more interested in equipment and other things, but Pat was more interested in the training part of it.

"He was one of the most sincere, hardest-working managers at that time.ã??So I think that it was just a carry over that he chose that profession.ã??

"When he came back with his degree, he said that experience caused him to choose to pursue this. It was a win-win situation for everyone, for the schools and for him, because he was certainly a big asset to our athletic programs."

Pat was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Missouri State High School Activities Association in 2011, and was inducted in the Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame in 2012.

He was a published author and speaker at the state, regional and national levels.

"Pat was one of the pioneers in the Mid-Missouri area, in terms of sports medicine," Kuster said. "I always considered him an athletic-training junkie ... he was always sharing articles and videos about some new technique or a new piece of equipment.

"He was always looking at ways to do his job better and making our programs better."

Most importantly, he touched lives.

"One summer, my daughter had some foot issues, terrible blisters, and we were getting ready to play in a summer shootout," Light said. "He's a neighbor of mine and before he did anything else, Pat told us to come over to his house. 'Bring her right over,' he said.

"He fixed her foot up and got her ready to go. He didn't have to do that, but that was him."

Light continued.

"My wife had suffered a concussion and he came over and checked her out. That was just Pat. He would come running if you needed something."

Blair Thompson had the unique experience as both a player and coach with Forbis --- Thompson played basketball for the Jays, and is now the team's head coach.

"He was a genuinely nice guy who was very generous with his time," Thompson said. "He was very knowledgeable in his field and very supportive of all athletes. He was just a very selfless man.

"Whether it was my own health as a player or a problem with one of your players, you took it as the word and you trusted everything he told you, because he was that good at what he did.

"He was just here a week ago and we were talking about Cardinal baseball, Mizzou basketball and everything else. And then, just a week later ... "

Pat passed away around 7 p.m. --- that's game time for most football and basketball games, as well as many other sports.

Maybe there was a big game getting ready to start in heaven.

And Pat was needed.

Because he's always been at the right place at the right time when he's needed most.