SAN ANTONIO – Roberto Cardona was born in Piedras Negras Coahuila, Mexico and raised in Eagle Pass, Texas. Now, Cardona is getting players from the Cincinnati Bengals ready for Super Bowl LVI against the Los Angeles Rams.
Cardona is an assistant athletic trainer for the Cincinnati Bengals.
“(I have) always dreamt being able to play with the Lombardi Trophy, even if I’m not the one playing,” he said. “I think it’s always fun to be able to see our players and athletes succeed, and hopefully they come out on top.”
Cardona began working towards his professional career in 2008 when he moved to San Antonio.
“I’ve been around San Antonio all my life, really,” Cardona said. “I went to Our Lady of the Lake University for an undergrad in Bachelor of Science.”
Cardona went on to get his masters degree at Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center. His degree helped him land a job as an athletic trainer at UTSA and Louisiana Tech. In 2017, Cardona got his start with the NFL.
“I got the opportunity to be an athletic trainer fellow with the Cincinnati Bengals,” Cardona said. “I had the opportunity to do that for two years (and) was promoted to athletic trainer. We deal with the prevention, care and rehabilitation and treatment of athletic injuries, and that starts in the off-season.”
It’s also the support of his family in Eagle Pass and mentors throughout his career that keep him focused.
“They understand how big this is, and they’re excited. They want the best for me,” Cardona said. “They support me (even when) I can’t go home for holidays and miss birthdays (or see) them twice a year.”
Cardona works alongside a team of medical and football operations staff as well as strength and conditioning coaches to prepare the team for the season. Now, the Bengals will make their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years.
“Everyone dreams of being a part of (the Super Bowl) or even just watching it live, you know,” Cardona said.
Traveling with the team to serve the players ahead of the big game is a dream come true for Cardona.
“(Before the season) we set goals, and we all want the same thing: to finish off strong and successful,” Cardona said. “We started by winning the division, and it’s one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. (Then), we won our first playoff game in 30-some odd years, and we kept going. And then we won the whole (AFC) conference. So, now, we got to finish off strong and complete the ultimate goal.”