In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the Rams are highlighting the diverse AAPI experience through the voices of our employees.
The series continues with Mark Dydasco of the sports medicine and performance staff.
The son of parents born outside of the United States, Mark Dydasco grew up in a different cultural household compared to his American peers.
"The AAPI culture very much so shaped who I am today in terms of core values, ethics, and motivation," Dydasco said. "I learned to have the upmost respect for my elders, honor tradition, and pave the way for my family name. I grew up in a moderately strict household with the ultimate goal to always be A+ student-athlete and pursue higher education. 'You will go to school and become a doctor' was always a saying that was thrown around growing up and I'm sure many other AAPI can relate."
That formative experience led him on a path that took him to the Rams' sports medicine and performance staff, on which he will be entering his sixth season this year. That staff evaluates and treats players' injuries and also provides preventive care and maintenance.
Dydasco said the best part of his job is the daily interaction with the players and football staff inside the team's facility.
"We work hard but we have a ton of fun everyday," he said. "The close relationships we build throughout the year truly makes us feel a part of the team and we feel like we make a difference."
Dydasco's upbringing influences approach both inside and outside of his job. What motivates him is daily improvement in all aspects of life, not just football.
"I love to learn and find new ways to optimize performance and efficiency," Dydasco said.
Since not everyone had the same upbringing as Dydasco, one of the best ways for people to be better allies to the AAPI community is to take the time to learn about it.
"I think educating yourself or seeking knowledge about the different subgroups of the AAPI community," Dydasco said. "Asking questions and challenging the stereotypes. Talking to those from the AAPI community and getting to know their upbringing."
Dydasco said the simplest way to celebrate AAPI Heritage month is by eating local AAPI cuisine and having conversations with peers within that community.
"You can find a ton of spots in the greater LA area," Dydasco said. "Also, reach out to your peers who are part of the AAPI community and learn more about their background in celebration of this month."