A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Meet the Mason Nation: Deborah Beck Corbatto

By Liam Griffin on March 30, 2021

Deborah Beck Corbatto, deputy athletic director, internal operations and risk management. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Deborah “Debi” Beck Corbatto, BS Marketing ’86, MS Exercise Science, Fitness, and Health Promotion ’03, PhD Education ’18, has been making a difference for Mason student-athletes for more than 15 years. A certified athletic trainer, she has held various positions on the athletic training staff at Mason, including assistant athletic director for sports performance and associate head athletic trainer. Now, as deputy athletic director, she leads Mason’s efforts to support its student-athletes through programs in nutrition, conditioning, and sports psychology.

Promoting Well-Being on and off the Playing Field: “The most dramatic change in my role has been from being the ‘boots on the ground’ operational person working with individual athletes and sports teams to being the strategic planner,” she says. “This has allowed me to impact the well-being of many more students at Mason.” Corbatto has also played a role in the university’s Safe Return to Campus plan.

Medals and Memories: In addition to her work with Mason, Corbatto has worked extensively with USA Basketball and the U.S. Olympic Training Center. For her work as a trainer with USA Basketball, Corbatto won a FIBA World Cup gold medal. One of her favorite Mason memories centers around when she was the athletic trainer for the men’s basketball team during their 2006 Final Four run. “We had just cut down the nets at the regional championship in D.C., and we heard there were people spontaneously gathering at the Patriot Center,” she says. “When we arrived, it was joyful chaos. Our community had gathered in celebration for this amazing accomplishment. The chanting, dancing, tears, and hugs are a memory for a lifetime!”

Choosing Mason Again and Again: Corbatto was originally drawn to Mason to finish her undergraduate degree in marketing. “Mason has always been a place where students can create their own path to success,” she says. “Even in the early 1980s.” She returned to Mason in the early 2000s to earn her master’s degree in exercise science, fitness, and health promotion. Two Mason diplomas weren’t enough though, as she also earned a PhD in education from Mason in 2018. “In each case, I had admission offers elsewhere,” she says. “But the program, flexibility, and location of Mason made it an easy choice.”

Embracing the Difficult: If there’s any lesson that Corbatto could impart to others in the Mason community, she says it’s a willingness to embrace the difficult and dare greatly. “Every day we experience risk, uncertainty, social situations, and challenges that actually help us grow as a person,” she says. “We have to be courageous and curious as we choose opportunities to keep pushing our boundaries and allowing us to grow and learn, even at my age!”


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