See more of the story

The head athletic trainer for the Minnesota Twins and an assistant athletic trainer with the Minnesota Timberwolves have been cited and fined by state regulators for starting their jobs last year without being properly licensed.

The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice announced Monday that Nicholas Paparesta, the Twins' head trainer, has been fined $1,000 and reprimanded after acknowledging to the agency that he took the post in October 2022 but failed to apply for a state license until April.

Jesse Geffon
Jesse Geffon

National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association

The board also disclosed that Timberwolves assistant trainer Jesse Geffon has been fined $500 and reprimanded after agreeing with the agency that he joined the NBA team in September but didn't submit his license application until February.

Two athletic trainers with the Vikings, Uriah Myrie and Connor Whicker, ran into the same regulatory trouble in March. Both were similarly fined, reprimanded and sanctioned.

Board Executive Director Elizabeth Huntley explained then to the Star Tribune that the agency's decades-long oversight of athletic trainers is vital to the "mission of public protection by assuring that the people under its regulation are competent, ethical practitioners with the necessary knowledge and skills appropriate to their title and role. That mission is upheld, in part, through the Board's licensing process."

Along with the fines, Paparesta and Geffon were given conditional licenses to continue their duties with their respective teams. The board said they can petition to make their licenses unconditional once the fines are paid and when they submit their home and workplace addresses to the agency.

While the board's order issued on Sept. 9 noted that Paparesta agreed with its findings and the sanctions, he explained that he carried out primarily administrative and managerial duties while unlicensed but "did provide athletic trainer services to players in emergencies or when other athletic trainers were not available to assist with a situation that needed attention."

Geffon told the board, according to the order issued in his case, that he was "working . . . under the supervision of medical staff" while unlicensed.

Paparesta came to the Twins from the Oakland A's, where he was head athletic trainer for 12 years. He also was with the Cleveland organization for 11 years and with the Tampa Bay Rays for five years.

Twins spokesman Dustin Morse said in a written statement, "As a trainer licensed by the National Athletic Trainers' Association, we are confident in the high level of care he has provided to our players since his employment with the club began last offseason.

"Upon notification of the procedures for licensing in Minnesota that did not exist in his previous place of employment, immediate corrective actions were taken. He has since secured his unconditional license and is now in full compliance with state regulations."

Geffon joined the Wolves after a stint as head athletic trainer for the Grand Rapids Gold, an affiliate of the NBA's Denver Nuggets.

The Timberwolves responded with a statement that read, "The state licensing process is a procedural matter and doesn't negate the high level of care that Jesse Geffon has provided for our players to date. Jesse is taking the steps required by the state licensing board to receive his unconditional license, and we continue to be confident in his ability to provide expert care."