The Real Playmakers in Sports

Written by student journalist Veronica Palmich ’1820827619988_9a498635c8_k

It has been a long and hard game. It is late in the fourth quarter, and the football team is down by one touchdown.  They are driving down the field, and are close to the goal line.  There is only seven seconds left, and the last play is called.  The players line up at the line of scrimmage.  The center snaps the ball, and the quarterback throws a perfect spiral to his receiver in the end zone.  The team scores and wins, but the quarterback was hit hard.  He is lying still on the ground and is not showing any signs of getting up.  The referees wave to the sidelines.  The coach and a few other people run out.  People recognize the other people as the sports medicine team, but what is their job?  How do they know what to do?

Coach Chris Leeds, Blessed Trinity’s head athletic trainer, is in charge of students who are on the sidelines prepared to help in any way they can.  “Many of them are trained in basic first aid so they will assist the athletic trainer in covering wounds to players during the game. They facilitate and play an important role in the emergency action plan,” said Coach Leeds.  In addition to this the trainers are responsible for having Gatorade and water ready for players when they substitute out, or there is a break in the game.

Brooke Yap, a Blessed Trinity sophomore trainer feels that she was well prepared for the sports medicine program even before she started.  “I attended the camp before both eighth grade and freshman year.  I learned a lot like how to wrap ankles,” she said.

To become part of the program this year, she attended a meeting and was put on the schedule for both junior varsity and varsity football.  The trainers can go to the field house training room to learn more about how to treat the athletes, and some things they can do are give ultrasounds and massages to athletes under supervision from either Coach Leeds or Coach Hunter, the graduate assistant athletic trainer.

Senior Meredith Marsden, the head athletic training student, decided to join the athletic training program after her freshman year when she spent more time in the training room than she did actually playing basketball.   As the head athletic training student, Meredith is in charge of organization, and gets an up-close opportunity to learn what athletic training is all about.  “I organize all of the other student trainers by making schedules, helping assign teams, and making sure we get everything done for our team. I also have the chance to work closely with Coach Leeds and Coach Hunter to have a good look into what an athletic training career would be like,” said Meredith.  She is planning to pursue athletic training at Purdue University next fall.

The program has made a difference in many people’s lives.  Blessed Trinity junior Joe Anderson was playing football against Sequoyah when he tore his ACL.  “I was laying on the field in a lot of pain when Coach Leeds and Coach Hunter ran up to me and started asking me questions like, ‘What happened?’ ‘Where does it hurt?’ ‘Did you feel or hear a pop?’,” said Joe.

After performing tests on his leg, the trainers told Joe that they thought he might have either torn his meniscus or ACL.  Coach Hunter helped Joe strengthen his quadricep muscle before he went into surgery, and now the trainers help him with rehab the days he does not go off campus to physical therapy.

The athletic training program stretches to all athletic teams at Blessed Trinity throughout the entire year.  Coach Liz McFarland, varsity girls lacrosse coach, is very appreciative of all that the trainers do to help out.  “In the past, we have had several players that need to ‘loosen up’ prior to the game.  At times, this has involved deeper stretching, and at times, e-stim, in which they aid the player’s pre-game routine by providing electrical stimulation of muscles,” she said.  The trainers also attend to players who get hurt during the games, and sometimes prepare ice baths after games.

Coach McFarland is grateful for all the time and effort the trainers put into their jobs. “Our athletic trainers always took their job seriously and never complained…even when it seemed there was an endless group of players needing attention.  I have always been impressed with their dedication.  They are with us at every practice and every game,” she said

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