Don’t take athletic trainers for granted

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I’ve given athletic trainers many headaches over my sports career on the field and court.

I am what the hospital industry calls a “frequent flyer,” something no mother ever wants their kid to be if they play sports. And no, having an emergency room named after you because of how often you were there should not be a goal of yours.

But it’s the reality some athletes face, those that go all out on every play like I did during my football, soccer, basketball, track and baseball days. Many people have told me I am cursed with injury proneness.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

A curse? I’d say I am lucky.

I had many major injuries, but those experiences helped me get through the minor injuries; they helped me gauge my pain tolerance and learn if I can play through an injury or not.

This year, two schools hired athletic trainers to manage the sidelines and help kids with their injuries and diagnose any ailments.

I received care from a student trainer, someone just as old as I was. He wrapped ankles up before every game, using techniques he learned from a textbook he read hours before heading to practice.

I never had the luxury of having a professional trainer tell me how to prevent injuries, instead the student trainer told me how to recover from them. I would never trade my high school athletic career for anything, and I wouldn’t have done it any differently, despite being on crutches each of my middle and high school years.

Rough? You bet it was, but I have to admit, I had a blast going all out for every play, putting everything I got into every second. I hung up my cleats with no regrets. I’ve seen the finish line, and though I suffered a couple of torn ligaments, broken bones and scars, those all serve as memories now.

Having these trainers on the sidelines is going to serve miraculous benefits for these athletes and I can only hope it helps them advance to the next level, injury-free.