Behind the Scenes: A Perspective on student athletic training

Ross, like many other trainers, worked hard during the fall semester to care for the Scots football team. Photo courtesy of Alec Ross.
Ross, like many other trainers, worked hard during the fall semester to care for the Scots football team. Photo courtesy of Alec Ross.

I love my job. I have been a student athletic trainer at Maryville College for three years now. I love it so much that I changed my career path to become an athletic trainer after college. Being a student athletic trainer means a lot of things. It means working long hours, having shorter summers, and being responsible for other people’s wellbeing. There are a few things that make this job hard and unappealing to some people, but to me it means a whole lot more.

These things could pose a problem for some people but the rewards for this job make these things seem so small. My favorite part of this job is who I get to work with and all the athletes we get to help each and every day. A major part of our job is getting to know all the athletes. As much as we work, we gain friendships or some kind of relationship with most of the athletes at our school.

We are there for everything: preseason conditioning, midseason, and injuries, rehabs, the wins and losses. Being around each team, anytime there is a big win or big loss, we feel the impact of it all. On top of building friendships, we are all there to learn. I feel like I am so far ahead for my career path because of all that Sharon, James, Trisha and Sheena, the athletic trainers, have taught us. Any time there is something new or interesting going on they make sure we are up to date.

Every day we set up for each sport first as we arrive. We take out water to their practice field and make sure all the athletes that need it are tapped, stretched and ready to go out for practice. We work mostly with football because we have to be out there every day for practice as they have more players and a greater risk for injury.

We always say the best days are when we don’t have to do anything because if we do have to do a lot of work it usually means someone is hurt. That is the toughest part of our job. We spend all season with a team, every day, for many hours of those days. This forms strong connections and it’s never easy seeing a friend or player getting hurt. There is also no better feeling than seeing an athlete that is hurt coming back into playing shape and getting back into a game.

It is that feeling that makes us student trainers, because we get to be a part of something great.

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