By: Beau Baker
Being an athletic trainer has many perks, and some of them stretch beyond just the things the average person sees.
An athletic trainer’s job consists of many things such as treating injuries, stretching athletes, making sure athletes are hydrated, helping them when they are sick and being there for comfort and moral support. Relationships are a big part of being an athletic trainer, and women’s basketball trainer Rachel Petty believes that is the best part about her job.
“It’s so rewarding to get to know a student-athlete as a person,” Petty said. “When you get close to a student-athlete and build a relationship with them, it’s so much easier to care for them as not only an athlete but as a person, as well.”
The typical day of an athletic trainer usually starts at around 7:30 a.m., but some days can start as early as 5 a.m. for the trainers whose teams wish to practice in the morning. The day will usually end at about 7 p.m. with the last practice of the night finally wrapping up.
Blaise Kriley, the head athletic trainer of Western athletics, is all too familiar with the daily schedule.
In the mornings, athletic trainers focus on treatment and rehab, which usually take longer than 20 minutes. After lunch, athletes will come in the training room for pre-practice things such as modality usage and heat.
Even though the biggest part of an athletic trainer’s job is to take care of injuries, they wish that players didn’t get hurt. It takes patience and sympathy to deal with an athlete being hurt and letting them know that even though they want to compete, they are not physically ready. According to Devon Schmitz, the athletic trainer of track and field, cross country and tennis, you have to be ready for the different reactions an athlete can have to injuries.
“There are so many different people that come from so many different backgrounds, that you have to be able to adjust to whom you are talking to,” Schmitz said. “You have to be able to think on your feet, because you never know what is going to happen.”
Some of our athletic trainers may never have chosen their career path if they had never gotten hurt while playing sports in high school. Petty, Kriley and Blaine Wessels, who is the main athletic trainer for men’s basketball, are amongst those athletic trainers who had serious injuries in high school.
Wessels didn’t have an athletic trainer at his high school. He suffered a broken arm, and all they did to treat it was give him some ice. Two weeks later, he tore his MCL.
“Nobody was there; nobody knew what they were doing, so that’s why I chose to become an athletic trainer,” Wessels said.
Petty suffered a severe ankle injury in high school, and she also didn’t have a athletic trainer at her high school. She tried to come back after a couple of weeks of rest but the rest time still wasn’t good enough. Petty believed that athletic training suited her because she wanted to make sure future athletes got the treatment she never received.