By Sammi Carpenter
When an athlete goes down or gets injured, team medical staffs rush out to help them. The medical staff who help the athletes during games and practices are athletic trainers.
Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries.
Hutchinson Community College’s athletic training program is known to be one of the best athletic training programs in the nation. This year, there are three certified athletic trainers, Ryan Hilty, Sarah Lemmons, and Makenzie Cork, and 13 student trainers.
Being a student athletic trainer can be demanding and time consuming.
“Our students do a lot around the training room. They help with all the athletes who come in, whether in-season sports or out-of-season sports. While in the training room besides helping the athletes with rehab or taping, the students are also responsible for keeping everything stocked, administrative duties like paperwork, and cleaning,” Head Athletic Trainer Sarah Lemmons said. “Our students probably spend six to seven hours per day with athletic training, not including game days, home and away.”
Students are put on a different sport each week, but their practice schedule usually looks the same. The sports for the fall semester are football, soccer, volleyball, baseball, cross country, softball and basketball. At least one student has to stay in the training room from 1-5 p.m. to help.
“We normally show up to the training room at 12:30 or 1 (p.m.), depending when we get out of class. Once we get to the training room we usually help with treatments and rehab. Some treatments we do are ultrasound, ice and stim, and game ready,” sophomore Chloe Nowak said.
After helping with treatments, practices are about to start, which means the student trainers need to start preparing for it.
“We have to get water ready for practice. For football we usually take out six water boys and for other sports we just have one 10 gallon cooler we take,” freshman Mason Kalmar said. “Along with getting water ready, we tape up players and get them ready for practice.”
While practices are going on, the student trainers are there to watch out for injuries and provide first aid. When practices are done, the student trainers help with treatments and they clean up.
“On game days we are in the training room a couple hours before the game starts to get everything ready. We set up waters for both home and away. Players come in to do their rehab and get taped so we help with that,” sophomore Kelton Boster said. “During the game we watch so if anyone gets injured, we can go help them. We also hand out water during timeouts for most sports. When the game is done we clean up everything and make ice bags for the players.”
Working a home game and an away game may seem different, but in reality they are almost similar. When working an away game, the student trainers usually only bring a med bag because water is provided for them.
The farthest place a student trainer has gone for a sport is Daytona, Florida where sophomore Keesha Humble went for cheer nationals in the spring.
“Balancing school, training, and work is really hard but you just have to find time for things whenever you can. School comes first but sometimes it’s easy to put training first,” freshman Averey Wardner said, “Even though it is stressful at times, athletic training has brought me some amazing friendships, with the trainers and the athletes.”
While sometimes athletic training can be stressful and time consuming, HutchCC’s athletic training program gives students real world experiences and gives students the opportunity to create bonds and memories while obtaining new skills and knowledge they can use later in life.