Athletic trainers offer relief to athletes on sidelines


BACK & FORTH At the football game on Friday, Oct. 14, Mackenzie Naftal, 11 heads back to the sidelines after helping the football players. Photo by Daylin Mitchell Cochran, 12

While student-athletes are focused on the game, there are a few who are focused on the athletes themselves. They refill the bottles, they tape injured ankles and they’re ready for any medical need that might arise during a game.

Taking care of a student-athlete is something that leaves a lot of pressure on head trainer Becca Ensley. She knows all eyes are on her, and she said she tries to fix the injury and comfort the athlete at the same time.

“It’s very important to have staff athletic trainers at a school and at events,” Ensley said. “If we didn’t have athletic trainers in these events, we would have to rely on first responders for injuries.”

Trainers are responsible for minor injuries that take athletes out of games such as a sprained ankle, bloody nose and even concussions. Ensley said student trainers are required to attend all sports events during their seasons, so athletes can have someone to depend on if they get hurt.

Along with the demanding roles of taking care of student-athletes, student trainer Phong Bui said this position is interesting and offers experiences they value.

“I do think it’s a lot of fun,” Bui said. “You get to hang out with new people and watch the games.”

Ensley said being an athletic trainer comes with pros, but there definitely is pressure behind this job.

“It definitely has to be your passion to get into it,” Ensley said. “You’re at that student athlete’s worst time of their life so far if they have a season-ending injury.”

On the other hand, student trainers, love this elective because it teaches them basic life skills. Some trainers said they’ve built deeper connections with the responsibility of taking care of people.

“You get to take care of people you that you get to learn to love,” student trainer Madison Terry said. “It really is a family bond at the end of the day.”