Student athletic trainers stretch knowledge of sports medicine

by Eduardo Arocha
In high school sports, athletes fight to score goals, run fast, and make diving plays. With all that physical effort, injuries are bound to happen. That is when the student athletic trainers step in.
The student athletic training program, started in 1993, is designed for students who have a background in sports and plan to pursue careers in related fields.
Each student trainer volunteers for the position and is interviewed by athletic director Ryan Miller and Laura Friedman, also known as Ms. B, the head athletic trainer who instructs and supervises the student trainers.
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Most participants are interested in some form of sports medicine.
“I became a student trainer because I thought it would be a  good opportunity to see if being a trainer was something I would like to do as a career,” said junior Jaclyn Villane, who plans to study physical therapy in college.
Friedman teaches the student trainers the basics of muscle and bones physiology as well as taping and stretching techniques. Student trainers learn by observing Friedman at work in the training office and then test their knowledge by taking quizzes based on skills they will need when helping athletes on and off the field.
Once they are ready to begin working with the athletes, they are on the field at every home game to help with the teams’ physical needs.
“We prep for the games by getting water, stretching athletes and taping previous injuries,” said senior Matt Greenberg.
Student trainers learn basic stretches, including hamstring, hip flexor, calf and Achilles stretches. They are prohibited from using electric stimulation and ultrasound machines.
Over the years, many student trainers have put their experience to use in college and beyond. Nikki Appezzato, ’10, is a former student trainer who is continuing her studies in athletic training at West Chester University.
“The program helped me to see firsthand what athletic training entails and what I would be getting myself into in college,” said Appezzato. “It helped to make the decision to be an athletic trainer even more clear.”
Senior Brandon Ray enjoys the rewards that working with athletes can bring.
“When I would tape [senior football player] Dein Rice’s ankles before the games, and he would go and score a touchdown, it gave me a sense of pride knowing that he was able to score with my help,” said Ray.
“Student trainers are always there when needed,” said Rice. “They make things get done quicker and also do a nice job helping out with nicks and bruises.”