Sideline Saviors

Student trainers play an important role in athletes’ safety

Anuj Singh, Online Editor

Sports stars are among the most recognizable figures in our lives. From Serena Williams to Lionel Messi, athletic all-stars are celebrated as brave and resilient, receiving great honors.

But often, those on the sidelines are overlooked. Recently, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on-field. Thankfully, he recovered, largely due to the prompt actions of his sideline saviors: sports trainers.

Just like professional competitors, high school athletes also require sports trainers to aid with treatment for debilitating injuries. At MN, there are many students who take on this responsibility.

“Our students are responsible for making sure all the water coolers and bottles are filled and that athletes are drinking enough as well as immediate first aid care of cuts and scrapes and such,” athletic trainer and student supervisor Lisa Moore said.

As some of MN’s most essential sports staff, student trainers receive detailed, extensive training, beginning with a semester-long introductory course and followed by a year-long internship course along with 80 required hours of athletic training room coverage.

“I think for anyone interested in sports or going into a healthcare career in their future, it’s great exposure to another version of a profession in healthcare. It is a great way to be involved in extracurriculars especially if you enjoy sports but don’t enjoy playing them or no longer play sports,” Moore said.

In addition to this training process, student trainers must commit a significant amount of their time to hone their skills and gain experience, a large portion of which involves exploring complex concepts surrounding human anatomy and physiology.

“The hardest part [of being a student trainer] is the amount of memorizing and learning we do. We will talk about and will have to remember how to treat five injuries on a daily basis. Most days, in class, we cover five to seven injuries and so retaining all of the information is a lot,” student trainer Ellie McCarville said.

Working together for so many hours allows the student trainers to develop a special connection with each other, allowing for long-lasting friendships.

“My favorite part of being a student trainer is the friendships, since we all work together we get to spend a lot of time hanging out when we are ‘on duty’,” McCarville said.

As student trainers, they also develop many beneficial life skills that will help them long after they have left the program.

“I think [being a student trainer] helps a lot with time management. Most of the students have jobs or play sports or both so this is one more thing to fit into their schedule to make sure they get their 80 hours. I also think it’s a big ask of kids to be ready to help in an emergency situation and to remain calm and they handle it well,” Moore said.

Many of the student trainers are athletes themselves and have developed a deeper understanding of themselves through the program.

“Becoming a student trainer has impacted my growth by changing my mindset about how things work. Baseball is all about how well you can move your body. [As an athlete,] understanding beneficial patterns as well as the prevention of injuries has led me to grow as a person and through baseball, regularly assisting teammates with easy ideas to help them grow as well,” student trainer Carson Obrecht said.

Additionally, many student trainers use the program to gain helpful experience to move closer to achieving future goals.

“For the future, I am considering going into the field of sports medicine, which could lead to many different jobs which fall under the criteria. I want to go to college for baseball as well, so learning about how the body works and moves is beneficial in my process,” Obrecht said.

The student trainer program presents an opportunity for students to branch out and encounter completely novel situations and circumstances and, most importantly, to adapt to them.

“This is definitely a new experience for all of them taking the class and they get thrown right into it sometimes.  They help us with immediate first aid for injuries and that first hot football game of the year they jump right in making sure everyone is drinking enough and helping us when athletes are cramping and those things.    Athletes and coaches can be intimidating sometimes but our students do a great job working with everyone,” Moore said.

Though it is a significant commitment of both time and effort, the students encourage others interested in sports training to pursue the opportunity.

“My biggest advice is to not be afraid to fail. Being a student trainer is a difficult class just based on the demands on your knowledge and readiness. Being able to fail is one of the best ways to learn how to grow. You just always have to be willing to try in order to grow, because trying will build calmness and calmness builds confidence,” Obrecht said.

With the intensity and excitement that sports bring us, it is no wonder that athletes are so celebrated. But these factors are also the reason why sports trainers are so important. So the next time you are at a sports event, avert your eyes away from the stars and appreciate the sideline’s saviors.