By Carson Messick
“Hey, watch out!”
We’ve all read the stories about football players, volleyball players, and players every other sport, but what about the people who are also on the sidelines with them?
The athletic trainers at Jenks attend almost every game our athletes play to help prevent injuries, alleviate existing injuries, provide water, and much, much more. So, what better way to write about their hard work than to go through the work myself. On Friday, October 11, 2019, I was able to become an athletic trainer for the night.
Usually, athletic training is during sixth hour and goes until after the game, but I came at 4:15. When I walked up to the second floor of the Sharp, the teacher Michael Catterson was already working on taping ankles for the football players with a line of more players forming. While that line was forming, another was growing in a different room; the high school trainers were tapping the wrists of other players. I observed quietly, watching and listening to them. First they put on the pre-wrap, then they take to white tape, wrap it around once in one area, then tear. They do that to both wrists, making sure it is equal on both sides. This not only helps with player injuries but also helps prevent future injuries from happening.
“Football players pick and choose who wraps their wrists,” Cyeli Nobles, a senior trainer tells me. “Each one of the trainers is special in their own way when it comes to wrapping wrists.”
After all the players were taped up and ready to go, it was time for the trainers to stock the fanny packs, make the gatorade, and fill the water bottles. We went downstairs to make the gatorade in a gigantic cooler with 2 huge packets of blue gatorade. Every girl either grabs a crate of water bottles or assists another person with the gatorade and heads to the field.
As soon as I stepped out, I began to shiver. How in the world do these girls stay out here the entire time? The trainers then start to talk about what sections they’ll take: offense, defense, etc. I floated around to each position. Once the game started, it was constant yelling, chaos, and moving. Sitting isn’t allowed for the trainers once the game starts, so your legs can become very tired within the first quarter. The more into the game we got, the more I realized how close the trainers and football players were. They kept conversations going by laughing and joking around all night. One of the most difficult tasks for me however was trying not to get run over by the football players. I cannot tell you how many times a football player had to move me out of the way or told me to watch out, it was insane.
“You have to be careful on the side of the field,” Claire Williams , a junior trainer tells me. “Last year, I wasn’t looking out and a football player rammed into me. I ended up having a couple of my ribs break.”
Though the trainers get an amazing view of the game, I couldn’t help but feel sad as I watched the student section cheer them on, throw the powder in the air, and hang out together while I was down on the field, standing around. It gave me a whole new respect for the trainers, as they have to sit and watch everyone else. However, the action of the game was intensified. The smacking of the pads was deafening, the whistles were ear piercing, and the hype of the crowd surrounding me felt electrifying.
All and all it was an amazing experience. Without the trainers, the games would fall apart. If you are interested in becoming one, you can find the contact information here. Next time you’re at a game, don’t forget to give the trainers a thanks for all they do.