Athletic trainers prove significant to the game

Mary Jane Mcnary, asst. sports editor

The bell sounds at 3:15 and the once quiet training room is now filled with athletes of all sports accompanied by different needs. Whether it’s rolling out their muscles or looking for exercises to treat an injury, there are a variety of things that occur in the training room. While athletes come and go, one thing stays the same and maintains sanity within sports: the athletic trainers.

The trainers are typically seen at sporting  events in their carts on the track tentatively watching as they are prepared for anything that comes their way. However, the trainers do more than just wrap ankles and give out ice bags according to Tony Catsaros, head athletic trainer, who has been an athletic trainer for 24 years and has been with South for the past 16 years.

“The athletes come in and you take care of what is needed: the evaluation, the follow up, the treatment plan and the rehab,” Catsaros said. “The model [of the athletic trainers] has been the comprehensive care of athletic injuries. Most people don’t know how expansive our job actually is.”

Working alongside Catsaros are two assistant athletic trainers, Amanda Anderson and Megan Shipp. Similarly to Catsaros, Shipp emphasizes the extensive approaches the athletic trainers take while treating someone and how building relationships are an essential part of recovery.

“When you approach a patient you must take an extensive approach to their pain,” Shipp said. “[The patient’s] pain might be caused by biological, psychological or the sociological aspect [and identifying those] can play a huge role into how they recover.”

Additionally, Shipp says her favorite part of being a trainer is the relationships that she has built within her career. She further emphasizes the benefits of having a relationship with athletes prior to an injury, because it will make the recovery process easier.

“We can rely on the relationships we build with students and be able to engage them in a way that we don’t have to be authoritative,” Shipp said. “Even when we make tough decisions, we’ve already built and cultivated a relationship with them.”

Being in the athletic training field is filled with many unpredictable days, according to Catsaros and Shipp. Catsaros says that each day is uncertain, yet it is an aspect of the job he enjoys.

“I like how everyday is different, it wasn’t always the part where I have to run onto the field, but [moreso that] I don’t know what is going to walk through the door,” Catsaros said. “My variety of day to day is always unpredictable, not just sitting at the desk.”

In contrast to Catsaros, Shipps says that having an unpredictable schedule makes time management difficult.

“It’s hard to dedicate your time to certain things considering our job is responding to emergencies,” Shipp said. “I could plan my day perfectly how I want to, but something could come up that I didn’t expect.”

All three of the trainers work hand-in-hand as they tend to visit different sporting events, and treat people left and right. Catsaros says that each day is different from the next as it depends on each person that comes through the door.

“I definitely like the interaction. I never know what injury I’m going to see just like I don’t know what person I am going to see,” Catsaros said. “Our variety of personalities in a large school setting like this is tremendous and I love meeting new people.”