Being a Mentor

April 27, 2017
By Maria Hutsick

Maria Hutsick, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS, is Head Athletic Trainer at Medfield (Mass.) High School and former Director of Sports Medicine at Boston University. She is a past president of the College Athletic Trainers' Society and was honored with an NATA Athletic Trainer Service Award in 2010. She can be reached at:


I spent more than 30 years at the NCAA Division I level and had many students pass through our Athletic Training Education Program during my tenure as Director of Sports Medicine at Boston University. My staff and the curriculum director placed the students first. We tried to set a good example for them as professionals and as human beings. This has paid off many times over. We have former assistants and former students all over the country, and we stay in touch with them, try to assist them, and support each other. My former staff and I are able to form a network of professionals, and this enables us to help our current students find jobs and assistantships. 

Since I retired from BU 10 years ago, I have been at Medfield (Mass.) High School. I was able to establish an athletic training student aide program here, as well as a class in athletic training. The latter brings in speakers from many health care professions and teaches the students about sport injures. I have a core of five to eight students each year, and many of them go on to careers as athletic trainers, nurses, physical therapists, and doctors. In fact, some of my students from Medfield are now learning under my former BU students at various colleges.

The students keep you on your toes, make sure you stay current, and will question everything. The relationship between the student and the mentor lasts for the rest of their careers.

Mentoring students through an athletic training student aide initiative is a great way to gain assistance with your program. Parents are happy to have their children involved in the program, and the school, community, and mentor all benefit. The students learn how to handle stressful situations and deal with people who are injured, and they are on the sidelines to experience all that happens during competition.

My students are well-respected by the athletes, coaching staff, and student population. They are well-known because of their visibility on the sidelines. Many students who love athletics but are not able to compete at the varsity level are given the opportunity to be part of a team through the athletic training student aide program.

In addition to my high school athletic training student aide program, I am also a Preceptor for Bridgewater State University’s Athletic Training Education Program. My high school students work side by side with the college students and are able to find out what majoring in athletic training is all about. 

Overall, being a mentor benefits the students, the athletic trainer, and the whole community. The perks of having an athletic training student aide program are many and benefit both the student and the mentor. The students keep you on your toes, make sure you stay current, and will question everything. The relationship between the student and the mentor lasts for the rest of their careers. As a mentor, you become like a proud parent when they succeed.

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