Surprise Honor

May 18, 2017

Last month, Thibodaux (La.) High School Athletic Trainer Jerry Blackwell, LAT, ATC, was asked to stop by the varsity baseball game after he finished his duties for the day. When he got there, he was surprised to find himself being honored along with the team’s seniors on Senior Night.

“[The players] had asked me to come and watch their senior day, but we also had a track meet going on,” Blackwell told Houma Today. “So I leave the track meet to go out there to the baseball field, and it was a total surprise to see them honor me. It caught me off-guard.”

Thibodaux baseball’s players and parents were behind the decision to recognize Blackwell. When he arrived, they called him to the field and presented a cash gift of $450.

“It was super special. [Blackwell] means a lot to every sport at Thibodaux,” said Saul Barrilleaux, one of the baseball team’s seniors. “He’s always out there. Without him, the program wouldn’t be as good as it is now. He’s the best there is. It was just something special to show him how much we love [him] and how much we appreciate everything he does.”

Blackwell was the first certified athletic trainer hired by the Lafourche Parish School Board, and he’s been at Thibodaux for 16 years. Even though his work involves a lot of long hours, he enjoys seeing student-athletes get back on the field.

“Everything that he does, it’s for the athletes,” said Marc Gonzales, Thibodaux Head Baseball Coach. “It’s not just baseball. We honored him, but we have a lot of sports, and he takes care of those players. He cares about each and every one of them. The least we could do is show him a little appreciation for taking care of our guys during the season—even during the offseason.”

For Blackwell, the tribute was a touching reminder of how much he means to the Thibodaux community. It’s a gesture he won’t forget.

“A lot of times, athletic trainers get pushed to the back,” said Blackwell. “A lot of people just sometimes take it for granted what we do for their kids. It meant a lot to me. It shows that my work at Thibodaux is seen by the parents. I do care a lot about those kids. It feels great to know your hard work is appreciated.”