Jan 29, 2015
Helping Hands Make Headlines

By R.J. Anderson

Though they operate behind the scenes and do work that goes largely unnoticed by the general public, occasionally athletic trainers have their efforts recognized in the mainstream news. When these key contributors do make headlines, we want to share them with you. So from time to time, T&C will present a collection of links to newspaper articles from around the country featuring high school and college athletic trainers in action.
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes on gamedays at an elite NCAA Division I football program? This article takes an in-depth look at how the LSU athletic trainers approach their craft up to and during the day of the big game.

Here, Shelly Mullenix, Senior Associate Athletic Trainer at LSU explains why she turned down former Tiger Head Football Coach Nick Saban’s offer to join him when he took the Miami Dolphins job. She also talks about making the same decision to stay put in Baton Rouge when Saban later made a similar offer after becoming the head football coach at the University of Alabama.

This reporter recently shadowed athletic trainers at Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C., chronicling how Head Athletic Trainer Eugene Everett and Assistant Athletic Trainer Tony Horton approach a game day. This running diary follows Everett from the classroom to the field and details how he directs the program’s student athletic trainers who cover various practices and games.

This article profiles how two rival high school athletic departments in South Carolina, Aiken High School and South Aiken High School, utilize their athletic trainers. Kevin Ard, the Head Athletic Trainer at Aiken, and Sheila Cathcart, the Athletic Trainer at South Aiken, both lead student staffs that provide conditioning and rehabilitation services for players at each school.

In a show of how much an athletic trainer can inspire the student-athletes they work with, the Brigham Young University volleyball team is rallying around Athletic Trainer Gaye Merrill, who was diagnosed with breast cancer after doctors discovered a lump during a routine mammogram. This season, as a tribute to the longtime athletic trainer, each player is wearing a pink bracelet with the phrase “Be Tough” printed on it.

“I was pretty blown away and very touched they felt strongly enough to do that,” said Merrill, a BYU graduate who has worked at the school for 26 years. “It is humbling because you want to be a good role model and a good influence on the people you work with. I hope I have been able to be that for them.”

It’s a good bet that she has.

Here, BYU Athletic Training Clinical Education Coordinator Jeremy Hawkins and Ty Hopkins, Athletic Training Program Director, discuss their academic program.

Dave Hamen is an athletic trainer in Port Huron, Mich., who wears many hats. Based out of the Marysville Sport and Spine Clinic, Hamen starts most days at 8:30 a.m. working with patients who are recovering from mostly chronic injuries. After lunch, Hamen usually hits the road to provide athletic training services to a variety of teams and programs in the area, including Port Huron High School and the Port Huron Icehawks (a minor league hockey team). Hamen also works with the Port Huron Northern High School football team when Port Huron High is on the road. After filling his obligations with the high schools, Hamen drives to St. Clair County Community College where he works with the volleyball team. If the Skippers are practicing, Hamen might make it home by 7 p.m. If they are playing a match, he won’t finish until about 10 p.m.

This article profiles the recently established Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma Institute (SMART), an arm of the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at the University of South Florida. The SMART Institute was established after the USF College of Medicine was given a $3.5 million grant to restart its Orthopaedics Department last year. The program employs athletic trainers who work full time at 10 high schools throughout Hillsborough County.

Ashley Foster of Stanton and Casey Perkins, two seniors in Eastern Kentucky University’s Athletic Training Program, received scholarships from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation for the 2007-08 school year. Foster and Perkins were recognized at the William E. Newell Athletic Training Student Awards Luncheon this summer, held as part of the 59th annual NATA Meeting and Symposium in Anaheim, Calif.

If you see a headline in your local newspaper pertaining to athletic training or strength and conditioning, we want to hear from you. Please submit links to: [email protected].
R.J. Anderson in an Assistant Editor at Training & Conditioning.

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