Nov 16, 2017Longtime AT Honored
Leah Oliver, who has been an athletic trainer at Mountain View High School, in Tucson, Ariz., since 1989, recently was honored for her service to the school. According to tucsonlocalmedia.com, about 100 student-athletes, along with others who knew Oliver, assembled in the Mountain View gym, where Oliver came for what she believed would be a routine meeting.
When Oliver arrived, she was greeted with a round of applause, and was presented with an athletic trainer’s chair with her name on it. The chair will be hung above the entrance to the athletic training room.
“I don’t know what to say; there’s so many people that are worthy of it and it’s hard for me to accept it,” Oliver said. “But, the reason I would accept it is all the amazing students that have come through Mountain View. So, in a way, it’s a tribute to them and all of the great things that they’ve taught me and helped me with.”
Lacey Nymeyer John, a former Olympic silver medal-winning swimmer, expressed respect and gratitude for Oliver.
“I think when you look at great athletes, and you look at their coaches and you look at their teams, we often don’t think about the support staff,” Nymeyer John said. “And so many conversations are not on the court, and they aren’t in the locker room. It’s when you’re on the table, it’s when you’re broken down and Ms. O’s definitely that—she cared about her athletes.”
Oliver helped to establish the school’s athletic training program. She has received many awards over the course of her tenure, such as the Arizona Athletic Trainer of the Year Service Award in 2011, induction into the Arizona Athletic Trainers Association’s Hall of Fame in 2013, and being named one of Arizona’s top 10 teachers in 2017.
“She is everything to this school,” Noah Richards, a senior, said. “She’s provided so much of her time to our athletes and our students. Any time anyone needs something she’s always there for us. She’s imprinted in the school, and I’m so glad that the school actually did this for her.”
Oliver said she enjoys helping her students, and she had been overwhelmed with emotion to see what kind of “amazing adults” they had become.
“No day’s the same,” she said. “I love sports, I love athletes, I love competition. But all of a sudden, I got a love for teaching too. Because originally that was not my plan. But I fell in love with spreading what I was passionate about with my students, and helping them find that passion for themselves too.”