Jan 29, 2015Marathon Response
From Louisiana State University, an athletic trainer and three athletic training students traveled to Boston to gain experience working at a large sporting event. When the news of the bombings broke, LSU Senior Associate Athletic Trainer Shelly Mullinex, who was in Baton Rouge, said “a wave of emotions came over her.” Still, she was not surprised to hear that her students and colleague stepped up when emotions were running high.
“Athletic trainers don’t typically don’t shy away from this kind of stuff,” Mullinex told WAFB. “We would actually be the first people running toward it, which is what I hear they did. I heard that the blast went off and they ran towards it.
“You’re humbled by the fact that they’re your kids,” she added. “You’re scared because in some ways these are kids that could be our own children. And you’re proud at the same time that they were there to help.”
Another athletic trainer volunteering at the event was Southeast Guilford (N.C.) High School Head Athletic Trainer Mark White. After the bombs went off, White, who has worked six Boston Marathons, said his athletic trainer instinct kicked in immediately.
“We went in,” he told the News-Record. “A lot of people were running. It was chaos. It was terrible. But a lot of us just did what we do. Instantly, you go from being an athletic trainer there to aid runners to a first responder. It’s not anything I even thought about. I just did it.”
White was stationed at the finish line, where he was in charge of a team of college students who were helping exhausted race finishers and using wheelchairs to transport them to a nearby medical tent. The team’s location was near where the bombs had detonated.
“My first reaction was, well, I don’t know what my first reaction was,” said White. “My responsibility was to make sure my team was OK and accounted for. I can’t tell you what I was thinking. I can’t put it into words.
“Whatever you’ve seen,” White added, “it was worse.”
Surrounded by smoke and screaming people, White and his team raced toward the injured, using wheelchairs to transport them to a triage area.
“There was blood everywhere,” White said. “Blood and glass and bodies. I looked around and realized all the people that had descended into it–police and EMS and race workers and trainers. We all just went in there.”
Upon returning to Greensboro on Tuesday, White said it will be a while before he’s able to decompress from the life-changing situation.
“I still can’t put it into words,” he said. “I still can’t tell you everything that happened. I’m thinking about all those people who were hurt or killed, thinking about their families. I’m thinking about my team, college kids who responded immediately and went in there alongside the rescue workers and emergency people. We were all first responders.”
On Friday, while the city was in lockdown as authorities conducted a manhunt for the second bomb suspect, Boston University Director of Athletic Training Maria Hutsick submitted this photo of BU Head Athletic Trainer Larry Venis, who was working at the marathon. Wearing the red hat, Venis is shown here removing a structure to access wounded spectators.