Trainers are an essential part of athletics: From treating injuries to preventing them, even their mere presence can put athletes at ease while on the court or the field. The Pinewood athletic department has four athletic trainers, three of whom are students. The official trainer is Theresa Maksim, and the others are junior Alexis Tanase, sophomore Catherine Blotter, and senior Jack Cutler.
The main goal of a trainer is to “help [the players] perform at their best and keep them on the field rather than on the sidelines,” Maksim said.
They set up equipment, fill water bottles, tape ankles, stretch players, put ice on sore muscles, and do other basic first-aid tasks. They come to every practice and every game, both to help the players before and after and to be ready to help if a player gets injured.
All three of the student trainers joined for different reasons. “I’ve always just seen the trainers and thought they were really cool, like how they just got to be a part of the team and participate,” Blotter said
“I wanted to become a trainer because I wanted to be a part of the football team after I had gotten a concussion my sophomore year and was unable to play,” said Cutler.
Tanase both loves sports and wants to pursue a medical career in the future. “I thought this was the perfect combination between something I love and my future aspirations,” she said. “Also, the program was an opportunity for me to practice real medicine training; something not many aspiring doctors are able to do before the age of 18.”
Maksim also spoke about what made her want to be a trainer. Her family was always very athletic, yet they were also clumsy, and got injured frequently. As a result, she was drawn in by a desire to help get people back off the bench.
The student trainers were selected out of a large group of interest. The main requirement was availability: were they going to be able to come to all the practices and games? The second parameter Maksim used was deciding whether the applicants were actually interested or just hoping to do it for college applications.
When asked about the process of becoming a trainer, Tanase described a gradual transition that began with learning how to tape fingers and wrists and knees, as well as Maksim intermittently providing other information about sports medicine. As time went on, she gradually gave the students more responsibility.
Pinewood’s athletic trainers are essential to the athletic programs. They make it easier for athletes to recover from injuries and make the injuries less likely in the first place.