Student trainers: Dedicated to rehabilitating athletes

Junior McKaley Brewer (left) and sophomore Nikki Pond work at the baseball game Feb. 26. They assisted with a hit to the head and another to the ankle.

After the game, seniors Ryan Larson (right) and Zach Boskovich (below) got ice from the student trainers to help with injuries and sore muscles. Photos by Ivanna Tucker/Features editor


In every sport, players work hard on the field. Every now and then, those players get injured or need assistance. The athletic trainers are on the sidelines waiting to help.

The Athletic Training Education Program consists of hardworking students who spend their time helping out the athletic teams, ensuring the players are taken care of.

When a player gets injured during the game, it is the student trainer’s job to try to get the player back in the action. They have to sit through Oregon’s rainy days and the hot summer heat, remaining on the sidelines, prepared to assist in any manner.

To become an athletic trainer, one has to graduate from an accredited undergraduate program and then pass a national certification exam.

Senior Brynna Fuller has been a part of the program for four years. She has worked with multiple teams, but she spends most of her time with the football and baseball teams.

“I have always loved sports and knew I wanted to get into the medical field,” Fuller said. “Athletic training is a way to combine the two in a career that is both fun and rewarding.”

Student trainers do not have all of the privileges of those who are certified. Someone who is certified for athletic training must supervise them.

The students in the Athletic Training Education Program are required to complete 90 hours per semester in their sophomore and junior years before completing 135 hours per semester during their senior year. On top of that, they also have to do an 135-hour internship with high school athletic teams.

“Injuries are extremely common in sports. Some injuries are minor and others are traumatic,” Fuller said. “Regardless, it is important to have somebody who is trained in handling and treating such injuries if they occur.”

After being an athlete who received help from athletic trainers in high school, sophomore Kendra Dahl said she decided she wanted to go into the athletic training field.

“I was always injured in high school and there was never a diagnosis,” Dahl said. “So I wanted to try to help people figure out their injury to help their frustration.”

Each season, the student trainers are assigned a team to assist. Dahl has worked with men’s soccer, men’s basketball and baseball.

As trainers, their free time becomes limited, and they have to maintain a 2.3 cumulative GPA and a 2.7 major GPA to stay in the program.

“We don’t get a lot of weekends off, and we work hectic weeks, but [if] it’s something that you love to do, it really doesn’t matter,” Dahl said.

Prior to admission to the Athletic Training Education Program, students are required to go through three clinical observation assignments to be qualified to apply.

Junior McKaley Brewer is a transfer student and has to work double the hours to meet the requirements of the program. During the week, Fuller had to work four hours in the treatment center and two baseball games.

During the Feb. 26 baseball game, Brewer and sophomore Nikki Pond took care of a hit to the head and ankle. Each injury has to be evaluated and then the proper measures have to be taken to assure the players are in good condition to play again.

“We are the behind-the-scenes people,” Pond said.

As an athletic trainer, students have to be flexible and must think critically about how to take care of injuries. With a lot of their time spent around athletes, the student trainers try to have a good attitude, but they can’t be afraid to tell athletes bad news when they have to.

“Nothing is more gratifying than seeing an athlete you worked with in rehabilitation back out on the field, senior Nick Rawlins said.

When it comes to treating injuries in rehabilitation, student trainers are to specialize the training for each athlete and where they are in their injury. Throughout the program, the students learn each of the necessary skills by observing and hands on experience.

“You learn more as you go,” Brewer said.

Athletic trainers are an important part of sports in general. They assure that athletes are educated on how to take care of their injuries, and they help prevent injuries from occurring. Trainers recognize that athletes do not want to sit out so they work to create rehabilitation plans.

Student trainers have become a support system for athletes. They remain dedicated to their majors and put a lot of time and effort into getting the best experience possible out of it.

“When you are enjoying what you are doing, it is easy to continue working toward the main goal of graduating with a degree in athletic training,” Fuller said.

Ivanna Tucker/ Features editor
Ivanna Tucker can be reached at

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