By J1 Reporter Cammy Gregor
The sports world is packed with action and excitement, however, with all that action and excitement comes injuries: overuse injuries, catastrophic injures and everything in between, so many injuries in fact, that each school has a trained professional to deal with these issues.
At Marian, one woman deals with every single athlete and their individual injuries. That woman is Mrs. Melissa Brusnahan.
Westside athletic trainer, Shawn Campbell called her “a staple at Marian.” Being a daughter, wife, mother and a second mom to nearly every athlete at the school, athletic trainers around the state are in the same boat.
Westside’s Shawn Campbell and Creighton Prep’s Bill Kleber work tirelessly to keep their athletes in good shape while teaching a few classes along the way.
All three trainers can agree and say that people in their profession don’t get the recognition they deserve. Athletic training comes with long hours although it is not an hourly paying job. “If you’re looking to get into a medical field for great pay and great hours, athletic training is not where it’s at,” Brusnahan said.
Where is all this time being spent? Kleber and Campbell each teach health and athletic training classes at their respective schools. During the day that is their main priority. After school, they shift their focus to the athletes. Brusnahan can spend her time during the day evaluating and rehabbing students during their lunches and study halls so she can get right to practices and games after school, a luxury that Kleber and Campbell don’t have.
When it comes down to where each trainer spends their after school time, it varies from season to season. Trainers don’t necessarily go to their favorite sport’s practice. They like to be at practices where there is a high chance of catastrophic injury and a lot of contact. In the fall, Brusnahan spends a majority of her time with softball while Kleber and Campbell stick with football. In the winter, basketball becomes each trainer’s new favorite and soccer is most loved in the spring.
Despite the downsides of athletic training, all three trainers agree that it is an extremely rewarding job. “The most rewarding thing for me is seeing an athlete through from the initial injury to when they return to play. It makes me feel good to know I was able to help them,” Kleber said.
They get to watch student-athletes grow through their injury and learn how to cope with obstacles. “It’s kind of a double edged sword… seeing kids get hurt and not be able to play and help them work through that and get back out on the field and hit a homerun or score a game winning run and knowing I had a part in helping you get back, that’s what’s great,” Brusnahan said.
Most importantly, athletic trainers indulge in a luxury that not a lot of professions can have: summers off!