Typically, when people think about an athletic team, the sport and the athletes who play it come to mind. That is why when an athlete gets injured, many people do not take into consideration the athletic trainers who have helped athletes get back in their best shape.
At Miami Palmetto Senior High, athletic trainers help athletes before and after their games and practices. The trainers get to Palmetto’s athletic training office at 1:30 p.m. every day to make sure that by the time the school bell rings at 2:20 p.m., student athletes can come to the office to get wrapped, stretch, do physical therapy and so on.
With Palmetto’s large student body population, there are student athletic trainers who take part in the Student Athletic Aid training program, a program in which students help certified trainers Michele Benz and Wilder Casada with their tasks. To be a part of this program, each trainer must pass a course by scoring a minimum 80 out of a 100% to test their skills. The official tryout focuses on many of the day-to-day skills Benz and Casada perform.
“Once they make it through that tryout they have to get an 80 or better, then they become an aid in the program and they’re assigned days of the week that they come in,” Benz said. “[They come] three days a week in the fall, two days a week in the winter and two days a week in the fall and then they also cover the events that we cover.”
Students who are learning to become athletic trainers gain a lot of knowledge during this process. They gain valuable sports medicine knowledge and communication skills, encountering real-life situations.
“I love helping people out. When I heard about the [Sports Medicine] program, I thought it would be a great place to work in and be surrounded by people who all share the same kind of ideals. As I’ve been in the program, I’ve really grown a love for athletic training and it’s something that I would want to major in and take seriously coming out of high school,” Palmetto sophomore and Student Athletic Trainer Nicole Dragoni said.
Athletes at Palmetto appreciate the help they receive from the athletic trainers. They are assisted throughout the recovery process and receive help to prevent possible injury. They always have someone to lean on in the athletics office, which is beneficial for any athlete.
“My experiences with the trainers were always good ones. Whenever I went in the room, whether I had a lasting injury or a new one, they always knew what to do. They’re friendly and easy to talk to which makes the experience all the better, and honestly it was a little cool seeing them work,” Palmetto junior and Track and Field Athlete Zion Daley-Temple said.