One of the toughest majors at Keene State College, which often goes unrecognized for it’s overall importance, and dedication to the KSC athletic community, and its many athletes, is one that several students work very hard to accomplish, and that is athletic training.
People who watch sports are aware of who the athletic teams are, what the coaches do, who the trainers are that work to prepare the athletes, and what our athletes accomplish in the off-season, and especially during season.
However, most of us may wonder exactly what is athletic training, what do the athletic trainers do, and who are the students that work so hard to attain this position?
A couple of students have commented on the major itself, what they do, their requirements and time commitments, and why they chose athletic training as their major.
Junior and athletic trainer in progress, Shammara Al-Darraji explained that the athletic trainer’s job is to help manage, prevent, and evaluate injuries of the athletes who play a sport.
“We are usually the first ones on the scene when an athlete is injured,” Al-Darraji said. “We see our athletes everyday, and therefore have a much closer connection with them. I would definitely say there is a high level of trust between the AT and the athlete. We are required to figure out what the problem is, and get them back into the game as quickly as possible.”
The time commitments and requirements for the major are just as intense, if not more so than the commitment of a college athlete.
All day, everyday these students are required to be in and out of the gym, on duty during an athletic game, practice, etc to fulfill the many hours accompanying the job. These students need to be on watch at all times, in case anything goes severely wrong, so that they can help out when needed.
Al-Darraji explained that a student within the major is required four athletic training classes sophomore and junior year, with about 100 hours of on site work a semester in their sophomore year, 200 a semester their junior year, and 300 in their senior year of college, followed by shadowing of a high school trainer, and a senior presentation.
“You really have to love the major, and want to do it, otherwise, you just won’t know what your getting yourself into,” Darraji said.
Jesse Bardis mentioned that an athletic trainer could be the difference sometimes between life and death, and as dramatic as that sounds, in some cases, it may very well be true.
“Athletes depend on their trainers for guidance based on injury,“ Bardis explained, “and say an athlete went into cardiac arrest or got a concussion during a game, it is the athletic trainer’s job to be the first person to assist that athlete, and know exactly what to do or how to take care of the situation.”
Al-Darraji elaborated that it is a very fulfilling experience, and enjoyable when you are able to be with the athletes and know that a part of them depends on you to keep them safely interacting in their games.
“We help them stay on their feet, so that they can play and feel safe in the game, knowing that if they were to get hurt, that someone would immediately take action to their situation,” Al-Darraji said.
“I love athletics,” Al-Darraji continued, “and if I am unable to participate as an athlete, then why not be the one who gets to help them?”
In light of the busy schedule and time commitments of this difficult job, it is highly suggested that if you do not love the major, then you should not decide to do it.
“If you have any doubts about this major at all, then you should not commit yourself to it,” Bardis said. “It is a big commitment that can often seem very overwhelming at times, and if you are not ready for it, then your not going to be able to do it,” Al-Darraji explained.
Nonetheless, it is necessary that we as a community, and especially the athletic community, take recognition of its athletic trainers, and appreciate the hard work they put in every day, not only for themselves, but also for the protection of the many athletes of Keene State College.
Lyndsay Krisel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org