By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (March 31, 2015) — Athletes are recognized year round, their achievements captured in headlines both online and in print, even in smartphone apps and more.
Coaches are celebrated as they earn milestones over the course of a season or career.
But athletes and their coaches don’t work alone. The countless people working behind the scenes includes a special group that pays particular attention to the physical wellbeing of teams that represent schools, organizations and communities on the playing fields and courts.
Athletic trainers work to keep athletes hydrated, eating correctly, stretched properly and ready to compete. They focus on injury prevention methods but also help when injury rehab is necessary. In a nutshell, they specialize in keeping athletes ready for play, and at Stephenville, a group of young ladies has made this their passion.
And just like the coach of a successful sports team that features youth with lots of players returning the following season, Stephenville ISD assistant athletic trainer Kendall Goldberg is proud and excited to know she’ll have each of the current student athletic trainers back for the 2014-15 athletic seasons.
March is National Athletic Training Month, and before April arrives, we pause to salute the young ladies that comprise the SISD student athletic training core for the work they do that helps the young athletes continue to uphold the Stephenville mantra – City of Champions.
“Our girls are excellent, they’re a tight-knit group,” said Goldberg of the all-girl athletic trainers at SHS. “With girls you sometimes get drama, but we haven’t had that. We work as a team, and the teams we work with treat us like team members.”
Goldberg says the athletic trainers’ theme this year is ‘We prepare, you perform.’
“We prepare for anything and everything that could happen so that our athletes don’t have to think about it,” she said. “Every situation, we’ve got an answer to, and our girls play a part in that.”
In addition to her duties at SISD, Goldberg is also in charge of public and media relations for the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association.
“We’re trying to get out there and stress the importance of what we do. From the new NFL concussion policy to different teaching tactics in youth sports, people are are starting to realize how important health and safety are in sports, and that’s where we come in as athletic trainers,” said Goldberg. “People are starting to realize that the places that don’t have athletic trainers are the ones in the media for stuff that’s not good, like injuries that could have been prevented. We’re pushing to have athletic trainers everywhere so we can help avoid that.”
Goldberg is passionate about spreading her love of athletic training and the universal need for athletic trainers. She’s also passionate about her hands-on athletic training duties in Stephenville, where she stresses prevention as the most significant factor to staying healthy.
“Prevention is key. We’re in track season right now, and prevention is a constant concern – stretching, eating right, all that. You can’t go through school all day and forget to eat, then go to track practice and run several miles,” she explained. “We’re focused on having the athletes prepared every day so they can go out and perform to the best of their physical capabilities, whether its in practice or in a competition.”
What’s the best part for Goldberg? Easy – the relationships she forms with athletes, which continue even after they are healed.
“My favorite part is when athletes who aren’t injured anymore still come around because they just want to hang out. They like to be around us and tell us about their lives, what’s going on with them not just in sports, but outside,” Goldberg said. “That’s the best part is when the athletes trust us like that.”