Providing support behind athletes

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By Raylyn Rollins

By Raylyn Rollins

They can be seen on the sidelines at every sporting event. They are cheering on the team with fervor, handing out water and watching the game with a careful eye. They are also the ones who run out on the field during an emergency.

Riverside City College’s athletic trainers are part of the reason RCC athletes are playing their best games every week.

Not only do these trainers help in case of injury, they work with athletes throughout the season to prevent any injuries.

RCC is staffed with three certified athletic trainers who work with athletes and coaches to make sure that athletes are protected. They work on the sidelines, but off the field they take a much more active role.

Athletic trainers are not just there to run on the field in case of injury during a game. Although that is certainly a part of it, the job encompasses much more.

Along with treating the athletes in all 19 sports found on campus, they also provide basic hydration during practices and games, develop nutritional plans for the athletes and guide exercise programs.

The office, found near the locker rooms on the football field, looks like a nurse’s office – with style: two whirlpools are off in the corner, there are jars of over the counter medications on countertops and five tables line the room with all sorts of gadgets right next to them. Rock music plays lightly over the speakers.

With 19 sports and several hundred athletes, the room is rarely empty; there is some sort of activity, from light weightlifting, to taping injuries to working with deep massage machines.

According to athletic trainer Maria Castro, during the fall season there is an average of 100 athletes a day in the office, with 50 a day during spring.

Castro has been an RCC trainer for 6 years, and in those years she has seen the program grow. Not only has an extra trainer been added, but the student program has grown to include 25 student trainers.

“I think the college has seen the importance of having us at events,” she said.

RCC has a successful student program which sends a growing number of students to universities each year. At the two-year level, students can learn to be a trainer with hands on experience before switching to a curriculum school to get their bachelors degree.

Student Sam Kelly drives everyday from Redlands to RCC to be a part of the program.

“It’s not like work where you get up and do the same thing every day,” she said. “It’s hands on. I wouldn’t drive 22 miles in traffic for nothing.”

The program teaches students the basics of athletic training, from taping up an ankle to learning how to assess and treat any type of injury.

On top of classes, students have the opportunity to go to conventions where they attend workshops.

These students attend the games, work in the office and attend practices. The games are much more stressful because they must watch for possible injuries so if something happens they will know the exact circumstances. Often, the students are the eyes for the professional trainers.

However, Kelly also sees the athletes grow firsthand, which can be a rewarding experience.

“You seem them trip and fall over ladder lines at practice. We get to see their improvements and strengths,” she said.

Student Becky Marshall says that learning to train has made her a more rounded individual because she can treat not only athletic injuries, but also an injury that happens away from the field.

The athletes appreciate the hard work as well. Because the job of the trainers is to get the athletes in the best possible condition as quickly as possible, the athletes must depend on them to prevent injures and give rehab when injuries do happen.

Fast pitch player Valerie Brown goes into the office three times a week to condition and get treatment.

“It’s really beneficial to all of the athletes. They really keep you as strong as possible,” she said.

The work of the trainers is pivotal to the athletes, be it treating a major injury to providing over the counter medications.

The athletic trainers may be on the sidelines, but they are making sure every athlete performs to their potential every time.

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