Athletic trainers have an important place at the schoolMay 02, 2022 09:06PM ● By Greg James
By Greg James | [email protected]
High schools have several coaches and administrators that keep programs running smoothly. A position that is often overlooked but very important is the athletic trainer.
“I overall have liked being a trainer,” former Copper Hills and West Jordan High School trainer Chaz Beckstead said. “Depending on the size of the school it can be overwhelming. Copper Hills is one of the largest schools in the state so that means a lot of athletes.”
Trainers are contracted to high schools to provide health options for the student-athlete. They work for an outside agency and are located at the school to provide the service.
Their duties include pre-practice events like taping ankles or providing physical therapy for injuries with the athletes. During games, they provide coverage in case of injuries.
“It can be fast paced. Sometimes we had four or five events going on at the same time. It is very time-consuming,” Beckstead said.
Sports trainers need to meet qualifications including board certification exams and state licensing requirements. They provide more than triage or emergency care. The student-athlete can be diagnosed, treated, and receive rehabilitation.
“We can make referrals and many will go to their own doctor for treatment. We can save the athlete from going to additional doctors. It is also convenient because they can get treatment right at the school,” Beckstead said.
The student-athlete usually understands the trainer's role, but many parents do not.
“I have had instances when going to an athlete that was injured and the parents have questioned what I was doing. It is understandable that most people do not know what we do,” Beckstead said.
Hailey Pabst is the current trainer at Copper Hills High School. She is employed with University of Utah Health. They are contracted to the school to provide trainer coverage. She worked at West Jordan High School and started at a school in Las Vegas.
“I love working at the high school,” Pabst said. “The kids are hilarious. They can say the strangest things. I get to hear all about prom and the stuff that is going on. High school kids can say some strange things, but it is more about the relationships we can build. Some of these kids are going through a traumatic injury. In the time we work together we can talk about a lot of things and get to know each other.”
Pabst works with all of the coaches and gets to know how the athletic program works.
The trainers see different types of injuries depending on the sports season. Ankle sprains and strains top the list of the most popular injuries. They also treat swollen muscles, knee injuries and lacerations. During football season they see concussions and broken bones.
“It is super rewarding. I get to see the kids grow. They grow from a little freshman to big seniors, not only in stature but in maturity. Plus, I can provide help to them at times when they really need it,” Pabst said.
“Most people do not understand what we do,” Beckstead said. “We do provide a necessary service.”