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Weekend in the Life: High School Athletic Trainer

Photo courtesy of Milan Taylor

Athletic trainer Vanessa Chavez got her start at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, receiving her masters in athletic training through an accelerated program. Chavez completed her internship at my own high school, Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Illinois, and began working there as a full-time athletic trainer shortly after graduation. Recently, I had the honor of interviewing Chavez about what a typical day in her life looks like.

Photo courtesy of Milan Taylor

Chavez broke down for me the process of a recent football game day. This past Friday, HFHS had two home games, both varsity and junior varsity. Chavez's game day starts well before kickoff; she is responsible for preparation of medical kits, ice chests, and water tanks. Chavez and the rest of the athletic training team then meet with the on-site ambulance and emergency staff, before going off to evaluate the athletes. She assists the players with pre-game stretching and taping. Chavez then takes her medical cart to the sidelines, where she will spend the game on watch for injuries and ready to help whenever needed. After the game, she packs up and heads to the room to check for any final injuries. Chavez is usually locking up and getting home around 11 p.m.

Though she had a late night, Chavez has to be up early again, around 6 a.m., for an HFHS soccer game day on Saturday. She arrives to the school around 8:30 a.m., ready to look over soap notes and injury reports. Chavez and the other trainers treat any football injuries from the previous night, usually setting up many ice baths. After treating the football players, Chavez begins setting up for the soccer game, filling up and setting out med kits and coolers. After keeping a watchful eye on the sidelines of the soccer game, Chavez treats any post-game injuries before cleaning up and leaving for the day. This is just one of her many typically busy weekends as an athletic trainer.

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