By Samantha Clark, NSU Sports Information intern
These team members are at every practice, every home contest and virtually each one played on the road.
They don’t have a jersey number. They don’t play for a conference title or post-season play. They don’t gear up with gloves, cleats and helmets.
Even though they don’t get playing time in a game, their presence is crucial. They must be there to help a player when an injury happens. They do pre-care and after-care to make sure student-athletes stay in pristine shape.
They provide crucial knowledge that no one else at the game knows.
Athletic trainers are the unsung heroes of sports.
To acknowledge the hard work that goes into athletic training, March is designated as National Athletic Training Month. Before last week’s Lady Demons home softball game, NSU’s sports medicine department was recognized for its commitment to the student-athletes’ overall health.
The sports medicine department is comprised of a director, associate director and assistant director of sports medicine; an assistant athletic trainer; seven graduate assistant positions; six student workers; a director of rehabilitation; a head team physician; and two additional team physicians.
Jason Drury has been the director of sports medicine since 2012. Before being promoted to director, he was the head football athletic trainer and worked with women’s soccer and men’s basketball. Ashley Leggett is the associate director and Koleen Brown is the assistant director, while Brittany Goldberg is the assistant athletic trainer.
Every graduate assistant on NSU’s sports medicine staff is a board-certified athletic trainer. They have gone through an undergraduate athletic training program and are working towards their master’s degree while getting work experience.
Graduate assistants are Stephen Kim (men’s basketball), Hannah Knopp and Kendall Rosebrock (track and field), Alyssa Rotenberry (softball), Taylor Wilkes (soccer), Hunter Wright (tennis) and Kelly Wright (volleyball).
NSU’s sports medicine student workers compete to be in this department. They are interviewed and must meet a list of qualifications. Their jobs allow them to earn professional hours before going to graduate school – many consider professions in physical therapy or sports medicine, fields that essentially require post-graduate studies.
“ATs are health care” is the theme of this year’s National Athletic Training Month, which is sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), a not-for-profit organization based in Dallas, Texas.
For more information about NSU Athletics’ sports medicine program, call 318-357-4035.