Trust between Calvert and the young athletes she cares for is paramount
As a high school athlete in Wausau, Wisconsin, Nicole Calvert dislocated her knee cap twice. Little did she know that those injuries would set her on a career path to becoming the athletic trainer at Muscatine High School.
“The person that I worked with at physical therapy was an athletic trainer so she did a a lot of the after-school coverage and I thought it was really cool,” Calvert, 28, said.
Calvert played basketball and softball in high school. She earned her undergraduate degree in athletic training from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, graduating in 2009. Then Calvert went to North Dakota State University in Fargo and spent two years working with the softball team.
She was hired by Muscatine Physical Therapy Services, which contracts with the school district for athletic training services for Muscatine High School.
Calvert’s day begins in the high school weight room in the morning.
“Paperwork, phone calls to parents, doctors, catching up on things that I need to do in the mid-morning and afternoon. And then here (in the training room) from 2:30 p.m. until after practices or after any game,” Calvert explained.
She travels with the football team to each game. Otherwise, she is on site for any home game in any sport.
“I really like football just because that keeps your mind busy the most. It’s fun to watch kids go out and succeed in just about anything,” she said.
As she stood on the sidelines at the high school during Thursday’s practice, she watched intently as the players go through a warm-up.
She said the worst part of her job is having to tell an athlete his season is over after an injury.
“You see them put in all this work over one two or three years and then one play or one practice can really a be a life-changer,” Calvert said.
But there are positive moments, too.
“The best part of my job is seeing that kid come back and go through rehab and go through all the ups and downs and then run in their first track meet or play in the football game,” Calvert said. “That’s definitively one of the most rewarding parts, seeing the kids grow and change and come back from adversity.”
Trust between Calvert and the young athletes she cares for is paramount.
“I think she’s really great at what she does,”said Muskie defensive back Enrique Aguirre. “She does other stuff that is not athletic trainer-like. She’ll talk to us as a friend. She will be there for us for whatever.”
Calvert said students come in with all sorts of questions.
“It’s part of my job and you are professional with them. I think they respect that side of things, for sure, but the comfort level is great. Kids are not afraid to come to you,” Calvert said. “They are not afraid to be honest with you and I think in some situations, kids don’t want to tell you they are hurt. But they respect me enough and what I do and know that I can help them to get back on the field.”