At Gustavus, athletics have always been a source of pride. While the athletes bask in the glory, a secret force lurks in the shadows. Silent guardians, watchful protectors, dark knights. Athletic training students. Rising early and retiring late, these silent workhorses go to class just like the rest of us, but the similarities end there. They are angels that walk among men.
“It varies depending on where you work, but for football I had to be there for pre-practice to do treatments, tape, and get everything ready. Then it was practice, and post-practice to go over any new injuries, do rehab with people, and once again, treatments. That’s a basic overview,” senior athletic training major Brenna Sneed said.
That’s more of a time commitment than the athletes themselves, but they get no trophies. They get no applause. They don’t get the vast legions of fans following them around campus screaming their names, like even the worst football players on the team get.
So why do it?
“It’s a great opportunity to work in the athletic setting as well as work with a sports medicine team that really works for the betterment of the athlete or individual. Also, as an athletic trainer, there are so many different outlets for our talents, such as going on to physical or occupational therapy, PA, physician extender, or just AT in settings that vary from high school to the corporate setting,” Sneed said.
The students assist the certified athletic trainers that the college employs, and get to learn directly from them, in the classroom and on the field.
“Since it’s a smaller school, we have a closer relationship with the certified ATs. Also, we get the opportunity to work with a multitude of sports and really get hands on experience, which is super important,” Sneed said.
The most rewarding part of the life of an athletic training student?
“Getting an athlete back to participation after a long time injured/seeing someone you’ve worked with for rehab doing really well,” Sneed said.