The Southern Oregon Raiders are only one day away from facing Marian University in the NAIA Football Championship on Saturday. One important part of the Raiders team usually goes unnoticed. SOU’s athletic trainers work around the clock to make sure the team is kept healthy and their rehabilitation.
“I get charged up just like any does around the sports and athletes and the comradery of being around the team,” said Craig Switzler, head athletic trainer for SOU football. “There’s a lot of the guys that our super appreciative of what I do and once they’re hurt they love being around trying to get better.”
If you have watched any sporting event, the athletic trainers stand on the sidelines usually tapping ankles, stretching players and more. They’re the ones who stand in the shadows dealing with prayer illnesses and ailments while staying out of sight at the same time.
“We watch the game, get to see what is going and how things are progressing in the play,” said Switzler. “Most people at the end of the play start cheering and we’re still looking to make sure people are down or getting up or how they’re getting up. You’re still processing what’s happening out there even after the play is done.”
Switzler heads the athletic program for the Souther Oregon Raiders football team and cares for more than 70 guys at a time but he can’t do it all alone.
“Even just a set of eyes because I can’t see that many guys all at the same time,” said Switzler. “So just to have somebody say hey Craig so and so didn’t look right can you go take a look that’s invaluable to me.”
That second pair of eyes is SOU full-time student Megan Lacey. Lacey said being a student trainer is a way to build her resume and gain hands-on experience.
“I want to go into athletic training after I get my masters of teaching,” said Lacey. “I want to work at a high school level and go from there so I get a lot of hands of experience. I learn a lot and get to see a lot of cool injuries and Craig is a great teacher.”
And it’s more than just handing out water bottles said Lacey. It’s about nurturing another human back to health.
“When you see one of your athletes progress from an injury, get back on the field, see them get happy, feel good about themselves and you see their rehab work, it’s a good feeling.”
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