Most high school athletes would see an ACL injury as a devastating detriment. For Meaghan Williams, however, it was merely a detour that led to a great destination on her athletic journey.
Meaghan is a Massachusetts native who played soccer and basketball prior to suffering that ACL injury while competing at Auburn High School. The injury put a halt to Meaghan’s playing days, but it also sparked her interest in sports medicine and she went on to study the subject at Quinnipiac University. Meaghan graduated from Quinnipiac in 2013 and, in the three years since, she’s become a tried and true lynchpin of Guilford High School sports as the Indians’ athletic trainer.
“When I got hurt in high school, I thought it was kind of cool that there was someone with the team that watched the game, while also looking out for you,” says Meaghan, a Wallingford resident. “Sometimes as an athlete, when you can’t play anymore, you lose a sense of your identity a little, but I saw athletic training as a low-key atmosphere in which you are still a part of the game. I also love the community aspect of my job.”
Meaghan plays a pivotal part in getting the Indians’ young athletes back on the road to recovery. She likes seeing how much of a difference she can make in a competitor’s life from a non-coaching position, while really getting to know some top-notch kids in Guilford.
“What I love about this, as well, is seeing the kids at their peak and best, while also helping them when they aren’t at their best. It takes an emotional toll on them, so to see them get better and their excitement, it’s great,” Meaghan says. “The kids at Guilford are so respectful and great. It’s a great atmosphere here and all very rewarding.”
Down time is a rarity for Meaghan as she goes through three sports seasons in a school year with multiple games going on at once. However, Meaghan will gladly take the hustle and bustle of her profession each and every day.
“My day usually starts around 1-1:30 p.m. at the school. I’ll set up the training room and also check in with the school nurses. Once that dismissal bell rings at 2:08, it’s a mad house,” says Meaghan. “Sometimes, I’ll be visiting with 20-plus kids, trying to diagnose and treat them as quickly as I can. Then you have the games, but [Guilford Athletic Director Jake Jarvis] is really good about not scheduling too many games simultaneously and at different venues. I just try to run to each one as fast as I can and, hopefully, get to also enjoy the games.”
Guilford athletics Administrative Assistant Lecia Scranton says that Meaghan combines extensive attention to detail for her job with an extra dose of kindness to everyone she meets.
“She has been keeping our athletes together for three years and she does a great job of it. With her attention to detail and pinpointing the nature of the injuries, she comes across as remarkable and I admire that ability of hers,” says Scranton. “As part of the athletic department at Guilford High School, I can always count on her. She is so easy to work with and she always goes out of her way to be helpful. She goes above and beyond in her call of duty, as well as stepping in to assist others. Many times, she has stepped in to give me a hand when I needed it. Guilford athletics has been very lucky to have someone so conscientious and hardworking as Meaghan—not to mention, most important of all, she is one of the nicest people I know and you can see that clearly in the respect and admiration the athletes have for her.”
She might not be the parent of an Indians’ athlete or the one drawing up the Xs and Os on the sidelines, but Meaghan shares similar values to the people who hold those roles in that she wants to see every Indians’ team succeed, while enjoying her own role as an integral member of their tight-knit sports community.
“The Guilford community here has been so accepting and receptive. Everyone wants to help out and is quick to say hello to me,” Meaghan says. “Everyone here is on the same team in wanting the teams to do well, which makes the job that much more awesome. You become invested and feel a part of the teams. I just love it here and the people are super friendly.”