Article reposted from The Moulton Advertiser
Author: J.R. Tidwell
Clint Lester has been covering the different sports at Hatton and East Lawrence High Schools for the past two years.
Lester graduated from Muscle Shoals High School in 2008 before doing his undergraduate work at the University of Alabama, where he graduated in 2013.
He began working as an athletic trainer in 2013 and joined Encore in January of 2014.
“I have been covering Hatton and East Lawrence since January of 2014,” he said. “I cover the other two schools as necessary. When we had people coming and going with Encore I covered the whole county for a short period of time.”
Lester knew he wanted to work in the field since his first year of undergraduate work at UA.
“I went back and forth on whether I wanted to stay in athletic training or work in physical therapy,” he said.
He says he owes his current position with Encore to a friend who told him about the job opening.
Lester has covered every sport at both schools these past two years.
“I do injury reports any time someone has one,” he said. “Coaches will give me a heads up on any athlete who needs to be checked out. I’ll decide if its bad enough that they need to see a physician or just need to sit out of some practices or games. If it’s not that bad I may give them a program to work at home.”
The full list of responsibilities for a trainer never changes, but what exactly is needed in any specific instance depends on the situation.
“If there’s an injury and it’s an emergency I’ll call the ambulance out on the field,” Lester said. “If an athlete needs to be taken out of the game I’ll do whatever is necessary for stabilization like using a boot, ling or crutches. I communicate with coaches and parents and let them know what to do next.
“Outside of emergency situations I do more regular stuff like taping for various injuries, wound care, concussion tests and other general health stuff.”
The nature of the job puts Lester in the interesting position that the nicest days he works are the ones where he does little to nothing.
“The best, happiest days are when no one gets hurt or is in pain,” he said. “I know that stuff is no fun. I’ve learned a lot about orthopedic injuries, how they progress and what to do and what not to do in different situations as well as how to communicate with coaches, athletes and their parents.”
After two years of covering schools and student-athletes in Lawrence County Lester has decided to go back to school and pursue a slightly different line of work.
“I’ve always wanted to work in physical therapy,” he said. “I thought about it for a long time, and I couldn’t see myself working as a trainer at 60 running up and down a sideline with a bag full of supplies.
“I don’t see myself doing that for the rest of my life. The hours you work, including late nights and weekends, do not fit into my idea of raising a family like I want to do some day.”
Lester will go to Belmont University in Nashville to further his education.
“I hope to still get to work with athletes, but I also want to help out the elderly. It is rewarding to help people get back to their daily life and be able to do their jobs, hobbies, etc. “I think being a physical therapist will be even more rewarding than my current job. Rehab and recovery are my favorite aspects of the job, and its something I feel I can be good at. I feel like working in a clinic is more my setting than emergency/first aid.”
Lester will be resigning with Encore and working his last day covering Lawrence County schools on July 31. A replacement has already been chosen to fill the void after Lester’s departure.
“I’ve enjoyed working here very much,” he said. People in Lawrence County are good people, the coaches are good and everyone has been good to me. I’ve become attached to the kids I cover and have enjoyed watching them grow as both athletes and human beings.”