Article reposted from West Virginia Mountaineers
Author: Russell Luna
Keeping a top-tier collegiate athlete fresh and healthy is never an easy task. But for WVU women’s basketball athletic trainer Sam Young, it’s a duty she’s not afraid to tackle head-on.
Young, an assistant athletic trainer, is responsible for the overall health of the Mountaineers. She is the first point of contact when an athlete is injured or not feeling well. She also makes sure that the Mountaineers stay healthy and recover quickly throughout a long, grueling season.
“I am here anytime they are doing workouts, lifting, conditioning, open gym and practice,” noted Young. “We handle any issues that happens to them health-related and I’ll schedule any visits they need with specialists such as the orthopedic doctor.”
The Hico, West Virginia, native and WVU graduate has been with the women’s basketball program in a fulltime capacity for two years. She also served as a student athletic trainer for the Mountaineers during the 2011-12 campaign.
“My senior rotation was great,” noted Young. “You were able to experience what an actual athletic trainer has to do. You have to work all the hours and you’re covering everything and traveling along with the student-athletes.”
Young parlayed her undergraduate experience into a graduate assistantship at the University of Arizona. While with the Wildcats, she worked primarily with swimming & diving and the football team.
Since her return to WVU in 2014, Young has developed a good relationship with coach Mike Carey.
“We have a pretty good working relationship,” noted Young. “He understands it’s not necessarily my fault when someone gets injured. But, I’m going to do my best to get our athletes back to good health and on the court again.”
West Virginia has been fortunate to have a state-of-the-art facility with numerous tools and programs to help the injured student-athletes return to their full potential.
“You want to get them back as soon as you can, but you want to make sure they’re able to,” stated Young. “We’re not going to return them to play before they’re ready. We can help treat them multiple times during the day. I can have them come in before and after class. I can see them three or four times a day if need be to get all the treatment and rehab in. I take equipment with me on the road to help with the recovery as well.”
And when an athlete does suffer symptoms of a concussion, West Virginia has been a leader nationally in concussion diagnosis and treatment.
“WVU has always been the forefront of concussion protocol,” said Young. “Dr. Julian Bailes, who was a neurologist at WVU and was featured in the movie Concussion, played a big role in that. We’re using innovative software called X2, which helps us keep track of a concussion. Just two years ago, West Virginia and Stanford were the only two collegiate programs in the country to use this software. It’s useful to help us determine a concussion and the balance aspects of it.”
One of Young’s biggest focuses is helping the Mountaineers quickly recover after each game. Since the team often travels long distances during the conference slate, recovery plays a pivotal role in the Mountaineers’ success.
“Each student-athlete has recovery tights and recovery boots and we have the cold tub, which helps them out as well,” stated Young. “They are free to come in and get recovery treatment at any time. We have a physical therapist on staff. We have a lot of people who have different areas of expertise. I don’t have any problem bouncing ideas off of them and making sure our student-athletes get the best treatment.”
Regardless of the injury, the Mountaineers are in good hands with Young and the WVU Athletic Training staff.