If you’ve followed Valley Center High athletics to any extent over the past few years, chances are you’ve seen and noticed trainer Alana Hubers.
Never far from the action and always primed to render services should they be required, the pleasant looking 26-year-old is as conspicuous a part of the sports scene up on the “Hill” as are the coaches, players and fans. Invariably and if logistics allow it, she’ll be present for as many Jaguar sporting events as is humanly possible. To say that she exerts a real presence on the field, in the gym, around the track or just about anywhere else doesn’t begin to tell half the story.
In some respects, she can be any number of things to the athletes she’s been entrusted to help and protect, depending on a circumstance’s particular dynamic. For instance, in one moment she will transition from being a spectator into becoming a highly competent professional, fully capable of lending expert medical assistance and aid. In another, she can become an angel of sorts, comforting, encouraging and reassuring. When watching Hubers go about her duties, you realize that not only does she posses the requisite technical knowledge necessary but she also brings with her a calming temperament and kindly humanity that makes her an admirable fit for the job she has chosen to undertake.
Hubers’s connection to sports and specifically VCHS runs deep. A 2009 graduate of the school, Hubers was a prolific athlete who earned a staggering 10 varsity letters while toiling in soccer, tennis and lacrosse. In the latter two pursuits and reflective of her leadership qualities, she earned the distinction of being a captain.
At the end of her sophomore year at San Diego State, Hubers became one of 30 students selected to participate in a sports trainer program being offered at Montezuma Mesa. “Because I loved sports so, I always had it in my mind to somehow try to make a career out of it,” Hubers says. “With that thought, I decided to really pursue the program at State.”
In addition to the benefits of being exposed to a classroom curriculum, Hubers got invaluable firsthand knowledge and experience working with State’s women’s softball and water polo teams as well as the USD football, women’s basketball and men’s tennis squads.
By the time of her graduation, she was a certified athletic trainer anxiously looking forward to securing her first position. And almost as if preordained, a rather amazing opportunity presented itself at, of all places, her alma mater.
In what Hubers terms a “very good blessing,” the trainer’s job at VC became available because of a somewhat unexpected departure. The timing couldn’t have been more exquisite for Hubers since she had just hit the job market. Moreover, her previous link and familiarity with the Jaguars made her an even more attractive candidate for the post. Thus, one thing led to another and to coin a phrase that certainly fits in this situation, “the rest is history.”
Though most every sport brings with it the inherent challenges of dealing with issues like cuts, scrapes, turf burns, muscle strains, pulls, bruises and rolled ankles, the contact oriented pursuits such as football and lacrosse (and to a lesser degree soccer and basketball) do present a higher risk for injury. “Not that the others don’t, but those sports really do get you focused because of what could potentially happen,” she says.
Because of its very nature, football requires the closest scrutiny. “You have to pay attention to every hit just in case,” Hubers shares. “You’re looking to possibly see a change in a player’s actions or behavior, even if it’s slight. Sometimes the signs of something like a concussion aren’t always that visible.”
Among her many gifts is being able to execute a speedy tape job. Aside from wrapping up fingers and wrists, Hubers guesstimates she can do an efficient and thorough job on an ankle in under a minute. On a football Friday, Alana will busy herself by taping up members from both the jayvee and varsity squads, with approximately 15 of the latter utilizing her skills.
Though fortunately she hasn’t had to deal with a lot of serious injuries, Alana has nonetheless seen her share of misfortune, including a knee dislocation and various fractures. It is in traumatic situations like these where her vast knowledge and ability to calm an injured athlete are put to the extreme test.
Gaining the trust and confidence of those she seeks to help is of monumental importance to Hubers. She wants to create an environment whereby the Jag athletes are totally honest and forthright in letting her know how they are feeling or what may be ailing them. “There’s always a fear that perhaps they won’t tell you everything because they want to play so badly,” she says.
But if Alana must play a bit of the bad cop role and keep someone on the sidelines in order to ensure the fact that they’re not exposed to further injury, she has no hesitation in doing so. Her top priority will forever remain keeping the Jaguars healthy and sound whenever they participate. “Though I know there have been times when some kids didn’t agree when I held them out,” Hubers reveals, “I’ve always made it a point to be honest with them. I’d like to think that my relations with almost all of the athletes is very good and positive.”
Being the lead trainer at a place like VCHS requires a huge commitment such as putting in occasional 10 to 12-hour days, but Hubers wouldn’t have it any other way. Though she does entertain the possibility of perhaps one day pursuing a nursing career, she’s content and challenged by her current occupation. “I love being a part of the Valley Center sports scene,” she says. “And it’s really neat that I’m now working with some of the coaches that were here when I went to school.”
Based upon all appearances, Alana Hubers and the various Jag sports programs have a meaningful, rewarding and symbiotic relationship whereby everybody comes out a winner.