Division 1 athletics requires student-athletes to be at their best mentally, physically and emotionally. Achieving and maintaining this type of balance is no easy feat, and the GymCats are grateful for their athletic trainer, Stephanie Gross, who plays an integral role in keeping student-athletes happy, healthy and strong year-round.
Gross joined the Arizona athletic training staff in 2013, and serves as an athletic trainer for not just the GymCats, but the swimming and diving teams as well.
Gross was born in Evanston, Ill., and grew up in Lake Zurich, Ill. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training. She then attended The Ohio State Universtiy where she obtained a Masters in Sport Management while working as a graduate assistant for the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams.
Athletic trainers are mostly recognized for their efforts in the rehabilitation of athletes from injuries. However, there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes. Athletic trainers must have a holistic approach to their treatments that target vulnerabilities and specific muscles to prevent injuries before they happen.
“It goes so much further than just being an athletic trainer. I’m emotionally invested in these athletes’ success, both in and out of the gym. We bond over time spent rehabbing injuries, but we also celebrate every small victory along the way. There’s no better feeling than seeing an injured athlete return to the sport that they love with more success than they ever imagined possible.”
In honor of National Athletic Training Month, which takes place in March each year, we decided to take a behind the scenes look at the responsibilities and daily life of the GymCats’ athletic trainer.
ATHLETIC TRAINING KEY TERMS
Athletic trainer- health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions
Scraping- soft tissue treatment assisted by an instrument to remove muscle soreness and scar tissue
Cupping therapy- using a suction cup to draw up skin to bring fresh blood to the sore area of body
Rehabilitation- restoring health after an injury
Therapeutic intervention- prevent and reduce injury
Soft tissue therapy- manipulation of soft tissues like muscles and ligaments, to alleviate discomfort
Cryo therapy- therapy using subzero temperatures
Hyrdrotherapy- therapy using water such as hot or cold tubbing
Administrative duties- attending Pac-12 medical conferences, representing the team and school at conferences, overseeing health insurance of student-athletes, coordinate appointments, coordinate X-Rays and MRI’s, documenting every treatment for each athlete
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ATHLETIC TRAINER
6:30 a.m. – Wake up
8:30 a.m. – Arrive at McKale
9 a.m. – Rehab begins
1 p.m. – Pre-practice taping
2 p.m. – Rehab ends
2:15 p.m. – Practice time
5:15 p.m. – Practice ends and eight lifting activities begin. Oversee and modify lifting activities with the strength coach for injured athletes
6 p.m. – Post practice treatments
6:30 p.m. – Team dinner
7:30 p.m. – Home
10 p.m. – In bed ready for the next day